Monthly Archives: September 2017

Finding the Right Equipment Supplier Paramount to Success in the Restaurant Industry

Most companies with any degree of overhead know that finding the right supplier of products necessary to run their business is of the utmost importance. For most businesses, it can mean a substantial savings and reduce the headaches often associated with searching for a reliable equipment dealer. For restaurants, however, finding the right equipment supplier can mean the difference between success and failure in the industry.

Restaurant owners, perhaps more than any other business owners, rely on their equipment to ensure that they will be open for business each and every day. Because most kitchens are limited in space, there is usually only room for one piece of each major type of equipment. If an ice machine or oven goes down, it can cause problems that will affect the entire operation. Restaurant equipment is made to endure the ravages of everyday use, but will eventually break down often enough that it will need to be replaced. While replacing a piece of equipment in and of itself seems simple enough, like most things in the restaurant business, it isn’t. Restaurant owners often rely on their equipment dealer to determine whether a new piece of equipment will meet the growing needs of the establishment. They may also rely on the equipment dealer’s product knowledge to determine what will and won’t work in their particular setup. With most large scale restaurant equipment costing thousands of dollars, considerations of this nature are rarely left to chance.

A good equipment supplier not only carries a wide selection of products for the restaurant industry, but can also provide information on how those products can be used to streamline kitchen areas for maximum efficiency. Restaurant owners have long known that while anyone can sell equipment, only the best equipment dealers are able to sell the right equipment that will help restaurateurs by adequately addressing their individual needs. Finding a resource for information along with a competent and reliable supplier of equipment is never an easy thing to do. Most restaurant owners who establish a good working relationship with a credible equipment supplier will maintain that relationship throughout the life of the business.

E-Commerce Business – Proceed With Caution

There is an epidemic in the United States. An epidemic that is so overlooked, if gone unchecked any longer, could cripple the economic strata of the U.S. An epidemic that could be responsible for the genocide of millions of businesses. Curious what it is? I am referring to the gross mismanagement of e-commerce businesses. Okay, perhaps the phrases “cripple the economic strata” and “genocide of millions of businesses” was stretching a bit too far, however, it is a fact that the bulk of e-commerce businesses are not built on an infrastructure that embodies stability. I am referring to a lack of customer service support in the umbrella of businesses designating themselves “e-commerce” or “virtual businesses”.

It is true that the lure of starting the e-commerce business is powerful. An endeavor as such usually requires little or no capital investment, a credit card processing account, and rudimentary knowledge of HTML coding. These three elements compose the basic formula for starting an e-commerce business. There is a marked difference in the formula for starting a business and the formula for maintaining a business. To expound on the latter, what truly makes a business thrive is proper customer relationship management and immediate telephone / live voice account support. This is the key component that is missing from most on-line or “virtual” businesses.

Take, for instance, the internet based company Netflix. If you are unfamiliar with the company, they are a relatively young e-commerce business specializing in mail order DVD rental. The minds behind the ingenious idea that is the basis of Netflix failed to create telephone support for their product. There is no doubt this decision was a calculated one as they most likely weighed the cost of maintaining an in-house call center vs. integrating purely e-mail based support. Without looking at the numbers side of the argument, imagine the frustrated consumer having problems with their order and having to rely on a 24 hour lagged e-mail response system to rectify their account issues. Based on this plausible conjecture, I believe lack of live operator support will be the ruin of the Netflix organization and the downfall of all e-commerce businesses that follow the same train of thought. What these businesses do not realize is that it is possible and extremely cost effective to outsource your call center needs to an established advanced call center facility. This solution has a two fold benefit. It serves to establish a solid foundation of customer relationship management and opens businesses up to benefit from word of mouth advertising.

I believe even a small internet business can greatly benefit from utilizing a call center to manage their customer service or sales calls. The initial investment is usually zero (excluding research time to find the appropriate facility) and most call centers charge on a per call basis (meaning you only get charged for the calls they actually receive). If looking at business from the customer’s perspective as opposed to looking at it from an initial profit standpoint, it behooves all e-commerce businesses to initially setup a live call center to manage all of their calls. If the infrastructure is not initially setup correctly, your business may fail before it has even begun.

Change Your Tone – Media Coverage Shouldn’t Be Toned By Software

The world of PR is benefiting from dramatic changes in the way media coverage is being delivered electronically to your computer desktop or PDA of choice. Perhaps the nuisance of ink on your fingers is being replaced by a bad case of “BlackBerry thumb” — but nevertheless getting your media coverage electronically has never been easier or more mobile.

These changes now drive the development of new tools from content providers, and new software programs to help better manage and analyze media coverage. The automation occurring at the database level and through the real-time delivery of organizational news, to internal and external stakeholders, is now almost taken for granted. And the holy grail of PR — to automate media analysis and measurement — is already under way; but where should software stop to make way for human analysis?.

Media analysis programs can save countless hours quantifying and sorting media coverage in an unlimited number of ways, including by circulation, region, ad equivalency, company programs and services, and competitive brands. However, do you really want a computer program qualifying how each story affects your organization? It’s a gamble with little upside.

Just Say No
The automation of tone and sentiment has already been incorporated into some software programs, but how accurate can it be? Every story, across every medium, will have a dramatically different meaning or impact for various organizations and their stakeholders. Behind the news emerge both winner and losers.

For instance, if a negative story breaks about a strike at one bottling plant it will be a boon for its competitors. The ability to determine which companies are negatively affected by the news is very limited. Furthermore, understanding the actual tone or possible ongoing bias of the reporter on an issue is impossible to automate. News is as much about delivering the facts, as it is provoking a reaction or emotion from the reader. Media analysis solutions can certainly help decipher the facts, but the rest should be left to a team of communications professionals.

Too Subjective?
The argument against toning media coverage has often been it is too subjective — if the news can be interpreted differently by each individual, won’t this skew the results in the end? True enough — but this can easily be solved with the introduction of a tone standardized ‘scorecard’ that is consistently applied to each story.

These scorecards can really vary, depending on the type of analysis you want to deliver in the end. Many organizations will chose to tone stories by ranking them as positive, neutral or negative.

The use of these 3 words alone is where subjectivity problems can creep in. Along with team brainstorming and training sessions on how tone can be applied, one quick fix is to use the C.B.S. Scorecard instead:

  1. Use Critical (in place of Negative.)
  2. Use Balanced (in place of Neutral)
  3. Use Supportive (in place Positive)

After reading an article, it is much easier to answer the question “Was that story critical, balanced, or supportive of our organization?” Instead of: “Was that story negative, neutral or positive?”

When it comes to tone it won’t always be black or white, but I’d rather leave the grey zones to a trained communications professional rather than to the guesswork of a software application.

When it comes to tone it won’t always be black or white, but I’d rather leave the grey zones to a trained communications professional rather than to the guesswork of a software application.

Beyond the ranking of articles by tone using the C.B.S. Scorecard, other metrics and meanings can be used in tandem to create and even stronger analysis. The following scorecard uses a scorecard range, from – 5 to + 5, to provide a more in depth analysis.

Rating Criteria
+5 Supportive Mention + four of the following: Key Message; Interview; Photo; Call To Action
+4 Supportive Mention + three of the following: Key Message; Interview; Photo; Call To Action
+3 Supportive Mention + two of the following: Key Message; Interview; Photo; Call To Action
+2 Supportive Mention + one of the following: Key Message; Interview; Photo; Call To Action
+1 Supportive
0 Balanced
-1 Critical
-2 Critical Mention + one of the following: Negative Executive Mention, Positive Competitor Mention; Consumer Direct Complaint; Ongoing Issue
-3 Critical Mention + two of the following: Negative Executive Mention, Positive Competitor Mention; Consumer Direct Complaint; Ongoing Issue
-4 Critical Mention + three of the following: Negative Executive Mention, Positive Competitor Mention; Consumer Direct Complaint; Ongoing Issue
-5 Critical Mention + four of the following: Negative Executive Mention, Positive Competitor Mention; Consumer Direct Complaint; Ongoing Issue

Once each story is toned, the rest of analysis can be automated by your software solution. The tone can be used independently to determine the success of the campaign by percentage of C.B.S. stories, but the tone can also be used alongside the rest of the analysis to identify possible media bias or problem areas by region or publication. The media is always analyzing your organization…why not return the favour?

New media monitoring and analysis technologies are certainly changing the face of media relations activities and provide immense return on investment, but determining the impact of a news story on your organization should be kept in human hands for the time being.

All can go well in business with a criminal record check

The people’s need to obtain more information about their future employees is driven by the lack of certainty and safety in a society with an increasing number of criminal offences. The criminal records search, however unethical it may sound, is a necessity for today’s employers. The big risk of hiring the wrong person for one’s business has turned this issue into an important one for any company. Employers have to make a criminal record check of future employees otherwise they can get sued in case the person they hire breaks the law affecting their business. On the other hand a very important issue is whether persons with criminal records can be turned down on job applications because of their criminal background. The criminal record check may seem quite difficult to conduct and might even rise up problems of immorality, but one has to balance well the decisions regarding the future of his company.

Criminal offence has grown a lot over the years. This has led to a very big uncertainty when it comes to meeting new people and choosing who you’ll be working with. Employers (all over the world) have confronted with this problem when hiring someone. They have to verify this person’s background, but the criminal record check can be quite limited. When pursuing a criminal record check, employers don’t have access to governmental information. The first step of the process is to view that person’s job application. The criminal records offer information regarding the applicant’s past problems with the law. Then, they can consult the credit bureau’s registers from which they can find out addresses and social security numbers and check the past jobs as well. This way the employer finds out what the future employees have done before and whether there are any intentionally left out details in the applications. Many companies resort to hiring special services to conduct the criminal records search, but only if the applicant has given his written consent. If there are criminal records to be found, the employees should be given the chance to elucidate their case. The job applicants must be informed upon their legal rights before any decision to reject the job applications is made.

In the Internet era, the most accurate help you can find consists of the online services. Most companies offer their help in criminal record check, but their efforts are made using the Internet as well. These companies can give detailed information on how a criminal record check can be conducted. They know how a person can pursue a criminal record check by obtaining the information they need from the local courthouse and which criminal records can be granted by the specialized web sites in the criminal record check. Even so, this doesn’t mean it is the easiest or cheapest way to obtain the information you want. The problem is that criminal record check can’t be 100% accurate, because criminal records may suffer corrections along the years. There are also some limitations on how much information an employer can obtain about an applicant’s criminal background. Nationwide, the criminal database has a lot of lacks. But this doesn’t mean the employer’s strive to obtain a criminal background is useless, because most of the companies specialized in criminal records search have been book keeping all the changes conducted in one’s criminal records.

Another important issue may be whether the applicant with criminal records has a chance in being hired or not. An employer can not reject a job application due to criminal records search because it would be considered a discrimination against this category of persons. Nevertheless, the employer can check whether that person’s criminal background could interfere with the future job, whether they are related and how the applicant’s behavior has been ever since. This remains a very controversial matter because it is very difficult to prove that a person has been rejected for employment due to his criminal record check, which is in fact illegal.

In spite of all these issues, criminal record check is a very important step in hiring someone because of the problems that may occur in the future. Hiring someone can influence how your business will develop, so risks are involved. The employer should be able to conduct a criminal records search to minimize the risks, but he should not make a decision basing it only on the criminal records. There are web sites or companies specialized in criminal records search, which can offer you the most accurate information you need in the shortest period of time. Qualified personnel can simplify finding an applicant’s criminal background and the information obtained will help you make a balanced decision regarding your future employees.