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Robots in Restaurants? Or Just More Election Year Hype

Some things come in seasons: elections, migratory birds, and reports on the coming of robot waiters? That's right. You may have seen some reporting lately around increased automation within the restaurant industry. But pay attention and you'll notice that these articles and press releases usually contain a political subtext. They typically make mention of increasing labor costs, the rising cost of health insurance coverage, Obamacare, or the minimum wage. You can also spot these pieces if they mention a few key players: Andy Puzder, CEO of Carl's Jr. and Hardees, or the company Momentum Machines, who were last featured in a story to this effect in 2012. These stories, and these individuals and companies along with them, only seem to surface during elections when there is a debate about the minimum wage, especially as it applies to service workers. Puzder and others like him will make statements that if the minimum wage is raised, middle class business owners will turn to technology after slashing hours and ...

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How to Cut Costs at Your Restaurant

It's well known that restaurants have some of the narrowest margins of any business out there, and as such they face real challenges when it comes to lowering their overhead without passing additional costs on to the customer. How do they do it? In some cases these changes are made as a result of restructuring within the restaurant business model: for instance, there are those restaurants where tipping is being phased out. But there are other, less fundamental ways of re-thinking your restaurant in order to cut costs. For one thing, you can be on the lookout for overcharging from your suppliers. This is more common than most people realize. Food prices can fluctuate dramatically from one day to the next, and contracts and volumes are obviously going to vary dramatically from one client to the next. In between all these changes, it's easy for mistakes to occur. Most restaurant owners don't have the time or energy to examine every individual invoice for discrepancies, but a few cents here or there, week afte ...

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Small businesses can utilize new video tools on Facebook

Facebook, one of the largest social networks, already has over 50 million business pages on the site. And while it might not be as exciting to attract a new small business page as it is to have a celebrity create a new page, small and medium businesses still play a role in the company’s success. The company created a new video tool that allows company’s to create and publish small introductory videos to acquaint people with their organization. The tool is called “Your Business Story.” In essence, it creates a slide show of photos and music. Companies can also add text information to describe what their business does. Video as an internet media platform is always on the rise. Facebook is responding to the demand by giving businesses additional opportunities to leverage this type of media. It will drive users to the site to consume the videos. Facebook is on the hunt to compete with Google-owned YouTube. YouTube already has a similar video compilation feature that allows users to cre ...

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Why do your workers come in sick?

Presenteeism is the idea of workers going into work when they are sick. Recent researched looked to gain a better understanding of presenteeism and what causes it and to understand what leadership could to do minimize it. The research concluded that a demanding workplace atmosphere, stressful environments and job insecurity were the main reasons why workers were inclined to go into the office despite their illness. The research concluded that a higher level of motivation influences people to work when they’re sick. Those who were more motivated also demonstrated to be more committed to their organization and to have higher levels of job satisfaction. Some other reasons workers aren’t eager to take a day off include finding work coverage, understaffing, personal financial stresses, and overtime according to the study. Organizations should be cautious before making any policy changes when it comes to presenteeism. Researchers say that, in essence, policies should not promote presenteeism as a ...

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Will Insurance companies continue to cut physicians wages to balance ACA losses?

Insurance company Highmark recently lowered doctor’s rates in the health plans offered through the Affordable Care Act in an effort to even the scales after massive losses. The move has left many angry and raised concerns among those in the industry wondering if other insurance companies might take a similar course of action. Highmark is an affiliate of Blue Cross and Blue Shield in the middle-Atlantic region. The insurance company claimed losses of $221 million on its exchange marketplace plans in 2014. The company also anticipated losses of $500 million in 2015 because plan members needed more care than the health plan had anticipated. As a result, the company is paying more claims than it is collecting in premium revenue. In an effort to combat the loss, the insurer announced nearly a 5 percent pay cut among providers in Pennsylvania. Experts say that angry physicians might react by accepting fewer patients in Exchange plans. Worse yet, some might opt to no longer participate in Exchange plan net ...

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