Saturday, May 28, 2011

One item per day menu

It is clearly a niche and perhaps it works best as a vegetarian concept however it works. Today is Saturday, this is what is on the menu, small, medium or large, the large has a beverage, enjoy!

No end in sight.

Hugh Macleod's tweet has a lot of resonance, everyone feels that this has gone on too long and there is no end in sight

"The current recession. I used to think it was temporary. I no longer do."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Substantial Pent up demand

Heck Ya!

Bruce Blythe explains

The addition of about 2 million jobs over the past couple years, combined with rising personal incomes, bodes well for the fresh produce industry and other food providers, according to Riehle, who spoke during the association’s annual trade show in Chicago.
“There’s a very strong correlation between restaurant sales and real personal incomes,” Riehle said. “It’s definitely shaping up to be the best year of the past four” in terms of restaurant sales, he said.
“There is substantial pent-up demand for restaurants.”

Friday, May 20, 2011

The allure of Judgment Day

There has been a lot of internet chatter about the date May 21, 2011. The real benefit of this prediction and why it has garnered so much attention is that it has slowed people down and made them think. How do I want to spend the last days?

Take a moment from the hustle and bustle of everyday and consider the possibility. There is a lot of sadness and emptiness around. The possibility of a reboot does not frighten people, it actually is a welcome respite. How often have you wanted to stop the world so you could get off? 

The math is fuzzy however the chance for a do over, a "mulligan" is why this Judgment Day has taken on such a life of it's own and is very alluring.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Work in spurts

Tony Schwatrz explains spending and renewing energy

Professionals live today in a world of relentless demand. To meet their obligations, their default instinct - including mine, if the pressure gets high enough - is simply to push harder.
The problem is human beings aren’t meant to operate the way computers do: at high speeds, continuously, for long periods of time. To the contrary, people perform best when they pulse rhythmically between spending and renewing energy - not just physically, but also mentally and emotionally.

Unfortunately, rest and renewal get no respect in the organizational world. Most managers view the need for downtime as weakness.  The problem is that when their employees work without pause, they very quickly get decreasing incremental returns on each hour invested.
Just as I did, you stop thinking as clearly, creatively, and strategically, and you take more time to get less accomplished.

Though you may not realize it, you’re physiologically designed to operate in cycles of approximately 90 minutes, during which you move from higher to lower alertness.  These phases are called “ultradian rhythms.”

The counterintuitive secret to great, sustainable performance is to live like a sprinter. In practice, that means working with the high intensity, uninterrupted, for periods no longer than 90 minutes, and then taking a break to renew and refuel.

the pay what you want model

Jim Slater provides a report card on Panera's experiment

Not everyone is so generous, but that's OK with Brooke Porter, who manages the restaurant. She knows that times are still hard for many. She has seen families down on their luck come in to celebrate birthdays with a meal they normally couldn't afford. A teacher laid off after 25 years stops by on his way to job fairs. He can't afford to pay much but makes up for it by volunteering at the store.
"If a man in a suit and tie leaves a dollar for a $10 meal, that's fine," Porter said. "We don't know his story."

Only a few take advantage of the system - "lunch on Uncle Ron" as Shaich calls it. He still fumes over watching three college kids pay $3 for $40 worth of food. Generally, peer pressure prevents that sort of behavior, he said.
"It's like parking in a handicapped spot," Shaich said.

Overall, the cafe performs at about 80 percent of retail and brings in revenue of about $100,000 a month. That's enough to generate $3,000 to $4,000 a month above costs, money being used for a job training program for at-risk youths.
"We took some kids that typically wouldn't be employable, didn't know how to work in society," Shaich said. "We gave them a combination of job training and life skills." The first three graduates of the program are starting jobs at other Panera restaurants.
Shaich admitted he didn't know how the pay-what-you-want experiment would pan out. He said the success should send a message to other businesses to put faith in humanity.
"The lesson here is most people are fundamentally good," Shaich said. "People step up and they do the right thing."

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Context is the key to implementing any strategy

Credit card fraud is rampant so clearly retail establishments need to initiate processes that help to curb the process. However, do not let processes create a situation where you are generating customer resentment rather than customer advocacy. Everything is in context. If the credit card signature does not match the card exactly do not ask for a ID. A proper response would have been, "your signature does not match the card, do you have an ID?"   Provide a reason for the inconvenience or better yet consider the context of the transaction and let it go!

The business process in this case questioned a legitimate transaction and has now lost me permanently as a customer. So if the aim was to prevent fraud, it failed brilliantly. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Being prepared is the best insurance

Jeff Haden's offers a lesson on how to succeed in uncertain situations

  1. Build the basic skill. If being asked a question during a meeting instantly makes you anxious, your problem isn’t a fear of public speaking.  Your problem is you don’t know what to say — so you freeze.  Start by never walking into a meeting unprepared.  You know the meeting agenda, so always prepare for possible discussions.  Then think about two or three ways you can constructively contribute, take the plunge, and jump in.  When you’re prepared and confident about what you want to say the act of speaking is be a lot easier.  If it helps, write down what you want to say, and practice.  Then make it a point to contribute at every meeting.  In time speaking up will get easier.
  2. Rework the basic skill. But don’t stop there.  Ask to lead a meeting.  Ask to present an idea.  Ask people if they have questions about a project or task.  Go to a Toastmasters meeting and speak.  Step outside your comfort zone; see comfort as a base to build on, never as an end result.
  3. Practice for “What if?” Once you build decent speaking skills, the next step is to eliminate unexpected reasons that could cause you to choke.  What if your PowerPoint presentation locks up?  Figure out what you’ll do.  What if you get questions you can’t answer?  Think about how you will respond.  What if your 45-minute presentation is suddenly cut to 10 minutes?  Think about how you’ll shorten it to ensure your main points are delivered.  Then…
  4. Visualize. You may never be faced with a power outage during a presentation, much less practice an outage, but you can think about what you would do.  And you can imagine someone tries to hijack your meeting, and mentally prepare how you’ll respond.  And as you visualize…
  5. Create a mental solution pegboard. What will you do if you present an idea and it bombs?  What will you do if an employee challenges you in front of others?  What happens if you forget your place during a presentation?  Stick the answers in a mental solution bag and reach for the solution when the no-longer-unexpected happens.  While everyone will assume you thought quickly on your feet, you’ll know preparation was the key.
  6. Benefit from close calls. If an employee almost touches on a sensitive subject, especially one you aren’t ready to address during a group meeting, don’t just walk away thinking, “Wow, am I glad I didn’t have to deal with that.”  What would you have done?  What would the best response have been?  Think through your options, mentally rehearse, and create a new solution bag for your peg board.  If something almost happens this time… guaranteed it will happen someday.  Be ready.

Isolation is not sustainable policy

The other side to Seth's argument is Dave's call to not attempt battle in isolation,

The first step is to recognize that the path to defeating fear does not lie with figuring out a perfectly safe answer. There is no guaranteed path. A common failing of solo business owners is to over-think their situations, hoping to work out a solution that guarantees single-stroke success. This approach virtually guarantees defeat. You cannot conquer fear with logic and reason, and you cannot win the battle in isolation.

The first habit to develop: reaching out. Business pioneers throughout history have one thing in common: they did not climb the ladder to success by themselves. Do you have someone you can call at any time when you are feeling doubtful and resigned about the success of your business? If not, finding that person (or people) needs to become a top priority. Take a look through the list of contacts in your cell phone. Who has a positive attitude and a resilient spirit?

Effrot without reward

Seth questions your motivation

There's an entire system organized around the idea that we're too weak to deliver effort without external rewards and punishment. If you only grow on demand, you're selling yourself short. If you're only as good as your current boss/trainer/sergeant, you've given over the most important thing you have to someone else.

The thing I care the most about: what do you do when no one is looking, what do you make when it's not an immediate part of your job... how many push ups do you do, just because you can?