Smartphone-toting consumers are always looking for ways to make their lives easier, and it seems like mobile payments could be another thing for restaurants and other businesses to consider when they are looking to draw new customers and keep loyal ones coming back.

But there is an issue outside of convenience that arises with the subject of mobile payments — data security. The retail industry has accounted for more than 36% of data breaches so far in 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported, and restaurants are not immune to such statistics. For example, P.F. Chang‘s was the victim of a highly publicized breach, and for restaurants that are considering adopting mobile payments, data security is a significant concern.

The introduction of Apple Pay and other mobile payment systems has the potential to change the face of mobile payments. So what should restaurants keep in mind when considering mobile payment systems?…

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SmartBlog on Education this year launched a monthly Editor’s Choice Content Award, which recognizes content written by educators, for educators that inspires readers to engage, innovate and discuss.

Our editors and writers sift through thousands of sources, reading a variety of content, including blogs and commentaries written by you and your peers. We selected the two best original content pieces each month and posted them on our blog.

Now we need your input! Help us choose the 2014 Educators’ Choice Content Award winners.

Vote now using our online survey for the original content piece that made an impact on you, challenged you to think outside the box and inspired you. The two with the most votes will be named the Educators’ Choice Content Award winners of 2014.

Enter by December 10. Winners will be selected and announced in mid-December.

Cast your vote today!

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Is your workplace dull and frustrating, or is it engaging and inspiring?

This is a question I pose to leaders frequently. Most leaders pay more attention to the way their team is performing than to the way their team is operating.

A reader asked me recently about the nature of the “yes or no” answer I was forcing to this question. “What if your company culture is somewhere in the middle?”

My experience and research leads me to believe that most teams, departments, divisions, companies, etc., are somewhere in the middle of this continuum. Your experiences probably mirror mine — you probably see your team somewhere between those “extremes.”

What my experience and research also leads me to believe is that if your team (or department, etc.) culture is at any stage on that continuum that is less than engaging and inspiring, it’s costing you money, eroding team-member engagement and creating lousy customer experiences.…

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SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: Have you ever had what you would consider a major ethical lapse?

  • Yes — I’ve made a big mistake at least once: 48.59%
  • No — I’ve never had an ethical lapse: 51.41%

To err is human. We all make mistakes. I’ve made plenty. Sometimes we find ourselves in that gray area. The most critical thing we can do at that moment is stop, call the foul, make amends, and seek to put in place safeguards to prevent the issue from recurring. Owning up to an error can be scary and painful. But pointing out when bad things happen or might happen can be a powerful relationship builder. The stronger the guardrails you put in place to keep bad things from happening, the stronger your relationships can end up being.…

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As consumer expectations continue to evolve, brick and mortar retailers are elevating experience. Clearly. They are not only fighting for your attention and your dollars. They’re also fighting for your stomach.

Retailers understand that they have to offer more than just goods and services in order to thrive. Consumers are perfectly comfortable skipping trips to the store, and ordering online has become common behavior. To combat this, some retailers are adding entertainment value as a means to draw consumers in. Increasingly, however, retailers are adding some form of strategic foodservice in order to attract and retain customers and keep them satisfied. What’s that old saying about a way to a man’s heart?

There are three reasons to add foodservice to a store:

1. To increase foot traffic

Seems obvious, but foodservice can give customers a reason to walk in, and a reason to stay longer. Barnes & Noble Cafes featuring Starbucks beverages are a great example.…

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