Farmers who last year began to feel the pinch of a labor shortage that left them scrambling to find workers to pick their crops in time say this year is shaping up to be even worse, as the number of Mexicans crossing the border in search of work continues to decline.
A combination of factors including immigration crackdowns, an aging Mexican population and improved prospects at home may actually have reversed the flow of migrant workers to the United States, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. While many of the reasons represent good news — fewer undocumented workers, more opportunities that allow Mexican citizens to make a living without leaving home — the trend has farmers in California and other parts of the U.S. fearing for their crops.
Imagine spending the whole day preparing food to serve in your restaurant that night, but never unlocking the door. Imagine your customers’ confusion as there is not a sign in the window or any communication from you; eventually they wander off to dine down the street. An absurd scenario, yes, but one that illustrates that having a physical front door that is inexplicably closed is akin to not having a website in today’s digital marketplace. You are, in fact, closing your virtual front door — the door to your online customers.
In a recent study of Internet use in the restaurant industry done by our company, Restaurant Sciences, we were shocked to learn that although almost all chain restaurants have websites, less than 50% of independent restaurants do. And of the independent restaurants that did have websites, only 40% display their menu. We were so surprised by this finding that we verified it with follow-up calls. (read more…)
No doubt you’ve heard a lot about Pinterest lately — from what it is and how it works to which brands are really rocking it. If you’re still confused about how to use Pinterest for your restaurant or business, take a look at Whole Foods Market, which has really led the way with using the platform to best suit its customers and community.
Whole Foods and Pinterest
The best thing Whole Foods has done with its Pinterest page is stick with its motto, “Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet.” Whole Foods “emphasizes that our vision reaches far beyond just being a food retailer.” The people at Whole Foods determine their success by measuring customer satisfaction, the state of the environment and support of the local and larger community.
Whole Foods accomplishes these goals with its Pinterest page by pinning all sorts of things that its customers would enjoy. Its boards are incredibly diverse, but still reach out to the consumer who likes wholesome, healthy food; green and sustainable living; and generally unique, progressive items. (read more…)
The Foodservice GS1 US Standards Initiative was launched in 2009 as an industrywide effort to streamline the supply chain, enhance product information and build a foundation for food safety and traceability. I interviewed Ann Oka, senior vice president of supply management for Sodexo and a member of the Executive Leadership Committee for the Foodservice GS1 US Standards Initiative, about the benefits and challenges of adopting the GS1 Standards and how they can improve relationships between operators and customers.
How did Sodexo get involved in the Foodservice GS1 US Standards Initiative?
We were one of the founding companies when the industry launched the initiative in October 2009. We were asked to join by our supply chain partners because of the work we were already doing on a project to synchronize data between trading partners. Where possible, we did rely on [Global Trade Item Numbers] as the key product identifier, but found that their application in the industry was spotty at best. (read more…)
School will soon be out for the summer, leaving many children without free or reduced-price meals they depend on for adequate nutrition. Families often turn to summer food programs for help. I interviewed Crystal FitzSimons, director of school and out-of-school time programs for the nonprofit Food Research and Action Center, about the success of the Agriculture Department’s Summer Food Service Program and challenges it faces during uncertain economic times.
How widespread are summer nutrition programs?
Nationally, 2.8 million low-income children participated in the summer nutrition programs in July 2010, [according to the] most recent published data. FRAC looks at the number of low-income children who receive free or reduced-price lunch during the regular school year as an indicator of the need for summer meals. Only 15 children for every 100 low-income children who relied on school lunch during the school year had access to meals through the summer nutrition programs. (read more…)