Aug 252016
 

Many entrepreneurs choose to go into the restaurant industry these days, and for good reason: it’s attractive, people always need to eat, and the prestige of having a reserved table can sway more than you think. So for all those restaurant entrepreneurs: you’re running a successful business, and have enjoyed a steady stream of loyal clientele, but when was the last time you implemented specific strategies to improve your profitability? Consider the following tips to make sure your restaurant excels and profits rise in the coming months!

  1. Boost Alcohol Sales

Profits made from alcohol sales make up a bulk of restaurant revenue, and if you’re not currently offering alcohol on the menu, or only offering wine and beer, you may be missing out on a huge stream of income. If you are looking to capitalize on alcohol sales, make sure you have a license that will allow you to serve exactly what guests are looking for. If you currently have a limited permit, check out LicenseLocators.com determine whether the investment in a full license may be worth the expanded inventory you can offer to alcohol-drinking patrons. If you already serve a bevy of liquors, spirits, beer, and wine, train your staff to upsell alcohol sales. It could be suggesting wine-by-the-bottle sales instead of by the glass through too-good-to-pass-up bottle discounts.

  1. Improve Weekday Sales

Most restaurant sales occur during the weekend—just two days out of a seven-day week. If you want to make your restaurant more profitable, attracting a weekday crowd is essential. There are a variety of ways you can draw in after-work patrons depending on your neighborhood and target demographic. If you’re looking to attract young professionals, host events like trivia and singles nights where neighbors can come in and meet new people. Drink specials can do wonders for drawing a boisterous happy hour crowd, and offering daily food specials can see guests clamoring to get in and try the new recipe before it’s gone tomorrow. Also be sure to ramp up your social media efforts; offer daily discounts for fans, and see more patrons come flowing in—it’s truly as simple as a few dollars off on Tuesdays.

  1. Offering Events

As aforementioned, hosting events in your restaurant is sure to bring in more customers, and see you finding your profits exponentially increased within a few weeks’ time. Many restaurants have gotten into the trend of trivia nights, during which locals can come out and prove their wit and knowledge with some fun, often themed questions. There are numerous local companies in almost every major city that will come in and host the night for you; they take a portion of the profits and you find a packed restaurant on a night when you might have otherwise only see a slow trickle of guests. You might also choose to take advantage of a company that will host painting sessions. Guests come in, follow an instructor’s painting lesson, and can choose to order food and drinks from a menu during the multiple hours they practice their brushstroke—rest assured nine times out of 10 a guest will take advantage of grabbing at least an appetizer and a glass of wine. Now multiply that by say, 30 guests, and you’ve got yourself a handsome profit.

  1. Excel at Customer Service

Dining out is about more than the food, it’s about the experience. The huge make-or-break factor behind an experience? The customer service. You may serve an excellent menu, but if your wait staff is underperforming, the food is getting delivered to tables late, and guests consistently complain about wait times, you’ll find your profits taking a nosedive immediately. Make sure you always have enough staff on hand to reduce waiting time, train new staff extensively to ensure their performance is up to par with your and your customers’ expectations, and always be sure to take customer complaints seriously.

  1. Offer Delivery

We’re a nation of convenience, and takeout these days is appealing to busy individuals and families who don’t want to spend the time grocery shopping and cooking after a long day of work. Offering delivery sets you apart from competitors, and will endear your restaurant to patrons to secure better customer retention. Prepare a separate takeout menu if you won’t be able to offer all of your menu items, be sure to schedule the right workers appropriately, make sure you’re covered with the right liability insurance, and be sure to work with great POS software like that from NCRSilver.com.

 

Aug 012016
 

Stock Markets Reach Record Highs… Again 

Both the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 indexes have climbed to all time highs in late July. 🙂 But corporate earnings have been stagnant and economic growth remains weak. Restaurant sales have slowed. The U.S. economy only grew a disappointing 1.2% in the second quarter, well below expectations. 😕

So what’s producing so much excitement in the stock market? In short, I believe it’s largely caused by Negative Interest Rate Policies (NIRP). For example, in Europe the benchmark lending rate is negative 0.4%. Usually the bond issuer pays interest to the investor. But with negative rates, the investor pays the issuer. Currently about 1/3rd of the world’s government bonds are producing negative yields. Investors can’t get rich by holding these securities anymore. So in this kind of environment bonds really hold people down.😆

As a result of NIRP, more investment capital has moved from the bond market to relatively stable stocks. These tend to be companies that operate gas pipelines, railways, utilities, telecommunication services, and other infrastructure that are recession resistant. Last year I wrote about how to easily make $75 of annual income without using any of my own savings by using leverage to buy shares of TransCanada Corp (TRP.)

16-08-financial-advice-dog-bonds-tennis-balls

I purchased TRP stocks for $42 per share. I mentioned at the time that analysts had an average price target of $57.50 per share. This doesn’t always happen, but sure enough TRP is trading at roughly $60 per share today. 😀 So not only am I making $75 a year in dividends, but I’ve also made $1,800 in unclaimed capital gains so far. 😉

In normal circumstances this kind of price movement in a large cap, blue-chip company wouldn’t happen. But due to a lack of viable investment alternatives, an influx of additional buyers has pushed up TRP and many other relatively safe stocks.

Increasing Valuations and Risk

Unfortunately, NIRP produces asset bubbles and may cause the markets to behave precariously. The chief executive of DoubleLine Capital, who oversees more than $100 billion in assets, recently said that many asset classes look frothy and his firm continues to hold gold, which has also climbed due to NIRP.  At the end of July gold reached $1,350 per ounce, the highest monthly close in years! Stock investors have entered a “world of uber complacency,” said Jeffrey to the media. “The stock markets should be down massively but investors seem to have been hypnotized that nothing can go wrong. Continue reading »

Jul 252016
 

Apparently people who use online dating websites are richer, taller, thinner, and better looking than the average person. At least, that’s what they write about themselves. 😛 Hey, who would’ve guessed? But how honest are people really when it comes to sharing their personal information on dating sites?

16-07-honesty-online-dating

Some women approaching 30 seek a man-date to get married. But they have to be careful about who they choose. Maybe dating a tennis player would be a ball, but it could also turn out to just be a racquet. 😆 Besides, tennis players aren’t even romantic because Love means nothing to them. 🎾 Since we live in a digital world, online dating can be a legitimate way for people to meet each other. So let’s see what the landscape looks like.

The Economics of Online Dating

A study focusing on over 20,000 active users of dating sites in the United States is outlined in the book Freakonomics. About 4 out of 100 users (4%) reported they earned over $200,000 a year. But only about 1% of the U.S. general population is making that much so either government statistics are wrong or 3 out of the 4 users were inflating their earnings.

Both men and women tend to report as being an inch taller than the national average for their genders. But in terms of weight, men were in line with the national average while women apparently weighed 20 pounds less than the national average.

16-07-thin-salad-food

Online dating users are typically really good looking. About 70% called themselves “above average.” 30% chose “average.” Roughly 1% said their looks were “less than average.” How humble. 😒  So either most people with online dating profiles are genuinely more attractive than average or they have an overinflated view of their appearances. Of course make up and Instagram filters can alter the way we look.

16-07-expectation-reality-picture

28% of women said they are blond, which is a number much higher than the national average, which indicates either dyeing or lying. A man who does not include a photo gets 40% less attention than a man who does. Meanwhile, a woman who doesn’t include her photo gets 76% less attention. Even a low income, poorly educated, unhappily employed, not very attractive, slightly overweight, and balding man but who includes a photo with his profile stands a better chance of receiving messages from women than a man who says he makes $200,000 a year and is deadly handsome but does not have a photo. I guess people just want to see the goods. Just like posting an ad to sell a car, if there’s no picture then potential buyers will think there might be something wrong with the car.

How To Get Results with Online Dating

This is why economics is so cool. We can take all the data collected and come up with a winning formula to give us the best odds to achieve our goals. Below are step by step things you can do to increase your chances of getting a date. 🙂

For men, looking for a woman. 

  1. Be white
  2. Be tall
  3. Be rich
  4. Be ready to commit
  5. Be a doctor, lawyer, or go join the military

That’s all there is to it guys! 😀 You can exaggerate your height and income to appear tall and rich, and use whitening cream or makeup to look white if you aren’t already, lol. Asian, black and Latino men receive fewer messages in general than white men. White women in particular reply to white men twice as much as they reply to black and Latino men. Asian men receive fewer than 25% as many messages from white women as white men with the same levels of income and education. Men who say they want a long term relationship do much better than men looking for an occasional lover.💜 

16-07-ready-settle-down

Continue reading »

Jul 142016
 

An Economy Based on Resources

Our current economic system can use some improvement. The government’s manipulation of currency, deficit spending, and bank bailouts are among many of the controversies that we have to deal with in modern times.

But I recently found out about an organization called the Venus Project that aims to replace the society we currently have with one that’s based on computer driven central planning. In this new hypothetical economy money doesn’t exist. 😲 The system will revolve around resources instead. The idea is that all the resources in the world belongs to everyone. And the way resources are used up and distributed is by a computer program. Right now we have enough food in the world to technically feed everyone, but poverty and hunger still exist. This new system would solve those kinds of social economic problems. A central artificial intelligence would keep track of all the oil, timber, fish, and other goods available, and it would manage the production and distribution of stuff in the most efficient and environmentally sustainable way so that everyone would have enough. In such an economy that is based on resources, there would be no use for money. 😕 The Venus Project also claims it will shorten the work day and raise the standard of living higher than what most people realize is possible.

16-07-venus-project-house-nature

Although I agree that the status quo needs to be challenged I don’t think the Venus Project is the right solution. In fact, I don’t think its proposition is even possible at this time. There are a lot of concerns about the project that have yet to be addressed. Personally I don’t understand how an economy can even function without a price mechanism.

Money doesn’t just simplify life. It also bolsters stability in a market so we can budget in a predictable fashion. 🙂 Money can be anything as long as most people accepts it as a medium of exchange. It can also be used as a store of value.

Continue reading »

Jun 302016
 

Brexit Raises Risk of Global Recession, Maybe

After Britain voted to leave the EU last week stock markets around the world became very volatile. Two days after the vote $2.5 trillion were wiped from the world’s markets.😱 To put that into perspective that’s roughly the entire annual economic productivity (GDP) of the United Kingdom.

George Soros, the investor who warned of a 20% devaluation in the British pound now warns the Brexit has “unleashed a crisis similar to the financial panic of 2007 and 2008.” He says that a hard landing in China is “practically unavoidable.” And he is not alone. Most news sites say the Brexit fallout will continue to ripple across the world and put not only Britain but also the U.S. and other countries back into recession.

These commentaries are often portrayed as conventional wisdom, but that doesn’t mean they are necessarily true. In fact, news predictions are often wrong. One day in 1987 stock markets around the world crashed starting in Hong Kong and spreading to Europe and then to North America. The Dow Jones index in the U.S. lost more points in a single day than any prior trading period. This historic event was known as Black Monday. Many analysts and publications at the time warned it was only the beginning of a bear market and that more turmoil would come. A lot of people believed the hype and got out of the market because they were afraid. But those investors didn’t do their own risk assessment. Today, Black Monday is nothing more than a small, insignificant blip in the historical stock market chart. (circled in red below)

16-06-1987-stock-market-crash

The way we perceive risk is not always rooted in reality. An article in the Chicago Sun-Time features a study that demonstrates how conventional wisdom can lead people to the wrong conclusions about risk. Imagine an 8 year old girl has 2 best friends who both live close by but in different homes. The first friend’s parents keep a gun in their home.🔫 The other friend’s household doesn’t have a gun but does have a backyard swimming pool. 🏊

If you had to choose, which is the safer house for the little girl to go play in? 😁

Without any other information most parents would probably think the second friend’s house is safer because guns are perceived to be more dangerous than swimming pools. But in a country such as the United States, there are about 6 million swimming pools, and 550 children under ten years old drown in them each year. However out of roughly 200 million guns in the U.S., only 175 children die each year from guns. In other words, the risk of the girl dying by a pool (1 in 11,000) is much higher than dying by a gun (less than 1 in 1,000,000.) According to the study’s author, most people are “terrible risk assessors.” We often let irrational fears cloud our judgement.

16-06-irrational-fear-pool-shark

Continue reading »