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The Simple Greek Future Proofs Brand with Gusto Point of Sale

FastCasual.com - Tue, 2017-10-17 16:14
The Simple Greek, a Marcus Lemonis (ML) Food Group brand, located in Dresher, PA, is redefining the traditional Greek restaurant with an interactive concept that is simplifying the ordering process.

Gusto Point of Sale Integrates with Vantiv triPOS Cloud

FastCasual.com - Tue, 2017-10-17 16:11
Dovetail Systems, Inc. today announced to its Gusto® Point of Sale (POS) customers the availability of Vantiv’s triPOS Cloud, an application program interface (API) developed for faster and easier payment processing in real time.

Saladworks Refreshes Brand with Gusto POS Technology

FastCasual.com - Tue, 2017-10-17 16:04
Saladworks, the nation’s original and largest fresh-tossed salad franchise concept based in Conshohocken, Penn., has chosen Dovetail Systems, Inc.’s Gusto® Point of Sale (POS) system as their omni-channel digital platform.

The Challenge of Measuring Influencer Marketing Results

Small Business Trends - Tue, 2017-10-17 15:30

Brands aren’t always sure how to measure results from influencer marketing campaigns. But there’s an easy way to rectify that problem — consider your brand’s goals before actually launching a campaign.

Small Business Trends caught up with Geno Prussakov of AM Navigator, a company that runs marketing campaigns for merchants, at the recent Influencer Marketing Days conference in New York City’s Times Square. Prussakov is also the Conference Chair for Influencer Marketing Days. So in organizing the event, he’s spoken to a lot of brands and influencers about the challenges they face when it comes to influencer marketing.

Tips on Measuring Influencer Marketing

And there’s one challenge that stands out to Prussakov. He explained that the number one question brands seem to have is how to measure the results of their influencer marketing campaigns. And while there’s no one right answer to the question, Prussakov did offer some tips.

“Before you launch your influencer marketing campaign, identify the goals and objectives. What is it exactly that you’re trying to generate? What is it exactly that the campaign is supposed to yield? And then analyze it against the metrics that will be corresponding to whatever you’re trying to achieve,” Prussakov said.

So a brand that is relatively new might be more interested in gaining pageviews or social media followers. But businesses that are more established could be more interested in focused influencer campaigns aimed at converting fans into actual buyers. In that case, you’d look at actual sales numbers.

Those varying goals can also have an impact on what types of influencers you choose to work with and what types of campaigns you choose to run.

Prussakov added, “Influencers can be tremendous introducers. Some of the larger ones can be a great broadcasting medium. Think of them as a billboard along the road. You can get your message out to huge numbers of people by enlisting a major celebrity. But it is the smaller celebrities or smaller influencers with much higher engagement rates with their followers that will really produce not only the branding element that we’re talking about right now, but also help on the bottom of the funnel, convert those people that are becoming aware of your brand into customers.”

This article, "The Challenge of Measuring Influencer Marketing Results" was first published on Small Business Trends

Pieology receives investment from Kevin Durant

Nation's Restaurant News - Tue, 2017-10-17 15:04
Golden State Warriors star is latest NBA player to get into fast-casual pizza business

Lessons learned from Ruby Tuesday’s sale

Nation's Restaurant News - Tue, 2017-10-17 14:14
Real estate decisions and early warning signs are critical

Why You Should Never Order Chicken At A Fast Food Restaurant

Topix - Tue, 2017-10-17 13:52

There's no better way to treat yourself than with some fast food. Whether you're a die-hard McDonald's fan or a die-hard Burger King fan, you know that you can never go wrong with their menus.

Categories: Today's Food News

Automation Crucial to Growing Your Small Business

Small Business Trends - Tue, 2017-10-17 13:40
Sponsored Post

There’s a tale of two small businesses. They’re the same type of business with one big difference. One is growing and another is stagnant and making more work for itself than it’s worth.

The reason for that big difference: automation.

That’s the gist of the new Small and Medium Business Trends Report from Salesforce. Salesforce surveyed nearly 500 small business owners and leaders for the second annual report. Companies between 2 and 199 employees were included.

According to the report, small businesses that are automating certain processes are growing. Businesses that aren’t, are floundering.

The survey reveals that small businesses automating their processes in some way are 1.6-times more likely to be growing than those that don’t. Likewise, growing small businesses are twice as likely to adopt artificial intelligence (AI) as stagnant businesses.

That’s not to say that all small businesses that fail to automate processes and adopt AI tech are doomed to never grow. But for companies finding themselves in a rut, it appears automation may be a solution.

“When we look at SMBs in the category of ‘growing businesses,’ there are more than a few common characteristics; they’re more likely to prioritize CRM in their budgets, to use helpdesk software, and to focus on providing consistent and personalized customer experiences,” notes Marie Rosecrans, Salesforce’s senior vice president of Small Business Marketing.

Take, for instance, those two similar small businesses — the growing business and the stagnant business (those that showed a 1 percent drop in revenue over the last two years).

Salesforce finds that it’s most likely they’re undertaking the same processes. That includes tracking customer data. The Small and Medium Business Trends Report finds that 95 percent of all small businesses are aware of the benefits of doing this.

How they accomplish this is a different story.

The growing business is likely using automation via a CRM platform, like Salesforce, to track customers. However, only one-third of small businesses surveyed by Salesforce actually use a CRM platform.

The rest are likely tracking their customers using non-automated technology, like a spreadsheet. And they’re tracking communications through their inbox.

It’s CRM where the growing business sees the need to automate. Salesforce found that growing small businesses are more than twice as likely to pick CRM as their top automation priority.

A small business that adopts automated CRM can provide more personalized customer service without a lot of the hassle of tracking conversations with customers and having their data at the ready.

Brent Leary, the co-founder of CRM Essentials, reviewed the data from the Small and Medium Business Trends Report and notes, “Many small businesses aren’t addressing customer acquisition and retention issues as if they’re at the highest levels of importance, or possibly don’t equate CRM as a solution to those challenges.

“The importance of providing customers quick answers to questions they have cannot be overstated, as it can be the difference between a one-time customer transaction, or a long-term customer who not only spends more with you, but also refers business to you – thus lowering customer acquisition costs,” Leary added.

The irony is that automating key business processes is designed to save small companies the time they desperately need. Of those responding to Salesforce’s survey, 66 percent of small business leaders say they’re responsible for at least 3 parts of the company.

And more than half of the companies asked (55 percent) say that time just isn’t on their side when it comes to accomplishing what they need to do every day.

Automation is clearly the answer. Small businesses spend an average of 23 percent of their day manually entering data into different systems. That’s nearly 2 hours of an 8-hour day!

So, what’s the problem here?

A stagnant small business that fails to adopt any automated processes is struggling to keep up with its own pace. It’s so bad, it’s dragging the business down. And the company’s team can see a competitor automating and growing. What possible reason is there not to automate the key business processes?

In a nutshell, the Salesforce Small and Medium Business Trends Report finds that the stagnant business doesn’t have the time or budget to implement an automated process like CRM.

Price was picked as the main reason a small business doesn’t adopt automated technology. Right behind that is how easy (or not so easy) it is to get a small business started using an automated process.

Sixty-two percent of the small businesses surveyed by Salesforce say that training would help them adopt automated technology faster. However, the same small businesses that say they need training on adopting and implementing automation don’t have time for it or can’t afford it.

Just 26 percent of those surveyed say they have more than one IT person on staff to help with that training and implementation.

Leary suggests these reasons for not adopting automation and AI at stagnant small businesses should not be excuses. He says, “The willingness to invest in automation, AI, and other technologies to improve customer engagement, and the ability to consistently provide valuable experiences over time, separate growth oriented small businesses.”

Image: Salesforce

This article, "Automation Crucial to Growing Your Small Business" was first published on Small Business Trends

The Road To Success

Hotel Interactive - Tue, 2017-10-17 13:19
Two Roads Hospitality Continues To Expand Brand Lineup Internationally

10 of the Best Business Presentation Apps for Your Smartphone

Small Business Trends - Tue, 2017-10-17 12:00

Effective presentations are vital in securing new business and helping a firm grow. Thanks to advancements in technology, small businesses now have a wealth of tools available to them for delivering powerful presentations, quickly and efficiently.

Best Presentation Apps

Here’s ten of the best business presentation apps for your smartphone designed to help you win over your audience.

MightyMeeting

MightyMeeting is a presentation sharing tool for Android smartphones. You can use the app to upload presentations to the cloud. Employees, colleagues and clients can then join a meeting room to view your presentation from anywhere in the world.

Those with access to the presentation can use an interactive whiteboard to share notes, images, graphs and sketches. The presentations on MightyMeeting can be sent out as an PDF document.

The MightyMeeting app can be downloaded for free on Android devices.

Haiku Deck

You can create a presentation in just a few minutes with the help of the Haiku Deck app. This intuitive app enables you to import images from social media sites. The app also allows you to sync your presentations between your iPhone, iPad or the internet.

The Haiku Deck app is free to download onto iPhone and iPad.

Keynote

Keynote is a powerful presentation app, which comes complete with cinematic transitions to help professionals make world-class presentations.

With iCloud built in, businesses can keep presentations fully secured and accessible across different devices with Keynote.

Keynote is available on the App Store for IOS devices. It can be downloaded for $9.99.

AIO Remote

AIO Remote is an app that turns your Android device into a presentation remote. The app can be used as a nifty tool when you are presenting PowerPoint slides from a computer or from another presentation app.

With the AIO Remote there is no need to switch back and forth between devices, as, using the File Manager option on the AIO Remote, you can find what you’re looking for from your Android device.

The AIO Remote app can be downloaded for free.

Google Slides

With the Google Slides app you can create and edit presentations and share them with others from your Android smartphone or tablet. This intuitive app enables you to not only create new presentations but edit existing files as well.

You can share and collaborate presentations at the same time from remote destinations. Slides can be added and rearranged in presentations. As all presentations are saved in the cloud, you don’t have to worry about losing your work with the Google Slides app.

Google Slides is free to download and can be used on both Android smartphones and iPhones.

WPS Office

The WPS Office is a simple yet effective presentation app. The app has a range of features designed to make presentations easy to create and effective, including the ability to insert, resize or crop images. Office documents can be exported to PDF with ease with the WPS Office app.

The WPS Office app is available to downloaded for free on the App Store for iOS devices.  It is also available on Android mobile devices.

Microsoft PowerPoint

Microsoft PowerPoint can be downloaded onto an iPad, iPhone or Android smartphones. The PowerPoint app enables businesses to create and edit impactful presentations whilst on the go. The presentations created on the PowerPoint app can be accessed in the cloud.

Microsoft PowerPoint app is free to download onto iOS and Android mobile devices.

FlowVella

With the FlowVella app you can combine words, images, links, videos and PDFs to create an effective presentation whilst on the go. Another great feature of FlowVella is the fact you can record videos of your presentations and share them anywhere.

The FlowVella app is compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices and can be downloaded for free.

SlideShark

SlideShark is used by sales professionals and other business presenters to present and share PowerPoint presentations from iPhone, iPad or iPod devices. You can broadcast SlideShark presentations over the internet in real-time to attendees of your meetings from your iOS device, regardless of what device they are using.

You can upload PowerPoint files via the SlideShark website, open files from email attachments or import files from cloud storage.

The SlideShark app is free for individuals and costs $149 a year for the team edition.

ShowPad

ShowPad is specifically designed to help salespeople present and share content that matters to help them shine above competition, sell more products and ultimately grow their business. The ShowPad app is an easy-to-use sales presentation platform whereby sales teams can present dynamic content in presentation format.

Presentations can be costimized and used again for different sales situations with the ShowPad app. All meetings, presentations and activities can be easily logged and shared with ShowPad.

The ShowPad app can be downloaded for free onto both Android and iOS smartphones.

Business Presentation Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "10 of the Best Business Presentation Apps for Your Smartphone" was first published on Small Business Trends

Taste Talk: Where should we take the kids?

Topix - Tue, 2017-10-17 11:33

The Soil Association has released its annual survey into the country's most popular restaurant chains to find out the healthiest places for our children to eat. SARAH SINGLETON reports on some surprising findings FAST food chain Burger King, which has a branch in Swindon's Dudmore Road, came bottom in a survey of UK restaurants providing healthy eating for kids.

Categories: Today's Food News

Pie Five uses food truck to build brand visibility in Kansas City, Part 2

FastCasual.com - Tue, 2017-10-17 11:31
The fast casual pizza concept is still new to a lot of people, and the food truck has improved customer awareness.

Teens buy twice as much online versus adults

Store Front Talk Back - Tue, 2017-10-17 11:31
Online purchases accounted for almost 18% of shopping by teenagers in September, twice the rate at which adults bought online.

Stein Mart embarks on mobile fitting tour

Store Front Talk Back - Tue, 2017-10-17 10:35
Stein Mart has launched a mobile fitting tour that will hit four cities. Randomly selected women will receive fashion makeovers in a customized trailer on-site.

11 Questions to Ask Your Cloud Service Provider

Small Business Trends - Tue, 2017-10-17 10:30
Sponsored Post

Once you’ve decided to adopt cloud computing, it’s time to begin your search for a cloud services provider.

A cloud service provider (CSP) is a company that offers one or more pieces of cloud computing functionality including SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS.

Likely, the first thing you’ll discover when looking for a cloud service provider is that there’s a very large number to choose from. How do you know which provider is the right one for your small business? The key to success lies in the answers to the questions below.

Questions to Ask Your Cloud Service Provider

As with web hosting providers, not all cloud service providers are equal. By asking these questions, in no particular order except the first, you can quickly eliminate many potential providers from your list.

1. What Cloud Computing Services Do You Provide?

This is a great first question for quickly weeding out a number of providers from your list. After all, if they don’t provide the cloud services you need, they won’t be a good fit.

For example, if you want an end-to-end SaaS business management suite, and a service provider doesn’t offer that, you can stop asking your questions and remove them from this list.

2. Where Is Our Data Stored?

You want to make sure that your data is being held in an up-to-date data center. This will help insure both reliability and performance as you access services.

It’s a bonus when the provider has a fall-back data center or two. That way, if there’s a problem at the primary data center (i.e. earthquake, flood, power loss), your services will fail over to a secondary data center with little to no interruption on your end.

3. How Secure Is Our Data?

Security is always important, especially when it comes to safeguarding customer data. Ask your provider about:

  • Their security policies and practices;
  • The size and experience of their security team; and
  • Past breaches and issues.
4. Do You Perform Regular Backups and How Fast Can You Perform a Restore when Needed?

Backup and restore is a critical cloud computing functionality. If your data gets deleted, corrupted, or even becomes a victim of ransomware, the best solution is to restore a recent backup.

Timing is important here as the older the backup, the more data you end up losing when it’s restored. Ask potential providers if they provide hot backups, ones that run regularly during the day. That way, you’ll only miss an hour or two of data when you perform a restore.

Also ask how long it takes to have a restore done. You don’t want to wait days to be back in business.

5. How Frequent Are Your Service Outages and How Long Do They Last on Average?

As the average cost of downtime for SMBs is $7,900 per minute, this is a business-critical question.

Don’t be put off by a provider that has experienced outages; it happens to them all. Instead, focus on the number of outages and how long they last. A great cloud service provider has few outages and they should not last long.

Also ask about maintenance outages. These are scheduled outages during which the provider upgrades their hardware and software. Find out how much warning you get before these occur (so you can accommodate them) and whether they happen during business hours (which will impact you directly).

6. How Easy Is It to Manage My Services?

Most small businesses have small IT teams — if they have them at all. Therefore, being able to easily manage their hosted services is an important factor in selecting a provider.

Many providers offer consolidated services management functionality and that goes a long way toward helping a small business do more with less.

7. How Flexible Are My Services?

One of the big advantages of cloud computing is the ability to add capacity and services as they’re needed, and remove them when they are no longer being used. This “flexible consumption” license model will save your small business money by enabling it to run short-term projects without having to permanently purchase hardware and software licenses.

Make sure your cloud provider offers flexible consumption. If you don’t need it now, you likely will be glad to have it in the future.

8. Can You Consolidate All My Service Charges Into One Bill?

Both your IT and finance team will be glad you asked this question because, by consolidating your cloud services bill into one, you’ll get an overall view of what you’re buying and what you’re using.

In the case of the flexible consumption licensing model mentioned above, it will enable you to quickly see if you’re paying for services you no longer use or, if you’re coming close to a limit and need to purchase more services.

While you’re at it, ask potential cloud service providers about service charge increases. How often do they occur and how much warning do you get before they happen?

9. What Service-Level-Agreements (SLAs) Do You Offer?

A service-level-agreement (SLA) is just that — a promise to provide a specific level of service whether that’s uptime, backups, restores or more.

A service provider often offers more than one tier of SLAs. For example, a lower-priced tier may promise that a restore request will be completed within one business day while a higher-priced tier promises that a restore request will be completed within one hour.

Also ask about penalties, such as financial compensation or free services for a period of time, if the provider does not meet the promises within an SLA.

10. Can You Provide References?

This is a very important question to ask. Don’t take the service provider’s word for how good they are. Ask to talk to current customers without the provider being present.

Also, search Google for “(provider name) review”. This way, you can find more feedback and input as you make your decision.

11. What cloud offers are in place to do a proof of concept to showcase your services?

Most companies don’t ask for offers that are in place to explore a proof of concept. For example, if you have an application that needs to be migrated to cloud infrastructure, Meylah offers $1,500 in free assessment services to easily help you build a plan for migration or $2,000 in development services towards a cloud application development.

Wrapping Up

The questions above will enable your small business to whittle down the list of potential cloud service providers to a manageable amount.

Once a provider passes that gauntlet, feel free to ask more questions including technical specifications and limits as well as industry-specific compliance needs.

Do not stop asking questions until you’re satisfied that a provider is the right fit for your business. Always remember, it’s much cheaper to discover things beforehand then after.

Cloud Technology Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "11 Questions to Ask Your Cloud Service Provider" was first published on Small Business Trends

Retail Roundup—Amazon preps sportswear line; Berkowitz exits Sears

Store Front Talk Back - Tue, 2017-10-17 10:13
Amazon is prepping to launch its own sportswear line, Bruce Berkowitz is leaving the board at Sears, plus more need-to-know news from the world of retail.