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With In-N-Out now open in San Antonio, the Alamo City is finally privy to the restaurant's no-so-secret secret menu. But, lots of other fast food restaurants in San Antonio have secret menus too! Secret menu items are regular fare with additional ingredients, or a whole 'nother offering composed of ingredients that the restaurant already has on hand.
A recent survey from research company AYTM finds that attitudes to health are a vital factor in driving preferences in the quick-service restaurant market, even if behavior suggests otherwise. Additionally the study provides comprehensive customer profiles of eight fast food restaurants in the U.S. which were selected by respondents as their favorites: McDonalds, Subway, Taco Bell, Burger King, Wendy’s, Chick-fil-A, KFC, and Arby’s.
Small businesses are hopeful about growth this year according to the new State of Small Business Report by software solutions provider, Wasp Barcode Technologies.
The study says 71 percent of small businesses expect revenue growth, although 50 percent of small business owners said hiring new employees would be the key challenge facing them this year. And 45 percent said that challenge would be increasing profit.
An earlier survey conducted by Yelp had similarly found small business owners optimistic about growth in 2016. According to that survey, the percentage of American small business owners expecting to see revenues grow, however, is higher (85 percent).
More than 1,100 American small businesses were surveyed for the study, and some of the key findings include the following:
The report also reveals some interesting trends in digital marketing concerning the small business community. Here are some key highlights:
To succeed in 2016, small businesses need a clear strategy and roadmap. For example, the study shows the percentage of small businesses leveraging the potential of social media and SEO still leaves a lot to be desired. Small businesses must, therefore, revisit their social media marketing strategy and identify areas where they can improve and channel the potential of this powerful medium to connect with customers.
Hiring strategy is another area that calls for special attention. With 50 percent of small firms planning to hire new employees, it is important to identify skills that companies can benefit the most from. A great hiring strategy can help small companies attract the right talent and achieve the best value out of their investment.
Image: Wasp Barcode Technologies
This article, "71 Percent of Small Businesses Expect Growth, Report Says" was first published on Small Business Trends
The Lenten Season is fast approaching, and Church’s Chicken is pleased to offer a variety of Lent-friendly menu options starting on Monday, February 8.
While supplies last, guests can enjoy Church’s new Lemon-Seasoned Butterfly Shrimp and Crispy Fish, choosing from tender, marinated shrimp or flaky white fish filets, fried up to a golden brown and finished with the perfect blend of zesty lemon herb seasoning. Also new to the menu for a limited time, are Hush Puppy Biscuit Bites, crisp and tender hush puppies made from Church’s signature biscuit dough.Chains: Church's Chicken
Snagajob, America’s largest marketplace for hourly work, completed a $100 million Rho Acceleration–led investment with NewSpring Capital and the Invus Group. The company will use the proceeds to expand its product offerings and fund select acquisitions.
Just over a month ago, the FAA announced that all drone owners would be required to register their devices. Now, it has released information about the number of drones registered in the first month. This news and more, including a new cloud software and website building tool, is included below in this week’s Small Business Trends news and information roundup.Technology Trends Day of the Drones? FAA Says 300,000 Registered in First Month
One month after the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced its new rule requiring drones to be registered, the number of drones registered is nearly 300,000. Owners who registered in the first month received a refund for the $5 application fee. “I am pleased the public responded to our call to register,” said U.S.Sage 50 Now In a Cloud Version Called Sage 50c
Starting today, Sage Software will be replacing its Sage 50 accounting software (formerly Peachtree) with a new offering, Sage 50c. The “c” in Sage 50c stands for “cloud” and it’s easy to see why: users of the new Sage 50c will be able to store their accounting data in, and share their accounting data via, the cloud.Adobe Launches New Website Building Tool
Adobe has launched a website building tool to design customized websites right from within the company’s Creative Cloud Suite. Called Portfolio, Adobe’s latest offering makes it possible to build personalized websites in minutes, and competes with website building services such as Wix and Squarespace.Why Analytics Are the Hot Topic at This Small Business Conference
Are you ready? Infusionsoft is building towards its March 2-4, 2016, ICON conference in Phoenix, Arizona. For ten years, Infusionsoft has been hosting ICON conferences specifically designed to inform and assist small businesses. The aim is to make use of software and technologies which can improve small business results. But this year analytics is a particular focus.How Safe Are New York Public WiFi Hubs?
When was the last time you used a public phone? That is a question most of us will have to scratch our head to answer, because it has been that long ago. Which is why the move by New York City to replace 7,500 public payphones with WiFi hubs makes a lot of sense.Mobile Technology Microsoft Doubles Storage on Surface Book, Surface Pro to 1 Terabayte
When Microsoft unveiled the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book in October 2015, the company also announced they would be available in an ultra-high-end configuration. This includes the Skylake CoreI7 processor, 16GB of RAM and enough storage to meet almost any demand, 1TB.Foursquare Adds Travel Recommendations Feature
Your small business has a new reason to be listed — or a reason for updating your listing — on Foursquare. The social geo-location site has introduced a new feature called Foursquare Trip Tips. It’s a Foursquare and Foursquare user-curated guide for upcoming trips you log into the site.Cortana Now Prompts You to Remember Email Promises
How many times have you sent an email to a client promising to finish a project only to have three other projects pile up and put it right out of your mind? But now, Microsoft digital assistant Cortana helps you to remember email promises you’ve made by scanning your emails and prompting you to set reminders.Crowdfunded Jolla Tablet Calls it Quits, Issues Refunds
Jolla Tablet was once a crowdfunded marvel. Now, it’s turned into a nightmare for the Finnish company behind it and a letdown for a lot of its Indiegogo supporters. Jolla Tablet had raised $380,000 in just over two hours. At the end of 2015, the company said that only some of its first-day backers on its Indiegogo campaign would ultimately receive a tablet.New Universal LG White Card for Credit Card Processing Coming Soon?
LG is reportedly developing a universal credit card to go with LG Pay, its new mobile payment system. A report by ETNews says that the card will be called LG Pay White Card and like the failed Coin or the new Plastc, the White Card will be able to store several debit, credit and rewards cards.Employment New York Restaurants Eliminate Tips to Offset Wage Hike
Restaurant owners, staff and customers have long questioned the culture of tipping, but like any entrenched cultural practice, it has proven difficult to change. Now, prompted by a slew of new minimum wage legislation in major U.S. cities, an increasing number of restaurateurs are experimenting with a no tipping policy as a way to manage rising labor costs.Lyft Settles its Employee Misclassification Lawsuit, but Uber’s Still Pending
Lyft, the ride-sharing company, agreed this week to pay $12.25 million to settle the Lyft employee misclassification lawsuit that was filed in 2013. The lawsuit was filed to compel Lyft to reclassify its drivers as employees just like other on-demand companies like Shyp, Instacart and Luxe Valet have.Green Business Is Sub Metering Your Water a Good Idea for Your Small Business?
Smart electric meters have proven the Internet of Things (IoT) is valid, but now water meters are also getting smarter as submetering systems get installed around the country. Submetering has been around for several decades. The concept is the basis for individual meters for electricity.Hot Dang! Meatless Grain Burger Invented at Kitchen Table
Some of the best inventions were created by accident. And that was also the case for Martha Pincoffs when she created Hot Dang and its now somewhat famous meatless veggie grain burger. Pincoffs never intended to start a business or to invent a new type of food. She was actually just taking part in an experiment.Local Marketing 5miles May Challenge Craigslist as the New Online Classified
5miles, the Dallas and Beijing-based challenger to Wallapop and Craiglist has secured $30 million in new investment as it celebrates its first year in business this month.Marketing Tips Mobile Search Ads Are Outpacing Paid Search, Adobe Report Says
Paid search engine marketing (SEM) is losing its growth momentum to mobile advertising, according to Adobe Digital Index’s new “Q4 2015 Digital Advertising Report.” Among other things, the report notes global growth of paid search is down 75 percent year-over-year, “which can be partially attributed to advertisers’ new willingness to spend on mobile search.Retail Trends Are Comparison Apps Making Competitive Pricing More Imperative?
Today’s consumers are becoming more and more connected and well-informed. Businesses looking to tap into the buying processes of these connected consumers means being able to provide helpful information just when these consumers are looking for products that they want to purchase.Small Biz Spotlight Spotlight: Boxy POS Plans to Disrupt the Restaurant Industry
Running a restaurant means needing so many different systems to manage all of the different aspects of your business. But a new solution, Boxy POS, plans to disrupt the industry by offering a point of sale system that’s easy to use and can help bring restaurants into the 21st Century.Social Media 14 Factors Contribute to Viral Success, Study Finds
Getting your content to go viral can provide a huge boost to your business. Unfortunately, there’s no surefire way for you to ensure viral success. However, recent findings from BuzzSumo suggest that there are several factors that can contribute to whether or not a post has a good chance of reaching that coveted viral status.Business Users Trial New Facebook Live Streaming Video – We Have Examples
Since Facebook announced its new live streaming feature last year, and then opened it up to all users in December, the feature hasn’t exactly caught fire as some expected it would. But Facebook Live does have some potential benefits for business users. And a few business users have been able to try out the new feature and use it to interact with their networks.Tag Photos #ThisIsRetail, Get Your Business Featured on Instagram
Trying to promote a retail store on social media? The process can be tricky. But luckily, there are some promotions and contests that can make it a bit easier to get the word out about your retail business. The National Retail Federation hosts one such contest.Taxes Top 20 Tax Deductions for Small Business
On Wall Street, there’s a saying that past performance is no guarantee of future results. When it comes to taxes, however, past performance is a great indicator of the types of deductions that businesses typically take each year. Last winter the IRS released data on Schedule C filers.
Drone Photo via Shutterstock
This article, "Drone Registration Up, New Cloud Accounting Software Announced" was first published on Small Business Trends
Ash Wednesday (February 10) marks the beginning of Lent for more than 66 million Catholics in the U.S. For Long John Silver’s (LJS), the country’s largest quick-service seafood chain, it kicks off the company’s busiest selling season, historically featuring a 75 percent increase in sales on the first day of Lent alone. The company has prepared with aggressive training in more than 1,100 units across the country. In addition, Long John Silver’s is offering a seasonal promotion on a $5.99 Cod meal and a sweepstakes with three grand prize cruises.Chains: Long John Silver's
Tijuana Flats Tex-Mex restaurants closed 2015 with strong financial results and poised for additional growth in 2016. Same store sales for restaurants opened at least 19 months showed an increase of 2 percent, an increase in guest traffic of 1.52 percent, and an overall sales increase of 8.92 percent. No price increases were taken on the menu. Significant sales increases were experienced with online ordering and catering, both ending with positive double-digit sales growth. Twelve new locations were opened ending the year with a total unit count of 115.Chains: Tijuana Flats
One reason I love writing about retailing for Small Business Trends is that I love shopping — and as a frequent shopper, I can attest that the state of retail fitting rooms is frequently flat-out dreadful.
For over a decade, one major retailer that I frequent has been in the news for its struggles to modernize and upscale its stores. I’ve watched with amusement as the quality of displays, clothing and decor improved … everywhere but in the fitting rooms. Faded carpet, dirty mirrors and plywood doors that barely stay shut welcome me there.
Even if your fitting rooms aren’t in quite that sad of a state, there is still a lot you could be doing to make them better when it comes to fitting room design for retail.
Your bigger competitors certainly are: Retail chains such as Macy’s and Nordstrom are experimenting with high-tech bells and whistles such as fitting rooms where customers can use smartphones and tablets to communicate with sales assistants, interactive mirrors that let shoppers scroll through product reviews and even virtual reality tools.
Don’t worry — you don’t have to get quite that high-tech to make your fitting room experience a more pleasant one.The Basics of Fitting Room Design Keep it Clean
No one wants to take off their clothes or shoes in a dirty environment. Just as you do with the rest of your store, make sure your fitting rooms are sparkling. Shine the mirrors, sweep the floors and clean the door handles at the end of each day. During business hours, have an employee check the fitting rooms hourly for cleanliness and to remove abandoned merchandise.Mirror, Mirror
Install two mirrors or, better yet, a three-way mirror that folds out so customers can see the rear view. A three-way mirror in the main fitting area is only a partial solution because many customers feel shy about trotting out in public to use it.Lock it Down
Door locks that actually lock will make your customers feel more relaxed when stripping down. While you’re at it, be sure you provide plenty of room to put down packages and hang up clothes.Light it Up
No one looks good with fluorescent lights buzzing overhead. Install lighting fixtures that enhance customers’ appearance while still being bright enough to display the clothes properly. Pay attention to lighting in both the individual fitting rooms and the main area; otherwise, an item that looks great in the fitting room might look awful when the customer walks out to get a friend’s opinion.Ready Assistance
Some retailers keep dressing rooms locked so customers have to ask to be let in. That can enable salespeople to provide more personalized assistance — boosting sales — but can also backfire. If customers can’t find an employee to let them in, they’ll leave in frustration. If using this approach, make sure you have someone stationed near the fitting rooms at all times.
Want to go above and beyond? Here are some extras you can add to make your customers’ fitting room experiences truly memorable.Have a Seat
Impatient companions can rush shoppers out of the fitting rooms before they can make a decision. Provide comfortable ottomans or easy chairs in the main fitting room area so companions can relax (and customers have time to think).The Pause that Refreshes
Snacks boost shoppers’ energy and keep them from leaving your store to refuel. Look for food and drink that minimizes the risk of spillage and stains, such as cookies, crackers and cheese, or nuts. Water with lemon or cucumber slices seems luxurious without the risk of stains.More Décor
Fitting rooms enhanced with wallpaper, plush carpet or wooden floors, decorative lighting such as wall sconces or chandeliers, and extra touches such as a vase of flowers in the sitting area all contribute to enhancing the experience.Tech Tools
You don’t have to go as far as virtual reality goggles, but something as simple as mounting tablets on the walls in dressing rooms to communicate with sales assistants can encourage customers to try on more — and spend more.
When it comes to your fitting room design, small changes really can make a big difference in your bottom line.
Fitting Rooms Photo via Shutterstock
This article, "Do Your Retail Customers Have the Fitting Room Blues?" was first published on Small Business Trends
Del Taco Restaurants Inc. is making waves with the launch of Beer Battered Shrimp available for a limited time during the Lent season. An even more flavorful version of the guest favorite crispy shrimp, Del Taco’s premium Beer Battered Shrimp is featured in the Crispy Shrimp Taco, Del Fuego Shrimp Taco, and Epic Surf & Turf Burrito. Del Taco has also introduced a spicy twist on shrimp this year with the addition of the new creamy Del Fuego sauce made from cayenne and red pepper.Chains: Del Taco
Fashion athletic brand Fabletics announced the opening of a store in the Mall of America. Set to open its doors this spring, the 2,000-sq.-ft. space will also carry FL2, a new line of men's high performance athletic gear.