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Slapfish Brings ‘Boat-to-Plate’ Concept to Six More States

QSR Magazine - Fri, 2016-06-24 09:18
Image Caption: Image Credit: Fast-casual seafood chain signs deal to expand across U.S.Exclusive Brief: 0

With lobster rolls, chowder fries, and just-off-the-docks fish tacos in the desert, a seaside experience is coming to the Southwest. Slapfish, a Huntington Beach, California–based fast-casual seafood restaurant with an emphasis on serving fresh, sustainable dishes, has signed a multi-state franchise deal which will introduce the concept to Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, and Texas.

Chains: Slapfish

Spotlight: Hy-Vee to test in-store clothing boutique

Store Front Talk Back - Fri, 2016-06-24 09:15

The 3,300-sq.-ft. F&F boutique will be part of the supermarket's 91,000-sq.-ft. store in Lakeville, Minnesota, and will sell men's, women's and children's clothing along with shoes and accessories from the British brand. 

read more

4 New LG X Series Phones Focus on Different Feature Sets

Small Business Trends - Fri, 2016-06-24 08:30

Smartphone makers are doing all they can to come up with the next best thing and until now, each attempt was designed to put more of the best technology in a single device. But there is only so much you can put in a form factor as small as a smartphone.

The new approach by LG takes a step back and deploys devices that specialize in one particular aspect of smartphone technology above all others. The four new LG X phones are part of a series the company launched earlier this year.

Introducing the LG X Series

The first two phones, the X Cam and X Screen focused, as the names suggests, on the camera and screen. This time around the new phones called X Power, X Mach, X Style and X Max also focus on different components.

The new X series phones share many of the base specs of LG’s flagship G and V series handsets, but they add on the specialized features. The information LG made available on these phones is very limited, so we will have to wait until they are released later this month to find out the exact specifications. The price and availability for each device will be announced locally in each market.

The X Power

This phone has one of the largest battery capacities of any smartphone on a slim 7.99mm body with 4,100mAh (Samsung Edge 7 has 3600 mAh and the Apple iPhone 6 Plus has 2915 mAh). So the power is considerably more than the top brands in the segment. Additionally, LG said the company’s fast charging (PE+) technology allows the X Power to be charged twice as fast.

The X Mach

The X Mach is built for speed and performance, with support for LTE Cat. 9 3CA for faster data transfer and a 1.8GHz processor to manage power intensive applications. It also has a QHD IPS Quantum display, a curved form factor and a large 1.55m sensor camera.

The X Style

According to LG, the X Style differentiates itself with curving lines, extra-slim body, and a large display. It is made to consume multimedia content.

The X Max

LG has provided even less information for the X Max than for the other three phones, with the company saying only that it has a “Large display” — but the size of the screen hasn’t been made available either.

The New LG Strategy

LG doesn’t even appear on the list of “Top Five Smartphone Vendors, Shipments, Market Share and Year-Over-Year Growth, Q1 2016 Preliminary Data” by IDC. How will the company’s strategy pan out as most other manufacturers adopt a more-is-better approach for their devices?

The company might find an audience with small businesses that need the specific technologies the X series of phones bring. Still a full set of specs and more importantly a menu of prices must be available before business owners can know if the phones are worthwhile.

Image: LG Electronics

This article, "4 New LG X Series Phones Focus on Different Feature Sets" was first published on Small Business Trends

Business Plus Introduces Payment Processing Service – 49 More Tools Coming

Small Business Trends - Fri, 2016-06-24 07:30

Business Plus, a small business management software and hardware technology provider, recently launched a payment processing solution that, it says, gives small businesses a “competitive edge.”

The payment service represents the first of more than 50 tools the company plans to launch throughout the remainder of 2016, designed with small business management and marketing in mind. They cover such categories as CRM, accounting, sales, customer support, HR, telecom, marketing and website development.

Payment Processing Service Features

What does Business Plus payment processing have to offer that other services such as PayPal, Dwolla, Square and Apple Pay don’t?

The company touts features such as affordable pricing, elimination of unnecessary payment fees (cancellation, monthly statement, monthly minimums, and PCI compliance), and services such as debit and ACH processing, dynamic currency conversion, point of sale and “pass-through” pricing, all of which, it says, makes smaller businesses more competitive with their larger counterparts.

The payment processing service is available on most commonly-used platforms, including mobile devices, terminals, online, ecommerce, point-of-sale systems and even pay-at-the-pump locations.

Integrated Product Platform

Although feature-rich, what makes Business Plus worth considering isn’t just the payment processing service but the more than 50 different products that will be rolled out during 2016, all of which are built on an integrated, SaaS-based framework.

Other products scheduled for release include:

  • VoIP-based Telecom – includes hosted PBX with payment integration, custom music and messaging and multiple call profiles;
  • Sales & Accounting – an online bookkeeping system that lets businesses budget and manage all aspects of accounting, convert records from other bookkeeping software platforms and get help from professional accountants. The integrated sales tool provides customer invoices and quotes, automatically calculates sales tax and manages shipping and logistics to customers;
  • Service/Customer Relationship Management – allows businesses to manage contacts and view team engagement activities. The platform includes Google Apps for Work (Gmail, Calendar, Drive) task, lead, project, contract and device management, as well as team collaboration, live meetings, e­signature and a password vault.
  • Marketing – a program that enables businesses to survey customers, conduct A/B tests, manage integrated campaigns across multiple channels, track referrals and publish reports.
  • Human Resources – manages compensation disbursement with digital pay stubs for employees and contractors, employee benefits, charitable contributions, on­ and off­boarding, performance management and other human resource activities.

Business Plus users will no longer have to manage or set up connections between disparate tools across a range of vendors and platforms, hoping they can communicate. The platform stores all data in a central location and is accessible by all the products.

Consider the following as examples of the platform’s interoperability:

  • The payment processing product connects with the phone service, accounting and website products;
  • The phone product connects directly to accounting, so members can offer their clients a way to pay through the automated pay-by-phone feature without having to setup, maintain or pay for a separate phone system;
  • Members who operate an online store no longer need to pay extra gateway monthly or per transaction fees to accept payments through their website.
Membership-based Pricing

Another distinctive of Business Plus that small businesses may find attractive is its membership-based pricing model, which the company developed with the needs of small business in mind.

“Every dollar counts when you’re operating a business,” said Jonathan Cooper, co-founder and CEO of Business Plus in a prepared statement. “SMBs are forced to compete with larger businesses that have greater resources and deeper pockets every day. We wanted to change that with our member-based platform.”

The membership cost-sharing approach allows Business Plus to offer a simplified pricing structure that takes the volume equation out of the picture.

“Since we are membership-based, the larger we grow, the less our members pay,” said Cooper in an email to Small Business Trends. “We are able to pass our savings on to our members.”

Cooper cited as an example the fact that business phone services such as RingCentral, Nextiva and Vonage take a volume approach to pricing. The more users a business has, the more affordable it is per line. Business Plus members pay a flat monthly fee to access all its products at wholesale rates.

The company offers four membership levels: Entrepreneur, Startup, Venture and Business. Pricing ranges from $25 per month to $95 per month.

Each comes with slightly different per transaction fee and credits, which, according to the company, are internal monies used for per transaction items such as toll-free minutes, mass text messaging, direct mailings and more.

Base membership includes payment processing, electronic invoicing, contacts manager and reporting. From there, members can choose which products they would like. All products are offered a la carte so members only pay for those they need.

Another way the company’s membership model saves customers is with credit card rates. Members don’t have to worry about negotiating credit card processing rates. Instead, the company passes all of the costs through to the member with no markup on its part.

“In credit card processing, interchange rates are set by the card brands (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express) and are the same for all merchants,” Cooper said. “In order for most processors to make a profit, they add a markup percentage and monthly fees to the interchange rates. Business Plus takes the membership-based model and passes all fees and assessments directly to the members with zero markup.”

Visit the Business Plus website for more information on payment processing, the other products and membership pricing.

Image: Business Plus

This article, "Business Plus Introduces Payment Processing Service – 49 More Tools Coming" was first published on Small Business Trends

National Retail Federation asks U.S. House to put OT regulation 'on pause'

FastCasual.com - Fri, 2016-06-24 07:29
The House Small Business Committee this week got an earful from the National Retail Federation on the Federal overtime regulations set to become effective Dec. 1. The NRF said the regulation will not only freeze hiring but will also lead to lay-offs and demotions.

Is It Ever OK to Let the Expletives Fly? Even in Acronyms?

Small Business Trends - Fri, 2016-06-24 06:30
So I don’t really swear in my cartoons. Occasionally I’ll write in a well-chosen curse word that I LOVE, show it to my wife, argue with her about it, and then eventually agree with her assessment of “maybe not.” But do acronyms count? I mean, we know what this means (right?), but since I didn’t technically write it, is it OK? Cartoons have used glyphs to signify foul language for almost a century, surely an acronym is fair game. Or is this so well-known now that it’s off limits. I went ’round and ’round on this for a while in my own head, but eventually ended up showing it to my wife, and guess what, she’s totally OK with it. Whew!

This article, "Is It Ever OK to Let the Expletives Fly? Even in Acronyms?" was first published on Small Business Trends

Great Wolf Lodge Makes A Splash With Its First Resort In Georgia

Hotel Interactive - Fri, 2016-06-24 05:46
MADISON, WI--Families in Georgia will have something new to howl about in 2018. Great Wolf Resorts, Inc., North America’s largest family ...

Chesapeake Lodging Trust Completes $150 Million Mortgage Financing On Hyatt Regency Boston

Hotel Interactive - Fri, 2016-06-24 05:39
ANNAPOLIS, MD--Chesapeake Lodging Trust (NYSE:CHSP) (the “Trust”) announced today that it has closed on a $150.0 million fixed-rate mortgage loan. The ...

Fairfield Inn & Suites Hotel Opens In Midvale, UT

Hotel Interactive - Fri, 2016-06-24 05:35
MIDVALE, UT-–The 88-room Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott in Midvale, Utah is now open with its smart, inventive public space ...

The Death Of The McJob?

Topix - Fri, 2016-06-24 05:04

On June 8th, we published an article titled "10 Companies That Are Cutting Jobs" and received a thought provoking comment. As defined by Merriam-Webster, a McJob is "a low-paying job that requires little skill and provides little opportunity for advancement."

Categories: Today's Food News

What You Need to Know About Google’s Expanded Text Ads

Small Business Trends - Fri, 2016-06-24 05:00

Expanded Text Ads are coming to Google AdWords. Are you excited? But more importantly, are you ready?

Expanded Text Ads were one of several huge AdWords changes Google announced Tuesday — if not the biggest. I still can’t believe that Google will soon actually increase its ad text limits by 2x!

So what exactly is changing? Here are 10 things advertisers need to know about Expanded Text Ads.

1. What Are Expanded Text Ads?

Expanded Text Ads are 2x bigger than current text ads. The new ads are designed to maximize your presence and performance on mobile search results with a bigger headline and an extra long description. (And with a mobile-first mindset, whatever works on mobile is going to get applied to desktop too.)

Expanded Text ads will show across all devices — desktop and mobile — and will wrap automatically based on device size.

Google began testing Expanded Text ads in Q2 of 2016.

2. Why Is Google Making This Change?

Google is calling this the biggest change to text ads since AdWords launched 15 years ago.

Several months ago, Google began thinking about what an AdWords ad would look like if they created AdWords in today’s mobile-first world, where more than half of the trillions of searches conducted on Google per year are done via a mobile device.

Google’s first move toward creating a unified experience across devices came in February when they killed off right side ads on desktop. Now with the constraints of desktop right-side ads gone, this change seems like a natural progression from the super-sized headlines introduced in 2011.

3. How Much Bigger Are These Expanded Ads?

Expanded text ads are 2x bigger (math nerd alert: technically 47 percent bigger) from today’s AdWords text ads.

You now have a total of 140 characters of ad copy space to use, marking the end of the current 25-35-35 limits. No comment from Twitter as yet about their thoughts on Google adopting a 140-character limit. Here’s a little more info on the changes from the AdWords blog:

So make all those extra characters count. Create eye-catching and emotional ads that searchers can’t resist clicking on.

4. What Do The New Expanded Text Ads Look Like?

Here’s a before and after of what the ads will look like on mobile and desktop:

And here’s what Expanded Text Ads will look like in the AdWords interface:

5. How Much Are Headlines Expanding?

Advertisers will have two 30-character headlines when Expanded Text Ads become available later this year.

Advertisers currently are limited to a 25-character headline.

That’s means our headlines will soon increase by 140 percent!

6. How Much Will Descriptions Expand?

Advertisers will have one 80-character description line.

Advertisers currently are limited to two 35-character description lines.

That means descriptions will increase by 14 percent.

7. What’s Changing With Display URLs?

AdWords will automatically extract the domain from the final URL.

Advertisers can then add up to two paths to enhance the display URL (using up to 15 characters).

8. Will This Improve CTR?

Yes! More text means greater visibility. Early reports indicate that Expanded Text Ads are seeing CTR increase by as much as 20 percent.

At WordStream, we’ve observed CTR increase by around 12 percent by adding ad or call extensions to mobile text ads — so we expect increasing the character counts of headlines and description should result in more clicks.

Regardless, you can bet we’ll be closely tracking the performance of this new ad format as it becomes more widely available.

9.  When Will The New Ads Roll Out?

Google hasn’t officially revealed when all advertisers will have access to Expanded Text Ads. Keep an eye out and we’ll update when we know more details.

10. What Should You Do To Prepare for Expanded Text Ads?

Raise your Quality Scores now! Quality Score is already the most important metric in your AdWords account, but it’s about to become even more important.

Businesses that occupy the top spots will take up the most valuable SERP real estate – especially for commercial queries. It could make anything below position 2 or 3 on mobile devices irrelevant!

Here is some helpful reading on Quality Score: Hacking AdWords: Winning at AdWords the Weird Way.

Additionally, you’ve got a lot of ad text optimization ahead of you. You’ll need to make sure your text ads are all rewritten to take advantage of this new format. Google is giving you 2x more space with Expanded Text Ads – so be ready to use it to your advantage!

Images: WordStream via Google

This article, "What You Need to Know About Google’s Expanded Text Ads" was first published on Small Business Trends

RE/MAX 1st Choice in Ottawa Acquired by Doug and Paula Carroll

PR Web - Fri, 2016-06-24 03:30

RE/MAX 1st Choice, a residential brokerage organization based in Ottawa, Ill., has been acquired by Doug and Paula Carroll.

(PRWeb June 15, 2016)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/06/prweb13479781.htm

Stateside Treats Launches Kickstarter Campaign to Bring Ice Cream...

PR Web - Fri, 2016-06-24 03:30

Bringing baked and frozen nostalgic treats – with no preservatives – to the people and our children is the right thing to do.

(PRWeb June 15, 2016)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/06/prweb13485011.htm

Deputy Grows iOS User Base by 45 Percent in Nine Months

PR Web - Fri, 2016-06-24 03:30

Leading global workforce management solution is reinventing small businesses and enterprises with mobile-first solutions

(PRWeb June 15, 2016)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/06/prweb13477523.htm

Higher Logic and Thought Leader Josh Bernoff Present the Value of...

PR Web - Fri, 2016-06-24 03:30

Learning Series Webinar will feature Bernoff’s disciplined take on writing and upcoming book, “Writing Without Bullshit”

(PRWeb June 15, 2016)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/HigherLogic/LearningSeriesJoshBernoff/prweb13484388.htm

Burger King's latest fast food monstrosity is sadly genius

Topix - Fri, 2016-06-24 00:33

Mac n' Cheetos - could be the best food mash-up since Taco Bell introduced in 2012 the Doritos Locos Taco shell. a Burger King in the US has announced a solution to eat a favourite dish - mac 'n cheese - on-the-go.

Categories: Today's Food News

Fast food chains use sustainable store tools to save money on energy costs.

Topix - Thu, 2016-06-23 20:14

When it comes to operating a profitable restaurant chain, energy costs have historically been lower on the priority list than food costs, wages, and real estate. Nevertheless, industry leaders say brands can reduce expenses long-term without dramatically changing the customer experience by investing in energy-efficient programs.

Categories: Today's Food News