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Showing posts from April, 2011

Wedding Etiquette

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Thanks to Price William and Kate Middleton, everybody is talking about weddings these days (I, myself, also posted a comment about wedding planner). Today, I am going to share a Wall Street Journal video, which reminds us the appropriate matters in a royal wedding. Of course, not everyone has a chance to dine with the Queen, but the advices being discussed here are really the basic “common-sense” etiquette for weddings, functions, and receptions. For example, Do NOT tweet while eating with the Queen (or guests).Do NOT talk on the cell phone while eating with the Queen (or guests).Do Not take pictures of the Queen (or guests) while she is eating.Start eating after the Queen (host) starts and stop eating when the Queen (host) stops.Show up early --- how embarrassed if showing up after the Queen or even the bride and groom!Choose an appropriate dress for the occasion --- the bride and groom (or the hosts) should always be the center of the attention; one should not wear a wedding-dress-l…

What It Takes to Be a Wedding Planner

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Every channel is talking about the Royal Wedding now. Besides Price William and Kate Middleton, the attention also goes to what it takes to plan such an extravagant event. Today’s CNN News video, however, shows us a wedding planner’s work in a “normal” scale and a more realistic way. Being a good wedding planner, one must*: Pay attention to detailsUnderstand what the bride (clients) needs and give her (them) what she (they) want (Better yet, anticipate clients’ needs)Multi-taskBe aware of the trends (Better yet, be innovative and able to lead the trends)(Build and maintain a good network with clients and business partners)Be passionate about the professionBe willing to go an extra mile for the clients What other must-have competencies do you want to add? On April 29, when we watch the Royal Wedding, we may also want to appreciate those hospitality professionals who put up such a nice event (show) for us, is that right?
* I add my own comments and thoughts in the blankets; I also belie…

Find Deals on Facebook

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There were 23 million Americans, about 10% of the U.S. adult population, who found deals online last year. Groupons has 70 million members; Facebook has 500 million users. Now, Facebook wants part of the business by introducing “Deals” in selected cities. Facebook users can purchase a deal on Facebook. Then, the transaction will be updated within the user’s Facebook network.

Business wants Facebook users to “Like” the deals and promotions, more or less because of the power of “Like” on Facebook (for sure, there is a price tag associated with Facebook’s “Like” button). After watching this ABC News video, would you promote your business on Facebook Deals? In the future, do you think Facebook will take over other online discount coupon providers like Livingsocial and Groupons?

What Is Your Company's Dress Code for the Summer?

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Summer is approaching. To many people, now is the time to clean up the wardrobe and shop for the new season. A kind reminder is that people need to consider their company’s dress code when adding new items to the closet.

It is true that many companies allow employees to dress more “casual” at work these days; people also have different definitions for “business casual” attire. The problem is that more employees “cross their lines,” as suggested by the Society for Human Resource Management. Accordingly, this CNN News video provides some suggestions:
For Men (To wear) Polo shirts Belts that match shoes Pants that are the proper length Socks that hit middle of calf
For Women No cleavage Clothing should not be too tight Shirts should be no shorter than 2 inches above knee
Definitely no flig flog for anyone. Do you notice that your coworkers would dress differently in the summer? What is your company’s dress code for the summer? Do you shop more or less according to your company’s dress code? If y…

A Continuous Discussion on Urban Farming: A New Wave of Agricultural Revolution?

The Industrial Revolution had both positive and negative impacts on the society and the environments. While civilization allows people to enjoy a better life, the revolution may also have destroyed the harmony relationship between human beings and the Mother Nature in some degrees. Over the years, we have learned many lessons as our society continues to evolve. Sustainability becomes one of the focal points when people redefine a healthy life style.

Urban farming is one of those sustainable issues that have brought to my attention. I have shared my thoughts on this topic many times on this blog. Today, I am going to share an additional CNN News video on how urban farming can transform an abandon industrial zone in Brooklyn, NY. Based on what you see in the video and my previous discussions, what entrepreneurship opportunities do you find? What suggestions will you give to hotel or restaurant owners for running a more sustainable business? Will you see the urban farming concept the be…

The Rooftop Gardening Concept Also Works in Five-Star Hotels

I shared several ideas of growing one’s own vegetables, such as urban farming, community-support agriculture, and rooftop gardening. I used to believe that these ideas would work better for independent restaurants or in the consumer market because chain restaurants are less flexible in menu engineering. It turns out that rooftop gardening can also work very well in luxury hotel chains.

Today’s CNN News video shows us a great example --- the Park 75 Restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta. This Four Seasons not only grows vegetables but also raises bees on its own. The rooftop garden provides most vegetables and 100% of herbs being consumed in the restaurant. Honey has also become a key ingredient in cooking; excess honey will be packaged for retail sales.

When the food cost is getting higher and higher these days, roof-top gardening could be a very good supply chain strategy for restaurants (similar to backward integration). Most of all, chefs can plan and know for sure what fr…

Secrets of a $1.4-Billion Chinese Fast Food Enterprise

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This ABC News video reveals the secret ingredients of turning Panda Express into a fast food enterprise that had $1.4 billion in sales in 2010 and sells 65 million pounds of sesame chicken a year. They are:

Healthy Life Style Continuous Learning Developing Others Acknowledging Others
It is true. Healthy employees are more productive. Providing supports for continuous education allows people to grow and succeed. It is also important for organizations to develop future leaders and acknowledge employees’ contributions. According to the co-CEO of Panda Express Andrew Cherng, the restaurant chain is not in the business of selling food; its purpose is more about developing people. It seems to me that Panda Express is just another example of why hospitality companies and entrepreneurs need to take good care of their biggest asset --- people. Are you in a “people’s” business? What do you learn from today’s discussion?


References:
The picture was downloaded from the web page of Wok Smart @ …

Social Media Helps Police and Victims Identify Thefts

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People may easily put themselves and their properties at risk if they release too much private information on social networking sties. Examples include identity theft and getting robbed by burglars. Would you believe me if I tell you that social media can also help people fight crime?

According to today’s ABC News video, social media indeed can do that. Some victims video-taped the crimes and posted the videos and/or pictures on Facebook. The result? The victims’ friends and/or people on the social networking sites help them identify the suspects.

I can see how social media may have negative or positive impacts on individuals and business. Social media, as an emerging tool for communications, is “innocent.” The key is whether we know how to leverage the power of social media and make good use of this tool for our advantages. What are your propositions? How was your experience with social media?

Some relevant discussions on this blog:
Social Media and Mobile Devices in Japan’s Earth…

An SU Alumna’s Career Path and Work on Social Media

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Deanna Govoni, an SU alumna and the Social Media Marketing Manager at Cisco, spoke on campus yesterday. It was a great presentation, and I would love to share some of the highlights.
In regards to career management,  Internship is really important for college students. Deanna developed more skills and found what she really likes to do from her internship experience.  It is fine to “shop around” before committing to a job. I agree. Because companies and organizations have distinguished cultures, the key for a person’s long term success is to find the “best fit” organization to work for. In regards to social media, “Social networking” = “building relationships.” Larger network means more opportunities. Video is important in communications. Deanna has found that viewership jumps 75% for the content with video on Cisco’s blog. Employees in Cisco are also encouraged to communicate with short videos other than e-mails and/or memos.  Blog becomes the information hub under Cisco’s social media…

Urban Farming

Growing one’s own vegetables has become one of the hottest restaurant trends. Community-Support Agriculture and roof-top gardening are two examples. What happen if people can grow vegetables anywhere they want, including wastelands?

According to this CNN News video, all it takes for urban farming is a recycled container, “nutrient water” for plants, and energy. A 320-square-feet container can produce the same amount of vegetables as a 1.5-acre commercial farm does. Most of all, people can put these containers in almost any neighborhood they want and start growing vegetables for the community.

What do you think? Does it sound like a good idea for entrepreneurs? If you run a restaurant, will you purchase vegetables from an urban farmer? Why or why not? What about the idea of growing your own vegetables for your restaurant?

Is It a Good Time to Open a Restaurant?

Recessions may create good opportunities for innovative entrepreneurs because the labor and operation costs tend to be lower than those in the good times. In the past, I discussed the mobile food truck opportunities and whether it is a good idea for hospitality students to start their own restaurant business upon graduation. Now that the restaurant industry has seen some signs of recovery and the mobile food truck idea is not “new” anymore, will it be a good time to open one’s own restaurant?

According to Tim Zagat, the Co-Founder & CEO of Zagat Survey in this Fox News video, now it is NOT the time to open a restaurant. Why?
The food price rose 2.2% over the last year.Less people are going out to eat.39% consumers pay more attention to food price.The failing rate for restaurants is as high as 60%. Running a restaurant is tough. Competition is extremely high. Consumers are very demanding. Demand is almost unpredictable. Yet, inventory is hard to manage. Restaurant business takes …

Do You Want to Become a Social Media Officer?

I posted two news videos before about an emerging occupation --- social media officer (one is in hotels; the other is in the public service sector). Today, I am sharing with you another Fox News video about a social media entrepreneur, a person who started a business by helping companies manage their social media presence.

Many job seekers have been using social media regularly, but having accounts on social networking sites or having great interest in a social media officer position alone will NOT qualify a candidate for the position. The challenge for candidates is how they can convince their potential employers that they are able to leverage the power of social media in business. Here, I am offering some more suggestions in addition to my previous discussions on social media job-search tactics and building a personal brand on social media. I hope the following suggestions may help.
Be “sociable” on social media. A candidate needs to network with those social media professionals as…

Social Media and Mobile Devices in Japan’s Earthquake

Roughly one month after the devastating earthquake in Japan, this MSNBC News video shows us an update of how Japanese use social media and mobile devices in aiding the recovery. In particular, Katsunobu Sakurai, the mayor of Minami Soma City, plead for help on YouTube. As of April 10, this video has been watched almost 330,000 times. Itsuki Sakitsu works with another college student in developing smart-phone friendly websites so that people can seek help with their smart phones --- in many cases, refugees carried their cell phones with them when they abandoned their homes; a cell-phone friendly website would be very helpful. Thanks to the cell-phone friendly website and a grateful landlord, a mother and a son finally settled down in a temporary home. What other stories did you hear about the important role that social media and/or mobile devices play in aiding people?

Relevant discussions:
The Power of YouTube
Social Media and Japan Earthquake
A Mobile Devices Trend Observed at SBP11


V…

The U.S. Became the No. 1 Wine Drinking Country by Volumn

Today, I am glad to share with you that the U.S. has become the No. 1 wine drinking country by volume. This should be an exciting piece of news for Upstate New York. The Finger Lakes Region is famous for wine and great outdoor sceneries, especially in the summer and fall. I also think we have many very nice independent restaurants in the region. How can we make Upstate New York the place to go for wine and food? New York City has become the No. 1 destination for tourists. How can we further develop the travel/tourism industry in Upstate New York? What are your suggestions?

Relevant discussions:
Wine and Food Pairing
Wine Buying Made Easy with Mobile Devices 

Faking a Professional Profile? Really?!

I understand that it is a tough market for job seekers. I am also well aware that some people sometimes may put something on their resumes that they have never done. However, I still felt shocked when I watched this MSNBC news video.

A website* is offering a support service to those who want to lie about their past. For $125.95, the website will provide customized references for a fake resume within 24 hours and guarantee subscribers for a real job interview because of the website’s “perfect” references. What?! Should there be some regulations to stop this kind of services?!

While a person can structure a resume in a variety of ways to target different employers or even highlight different qualifications for specific audience, s/he should NEVER lie about his/her credentials or experiences. An A or A+ organization will always value integrity. That’s probably why there are so many background check companies out there, helping employers to distinguish the “real” best candidates.

I can…

A Tour of Marriott Hotels (Courtyard and Residence Inn in Syracuse)

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The Hotel & Resort Operations class and I toured two Marriott Hotels in Syracuse yesterday. They are Courtyard and Residence Inn. In addition, we met with the Market Sales Leader of Marriott (New York State), two Regional Account Managers, and the GMs of Courtyard, Residence Inn, and SpringHill Suites.

The SpringHill Suites was open last fall. The Residence Inn just completed a renovation. The Courtyard will soon go through a 1.7 million renovation. I feel very excited of seeing these new or re-modeled lodging products in the Syracuse market.

One of the highlights is that Marriott restructured the functions and responsibilities of Sales. Marriott used to hire sales representatives or managers to take care of different brands, which I name it “brand-centered sales structure.” Now, Marriott relies on Account Managers to oversee different accounts or clients. Account Managers sell whatever products that their clients need --- from limited service to luxury hotels, from rooms to banqu…

Google Search Go Social

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A while ago, I discussed the power of Facebook’s “Like” button and the price tag of “Like.” In March, Facebook reached a milestone, recording more than 51% Americans who are aged 12 or older are Facebook users. Following Facebook’s trend, Google introduced the “+1” or “plus one” button in Google’s search engine.

Users can link their Google public profiles with their Gmail or other accounts. Google may highlight the search results of a signed-in user with the content that has been recommended by this user’s friends and contacts. Google may also feature the Web content that has been recommended or shared by other users with the “+1” button.
How would you like the idea of sharing your Google search results within your social networks or “peeping” your friends’ Google search results? If you are a business owner, how do you like the “+1” button? Do you think that “+1” would work just like “Like” and will be able to bring more traffic to your business?
References: Efrati, A. (2011, March …

A Must-Learn Guest Service Lesson

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I stayed at the Courtyard Hotel at Greenbelt, MD for the SBP11 Conference last week. The hotel features the new lobby design and nice guestrooms, as what we discussed before. Everything looks great. I rated this hotel an A in terms of facility and checking-in and checking-out processes. However, I can only give this hotel a D or D- in terms of handling guest request. There is a lesson needed to be learned.

I checked-in on Sunday and had an Express Mail delivered to my room on Tuesday (under a different name; labeled with my cell phone number). For sure, I would not expect the staff can figure out a different name on one’s own. As a result, I stopped by the Front Office Monday evening and informed two Front Desk Agents that I was expecting an Express Mail the next day under a different name. In particular, I requested these two Front Desk Agents to put the new name under my room. They told me that I was all set.
After I came back from the conference Tuesday evening, the evening staff …