Americans continue to choose pizza at an impressive rate. According to Chicago-based research and consulting firm Technomic Inc., 41% of consumers polled said that they are now eating pizza once a week, compared to 26% only two years ago.

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Franchising has changed dramatically over the last five years. There are more multi-unit and area developers, more high-tech ways to optimize sales and leaner and meaner corporations honed by the recession.

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It’s not that the hoops weed out the under-performers, instead, they weed out companies who recognize that the value/time of preparing the document and follow-up work just doesn’t make sense.

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More and more would-be operators and experienced restaurateurs opening additional locations are being offered the opportunity to be part of what’s called “The Agglomeration Effect”

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Zarate spent $800,000 to open Picca, an upscale version of Peruvian cuisine with a Japanese edge, last August. The reviews were effusive. This year GQ Magazine named Picca one of the Ten Best New Restaurants in America.

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A recent study shows that in rapidly increasing numbers, consumers of all ages are interacting with brands on social media, and that it is critical to business success:

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Café gourmand—which translates as “gluttonous coffee”—has gone from an experiment at a restaurant chain to a national dish with its own cookbooks and contests

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Many independents are juggling along, no profits, and counting pennies. They’re using tomorrow’s money to pay yesterday’s bills, and that drives closures.

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When family comes in, they are getting either free food, a free item or a discount — it’s a fact. No employee is having their family come in and not treating them special. No employee is having their roommate come in and not hooking them up in some form

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In this tough economy, many small business owners find themselves on the brink of throwing in the towel. But how do you know when it’s time to shut your doors for good or whether you’ve just hit a rough spot?

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There is a great deal of evidence that says the higher a worker’s cognitive abilities the more successful they’ll be as a waiter, and will have a better memory, better work ethic, show up on time, be more professional, have more useful ideas, and possess better communication skills

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Take project management. Customers were now able to log on, see who had performed what, and get insight into due dates, outstanding tasks and a variety of other data–the kind of comprehensive, detailed, up-to-the-minute information you wouldn’t expect from a small enterprise.

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The boom in downtown Los Angeles restaurants has been welcomed by many, but has posed challenges for the veterans of downtown dining who are facing serious competition on a day to day basis.

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Many complain that groupon contracts carry restrictive terms that strain their cash flow while offering them little flexibility and few long-term benefits.

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A restaurant consultant teaches someone that if you want to make money, it needs to be run like a business and not like a hobby. When people hear SOP, they think IBM, but it’s not true, the smaller the business, the more it needs it so it is not as reliant on the owner.

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There’s no denying that food trucks are on a roll, having become the culinary trend and one of the biggest small business success stories of the moment.

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Morton’s Restaurant Group Inc. (NYSE: MRT) is ready to rebound. Business people are traveling and entertaining again but is that enough?

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There is a good chance your restaurant customer found your business, searched your business or reviewed your business on YELP! That’s a scary reality.

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The iconic Beverly Hilton’s owner (Beny Alagem), is no longer planning to sell the property, but instead will seek an equity partner for the hotel/condo development into the Waldorf Astoria.

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Many of the high-profile bankruptcy reorganizations of household-name pizza restaurants have individual causes that don’t speak to a larger trend of consumers turning away from pizza, experts say.

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Sinclair estimates that the restaurant industry, or the tipped employee industry, experiences this scenario more frequently that any other. This is because, while employees may not be receiving their usual paychecks, they still receive daily payments in the form of cash tips

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Restaurant owners deploying an iPad into their restaurant environment should be doing so because it makes financial sense, not because it is new and shiny.

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For a restaurant, expect the Groupon experience to go perfectly, and you’ll likely set yourself up for disappointment. If you plan for a hectic, crazy day, you just may walk away thinking that everything did go perfectly.

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Many wannabe entrepreneurs have long nurtured a dream to open a restaurant or bar. There are plenty of reasons not to.

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Pizza Operators not willing to learn from the mass market, proven results and the big three are automatically capping their growth opportunities.

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As the hotel market has become more competitive with the various online practices and the need to refocus on margins, there are only a few areas that can be looked at.

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Restaurant franchisees can do some customization geared to their local market and to their own tastes – such entrepreneurial innovation and adaptation is encouraged

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Frozen yogurt franchises are not being sold on financial performance but rather on hype.

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For those who are set on getting into the multibillion-dollar restaurant game, it’s going to take more than passion to succeed.

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Every parent wants their child or children to succeed. But it can be soul-killing for good workers who are employees of a family-owned company to see themselves passed over and a promotion given to a family member who is not as competent or as capable.

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Club owners often spend millions on decorating a new nightspot before opening. But that kind of expense is justifiable only if the club stays open and profitable for several years.

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Welcome to the world of turnarounds in 2010, where few of those involved expect miracles, and victories that might have been considered unimpressive in boom times can seem monumental.

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Capital Grille, began scouting sites for its first L.A.-area restaurant a few years ago. Restaurant executives ultimately chose the Beverly Center location because the huge mall draws local shoppers and tourists.

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OnSite is in the business of reviving restaurants, hotels and casinos that are in trouble, sometimes on the verge of bankruptcy. It focuses on working with current owners on overhauling management and operations.

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Rolling Stone is making its red carpet premiere this summer at the Hollywood & Highland Center with the opening of its first restaurant and lounge, but it won’t be the only rock star on that mall’s stage. That’s because Rolling Stone is set to open its doors just as Hard Rock Café is scheduled to launch a restaurant and live event venue in the same center – in a first-ever competition between the two iconic names.

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Hotels are adding and raising room surcharges to boost profit. It’s a risky strategy, as room rates are the No. 1 or No. 2 determining factor for leisure travelers who book rooms.

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The point of the rewards program isn’t for the customer, its for the restaurant – disguised. Drive traffic and promotions without taking away from the existing. The value lies in the marketing ability to get the customer in order to push them towards what you want to accomplish.

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The key reason for this explosive growth and what seems like a yogurt brand in every available corner, strip mall and random location is purely economics.

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Employers that go this route typically like the reduced rents and technology savings telecommuting affords, while employees appreciate spending less time commuting and lower transportation costs.

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Before you’ve even opened, all these odds are stacked against you. The name is not enough. The brand name brings in the customer for the first time; the quality of the product keeps them coming back.

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Maybe the most surprising aspect of semantic search is that it lets you describe who you’re looking for, almost as if you were speaking with a networking contact who knew all the top candidates out there.

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What greater way to motivate each and every [employee] than by giving them all a little piece of the pie. An ESOP motivates employees, improves firm performance, fosters innovation, and promotes sound financial health.

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Casual dining mom-and-pops haven’t been hurt as much by the recession, mainly because people feel a strong connection to the businesses. Becoming a local leader and integral part of the community, versus a faceless chain, can go a long way to developing customer loyalty.

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“I think initially the Roosevelt will see a decline, the new kid on the block always creates that for the competition. As long as the Roosevelt rises to the occasion and understands that competition forces innovation, however, then its business will ultimately increase because of the buzz created by the W.”

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Have the right people create policy. In many companies we consult, these policies are set by an IT person. I’m a big believer that these should be management decisions. Top management should set mobile communications policy, with input from legal counsel.

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Marketing to gay and lesbian tourists makes sense. This gives us a competitive advantage against our neighbors in L.A. Not only that, but the campaign offers gay and lesbian tourists a destination where they can feel welcome. Why wouldn’t they come to see what it is like to be in a city of equal opportunity?

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Dozens of high-end shopping centers across the country have added elegant dining during the past few years, and it’s worked when the restaurants are as swanky as the stores. Malls want the new customers, and restaurateurs want the critical mass of prospective diners.

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Like the slew of retail companies that offer 100-calorie, portion-controlled products to consumers, a handful of quick-serve operators are also jumping on the trend. But so far most chains have restrained from such a “better for you” marketing gambit and, in fact, show little inclination to back away from a recession-proof emphasis on volume as value.

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“Competition is always a good thing. It forces innovation, better pricing and more amenities,” says James Sinclair, President of night life specialists OnSite Consulting, commenting on Nazarian’s new club. “In the end, it benefits the consumer.”

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“A female executive chef is probably 10 times stronger than any male based on what she has probably had to endure to get to this point,” says James Sinclair, the Los Angeles-based author of “How to Save Your Restaurant in Ten Days.”

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