Monthly Archives: January 2017

Foodservice and Restaurant Merchandising 101

Visual food merchandising is one of the hottest trends in the restaurant, foodservice and hospitality industry today, which is the fine art of presenting your products in a way that gets your customers to buy, as well as bringing your products to life with eye-catching displays of freshness, color, quality and abundance.

A great food merchandising program paired with cross-merchandising strategies will help to increase your restaurant or foodservice operations’ sales significantly, as well as boost customer satisfaction and return business.

The benefits of eye-catching food merchandising displays and cross- merchandising techniques are immediate. Sales will increase between 15 percent to 300 percent if you have done a proper job with your merchandising program Your staff’s morale will also be raised from the improved surroundings and satisfied customers.

Running a foodservice operation takes much more than just displaying the usual information like the “daily special”. As an operator, you must consider what will lure your customers into your operation in the first place. Here are some basic merchandising rules and tips to follow:

1. Make it look appetizing

You should build your food displays so that customers can see them from all angles of your facility. Use nothing but the freshest ingredients and colorful food items to catch their attention. Display your food items using uniquely shaped plates and dishes with different textures. Use terra cotta and other environmentally conscious colors, and incorporate natural wood and bamboo to create a more modern, clean and sleek image.

For example, the addition of a simple, thick, wooden board placed inside a standard glass display unit for sandwiches emphasizes to customers that the sandwiches have just been freshly made. Without the board, the sandwiches look start and naked, and allows customers to wonder how long they have been sitting there, since a glass and steel display unit tends to evoke a sense of coldness and emptiness. The cutting board helps to add warmth and life to the display unit.

2. Place products on a slant and use color

Food is always displayed better when placed on a slant and not lying flat. Show your customers your products! Tilted European-style wooden racks are a great merchandising tool to display breads, pies, pastries, and other products, creating an inviting display to tempt your customers to buy.

Color is one of the most important factors when dealing with food displays. Many food products tend to come from the brown and beige palettes, so is necessary to brighten up your operation with greens, reds, oranges and yellows, to also create a fresh and healthy look. Consider looking at what items you might already have on hand in your kitchen, pantry and stockrooms that might add mouthwatering color and substance to your display.

3. Use cross-merchandising techniques to use higher sales

For cafeterias and market-style operations, cross-merchandising is an excellent opportunity to upsell by placing the right foods together. Soups, sandwiches and potato chips should be placed in the same area, while coffee and tea should be served right next to desserts. Side orders and salads could be split. For example, small containers of salad could be packaged and placed on ice next to the grill, as well as stationed next to the sandwiches. Also try different varieties of cream cheese next to bagels, or fresh fruit and whipped cream next to cake and ice cream. Coffee and tea is a great partner to bakery items. Sales of beautifully packaged coffee will soar when placed next to bakery items.

4. Use the cash-wrap area

The cash-wrap area is prime real estate for merchandising. Proper merchandising of additional retail products at the cash-wrap area will help you increase average checks. Use your cash-wrap area for last minute sales of coffee, soda, desserts, candies and chocolate bars, and create an irresistible display of goods that customers cannot refuse.

5. Proper signage points the way to increased revenues

Proper signage can help you tell customers what you need to tell them when you are unable to offer them personal attention. It is very important to be clean, concise and to the point when designing the signage for your operation. Make it as easy as possible for customers to purchase food items by providing proper signage that inform your customers about your products so they will buy them. Signage can be displayed in all shapes and sizes, and should be used accordingly. Use branded mini cards to label and price your products, and write short descriptions of the item detailing the ingredients you used or your cooking method. If you insist on handwriting your signs, be sure to make them legible and graphically appealing.

Best Sugar Cookie Recipe?

There is nothing like a great sugar cookie recipe. Don’t buy the roll of Pillsbury Dough, you can make a superb cookie that will remind you of the days when Grandma made them.

Grandma used to sit by the fire and drink her tea and Grandpa used to sip his coffee made from his French Press, before it was trendy. I loved seeing them sit there enjoying the day. When we walked in the house there were smells coming from the kitchen you just couldn’t imagine. The sweet smell of warm sugar cookies invaded your senses. You knew today was going to be a treat.

It was a tradition that we enjoyed every year. The kitchen was filled with flour storms and the counters were sticky from Buttercream frosting. We had tin cookie cutters spread all over the table. I liked the boot best, my sister liked the angel.

Grandma had a special way with those cookies and she handed down the recipe to me. I was to teach my kids how to make these wonderful holiday sweets. It wouldn’t be Christmas time without this recipe of Yummy cookies.

I am publishing it because I want you to enjoy the best sugar cookie recipe ever.

Grandma’s Favorite Sugar Cookie

1 cup white sugar

1 cup powdered sugar

1 cup butter

2 eggs beaten

1 tsp cream of tarter

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla

4 cups flour

½ cup corn oil

Cream the sugars and butter together. Mix the beaten eggs, vanilla and corn oil, in. Add the dry ingredients .Mix all the ingredients well and chill overnight.

Bake at 375 F for 8-10 minutes….DO NOT OVERCOOK.

We used to make the funniest colors to decorate the cookies, most of them looked inedible. They tasted heavenly, though. We figured if we made them look gross enough, the adults would leave them alone. We were wrong. Everyone knew they were Grandma’s famous sugar cookies from her handed down recipe book. This page was splattered with all sorts of colors. I have that book now. I love making these cookies with my kids.

Grandma’s Favorite Frosting (don’t forget the food coloring)

2 cups of powdered sugar

½ cup butter melted

1 ½ T Milk

1 tsp vanilla

Cream sugar, butter and vanilla. Add a small amount of milk (1 to 2 tablespoons). Beat until fluffy. If frosting is too sweet add a little more milk.

Try it this season. Enjoy your family and brew some wonderful tea or coffee and relax. Take the time to make memories with your family or neighbors or friends.

Pregnancy – Conceiving Tips – Five Foods That Can Kill Your Fertility

Eating the right foods is essential to fertility, but these won’t do any good if you keep on eating foods that damage your chances of pregnancy. Conceiving is a delicate process that involves environmental cues, hormonal balance, and physiology. It’s so easy for the wrong foods to disrupt these events and prevent the union of an egg and a sperm. By avoiding these five foods, you can boost the fertility of yourself and your partner and increase your own chances of a healthy pregnancy too.

Sugar

Sugar and refined carbohydrates are a big no-no for fertility, especially if you are suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). According to the Nurses’ Health Study, the largest study on nutrition and female fertility, women who eat more refined sugar are more likely to suffer from fertility problems. Our body’s glucose levels rise whenever we eat refined carbohydrates or sugar. As the glucose levels rise, the body produces the hormone insulin so the cells can use the glucose for energy. Foods with a low glycemic index allow the body to go through the glucose slowly, but refined sugar (foods with high glycemic index) causes the blood glucose levels to rise too quickly. This makes your insulin levels stretch out too thinly and adds stress to your body. If you keep a regular diet of refined sugar, your body will eventually become insulin resistant. This means that your cells will no longer respond to the insulin produced by your body, skewing the hormonal production required for timely ovulation and interfering with your chances of conceiving. Research shows that up to 70% of women with PCOS are insulin-resistant.

Trans-Fats

Chips and fries may be crispy and satisfying snacks, but they’re also rich in an industrially created fat called trans-fat (trans-fatty acids or partially hydrogenated oils). Trans-fats are found in packaged goods, fried fast food, microwaved popcorn, or vegetable shortening in order to extend their shelf-life. Any commercial good that has “partially-hydrogenated vegetable oil” or “shortening” in the ingredients label probably has trans-fats. The Nurses’ Health Study found out that women who ate more trans-fats were suffered from more ovulatory problems than women who did not. In fact, just a 2% increase in trans-fat consumption makes a woman 73% more likely to suffer from ovulation-related infertility. Trans-fats affect fertility by making the body more insulin-resistant and causing inflammation. In men, high trans-fat levels make the membrane of the sperm cell less flexible, decreasing its ability to successfully penetrate an egg cell.

Soy

Reports show that too much soy protein can decrease male and female fertility. A study published in Human Reproduction looked at the sperm samples and soy intake of 99 men with unexplained infertility. Researchers discovered that over half of the men had poor sperm motility and low sperm count. The researchers also observed that the men with higher sperm count and better sperm quality had lower soy intake.

Another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that high soy consumption can decrease the levels of the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), and increase menstrual cycle length.

Caffeine

Like most hardworking people, you probably like starting your day with a strong cup of coffee. But you might want to cut back on this and other caffeine-laden drinks. According to the Nurses’ Health Study, women who consume over 400mg of caffeine a day (one eight-ounce cup of coffee has 100-300 mg caffeine) are more likely to be infertile. Caffeine causes the fallopian tubes to tense up and slow down the movement of a fertilized egg towards the uterus. Once the egg finally reaches the uterus, the endometrium may not be healthy enough to receive it.

You can keep your morning cup of coffee and your fertility too; as long as you consume less than 300mg of caffeine a day, you should be fine. Do take note that soda is also laden with caffeine; the Nurses’ Health Study notes that women are 50% more likely to experience ovulation problems if they drink two or more cans of soda a day.

Aspartame and artificial sweeteners

Here’s another reason to avoid soda, especially diet soda: they contain an artificial sweetener called aspartame that affects fertility. According to Pediatrician and Professor Dr Louis Elsas, consuming aspartame before conceiving increases the likelihood of neurological problems in the child. When aspartame enters the intestines, it gets broken down into a chemical called phenylalanine and becomes concentrated in the placenta, causing developmental problems in the growing baby. Dr. Maledon Price of the University of Washington also notes that aspartame destroys the neurons that regulate the release of hormones, causing low levels of the FSH, LH, and gonadotropins. Aspartame is also known to impact sperm production and egg quality.

A Complete Guide For Restaurant Real Estate Investments

Restaurants are a favorite commercial property for many investors because:

  1. Tenants often sign a very long term, e.g. 20 years absolute triple net (NNN) leases. This means, besides the rent, tenants also pay for property taxes, insurance and all maintenance expenses. The only thing the investor has to pay is the mortgage, which in turn offers very predictable cash flow. There are either no or few landlord responsibilities because the tenant is responsible for maintenance. This allows the investor more time to do important thing in life, e.g. retire. All you do is take the rent check to the bank. This is one of the key benefits in investing in a restaurant or single-tenant property.
  2. Whether rich or poor, people need to eat. Americans are eating out more often as they are too busy to cook and cleanup the pots & pans afterwards which often is the worst part! According to the National Restaurant Association, the nation’s restaurant industry currently involves 937,000 restaurants and is expected to reach $537 billion in sales in 2007, compared to just $322 billion in 1997 and $200 billion in 1987 (in current dollars). In 2006, for every dollar Americans spend on foods, 48 cents were spent in restaurants. As long as there is civilization on earth, there will be restaurants and the investor will feel comfortable that the property is always in high demand.
  3. You know your tenants will take very good care of your property because it’s in their best interest to do so. Few customers, if any, want to go to a restaurant that has a filthy bathroom and/or trash in the parking lot.

However, restaurants are not created equal, from an investment viewpoint.

Franchised versus Independent

One often hears that 9 out of 10 new restaurants will fail in the first year; however, this is just an urban myth as there are no conclusive studies on this. There is only a study by Associate Professor of Hospitality, Dr. H.G. Parsa of Ohio State University who tracked new restaurants located in the city Columbus, Ohio during the period from 1996 to 1999 (Note: you should not draw the conclusion that the results are the same everywhere else in the US or during any other time periods.) Dr. Parsa observed that seafood restaurants were the safest ventures and that Mexican restaurants experience the highest rate of failure in Columbus, OH. His study also found 26% of new restaurants closed in the first year in Columbus, OH during 1996 to 1999. Besides economic failure, the reasons for restaurants closing include divorce, poor health, and unwillingness to commit immense time toward operation of the business. Based on this study, it may be safe to predict that the longer the restaurant has been in business, the more likely it will be operating the following year so that the landlord will continue to receive the rent.

For franchised restaurants, a franchisee has to have a certain minimal amount of non-borrowed cash/capital, e.g. $300,000 for McDonald’s, to qualify. The franchisee has to pay a one-time franchisee fee about $30,000 to $50,000. In addition, the franchisee has contribute royalty and advertising fees equal to about 4% and 3% of sales revenue, respectively. In turn, the franchisee receives training on how to set up and operate a proven and successful business without worrying about the marketing part. As a result, a franchised restaurant gets customers as soon as the open sign is put up. Should the franchisee fail to run the business at the location, the franchise may replace the current franchisee with a new one. The king of franchised hamburger restaurants is the fast-food chain McDonald’s with over 32000 locations in 118 countries (about 14,000 in the US) as of 2010. It has $34.2B in sales in 2011 with an average of $2.4M in revenue per US location. McDonald’s currently captures over 50% market share of the $64 billion US hamburger restaurant market. Its sales are up 26% in the last 5 years. Distant behind is Wendy’s (average sales of $1.5M) with $8.5B in sales and 5904 stores. Burger King ranks third (average sales of $1.2M) with $8.4B in sale, 7264 stores and 13% of the hamburger restaurant market share (among all restaurant chains, Subway is ranked number two with $11.4B in sales, 23,850 stores, and Starbucks number 3 with $9.8B in sales and 11,158 stores). McDonald’s success apparently is not the result of how delicious its Big Mac tastes but something else more complex. Per a survey of 28,000 online subscribers of Consumer Report magazine, McDonald’s hamburgers rank last among 18 national and regional fast food chains. It received a score of 5.6 on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the best, behind Jack In the Box (6.3), Burger King (6.3), Wendy’s (6.6), Sonic Drive In (6.6), Carl’s Jr (6.9), Back Yard Burgers (7.6), Five Guys Burgers (7.9), and In-N-Out Burgers (7.9).

Fast-food chains tend to detect new trends faster. For example, they are open as early as 5AM as Americans are increasingly buying their breakfasts earlier. They are also selling more cafe; latte; fruit smoothies to compete with Starbucks and Jumba Juice. You also see more salads on the menu. This gives customers more reasons to stop by at fast-food restaurants and make them more appealing to different customers.

With independent restaurants, it often takes a while to for customers to come around and try the food. These establishments are especially tough in the first 12 months of opening, especially with owners of minimal or no proven track record. So in general, “mom and pop” restaurants are risky investment due to initial weak revenue. If you choose to invest in a non-brand name restaurant, make sure the return is proportional to the risks that you will be taking.

Sometimes it is not easy for you to tell if a restaurant is a brand name or non-brand name. Some restaurant chains only operate, or are popular in a certain region. For example, WhatABurger restaurant chain with over 700 locations in 10 states is a very popular fast-food restaurant chain in Texas and Georgia. However, it is still unknown on the West Coast as of 2012. Brand name chains tend to have a website listing all the locations plus other information. So if you can find a restaurant website from Google or Yahoo you can quickly discern if an unfamiliar name is a brand name or not. You can also obtain basic consumer information about almost any chain restaurants in the US on Wikipedia.

The Ten Fastest-Growing Chains in 2011 with Sales Over $200 Million

According to Technomic, the following is the 10 fastest growing restaurant chains in terms of revenue change from 2010 to 2011:

  1. Five Guys Burgers and Fries with $921M in sales and 32.8% change.
  2. Chipotle Mexican Grill with $2.261B in sales and 23.4% change.
  3. Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwich Shop with $895M in sales and 21.8% change.
  4. Yard House with $262M in sales and 21.5% change.
  5. Firehouse Subs with $285M in sales and 21.1% change.
  6. BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse with $621M in sales and 20.9% change.
  7. Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar with $2.045B in sales and 20.1% change.
  8. Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers with $206M in sales and 18.2% change.
  9. Noodles & Company with $300M in sales and 14.9% change from.
  10. Wingstop with $382M in sales and 22.1% change.

Lease & Rent Guaranty

The tenants often sign a long term absolute triple net (NNN) lease. This means, besides the base rent, they also pay for all operating expenses: property taxes, insurance and maintenance expenses. For investors, the risk of maintenance expenses uncertainty is eliminated and their cash flow is predictable. The tenants may also guarantee the rent with their own or corporate assets. Therefore, in case they have to close down the business, they will continue paying rent for the life of the lease. Below are a few things that you need to know about the lease guaranty:

  1. In general, the stronger the guaranty the lower the return of your investment. The guaranty by McDonald’s Corporation with a strong “A” S&P corporate rating of a public company is much better than a small corporation owned by a franchisee with a few restaurants. Consequently, a restaurant with a McDonald’s corporate lease normally offers low 4.5-5% cap (return of investment in the 1st year of ownership) while McDonald’s with a franchisee guaranty (over 75% of McDonalds restaurants are owned by franchisees) may offer 5-6% cap. So figure out the amount of risks you are willing to take as you won’t get both low risks and high returns in an investment.
  2. Sometimes a multi-location franchise will form a parent company to own all the restaurants. Each restaurant in turn is owned by a single-entity Limited Liabilities Company (LLC) to shield the parent company from liabilities. So the rent guaranty by the single-entity LLC does not mean much since it does not have much assets.
  3. A good, long guaranty does not make a lemon a good car. Similarly, a strong guaranty does not make a lousy restaurant a good investment. It only means the tenant will make every effort to pay you the rent. So don’t judge a property primarily on the guaranty.
  4. The guaranty is good until the corporation that guarantees it declares bankruptcy. At that time, the corporation reorganizes its operations by closing locations with low revenue and keeping the good locations, (i.e. ones with strong sales). So it’s more critical for you to choose a property at a good location. If it happens to have a weak guaranty, (e.g. from a small, private company), you will get double benefits: on time rent payment and high return.
  5. If you happen to invest in a “mom & pop” restaurant, make sure all the principals, e.g. both mom and pop, guarantee the lease with their assets. The guaranty should be reviewed by an attorney to make sure you are well protected.

Location, Location, Location

A lousy restaurant may do well at a good location while those with a good menu may fail at a bad location. A good location will generate strong revenue for the operator and is primarily important to you as an investor. It should have these characteristics:

  1. High traffic volume: this will draw more customers to the restaurant and as a result high revenue. So a restaurant at the entrance to a regional mall or Disney World, a major shopping mall, or colleges is always desirable.
  2. Good visibility & signage: high traffic volume must be accompanied by good visibility from the street. This will minimize advertising expenses and is a constant reminder for diners to come in.
  3. Ease of ingress and egress: a restaurant located on a one-way service road running parallel to a freeway will get a lot of traffic and has great visibility but is not at a great location. It’s hard for potential customers to get back if they miss the entrance. In addition, it’s not possible to make a left turn. On the other hand, the restaurant just off freeway exit is more convenient for customers.
  4. Excellent demographics: a restaurant should do well in an area with a large, growing population and high incomes as it has more people with money to spend. Its business should generate more and more income to pay for increasing higher rents.
  5. Lots of parking spaces: most chained restaurants have their own parking lot to accommodate customers at peak hours. If customer cannot find a parking space within a few minutes, there is a good chance they will skip it and/or won’t come back as often. A typical fast food restaurant will need about 10 to 20 parking spaces per 1000 square feet of space. Fast food restaurants, e.g. McDonald’s will need more parking spaces than sit down restaurants, e.g. Olive Garden.
  6. High sales revenue: the annual gross revenue alone does not tell you much since larger–in term of square footage–restaurant tends to have higher revenue. So the rent to revenue ratio is a better gauge of success. Please refer to rent to revenue ratio in the due diligence section for further discussion.
  7. High barriers to entry: this simply means that it’s not easy to replicate this location nearby for various reasons: the area simply does not have any more developable land, or the master plan does not allow any more construction of commercial properties, or it’s more expensive to build a similar property due to high cost of land and construction materials. For these reasons, the tenant is likely to renew the lease if the business is profitable.

Financing Considerations

In general, the interest rate is a bit higher than average for restaurants due to the fact that they are single-tenant properties. To the lenders, there is a perceived risk because if the restaurant is closed down, you could potentially lose 100% of your income from that restaurant. Lenders also prefer national brand name restaurants. In addition, some lenders will not loan to out-of-state investors especially if the restaurants are located in smaller cities. So it may be a good idea for you to invest in a franchised restaurant in major metro areas, e.g. Atlanta, Dallas. In 2009 it’s quite a challenge to get financing for sit-down restaurant acquisitions, especially for mom and pop and regional restaurants due to the tight credit market. However, things seem to have improved a bit in 2010. If you want to get the best rate and terms for the loan, you should stick to national franchised restaurants in major metros.

When the cap rate is higher than the interest rate of the loan, e.g. cap rate is 7.5% while interest rate is 6.5%, then you should consider borrowing as much as possible. You will get 7.5% return on your down payment plus 1% return for the money you borrow. Hence your total return (cash on cash) will be higher than the cap rate. Additionally, since the inflation in the near future is expected to be higher due to rising costs of fuel, the money which you borrow to finance your purchase will be worth less. So it’s even more beneficial to maximize leverage now.

Due Diligence Investigation

You may want to consider these factors before deciding to go forward with the purchase:

  1. Tenant’s financial information: The restaurant business is labor intensive. The average employee generates only about $55,000 in revenue annually. The cost of goods, e.g. foods and supplies should be around 30-35% of revenue; labor and operating expenses 45-50%; rent about 7-12%. So do review the profits and loss (P&L) statements, if available, with your accountant. In the P&L statement, you may see the acronym EBITDAR. It stands for Earnings Before Income Taxes, Depreciation (of equipment), Amortization (of capital improvement), and Rent. If you don’t see royalty fees in P&L of a franchised restaurant or advertising expenses in the P&L of an independent restaurant, you may want to understand the reason why. Of course, we will want to make sure that the restaurant is profitable after paying the rent. Ideally, you would like to see net profits equal to 10-20% of the gross revenue. In the last few years the economy has taken a beating. As a result, restaurants have experienced a decrease in gross revenue of around 3-4%. This seems to have impacted most, if not all, restaurants everywhere. In addition, it may take a new restaurant several years to reach potential revenue target. So don’t expect new locations to be profitable right away even for chained restaurants.
  2. Tenant’s credit history: if the tenant is a private corporation, you may be able to obtain the tenant’s credit history from Dun & Bradstreet (D&B). D&B provides Paydex score, the business equivalent of FICO, i.e. personal credit history score. This score ranges from 1 to 100, with higher scores indicating better payment performance. A Paydex score of 75 is equivalent to FICO score of 700. So if your tenant has a Paydex score of 80, you are likely to receive the rent checks promptly.
  3. Rent to revenue ratio: this is the ratio of base rent over the annual gross sales of the store. It is a quick way to determine if the restaurant is profitable, i.e. the lower the ratio, the better the location. As a rule of thumb you will want to keep this ratio less than 10% which indicates that the location has strong revenue. If the ratio is less than 7%, the operator will very likely make a lot of money after paying the rent. The rent guaranty is probably not important in this case. However, the rent to revenue ratio is not a precise way to determine if the tenant is making a profit or not. It does not take into account the property taxes expense as part of the rent. Property taxes–computed as a percentage of assessed value–vary from states to states. For example, in California it’s about 1.25% of the assessed value, 3% in Texas, and as high as 10% in Illinois. And so a restaurant with rent to income ratio of 8% could be profitable in one state and yet be losing money in another.
  4. Parking spaces: restaurants tend to need a higher number of parking spaces because most diners tend to stop by within a small time window. You will need at least 8 parking spaces per 1000 Square Feet (SF) of restaurant space. Fast food restaurants may need about 15 to 18 spaces per 1000 SF.
  5. Termination Clause: some of the long term leases give the tenant an option to terminate the lease should there be a fire destroying a certain percentage of the property. Of course, this is not desirable to you if that percentage is too low, e.g. 10%. So make sure you read the lease. You also want to make sure the insurance policy also covers rental income loss for 12-24 months in case the property is damaged by fire or natural disasters.
  6. Price per SF: you should pay about $200 to $500 per SF. In California you have to pay a premium, e.g. $1000 per SF for Starbucks restaurants which are normally sold at very high price per SF. If you pay more than $500 per SF for the restaurant, make sure you have justification for doing so.
  7. Rent per SF: ideally you should invest in a property in which the rent per SF is low, e.g. $2 to $3 per SF per month. This gives you room to raise the rent in the future. Besides, the low rent ensures the tenant’s business is profitable, so he will be around to keep paying the rent. Starbucks tend to pay a premium rent $2 to 4 per SF monthly since they are often located at a premium location with lots of traffic and high visibility. If you plan to invest in a restaurant in which the tenant pays more than $4 per SF monthly, make sure you could justify your decision because it’s hard to make a profit in the restaurant business when the tenant is paying higher rent. Some restaurants may have a percentage clause. This means besides the minimum base rent, the operator also pays you a percentage of his revenue when it reaches a certain threshold.
  8. Rent increase: A restaurant landlord will normally receive either a 2% annual rent increase or a 10% increase every 5 years. As an investor you should prefer 2% annual rent increase because 5 years is a long time to wait for a raise. You will also receive more rent with 2% annual increase than 10% increase every 5 years. Besides, as the rent increases every year so does the value of your investment. The value of restaurant is often based on the rent it generates. If the rent is increased while the market cap remains the same, your investment will appreciate in value. So there is no key advantage for investing in a restaurant in a certain area, e.g. California. It’s more important to choose a restaurant at a great location.
  9. Lease term: in general investors favor long term, e.g. 20 year lease so they don’t have to worry about finding new tenants. During a period with low inflation, e.g. 1% to 2%, this is fine. However, when the inflation is high, e.g. 4%, this means you will technically get less rent if the rent increase is only 2%. So don’t rule out properties with a few years left of the lease as there may be strong upside potential. When the lease expires without options, the tenant may have to pay much higher market rent.
  10. Risks versus Investment Returns: as an investor, you like properties that offer very high return, e.g. 8% to 9% cap rate. And so you may be attracted to a brand new franchised restaurant offered for sale by a developer. In this case, the developer builds the restaurants completely with Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment (FFEs) for the franchisee based on the franchise specifications. The franchisee signs a 20 years absolute NNN lease paying very generous rent per SF, e.g. $4 to $5 per SF monthly. The new franchisee is willing to do so because he does not need to come up with any cash to open a business. Investors are excited about the high return; however, this may be a very risky investment. The one who is guaranteed to make money is the developer. The franchisee may not be willing to hold on during tough times as he does not have any equity in the property. Should the franchisee’s business fails, you may not be able to find a tenant willing to pay such high rent, and you may end up with a vacant restaurant.
  11. Track records of the operator: the restaurant being run by an operator with 1 or 2 recently-open restaurants will probably be a riskier investment. On the other hand, an operator with 20 years in the business and 30 locations may be more likely to be around next year to pay you the rent.
  12. Trade fixtures: some restaurants are sold with trade fixtures so make sure you document in writing what is included in the sale.
  13. Fast-food versus Sit-down: while fast-food restaurants, e.g. McDonalds do well during the downturn, sit-down family restaurants tend to be more sensitive to the recession due to higher prices and high expenses. These restaurants may experience double-digit drop in year-to-year revenue. As a result, many sit-down restaurants were shut down during the recession. If you consider investing in a sit-down restaurant, you should choose one in an area with high income and large population.

Sale & Lease Back

Sometimes the restaurant operator may sell the real estate part and then lease back the property for a long time, e.g. 20 years. A typical investor would wonder if the operator is in financial trouble so that he has to sell the property to pay for his debts. It may or may not be the case; however, this is a quick and easy way for the restaurant operator to get cash out of the equities for good reason: business expansion. Of course, the operator could refinance the property with cash out but that may not be the best option because:

  1. He cannot maximize the cash out as lenders often lend only 65% of the property value in a refinance situation.
  2. The loan will show as long term debt in the balance sheet which is often not viewed in a positive light.
  3. The interest rates may not be as favorable if the restaurant operator does not have a strong balance sheet.
  4. He may not be able to find any lenders due to the tight credit market.

You will often see 2 different cash out strategies when you look at the rent paid by the restaurant operator:

  1. Conservative market rent: the operator wants to make sure he pays a low rent so his restaurant business has a good chance of being profitable. He also offers conservative cap rate to investors, e.g. 7% cap. As a result, his cash out amount is small to moderate. This may be a low risk investment for an investor because the tenant is more likely to be able to afford the rent.
  2. Significantly higher than market rent: the operator wants to maximize his cash out by pricing the property much higher than its market value, e.g. $2M for a $1M property. Investors are sometimes offered high cap rate, e.g. 10%. The operator may pay $5 of rent per square foot in an area where the rent for comparable properties is $3 per square foot. As a result, the restaurant business at this location may suffer a loss due to higher rents. However, the operator gets as much money as possible. This property could be very risky for you. If the tenant’s business does not make it and he declares bankruptcy, you will have to offer lower rent to another tenant to lease your building.

Ground Lease

Occasionally you see a restaurant on ground lease for sale. The term ground lease may be confusing as it could mean

  1. You buy the building and lease the land owned by another investor on a long-term, e.g. 50 years, ground lease.
  2. You buy the land in which the tenant owns the building. This is the most likely scenario. The tenant builds the restaurant with its own money and then typically signs a 20 years NNN lease to lease the lot. If the tenant does not renew the lease then the building is reverted to the landowner. The cap rate is often 1% lower, e.g. 6 to 7.25 percent, compared to restaurants in which you buy both land and building.

Since the tenant has to invest a substantial amount of money (whether its own or borrowed funds) for the construction of the building, it has to be double sure that this is the right location for its business. In addition, should the tenant fail to make the rent payment or fail to renew the lease, the building with substantial value will revert to you as the landowner. So the tenant will lose a lot more, both business and building, if it does not fulfill its obligation. And thus it thinks twice about not sending in the rent checks. In that sense, this is a bit safer investment than a restaurant which you own both the land and improvements. Besides the lower cap rate, the major drawbacks for ground lease are

  1. There are no tax write-offs as the IRS does not allow you to depreciate its land value. So your tax liabilities are higher. The tenants, on the other hand, can depreciate 100% the value of the buildings and equipments to offset the profits from the business.
  2. If the property is damaged by fire or natural disasters, e.g. tornados, some leases may allow the tenants to collect insurance proceeds and terminate the lease without rebuilding the properties in the last few years of the lease. Unfortunately, this author is not aware of any insurance companies that would sell fire insurance to you since you don’t own the building. So the risk is substantial as you may end up owning a very expensive vacant lot with no income and a huge property taxes bill.
  3. Some of the leases allow the tenants not having to make any structure, e.g. roof, repairs in the last few years of the lease. This may require investors to spend money on deferred maintenance expenses and thus will have negative impact on the cash flow of the property.

Sesame Oil Hair Recipes To Grow Hair Long Fast Naturally

Recently I was just as delighted as a lady who shared with me how she found out sesame oil and water worked great to restore the health of her scalp and hair. Consistently using sesame oil for her scalp massages and to apply on her hair has stopped her scalp from itching. Since then, her hair has become less dry and fizzy which makes her really happy.

It is indeed good news from her and I am as delighted to hear that she found that sesame oil does wonders for her scalp and hair. Incidentally, sesame oil is something I also use occasionally for especially my scalp massages.

In fact, I use a variety of oils and it all really depends on how I feel or what recipe I feel like doing during a certain period of time, like for a couple of weeks. I ‘spontaneously schedule’ and rotate my hair recipes while exploring new stuff or new ways to mix and match the ingredients I know work to grow hair long fast.

I will share some sesame oil recipes to grow hair long fast. However, if you wish to give sesame oil a try, as always, you need to first check with your doctor for any allergies – especially if it is something new to you. I do know of a few friends who are allergic to sesame, as some are allergic to nuts.

Once you are ready, here are some ways to use this simple and cheap oil.

Sesame Oil Hair Spray

This is the simplest recipe. Put 2-3 drops of sesame oil and some water into a handy and small pump or spray bottle that you can with you. Before use, just give this mixture a good shake to mix well. Then spray or squirt some on your hands to apply to your hair ends. Well, now you have a handy little bottle of hair spray or hair moisturizer to use throughout your day as and when you need.

Hair sprays are the easiest to make and can be very handy especially when I know I need to be outdoors like in the sun, in the park, on the beach, etc. After a swim and after I wash my hair, using just a little of this natural spray does wonders to moisture dry hair.

Sesame Oil Scalp Massage

Follow these 6 steps for a-feel-good sesame oil and scalp massage:

Step 1 – Comb your hair. Wash your hair clean and dab dry.

Step 2 – Apply sesame oil directly on to your scalp using your fingertips. Do not apply on to your hair ends. Now, massage your scalp for some at least 5-10 minutes. Get the oil to penetrate into your scalp skin or pores.

Step 3 – For dry, coarse, brittle or fizzy hair, apply some sesame oil on to your hair ends with the palm of your hands. Glide them evenly onto your hair or use a comb.

Step 4 – Leave on for 30 minutes. If you feel you want to wrap your hair up in a warm towel, this is great too, especially for dry textured, fizzy or coarse hair.

Step 5 – Otherwise, you may leave this on overnight. Just remember to use a cloth or towel to cover your pillow. Wash this off when you wake up the next day. Otherwise, you may also skip this step and move on to Step 6.

Step 6 – Wash and rinse your hair with mild shampoo. Your hair is clean. There is no need to wash until it is too dry and ‘squeaky clean’. It is alright if your hair feels ‘moist’. Otherwise, if it feels too dry, especially for dry textured hair, you may want to spray some moist to it later. Another way is to add honey to your mild shampoo as a conditioner.

Sesame Oil Hair Conditioning Warm Treatment

This is not something you need to do every day as this takes more time to do. For dry, coarse, brittle and hair with split ends do this routine once or twice a week, for a good start. Then you may lessen the number of times depending on the condition of your scalp and hair.

When you are ready, here are 6 simple steps to follow:

Step 1 – Comb your hair. Wash your hair and dab dry.

Step 2 – Put sesame oil in a small flat-like dish. Place this dish on a mug of steaming hot water to warm the oil.

Step 3 – Apply warm sesame oil on to your scalp lines or skin – again, not on your hair, yet. Take your time to do your scalp massage really well.

Step 4 – Apply or ‘glide’ sesame oil evenly on your hair, especially hair ends. Use a comb to do this evenly.

Step 5 – Wrap a hot towel over your hair. Leave your hair wrapped for 30 minutes to 1 hour – this really depends on your own convenience and time.

Step 6 – Remove towel, wash and rinse hair with a good mild shampoo.

Take your time to have fun, play around and fine tune your recipes to best suit you or suit your scalp and hair condition.

I always have a fun time exploring my ‘grow hair long fast’ recipes and I hope you find this information useful and have fun exploring too!

The Importance of Vending Machines

The availability of vending machines is very important because many people depend on them to access products conveniently. They are normally used to dispense candy, drinks, food and other consumables that do not require a sales person’s presence. These machines cater for the needs of consumers whenever they need them. Considering the pace at which the world is working in today, it is important to have fast-paced machines that dispense what consumers need. These types of machines are preferred by many traders because of the many benefits they have.

· Increase of sources of income

A vending machine helps the organization to increase its sources of income. In light of the fact that people are increasingly becoming busier, there has been a rising demand for the fast foods. Therefore, businesses are looking for ways of meeting this demand by placing machines in various locations. This has gone a long way in boosting the income of businesses. Organizations are on the lookout for reliable suppliers of vending machines that can be positioned in high traffic areas.

· Saves time

Vending machines allow consumers to access their preferred products while on the go. This helps to save them time. The machine can be positioned in a location where there are no cafeterias in the vicinity. This makes it possible for people to access their favorite products such as fast food during their leisure or work. Therefore, consumers do not have to take long journeys to find products because the machines are often strategically positioned to cater for their needs.

· Saves money

Businesses have a lot to gain from vending machines. These machines help them save a substantial amount of money in the form of labor cost that is often required to make their products available to consumers. The machines play an important role in dispensing products and collecting money from the consumers within good time. Businesses have gone out of their way to install machines that accept different types of payments including credit cards. This makes it possible for more consumers to make their purchases.

Innovative businesses are looking for ways of taking advantage of these machines. Vending business is popular in educational institutions. The machines make it possible for students to access drinks and snacks conveniently and at competitive rates. The school can boost its revenue by installing machines in strategic locations within the school compound. To ensure the best results, it is important to ensure healthy nutritious foods are supplied to students using the machines.

Six Factors That Affect Our Body’s Immune System

The rainy season is identical with the arrival of various diseases, particularly influenza. Some people appear more immune to the flu virus, while others are frequently sneezing, coughing, and with runny nose.

According to experts, our body’s immune system was affected by various unforeseen habits, for example, how much sugar is consumed. Let us find out the factors that affect our immune system.

1. Sugar consumption

Eating too much sugar was not only causing fat deposits. The study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition mention, when you consume 100 grams of sugar (about 3 cans of soda) the ability of white blood cells in killing bacteria during the next 5 hours will be reduced.

2. Less drinking

Our bodies need water to remove toxins. More or less water should we drink each individual differently, depending on the activity and the environment. To find out if we drink enough, consider the color of urine. If the color is clear yellow, it means you have enough to drink.

3. Weight loss

Losing weight is too much is bad for the heart, brain, and immune system. Excessive weight will cause a disturbed hormone balance and disrupt the ability of inflammatory immune cells fight infection.

4. Often dry nose

Mucus / mucous in the nose serves to catch the virus and prevent entry into the body. If your nostrils are often dry, the viruses and bacteria will be free to enter.

5. Often stress

No coincidence that you suddenly got the flu after completing the important work deadlines. According to a study published in the American Psychological Association, prolonged stress weakens the immune system response. Stress will also make flu symptoms worse.

6. Frequent colds

The average adult will have a cold as much as one to three times a year. If you often have the flu, it means your immune system does not work optimally. Good quality sleep, exercise, and consumption of nutritious foods to boost your body immunity.

Indian Wedding Planning Checklist – A Guide How to Prepare for Your Indian Wedding Planning

Proposal Done. What Next?

The wedding proposition has happened. Or perhaps your matchmaking has now been sorted. Both you as well as your significant other have made a unified commitment to undertake the subsequent major part of life together. What is going to be your following thing to do? Preparing the wedding party naturally. And that’s how the Indian Wedding Planning Checklist will be useful, and be your main companion in making sure an awesome fiesta wedding event is put-together.

Yes, the wedding is going to be the initial key assignment that you together with your partner is going to embark on, be it with or possibly without the aid of your friends and relations. The marriage location should be booked. The wedding event caterer must be determined. Bridal professional photographers might have to be pre-booked many months before the day of the wedding. Wedding and reception banqueting furniture, and also coverings will have to be hired. And list continues on and on…

The mere volume of things to get ready for a wedding party could make you nervous or unpleasant and lead you to feelings that you might lose some influence over the state of your big day. Even before you commence, chances are you already visualize the unthinkable, and worry the embarrassment that could develop from a poorly arranged function.

Worry not, because the Indian Wedding Planning Checklist below will help you out with all of the wedding party arrangements. The set of wedding planning elements below was assembled chronologically to make certain adequate time is allotted for every function item. This means you ought to have plenty of time for sourcing good ideas, getting in touch with your wedding service providers, in depth conversation with the service vendors and lastly confirming your vendor choices.

Indian Wedding Planning Checklist

More than 1 year

  1. Decide on a personal date to get married
  2. Employ an expert wedding coordinator
  3. Determine the amount of attendees, venue and time of day for the marriage event
  4. Come to an agreement on the wedding finance and expenses and how the costs are going to be split between both bride and groom’s families
  5. Discuss about the schedule of events that would take place on your wedding day
  6. Systematically monitor the wedding expenses and track who paid for each of the expense item
  7. Organize an invitee list which includes family and friends from both sides of the family
  8. Think about inevitable factors which may affect your wedding event (e.g. climate conditions, national elections, etc.)
  9. Book your marriage ceremony site
  10. Reserve marriage reception site
  11. Book your bridal ceremony & reception photographers
  12. Book your bridal ceremony & reception videographers
  13. Choose the wedding concept and colour scheme
  14. Update your passport & visa for your honeymoon

6 to 12 months

  1. Book the wedding priest, wedding qadi, wedding minister etc.
  2. Book your marriage event musicians
  3. Book your marriage event florists and decorators
  4. Book your marriage event caterer
  5. Book your marriage event entertainment
  6. Choose who are your bridesmaids and best men
  7. Choose who will be the emcee of your event

4 to 6 months

  1. Book hiring materials required for your marriage ceremony
  2. Book your cosmetic stylist, hair dresser and mehendi artist
  3. Book your wedding suite
  4. Complete attendance list and get the wedding invitation postal addresses
  5. Choose and buy wedding card invitations; remember to include map location of the wedding event venue
  6. Draft and send electronic invitations
  7. Compile an index of people to assist you on the wedding day( guest ushers, gift attendant, wedding & reception coordinator, food catering coordinator etc.) and their tasks
  8. Start preparing for the honeymoon

2 to 4 months

  1. Book your special wedding cake
  2. Book your wedding car, as well as decor for the wedding car and bridal party entourage
  3. Buy or rent wedding costumes
  4. Buy or rent wedding costume for parents, best men & bridesmaids
  5. Buy thank you gifts for wedding assistants and guests
  6. Prepare things to do for the guests who are from outstation
  7. Make a visit to the dentist to cleanse or whiten your teeth

6 to 8 weeks

  1. Post marriage invitation cards and email electronic invitations
  2. Monitor invitations sent out and responses received, and send thank you notes for guests who provided presents
  3. Buy or rent bride’s accessories
  4. Buy the bride’s shoes
  5. Buy the bridal jewellery (thali, matrimonial rings, etc.)
  6. Organize safety escort for bridal entourage which wear weighty jewellery
  7. Complete catering arrangements with the caterer
  8. Organize pre-wedding and bridal portrait photography to be taken

2 to 6 weeks

  1. Finalize marriage ceremony particulars with marriage officiant
  2. Follow-up with invitees who have yet to reply and complete arrangements for guest seating
  3. Compose a comprehensive timeline of the wedding event
  4. Give a copy of the wedding schedule to your wedding vendors
  5. Decide who will usher the bride and groom on the wedding day
  6. Give a checklist of photos you would like captured to your photographer
  7. Give a list of special people or events you want included in the video to your videographer
  8. Give the list of songs you would like played at your wedding event to the deejay
  9. Create the wedding venue direction guide boards, gift collection box and guestbook
  10. Beautify both bride and groom’s home

7 days

  1. Ensure your bridal attire fits and make any alterations if necessary
  2. Appoint your wedding car drivers
  3. Review your wedding schedule
  4. Give a copy of the wedding layout to your venue manager and caterer
  5. Confirm the guest count and give to your venue manager and caterer
  6. Let your wedding vendors know of any last minute changes
  7. Confirm honeymoon reservations and prepare for your honeymoon
  8. Take a moment to familiarize yourself with the bridal guest list

One day

  1. List down items to be brought on the wedding day and perform a full review of the items on this checklist
  2. Appoint someone you trust to assist you in paying the wedding vendors after the wedding event is completed
  3. Appoint an individual to give back hired items once the event is completed
  4. Appoint an individual to assist in placing wedding location direction guide boards at proper locations
  5. Appoint an individual to manage the wedding caterers and the wedding venue arrangement
  6. Arrange an individual to manage the wedding floor – to coordinate the emcee, DJ, entertainers, site lighting etc.
  7. Give the finalized wedding schedule to all members of your wedding party
  8. Give the finalized wedding schedule to all wedding vendors
  9. Communicate seating arrangements with ushers

WEDDING DAY

  1. Perform a final review of this checklist and ensure to bring all items required for the wedding
  2. Carry and ensure the official wedding rings/thali is brought to the wedding venue
  3. Enjoy the wedding you planned and relax!

Despite the fact that the Indian Wedding Planning Checklist was created according to a minimum 12 months planning cycle, you can employ this check-list for shorter or longer marriage planning periods, with several sensible adjustments of the check-list.

Tips:

For couples who may have substantially brief planning durations, we suggest whichever of the following alternate options:

1. Develop an extreme “catch-up” strategy on wedding preparation work items for the amounts of time you have lost OR

2. Seek the services of a wedding event coordinator

Should you be lacking time and choose option (2), yet somehow don’t wish to spend excessively for appointing a wedding coordinator, establish a selection of tasks that you believe you as well as your partner may take care of personally. You could outsource the leftover tasks to your wedding coordinator, permitting you to be in charge of your wedding budget.

Naturals To Go Review – Franchise Vending Machine Business Opportunity

Natural To Go is a franchise vending machine business and opportunity that is based in the health and wellness industry. With businesses and schools slowly progressing from sweets and soda vending machines to healthy snack options could this be the right time and franchise for you? Here is a simple review of the opportunity.

Naturals To Go is a vending machine based franchise business opportunity for the entrepreneur looking to profit from the ever growing healthy conscious public. The cost of starting this opportunity is a liquid investment of $6,000 dollars with the availability of third party financing. The company does offer marketing material, training and ongoing support to it’s franchisees.

With the growth of small and large businesses as well as the public school system opting for a more healthy alternative to it’s snacking habits, NTG does seem to have the potential for growth. This will of course be based upon the old real estate term “location. Location. Location” however. Solid locations for this type of business opportunity would be great for larger corporate style businesses, mini-markets and of course, if a contract can be obtained, dispersed throughout your local school district.

There is no real experience required to own or operate this type of vending machine all in all it is simple.

The company does also pride itself for being part of a large organization of health food providers which is sure to help with the marketing of your vending machine and products.

Naturals To Go is a legitimate vending franchise business opportunity that any entrepreneur might want to take a second look at. The products are part of a growing trend with healthy snacks, and the low cost of start up with no real experience required is very attractive. It is best however to complete your due diligence before the investment of time and finances. Asking about earning potential in your area, upkeep and overhead should be first and foremost the answers you should be looking for.

Pizzelle Recipe – Use These 2 Ingredients To Change Your Pizzelle Recipe

One really great feature of a pizzelle recipe is that it is very basic. This allows you to change it around as you want to. So if you typically make vanilla pizzelle but have been in the mood for something different, you can do so without having to hunt for a new recipe.

The next time you want something else in your pizzelle, put down the cookbooks and recipe files. Instead, just change out one or both of the following ingredients and customize your recipe just the way you want it.

Flavoring Oil

Flavoring oils, very concentrated edible oils, can be found in well-stocked grocery stores. They’re also available online through gourmet and speciality food merchants, as well as in the candy making sections of craft stores. You can probably find your favorite flavor among them, including orange, raspberry, hazelnut, anise, or cinnamon. Many Italian cookies, including pizzelle, use anise oil in the recipe. However, some don’t like the licorice taste of this oil, and find that other flavors work just as well.

While flavoring oil adds to the taste of the cookie, it is not an essential ingredient in a typical pizzelle recipe. If a vanilla cookie is all you really want, then you can leave this oil out. Omitting it will not affect the texture of the dough.

Vanilla And Other Extracts

A lot of times, a pizzelle recipe includes vanilla extract. This ingredient, unlike the flavoring oil, is needed in the dough, so if you change the flavor, be sure that you do not leave this ingredient out.

But you can switch the vanilla for a different flavor of extract altogether. This is a good solution for when you can’t find the flavor you want in an oil. This also works as a great solution when you don’t have a source for finding the oils or you ran out unexpectedly. A variety of extract flavors are available at the grocery store or even online, creating a totally different cookie with just a simple change. Look for something that isn’t so traditional, such as banana or coconut extract. And if you want chocolate cookies, look for some chocolate extract.

Lastly, for a new and different creation, combine a new flavor of oil with a new and different flavor of extract. Test and experiment to find your favorite flavor combination. You could become known for your one-of-a-kind hazelnut cinnamon or chocolate orange pizzelle. Be imaginative and come up with your own creations.

Juice Plus Review

Is Juice Plus a Scam?

Juice Plus is a supplement that has been in existence since 1993. I looked into the product at one time as a possible source of nutritional benefit for my family. I was even interested in becoming a distributor so that I could earn a residual income, since so many people are looking for ways to improve their nutrition just like you and I. I will not say outright that the Juice Plus is a scam. I have thoroughly looked into many business opportunities, especially health related companies, and I will say that there are many fraud companies out there. I think that Juice Plus is actually one of the better companies out there, but in my search for the best quality source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and general nutritional supplements … a little bit of research let me know that Juice Plus + was not for me. Let me tell you why I decided that it was not for me.

The Juice Plus Company

Juice Plus is manufactured by a company called Natural Alternatives International in Santa Monica, California and distributed by National Safety Associates (NSA) in Tennessee. NSA was started in 1970 and before introducing Juice Plus, was known for other multilevel-marketed products. Juice Plus scam? No, they are just a smart company that seems to follow the business trends of the decades. Do you remember all of those water filter companies that were popular in the 1980s? Well this company sold home fire detectors when they were popular in the 70s, water filters in the early 80s, and air filters in the late 80s. They also sold educational games at one point.

While some companies in the past have made multilevel-marketing look bad, there is nothing wrong with using the method of sales distribution known as multilevel-marketing. If done right, it can benefit more people than traditional marketing, save people money and can also help get a product out to many who may have never learned about the product.

So from a business standpoint, it looks like they have the right idea. They follow the trends.

The Juice Plus Products

Their main products are the Juice Plus, which are not juice really, but powder in capsules. This is better than juice because juice supplements like the popular Acai berry juice, noni juice, Mona vie juice or Mangosteen juice products will begin to oxidate as soon as you open the bottle. This liquid oxidation is harmful to the body. The Juice Plus blend include great ingredients that come from fruits such as acerola berries, apples, cranberries, oranges, papaya, peaches, and pineapple. Their Juice Plus + contains vegetables that are sourced from barley, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, kale, oats, parsley, spinach, and tomato. So to answer the question is Juice Plus fraud, I say that there is no Juice Plus scam, since they sell real products with decent ingredients.

It has become general knowledge that by increasing your fruit and vegetable intake on a daily basis, that you can improve your health and wellness. Eating more fruits and vegetables will actually help your body also get rid of free radical cells as well as a natural antioxidant in the body. I just do not feel that this product has enough fruits and vegetables in it for me is all.

A Few Juicy Problems

Their Juice Plus Gummies supplement for kids were found to have around 80% corn syrup and 10% beef gelatin, making the product almost without nutritional benefit. So these are not much better than the gummy vitamin / mineral bears that you can buy at your local store. Both are basically just candy!

I assume that their other products probably have a higher quality of nutrition than this but I saw some other problems that made me shy away.

The Biggest Problem

I could not find any of the product labels on their site.

The biggest problem that I saw was that in all of the poking around on their company website, I could not find any of the product labels for any of their products! What are they trying to hide? Sure they list a few fruits and vegetables, but they do not say how much of each fruit that they use. They do not show you the nutritional facts so you can see how much sugar and natural or artificial ingredients are in each product.

I did not like that I had to buy the product to see the product labels.

Some other problems that I saw …

1. The products were not unique enough

2. There was not enough research and science

3. The testimonials were lacking

4. The products were not manufactured to high enough standards to make me want to pay the extra money for them

5. Not all of their ingredients were organic and / or plant-based.

Juice Plus Research

One thing that caught my interest when first evaluating Juice Plus was that the product had at least been in scientific journals such as Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, Nutrition Research, Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics and Integrative Medicine.

But wait a second! I soon discovered that of the the published peer-reviewed studies, only one was conducted independently! The others were all funded and / or authored by the manufacturer, the main distributor, or by individual Juice Plus distributors. That made me a little leery!

Juice Plus Testimonials

One serious mistake that was made, was in choosing former professional football player OJ Simpson to be celebrity endorser of the product. Simpson was given a multi-year six-figure contract to sign on with NSA as a icon for the company. I personally like to see a company that has a product that is so good that star athletes use the supplement on their own, simply because they like the added performance gain and benefits that they get while using them.

The testimonial of OJ Simpson was thrown even further out after he was charged with murdering his wife and her friend Ronald Goldman. In March of 1994, shortly before these murders took place, he was videotaped telling 4,000 Juice Plus distributors at a sales meeting that Juice Plus + had cured his arthritis, enhanced his golf game, and freed him from needing to use anti-arthritic drugs. However, his defense attorneys in the criminal trial in 1995 and civil trial in 1997 (and in his 2007 book If I Did It) all suggested that Simpson was so handicapped by arthritis that he could not have committed the murders. They also went on to say that Simpson was using a variety of potent anti-inflammatory drugs, such as sulfasalazine and ibuprofen. Well, these may have been what improved his arthritis enough to allow him to have an enhanced golf game.

My Conclusion

In conclusion, I looked into them as a health product and as a source for a second income, since they use the residual income model which I like. To answer the question is Juice Plus a Scam? No I do not believe Juice Plus is a scam, but Juice Plus was not for me. You should do your own research. I found an alternative that I am extremely happy with.

The Perfect Alternative

A supplement that is used by hundreds of Olympic athletes!

I found an alternative product to Juice Plus that I really like! While just looking for a health product to help my family with some health challenges, I happened across a great opportunity to get paid to share a product that I really love. Help others feel great about their health and energy. Become a wellness distributor! It is fun, rewarding and after a few years of hard work put in, can return you a nice residual income.

Everybody wants good health and more energy. Ever heard of glyconutrients? Improve your wellbeing. And since glyconutrients are so new, and are easy for anyone to start including into their diet on a regular basis, there is a huge growing demand for glyconutrients distributors. If you would like to become a local representative for an extra flow of residual income, then come talk to me. I have been consuming glyconutrients supplements for a few years now and am extremely happy with my energy, immune system, and wonderful health.

3 Foods to Avoid While Constipated

Most people have bowel movements every day or every second day depending on their diet and lifestyle. Constipation is having difficulty trying to empty your bowels for more than 3 or 4 days, or having extremely hard stools that cause pain when you try to expel them from your body. You must eat food that softens your stools to relieve constipation. Eating food that makes them harden will make the condition worse.

Heavy foods like red meat, deep-fried foods like battered fish and chips, bakery products with like pastries, cakes and bread generally take a long time to digest. Food must pass through the stomach, large intestine, small intestine, colon then the bowels before the waste products are passed out of the body as waste. Along the way different nutrients and water are extracted and delivered to the part of the body that requires it. The longer the process takes the more water is extracted, the drier or harder the stools become. Also if food is relatively dry to start with or inadequate liquid (excluding caffine products and alcohol which may be dyhydrating) is consumed the end product (the stools) will subsequently be dry or hard. [“Water is the best drink for a wise man.” said the French philosopher Henry David Thoreau.]

Red meat comes from large strong animals so it’s meat is tougher compared with the animals that white meat comes from. Therefore its meat takes longer to break down in our bodies because the muscles are stronger. White meat is easier to digest because fish and poultry have smaller muscles compared with cattle and pigs.

Fried food is generally oily. Oil makes the food tasty and softer in most cases but it is something the body doesn’t really need. The body must work harder to extract oil and fats from food so that they can be expelled. If the body’s digestive system is busy trying to neutralise other toxins that have entered the system the fat will be placed in “storage areas” around the body until it has resources to process it. When these “store rooms” are too crowded we feel bloated and uncomfortable.

Products which contain a lot of wheat flour and oil which have little nutritional value. Flour is basically a carrier for other foods. For example, the pastry shell of a pie is a “bag” or edible packaging for the meat, vegetables or fruit inside it, bread is what holds a sandwich together. The crust or bread simply make the filling more palatable and easier to digest. But most breads and pastries are simply flour, oil and air which contain no nutrients. Consuming more of the pastry rather than the filling will just clog up your digestive system, especially if you are constipated.

As my title promised I need to nominate the 3 top foods to avoid that someone with constipation should avoid. To narrow down the candidates we should consider foods that fall into two or all of the above three categories then pick out the ones that are consumed the most. The nominations are:

  • Meat pies and sausage rolls contain red meat and flour.
  • Fish and Chips are fried and the batter contains flour.
  • Barbecued or grilled steak – meat that is cooked relatively quickly doesn’t break down the fatty tissue and muscles as well as slow cooked meat so when it enters your stomach it has to be broken down more by your digestive juices.
  • Potato chips or crisps are fried and very dry. Your body must use more water to digest this so your stools will become harder if you are already constipated.
  • Hard cheeses as they have most of their moisture content pressed out in their production process. As well they contain fat and protein from a large animal.
  • Deep fried meat like schnitzel, sweet and sour pork, fried chicken.
  • Bacon and eggs or sausages and eggs.
  • Salami and other processed meats.

My pick for the top three are meat pies, deep-fried battered fish ‘n chips and potato crisps. What are yours?

Pralines by Haitian French Creole Natives

Saint-Domingue (present day Haiti) was the richest sugar colony for the French during French occupation of that Caribbean island during the 17th century. Haiti was the backbone for the beginning and duration of the French sugar industry. The knowledge and resources for processing cane sugar to refined sugar, gave the French the advantage of becoming the leader in the sugar industry during the 17th century. The abundance of sugar in Haiti provided the French with the opportunity for creative desserts in Haiti and in France. The praline was one of the French desserts created from the abundance of sugar during that time. However, this confection did not take on the “praline” name until its introduction to the United States.

Pralines are often defined as caramelized nuts or sugar coated nuts. Credit is often attributed to one well to do French sugar industrialist that lived in France during the 17th century. However, Haitian French Creoles believe that this is a recipe that was created in a French Plantation home in Haiti during French occupation of Haiti and transported to France where a French industrialist took credit for the creation of this recipe.

Although praline is well known only to American living in the southern states, every native Haitian knows this confection because it is a true part of their culture and livelihood. The Haitian’s name for praline is the “Haitian Tablet”. This recipe was later introduced in New Orleans by the French and their Haitian Creole house servants traveling from Haiti to New Orleans.

Haitian Tablets (Pralines) take two forms in Haiti. Made with brown sugar, this confection has a chewy consistency due to the molasses found in brown sugar. Cream and white sugar is added to the recipe to create a less chewy but creamier candy. The introduction of a variety of nuts like almonds, peanuts, coconut and cashew made for a great variety of pralines in Haiti. Peanut was and is still the most popular Haitian variety of this confection. The Haitian has named this confection, “Tablet Pistache”. Translated, this is the peanut variety of praline. Coconut is the next favorite variety of this confection for Haitian. Due to unfavorable condition for growth, pecan was not a nut option for this confection on the island of Haiti. Most Haitians are not familiar Pecan Pralines. This variety of praline became popular once this recipe was introduced in New Orleans because Pecans was abundant in the southern states of the United Sates.

French culture and cuisine was introduced in Haiti during French occupations of that island. Even though Haiti is a free country today, the French cultural influence and cuisine are still observed in Haiti’s language, mannerism and culinary skills.

The Haitian Tablet (Praline) is still abundant today and throughout Haiti’s main cities and countryside. It is one of the oldest confections produce by Haitian natives in Haiti. It is also one of Haitian’s most favorite treat.

Although pralines are simple to create, they are seldom authentic because those who create this confection are seldom direct French descendants and their recipes are often gathered from present day resources about the generic praline. There is one manufacturer of this confection that can call this recipe “authentic”. Le Gourmet Praline is a praline manufacturer owned by a Haitian French Creole who is a direct descendant of French and Haitian parents and was born on the Island of Haiti. Le Gourmet Praline recipe was handed down throughout the generations. There are family secrets to this recipe that makes this confection unique from any other pralines in this industry.

5 Extremely Important Tips For Commercial Baking

As a commercial baker, I have spent many hours in the hot kitchen baking hours upon hours and making numerous mistakes. I love to share what I learn with others so they do not have to go through making the same mistakes and save themselves time and money with a special of saving frustration on the side.

There are many things you can do as a commercial baker to make your job easier and safer but there are 5 important tips I would like to share as a commercial baker myself. I love watching the Gordon Ramsey cooking shows he has such as “Kitchen Nightmares” “The F Word” and “Hell’s Kitchen.” Although these shows are entertaining, they are quite educational. There is a very good reason why he is one of the number one chef’s in the world. Based on my experiences and what I have learned from other cooks and chefs there are five tips I would like to focus on: cleanliness, cross-contamination, hydration, ventilation, and multitasking.

Cleanliness

Being clean in your kitchen is of utmost importance, that is why it is listed here first. Keeping every square inch of your kitchen clean from ceiling to floor to refrigerator to oven is important for a laundry list of reasons. You can create places for bacteria or molds to grow which is very bad for food industries and help you flunk health inspections; you can cause cross-contamination which could result in allergic reactions in your customers and possible law suits; and your kitchen simply looks unappealing when it is messy and dirty. Having things grow or gunk up on your equipment is not recommended because they can begin to malfunction or drop some of the build-up into the food you are cooking. This will ultimately change the flavor of your food.

The routine I tend to follow is to clean before I start, clean while I work and clean when I’m finished. I wash all surfaces before I begin, making sure there isn’t even dust on an overhead fan that can fall into my recipes. I wash my dishes and counter tops as I work to prevent anything from getting in the foods I am preparing to keep the foods accurate and rich in flavor. You do not want to mix flavors from one recipe into another recipe; the results could be disastrous.

Be sure to wash your hands between handling each step if possible and wear gloves and a hair net. You wouldn’t want an unsightly hair falling in the food you plan to serve. That would not promote repeat business. Also, you never know when you will have a guest in your kitchen so keeping it clean and surfaces polished makes you look like a hero and a clean cook. I personally wash and polish all surfaces in my kitchen when I’ve finished to make everything sparkle and shine, literally. It makes cleaning so much easier and quicker when it’s done daily and saves time.

Cross-Contamination

Food allergies are a big deal today. any more people have allergies today than they did 20 years ago. The types of food allergies are getting worse and more obscure. I myself have food allergies that make it very difficult to get certain proteins in my diet. I also personally know someone allergic to mint. Whatever the case, you don’t want to end up with a lawsuit on your hands that might put you out of business. Your best bet is to develop certain practices in your kitchen. One practice I use is to have a different spoon, bowl, and spatula for each individual cookie batter I make. I do not switch spoons or rinse spoons. Once I have finished that batter, the spoon goes straight into the dishwasher and does not get hand washed. I also make those recipes that do not usually have food allergies first so the odors of other foods such as nuts do not contaminate them. Some people are so highly allergic they can have a reaction to the smell of the food. Making these batters first then sealing them and putting them away also helps prevent spatter from contaminating. Just try to look at the baking situation from the perspective of a person with allergies and make adjustments where you feel you need to.

Hydration

Kitchens tend to get stuffy and hot. Heat can ultimately cause dehydration. Dehydration can be a problem resulting in exhaustion and dizziness which can lead to mistakes or even accidents. As explained earlier, accidents such as cross-contamination can be a fatal mistake. Making a mistake of not cleaning while working properly can also cause problems of raw food materials and ultimately food poisoning. Again, not a good situation to get yourself into. My best suggestion, get yourself a sport bottle that you can’t spill into your foods and keep it away from your immediate work area but still within reach. Drink plenty of water and fluids to keep yourself hydrated properly and thinking clearly.

Ventilation

Ventilation goes along with hydration because ventilation helps keep the air moving, flowing and keeps the heat down to a reasonable level. Too much heat can lead to dehydration and mistakes or accidents. Moving the air around and reducing the heat helps minimize these problems. A ceiling fan works well to move the air and a range hood for your stove moving the air outside of the building works great to keep the heat out of the kitchen completely. Be sure these devices are kept clean and dust free because you don’t want contaminants in your foods. Another good reason for ventilation is to keep the smells to a minimum. Heavy smells in the kitchen can actually flavor your foods. Smells are constructed of tiny, microscopic particles of that object. For example, if you smell Marsala sauce, there are actually tiny particles of that sauce floating in the air and drifting into your nose allowing you to smell it. Keeping this information in mind, if your baking a Belgian chocolate mousse pie, but you smell peanut butter in your kitchen, chances are the flavor could deposit itself into your pie. This is another reason for cross-contamination precautions I use by making basic batters first then making my peanut butter or white chocolate macadamia nut batters last.

Multitasking

Multitasking is important in any commercial baking situation and is a key element to being able to function in this environment. Having to make so many recipes in so little time can be daunting but done right can maximize profits and minimize stress levels. My best suggestion is to start small and get that routine down to a science before adding more. Slowly, add one piece at a time until you are sure you can handle what you give yourself. If you can only handle three items at a time, take it for what it is worth and stick with three at a time. Too much can lead to mistakes and lost profits. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t do twenty things at once. At least your still making a profit and churning out quality products. Remember, one of the most important things to sell your product is quality and not so much quantity. As you perfect you routines, you may find tools that can help you improve on time and increase the quantity without letting the quality suffer.

I hope you have found this article useful and keep watching for more in the future.

General Facts About Charter Buses

Using different types of transport other than a personal vehicle is becoming more popular today as people are more aware of the environmental benefits of the process. Therefore it is essential to remember that knowing more about charter buses and how useful they can be is vital for many people.

Charter buses are the type of buses which are rented by individuals or organizations to move a group of people to a certain destination. Charter buses usually cater to large groups and are indispensable when there are events taking place far away from one’s home. These are perfect solutions for students going on field trips or theatre outings, sportsmen going on tournaments and competitions, corporate business people attending conventions and conferences, etc.

Charter bus services are usually provided by private transportation companies and therefore they differ greatly from public transport. The service is easily customizable and in unique cases provisions may be made to accommodate smaller groups of individuals such as traveller companies or people going to private parties. The comforts of charter buses are also well known and may include air conditioning, high tech entertainment systems, comfortable easily reclining chairs, catering services and so on.

Every charter company tries to deliver the best services to their customers. The commercialized nature of the enterprise means that the needs of every client are met to the maximum capacity. It is possible to negotiate all the details of the transportation event in advance and make sure the whole group is enjoying the trip.