Category Archives: health nutrition

Advantages to Computers in the Food & Beverage Industry

Computers have revolutionized the food and beverage industry as they have nearly every other industry. Computers have had positive, measurable effects on the front end and back end of hospitality operations. Computers systems have improved employee performance, and food and beverage quality and consistency. Within the food and beverage industry there is no longer a question of should technology be used, but rather a question of which technology to use? In the food and beverage business, computers are here to stay.

In the hospitality industry, customer service is an absolute critical factor for success. Computers are helping in this area in several ways. In many restaurants, the wait staff can process various forms of payment at guest tables, which allows guest to leave directly from their table without the need to stop at a centralized checkout station. This has removed long unsightly lines, which annoy customers, and disrupt the flow of traffic in food and beverage businesses. This service is made possible by either small hand held computers which handle credit card transactions using wireless technology, or via remote point of sale systems that interact with a central computer system. This improves the customers dining experience, which should be the goal of any food service business.

A key management concern of any food and beverage business is the profit margin. In this vital area of business, computers have also proven to be an indispensable tool. Computer systems help manage the entire food service process from ordering the ingredients needed to produce menu items, to forecasting the amount of items to prepare for each dining period based on historical patterns. This helps to reduce wasted food, which is very expensive and comes out of the businesses profit. It also helps in preparing menu items before hand, which reduces customer wait time. Computer can also forecast with high accuracy rates the volume of business to be expected which allows managers to properly staff their business. This is vital because having too much staff on hand can consume unnecessary amounts of payroll, and not having enough staff on hand will cause customer service problems.

Computers are also being used in very innovative ways by some food and beverage businesses. For instance, Darden Restaurants that owns and operates the Red lobster and Olive Garden chains uses computers to help choose new building sites. This computer system uses a software program called the Darden Site Analyzer. The software gathers critical information needed to select a site, such as demographics, distance to other restaurants and customer information specific to the Darden business model. The program then analyzes the site and provides a series of reports to help Darden make the final decision. Darden plans to improve the software so that it can evaluate things such as whether a new Darden restaurant will negatively effect other Darden restaurants in the same area.

Computer systems have become a vital part of all aspects of the food and beverage industry, they help with purchasing decisions, inventory control, employee scheduling and training, and customer acquisition and retention. A leading indicator of this growing trend is the fact that many hospitality training programs now include computer and technology courses in the curriculum.

Each year innovators are creating more unique ways that technology can be used to enhance the overall commercial dining experience. Computers make out of home dining a more enjoyable experience for the consumer and a more profitable manageable experience for business managers and owners.

(c) 2006, Marcus Barber

The Importance of Boot Camp Fitness Program

Boot camp fitness programs are scientifically designed workouts to suit a wide range of people who value physical fitness and are serious about remaining physically agile and trim. The fitness programs may vary in style, rigor and intensity to meet individual needs. Boot camp techniques and exercises can burn the extra fat and calories and also initiate you into a different lifestyle.

Losing weight and getting into shape seems nearly impossible for a lot of people and the only way to achieve results is through enforcing discipline and the fitness boot camps just do that. Understanding what needs to be done to make you physically fit and trim is winning half the battle and fitness boot camp trainers know what you need to do.

Boot camp fitness participants are made to perform a wide assortment of strengthening, stretching, and cardiovascular drills, so the entire spectrum of bodily fitness – anaerobic, aerobic, and mobility – is trained with every session.

Not long ago, boot camp fitness programs were terribly excruciating and you almost killed yourself with workouts that largely resembled the rigorous military training imparted to soldiers. Things have changed a lot and in a fitness boot camp, you need no longer train like a soldier to lose weight and get into proper physical shape. But still boot camp fitness programs are challenging and you need a lot of self-discipline.

Boot camp workouts are productive because you work your entire body-nerves, tissues and muscles-through successive exercises one after the other with no respite in between. The workouts involve jumping jacks, crunches, body-weight squats, push-up with rotation, single-leg straddle, step jumps, explosive push-up, running, bicycling and lot more.

In boot camp, the challenge is to test your physical endurance and to take your body to its farthest limits. They are are aimed at:

• Effectively burn out a lot of unwanted calories leading to shedding of excess fat

• Making you work your entire body within in a short span of time and increase your powers of endurance and enhanced muscle strength

• Having each exercise differently so that you are not bored and remain enthusiastic

• Keep you motivated as you will do the workouts in the company of peers

• Easy to perform exercises that you can do anywhere with little equipment

• Boosting your levels of self-confidence and achieving overall body fitness

Some select fitness programs for free fitness assessments to determine the type of workout you will require and also supply participants with nutrition booklet including guidelines & tips to speed up results.

Each person’s program is individualized to make it result-oriented – from the type of food and nutrition and the physical workout program design and behavioral education and changing of lifestyle. Before enrolling in fitness programs, please verify if they are reliable and whether they have qualified nutritionist, therapist, trainers and other health care professionals.

Make sure the trainers at these fitness camps also undertake to build a program for you to pursue even after the session is over so that you sustain the levels of physical fitness you attained at the camp. This is critically important if attending a fitness camp is to guarantee long-term benefits and you get your money’s worth.

The Heart Un-Healthy Western Diet

“God sendeth and giveth both mouth and meat.” Thomas Tusser

“The beef industry has contributed to more American deaths than all the wars of this century, all natural disasters, and all automobile accidents combined. If beef is your idea of `real food for real people,’ you’d better live real close to a real good hospital.” Dr. Neal D. Bernard, MD

The ‘Western’ Diet is a ‘meat-sweet’ diet. This diet is high in red and processed meats, sweets, fried foods, refined grains, and desserts. And after almost a century, it has finally become clear that this diet has become a serious threat to our health.

Obesity is primarily related to excessive caloric intake. The meat-sweet diet of USA has resulted in sixty-five percent of adults aged 20 y being either overweight or obese. Unfortunately, the numbers are increasing and the estimated number of deaths ascribable to obesity growing. The western diet is strongly associated with cardiovascular disease, hypertension, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and cancer. Cardiovascular disease is the cause of 38.5% of all deaths in the US. Almost 65 million Americans suffer from cardiovascular disease. The second leading cause of death is cancer in the US. It is estimated that one third of all cancers (25% of all deaths ) are related to diet and obesity. Other chronic diseases strongly related to and influenced by the western diet are hypertension (50 million Americans), diabetes (11 million), elevated cholesterol (37 million) and osteoporosis (7.2 million) and osteopenia (39.6 million). Hip fractures greatly increase the mortality, and osteoporosis plays a major role in this disease.

Indications of the dangerous nature of the western diet started emerging almost a century ago. In 1916, Dutch physician De Langen published a study of showing the higher cholesterol levels of Dutch immigrants as those of the native Javanese. This almost double cholesterol level was associated with metabolic diseases such as atherosclerosis, diabetes, obesity, and nephritis. In 1950’s, Keys and coworkers found that cholesterol levels and coronary heart disease mortality rates were high in United States and Finland, while being low in Japan and southern Europe. They attributed this to the substantial differences in the dietary patterns – an early indication that the ‘Western” diet was heart unhealthy.

In 1958 a major scientific study called the Seven Countries Study, involving 12,763 men between the ages of 40 to 59 years began. These countries were the United States, Finland, the Netherlands, Italy, Greece, the former Yugoslavia, and Japan. Over a period of 25 years, about 6000 men died, of which 1500 men died of coronary heart disease. Populations with the highest consumption of animal food groups, with the exception of fish, had a much higher 25-year coronary heart disease mortality rates, when compared to populations with the highest vegetable, grains, fish and wine consumption. During the start of the study, the consumption of milk, potatoes, butter, and sugar products was very high in Finland. Netherlands had a similar but lower consumption pattern. Meat, pastry and fruit consumption (meat-sweet diet) was high in the United States. The Italians ate a lot of cereal and drank moderate amounts of wine while bread consumption was high in the former Yugoslavia. Greeks consumed high amounts of olive oil and fruit, while the Japanese were fond of fish, rice, and soy products. Heart attacks… God’s revenge for eating his little animal friends. -Author Unknown

How did the western diet emerge? The Western diet developed gradually over the last 200 years and was mainly a result of industrialization. In the prehistoric times, milk intake was limited to mother’s milk as it was impossible to milk wild animals. “The human body has no more need for cows’ milk than it does for dogs’ milk, horses’ milk, or giraffes’ milk.” -Michael Klaper, MD, author of Vegan Nutrition: Pure & Simple. With domestication of cows and other animals and subsequent ability for refrigeration, a whole host of dairy products became a staple of the western diet. The mechanized steel roller mills and automated sifting devices of today remove most of the germ and bran of the cereal grains, leaving mainly the endosperm as flour. The recent production of high fructose corn syrup greatly increased refined sugar consumption. Industrialization also produced more atpical vegetable oils for consumption that are high in trans fatty acids, as is seen in margarine and shortening. Salt intake is very high in the United States. Unfortunately 90% of the salt in the typical US diet comes from manufactured salt that is added to the food supply, and not from salt added while cooking or from the table.

“Meat, which contains cholesterol and saturated fat, was never intended for human beings, who are natural herbivores.”William C. Roberts, M.D. and Editor in Chief, American Journal of Cardiology, vol. 66, October 1, 1990. Unlike meat from wild animals or pasture raised cattle, 99% of all the beef consumed in the United States is high in the unhealthy saturated fatty acids and n-6 fatty acids and low in the beneficial n-3 fatty acids. This meat is mainly produced from grain-fed, feedlot cattle. “The beef industry has contributed to more American deaths than all the wars of this century, all natural disasters, and all automobile accidents combined. If beef is your idea of `real food for real people,’ you’d better live real close to a real good hospital.” -Neal D. Barnard, M.D.

The western diet is also deficient in micronutrients (At least half the US population fails to meet the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin B-6, vitamin A, magnesium, calcium, and zinc, and 33% of the population does not meet the RDA for folate), is conducive to an acidic body status (fish, meat, poultry, eggs, shellfish, cheese, milk, and cereal grains are net acid producing, whereas fresh fruit, vegetables, tubers, roots, and nuts are net base producing.), has less potassium (Industrial periods caused a 400% decline in the potassium intake while simultaneously initiating a 400% increase in sodium ingestion ) and fiber (refined sugars, vegetable oils, dairy products, and alcohol, are all devoid of fiber. Refined grains contain about 400% less fiber when compared to whole grains, and the former represent 85% of the grains consumed in the United States). These are all detrimental to the health, especially cardiac health. Because normally with Western cuisine, you’ll serve vegetables separate from the meat, so kids will eat the meat and never touch the vegetables. Martin Yan. Vegetables and fruits are mainly side dishes or desserts in the Western Diet.

More die in the United States of too much food than of too little. -John Kenneth Galbraith, The Affluent Society. The western diet has also become an excessive calorie diet, resulting in the obesity epidemic in the western world, with all its health consequences. Americans eat 3,770 calories a day, and have the highest per capita daily consumption in the world. This is more than a Canadian at 3,590 calories or an Indian at 2,440, according to data from the UN Food and Agricultural Organization. Unfortunately switching to diet sodas does not help – a recent report has shown the diet soda drinkers may be more prone to the dangerous metabolic syndrome.

When combined with inactivity and smoking, the western diet has become lethal. So cut down on red meat, especially beef and change to a prudent heart healthy diet. So, as an old English Proverb warns: don’t dig your grave with your own knife and fork.

The Ninja 1100 – Is It a Blender or a Food Processor?

The Ninja 1100 has been uniquely programmed for controlled processing.

It is a two-for-the-price-of-one kitchen system as it provides the functions of a blender as well as a food processor and also makes pulps of whole fruit and crushes ice.

It has one ‘control box’ area on which either one of the two containers can fit, each with its own blades and other attachments.

This is no ordinary blender or mixer and the ‘base’ contains some innovative controls providing a unique system.

These controls are based on pre-selected speeds called ‘pulses’ and they are used for the controlled processing: Pulse 1 (Dough) Pulse 2 (Blend) Pulse 3 (Crush)

Pulse 1 is a slow speed that can powerfully mix dough using up to 1 ½ lbs. of flour. Ingredients are put into the bowl and the dough hook works slowly at first until all the ingredients are incorporated and then speeds up to mix the dough until it is of the desired consistency.

This is called SmartSpeed. It does not go faster, but remains at a steady, pre-selected speed to mix the dough into a ball. At this point the Ninja’s job is over and the cook takes over, proving and baking the dough. The difficult part of the job was done by the Ninja.

Pulse 2 – Blender Function. This is the speed at which smoothies are made using the quad blade 4 in the 40-oz. Bowl. These blades are razor-sharp and can shave pieces off a fingernail and worse, so handle it with care.

Smoothies are made with milk and fruit and ice. This is a sort of basic mix, but the combinations are endless. Buy a recipe book and try out the many different smoothies, fruit and vegetable blends.

Pulse 3 – (Crush) is used to make frozen drinks and crush frozen fruit and ice. The quad blade with 6 blades and the 72-oz pitcher is used and this is where Margaritas are made. It is easy and quick. Just put the makings for the drink together, add ice and let the machine go for as long as necessary. It is usually done in a few seconds.

Make juice as well on Pulse 3 using the whole fruit without peeling. If these are a bit thick, thin it down with water. Some people prefer these thick juices containing the whole fruit, peel and all, while others prefer the thinner juices mage in juice extractors where the pulp is separated from the juice. The 72-oz container is most often used for making frozen drinks.

The Pulse 3 allows for the high speeds necessary to beat egg whites for meringues, using the whisk.

The Ninja 1100 Kitchen System has a unique set of controls that enables it to perform all its functions really well.

Press the link below to find out more about the individual applications and abilities of the Ninja 1100.

Things You Should Do When Getting Pharmaceutical Supplies

The health industry is one of the most sensitive. It is supposed to extend solutions to improve health and the slightest overlook could be the thin line between life and death. Pharmaceutical supplies are important and they should be handled with the seriousness they deserve. If you are a supplier you will only manage to create a good reputation in the market only with quality products that are approved by the right bodies.

This is something that you should be able to do by taking the right measures when getting your supplies, especially when dealing with manufacturers offering the supplies online. There is more emphasis on checking out the credibility of the manufacturer or supplier before trusting them with your orders and any other medical supply needs you may have.

Find out whether the manufacturer adheres to good manufacturing practice

There are set standards when it comes to manufacturing pharmaceutical products and your manufacturer should be compliant in every sense. The GMP requirements should not only be met in the manufacturing plant, but also with the products that the company produces. With such requirements being met, you at least have assurance that you can trust in the quality of your products.

Find out whether the manufacturer works with a product line you are interested in

Health products are numerous and come in different categories. Whether you are looking for specific drugs, supplements or steroids and hormonal products, you want to be sure that your manufacturer does produce them and can meet with your requirements. Some manufacturers may specialize in one category, whereas others may deal with more than one product. Choose a manufacturer you can trust with your current supply needs as well as any future needs that you may have.

Ensure the products are cleared and approved by the relevant health bodies

FDA seems to be the most recognized body and only high quality products that meet global standards are approved and cleared. It is actually very important even for consumers to ensure that they buy only health products that have been approved by this body or any other relevant body depending on where they are located. You do not want to put the health of others at risk by getting products whose quality is unknown.

Make queries about the product you are about to buy

Finding out as much as you can about a product is important, especially if it is a product you are not very familiar with. From the information given by the supplier or manufacturer, you will be able to make an informed decision that you won’t regret. You should also not forget to check dates, especially the expiry date so you know the shelf-life of the products you are buying. If you are a patient trying to buy your products directly from manufacturers it is best that you get some insight from your doctor. Doctors are among the first to know about new health care products and may prove beneficial guiding you to the right ones.

Benefits of Engaging in Physical Education and Sport Activities

Engaging in natural health remedies such as physical education and sport activites are encouraged by health and nutrition experts today. The increasing number of health risks and conditions that are experienced by most people today, young or old, create concern about the impact of lifestyle and diet factors to increasing those risk factors. If you wanted to adapt a change in lifestyle, make sure to learn how you can incorporate those activities in your daily life and experience their benefits.

What is Physical Education?

Physical education is a form of instruction that focus on promoting activities that involve physical development and enhance an individual’s overall well being. This is one reason why physical education is an integral part in a school’s curriculum, especially for grade school to high school students. This is the time wherein the physical body is undergoing development and engaging in activities such as dance, sports, gymnastics, and calisthenics, among other PE classes are highly encouraged.

Aside from those physical activities, games can also become part of physical education and sport classes. The idea is to stimulate play behavior to develop physical fitness and skills. Although physical education has been largely associated with the modern society, it actually has a long history that dates back to the times of ancient Greece.

Teaching Physical Education

The ability for children to benefit from physical education and sport classes depend largely on the teaching methods employed. This is why PE teachers need a certain level of qualification before they are allowed to teach this subject. A baccalaureate degree is the most basic requirement for PE teachers and some could even have concentration studies in the area of human behavior and biology.

Aside from teaching physical education and sport in schools, there is also a large demand for PE instructors in other sectors. This is partly due to the recent surge in health and fitness awareness with the need to stay active being considered as one of the healthy yet natural alternatives to combating common diseases and health risks.

Sport Activities

Although sports is viewed today as a competitive activity, it can also be practiced for leisure and fitness purposes. There are various level of sports activities that one can engage in such as amateur, leisure, and professional sports.

Sports classes are also held in schools to encourage students to participate actively for physical stimulation. After all, sports is not only fun and competitive, but it also teaches one the importance of taking care of your body and well being in terms of physical self-discipline. There are several sports activities that one can choose from such that it is easier to commit yourself into this activity, depending on what you enjoy doing most. Some of the most popular sports today include basketball, football, soccer, volleyball, tennis, swimming, to name a few.

Benefits

To encourage your kids to engage in physical education and sport activities, here are some of the rewards for doing so:

• Depending on the type of sport, it can encourage social behaviors and improve one’s ability to work with a team.

• It boosts your endurance and fitness level such that you stay healthier for longer.

• It teaches one self-discipline to adapt a healthy lifestyle and take good care of one’s body.

• It promotes physical development and acquire essential physical skills.

The Fish Pot is Michael Winner’s Favourite Barbados Restaurant 2007

Every year Michael Winner spends his Christmas holiday in Barbados, staying at the world renowned Sandy Lane Hotel. It is arguably one of the most exclusive places in the world to see and be seen at that festive time of year, with room rates approaching $3,000 per night with a 14 night minimum stay required. Food and drink not included. Release the hounds!

And as he does every year upon his return to London, Michael Winner publishes a Barbados Restaurant Review in the Sunday Times “Winners Dinners” column. Restaurant managers and owners are known to go into DEFCOM 3, high alert when “Winner, Sandy Lane, 444-2000” appears in their reservations book. His ascerbic (some claim cruel) wit and take no prisoners style of restaurant reviewing has both fans and detractors agreeing on one thing: you either love him or hate him.

Michael Winner has made more than 30 films in his career as a director. His best known film was probably DEATH WISH, starring Charles Bronson. But his weekly Winner’s Dinners column for The Sunday Times is how he is best known to foodie’s in the UK and USA. He visits the world’s top restaurants and then delivers a tell all recap of what went wrong, right or both.

In his recently published Barbados Review on February 10th, Michael Winner mentioned how the food at Sandy Lane had dipped last Christmas season. However, he still ate 35 lunches and dinners there, only going out seven times. One of the restaurants he visited was The Fishpot – a restaurant he had never visited in the 25 years of coming to Barbados. The Fishpot Restaurant, with its 21 room hotel across the street, is owned by Andrew and Patricia Warden. Winner declared The Fish Pot to be “absolutely terriffic…”

Mr Winner was not so kind to The Cliff, calling it “that so-called great Barbados dump.” Twisting the knife, he went on to say it was “the most overbooked, second-rate place in the world.” Ouch. We do not share Mr Winner’s vitriol having dined there recently ourselves with friends. A bit stuffy perhaps, but we were in our own little world and tuned out the little annoyances such as having the water glasses refilled mid sip—less is more, please. We will agree with his comment about the bored indifference cum affected attitude of the twenty something front desk staff but we found it all vaguely amusing in a WHO IS THE EMPLOYEE AND WHO IS THE CUSTOMER sort of way. All in all, more good than bad.

Another restaurant to feel the wrath of his indigestion was Daphne’s, sister restaurant to Daphne’s in London. Mr Winner said Daphne’s “occasionally has reasonable food but the service is so slow everyone complains in high volume.” We, too, have found the service to be spotty, but GM Marco Pavone works very hard to overcome the island time mentality of some wait staff that is the Achille’s heel for most Barbados restaurants. Daphne’s consistently delivers quality and innovative Italianbbean cuisine and you simply can’t beat the view.

But No. 1 on Mr Winner’s Barbados Hit List was The Fishpot. “You turn left out of Sandy Lane and drive 25 minutes, passing endless hoardings hiding upcoming apartment blocks and foreboding signs on wasteland reading, Prime residential site for sale. Eventually you come to old Barbados. There are little wooden houses, market stalls by the beach, cane fields and an aura of better times.” That is a Bajan version of MAPQUEST. “At the Fishpot you sit right by the sea, in an old 17th-century fort. It’s tranquil. It’s beautiful. It’s what Caribbean life should be.”

Michael Winner first went for lunch with Richard Hanlon, who he says is his “favourite interior designer”, and was so impressed he returned for dinner with music mogul Lucian Grainge and his wife.

“For lunch the Fishpot had fresh local lobsters, which is more than Sandy Lane could offer at the time. They presented lobsters from Belize which must have been on ice so long all their spirit and structure had departed.”

There is another Restaurant Review coming out shortly and we understand he talks about another of our favourite restaurants, the Lone Star. Winner has long been a fan of Lone Star but you just never know if an ill WINNER will be blowing. We await your words, kind Sir, with bated breath.

Painting an Ice Cream Truck: The Do’s and the Don’ts

Q: Why is owning an ice cream truck vending company like owning a modeling agency?

A: Because looks count for A LOT.

There is nothing that is going to lose you more customers in less time than a truck which has a paint job which makes it look sketchy, trashy or just plain boring. So I’ve created a list of 5 do’s and 5 don’ts you should be aware of when making the crucial decision about how to paint your truck:

DO’S:

  1. DO use bright colors which make your truck standout – after all you want to be noticed!
  2. DO use your writing and text which will advertise you by drawing the eye and which is appealing to both children and adults.
  3. DO keep your design simple – don’t bombard your customers with distracting colors and images.
  4. DO go for a retro design. For many people, ice cream trucks conjure up treasured memories from their youth so you can never be too old-fashioned!
  5. DO you know your customer! Certain designs will work better in different locations and with people from different backgrounds and income brackets. An ice cream truck selling along Venice Beach is going to have a very different look and feel than a truck selling in downtown Manhattan!

DON’T:

  1. DON’T use brown, grey or other colors which make you appear to blend into the background or worse, appear boring.
  2. DON’T overdo it with decals and decorations. Doing too much visually can be almost as bad as doing too little.
  3. DON’T use color schemes which may be associated with drugs or other illegal activity. Some ice cream vendors have given the industry a bad name by dealing more than ice cream from their trucks!
  4. DON’T place decals and other signage too high or too low. Make sure that all writing can be seen by both children and adults.
  5. DON”T spoil your amazing design by forgetting that a window may have to go in the middle of it! Make sure that you take into account the practicalities of your vehicle and make a sketch before you start painting.

At the end of the day the design of your ice cream truck will be a major component in how people view your business. When in doubt keep it simple, it is better to have a well executed simple design then trying to get fancying and having an amateur paint job. The easiest things to do are also the most effective, add some color to your bumpers, wheels, mirrors, and your rooftop speaker. Customers will notice the little things like uneven paint, uncentered decals and lettering or crooked lines so make sure everything is done right, especially on the side of your truck that has the serving window.

And remember, just because you painted your truck doesn’t mean you can neglect it; make sure you spray it down with water every few days and whenever it rains, because the dirt the accumulates on your roof will bleed down onto the sides of your truck.

Fast Food Market Forecast – The Subway Example of Strategic Product Positioning

The United States fast food market has seen a healthy rise in growth within the last three years which forecasts can be sustained. The fast food market is forecast to maintain its current growth expectations, with an anticipated Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 2.3% for the five-year period 2005-2010. This is expected to drive the market to a value of $57.6 billion by the end of 2010. Drivers of growth include increasing numbers of Americans in the workplace, which reduces the amount of time spent on preparing meals at home. In 2010, the United States fast food market is forecast to have a value of $57.6 billion, an increase of 12.1% since 2005.

Forecast Volume

In 2010, the United States fast food market is forecast to have a volume of 37 billion transactions (Figure 1). This represents an increase of 5.3% since 2005. The CAGR of the market volume in the period 2005-2010 is predicted to be 1%.

Success Factors

Success factors for fast food franchisees will include products and marketing targeted to healthier menu selections, brand consistency, low start-up costs, franchisee support, and consumer convenience. Subway ® represents a poignant example of a fast food franchisee ready for success in the future fast food market. Their strategies transcend the fast food market and apply to many other markets and products.

SWOT Analysis

Subway sandwich shops are well positioned to leverage their strengths and address reasonable threats, weaknesses, and opportunities. The table below highlights these Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

Strengths

  • Size and number stores and channels
  • Menu reflects demand for fresh, healthy and fast.
  • Use of non-traditional channels.
  • Partnering with the American Heart Association.
  • Worldwide brand recognition.
  • Customizable menu offerings.
  • Low franchisee start up costs.
  • Franchisee training is structured, brief and designed to assure rapid start-up and success.

Weaknesses

  • Décor is outdated.
  • Some franchisees are unhappy.
  • Service delivery is inconsistent from store to store.
  • Employee turnover is high.
  • No control over franchise saturation in given market areas.

Opportunities

  • Continue to Grow Global Business.
  • Update décor to encourage more dine-in business.
  • Improve Customer Service Model.
  • Continue to expand channel opportunities to include event wagons.
  • Improve franchisee relations.
  • Experiment with drive-through business.
  • Expand packaged dessert offerings.
  • Continue to revise and refresh menu offerings.
  • Develop more partnerships with movie producers and toy manufacturers to promote new movie releases through children’s menu packaging and co-branding opportunities.

Threats

  • Franchisee unrest or litigation.
  • Food contamination (spinach).
  • Competition.
  • Interest Costs.
  • Economic downturn.
  • Sabotage.
  • Law Suits.

Competitive Analysis

Subway is not without competitive pressures. Chief competitors include Yum! Brands, McDonalds, Wendy’s, and Jack in the Box. Yum! Brands are the world’s largest, with 33,000 restaurants in over 100 countries. Four of the company’s highly recognizable brands, KFC, Pizza Hut, Long John Silver’s and Taco Bell, are global leaders of the Mexican, chicken, pizza, quick-service seafood categories. Yum! has a workforce of 272,000 employees and is headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky.

McDonald’s Corporation (McDonald’s) is the world’s largest foodservice retailing chain with 31,000 fast-food restaurants in 119 countries. The company also operates restaurants under the brand names ‘The Boston Market’ and ‘Chipotle Mexican Grill’. McDonalds operates largely in the US and the UK and is headquartered in Oak Brook, Illinois employing 447,000 people.

Wendy’s International (Wendy’s) operates three chains of fast food restaurants: Wendy’s (the third largest burger chain in the world), Tim Horton’s, and Baja Fresh. Wendy’s operates over 9700 restaurants in 20 countries, has been included in Fortune magazine’s list of top 500 US companies, is headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, and employs about 57,000 people.

Jack in the Box owns, operates, and franchises Jack in the Box quick-service hamburger restaurants and Qdoba Mexican Grill fast-casual restaurants and is headquartered in San Diego, California.

Target Markets

The increase in sales of the sandwiches has been a result of decreases in consumer interest in hamburgers and fries and increases in demand for healthier options. Sales of sandwiches are growing 15 percent annually, outpacing the 3 percent sales growth rate for burgers and steaks.

Current Marketing Program

A new breed of restaurant is making big gains against the market-saturated hamburger establishments. Termed “fast-casual,” these restaurants are dominated by Mexican chains, and sandwich restaurants offering fresh-baked breads and specialty sandwiches.

Responding to evolving consumer expectations for health, fresh, custom-made sandwiches; Subway’s marketing program addresses these expectations through a number of approaches. The most notable were the television commercials featuring Jared. These commercials emphasize the healthy aspects of a Subway sandwich by highlighting the 245 pounds Jared lost by eating a Subway sandwich diet. Subway also markets through a national sponsorship in events such as American Heart Association Heart Walks and local events such as triathlons, and children’s sports teams.

The Subway example represents marketing and product strategies that are classic examples of focusing on market demand, consumer trends, product leveraging, and innovation. The marketing strategies of creating clear brand recognition, brand and product association, and market demands, have strategically positioned Subway to advance market share into the near future. These marketing strategies are also repeatable fundamental marketing strategies transcending the fast food market. Does your marketing strategy bind brand recognition to products that support your market’s future direction?

Food Allergy – The Body’s Cry For Help

If you often feel bloated, tired, or not so good after a meal; if you gave frequent have stomach pains, cramps, or bowel problems; if you have strong food cravings or food dislikes; if you experience a collection of symptoms that you just cannot explain, or sometimes become more anxious, irritable, or depressed f you may be suffering from food allergy.

Allergy has reached epidemic, proportions, and it has been estimated that at this rate, half of Europe will have allergies in a few years. Food allergies are of particular concern, as they are now being recognized as a factor in many health problems and diseases, especially in children.

Many scientists and health practitioners believe that a poor diet and the sheer quantity of toxins that are now present in our food are major factors in this unprecedented rise in the number and severity of allergies over the last decades.

When Food Harms Instead of Helping

Much of our food is over-processes and treated with toxins all the way from production to sale. Instead of being a major source of true health and resilience, therefore, the food we eat can actually undermine our body’s ability to deal effectively with daily stresses, and to clear out the toxins that assault us from all sides. No wonder that more and more of our bodies are reacting with food allergies.

Food allergies not only harm our bodies (and our minds), they also prevent us from deriving the full nutritional benefits from the healthful foods we do eat. By causing damage to our digestive systems, they can prevent complete breakdown of foods into essential nutrients, and interfere with the body’s ability to properly absorb what nutrients are available. This can lead to nutrient deficiencies and malnutrition, even though you might be eating lots of good food.

Another problem is that food allergies can restrict your ability to eat the foods you need. A diverse diet offers maximum assurance that you are getting the nutrients you need, but if you live in fear of a reaction, you might find yourself limiting your diet more than you need to. For instance, a person with an allergy to swiss chard or silverbeet might eliminate all greens from their diet, when really, they might only be reacting to a particular chemical found in plants of the ‘beet’ genus. By eliminating all greens, this person is losing many health-giving properties of greens, which are outstanding sources of chlorophyll, calcium and magnesium.

Allergenic foods

An allergenic or reactive food is one that causes an allergic reaction, such as hives, wheezing, stomach cramps or stuffy nose. The foods that tend to be most highly allergenic (especially to children) are: milk wheat corn sugar soy nuts eggs.

Other highly reactive foods are: oats, yeasts, chocolate, seafood, beef and citrus.

However, you can develop an intolerance, sensitivity or allergy to any food. The degree of sensitivity to a food depends on your tolerance ‘threshold’ for that food. You might be able to eat small amounts of a food, but react to larger amounts. Or some foods may be eaten without reaction once in a while, but not more frequently.

In fact, you may not be reacting to the specific food, but to one of more of the components of that food. It might surprise you to learn that the most common problematic substances are the vitamins and minerals in foods. They can cause us to have allergic reactions to many foods we eat on a daily basis. Other major causes of food allergy are food additives, sulphur, pesticides, biotechnology and genetic engineering.

Symptoms of Food Allergy

There are many warning signs that indicate that you might have a food allergy: dark circles under the eyes, frequent sniffing or throat-clearing, irritability, moodiness, hyperactivity, or frequent fatigue. Other signs may include headaches, stomach aches, bowel problems, muscle pain, coughing or wheezing, and frequent digestive or respiratory problems. Symptoms vary from person to person. Common signs of food allergy include the following:

Digestive problems – Reactions to food allergens can damage to walls lining the digestive tract, and also disrupt the balance of hormones and chemicals needed for proper digestion and elimination. This can lead to problems such as Leaky Gut syndrome, where the walls of the small intestine leak partially-digested food into the blood stream. This can lead to bloating, stomach cramps and inflammation, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, autoimmune and immune deficiency diseases, and many other problems.

Blocked airways – Food allergens are responsible for excess mucus in many allergic people, leading to chronic blocked noses, and mucuosy throats – as well as ear infections. Babies have very small upper airways and it takes very little to block them. When the allergens are removed from the diet, the mucus dries up.

Middle Ear infections – Over 70% of children suffer from middle ear infection at some time or other, and it believed by many researchers to arise from food allergies, particularly to milk and wheat. One study reported that 78% of the children with otitis showed allergies milk, wheat, egg white, peanuts, and soy, and when these foods were eliminated from their diet, 86% experienced significant improvement.

Psychological or emotional problems – Food allergies have been clearly linked to a range of psychological and behavior disorders such as autism and hyperactivity in children, anxiety, depression, inability to concentrate, mood swings, and ‘fogginess’.

Food addictions – If you are addicted to a food, you are probably allergic to it. This is because allergic reactions in the body trigger the release of certain chemicals, among them, opioids, which make you feel good. If you feel happier when you eat that food, you can develop a craving for it.

Types of Food Allergies

If you are allergic to a food, you can experience either an immediate or a delayed reaction to food. The immediate reaction pattern is referred to as Type l food allergy. Immediately or within a short time after eating the food, you show clear and often dramatic symptoms. If you are allergic to fungus, you might develop abdominal cramps within an hour of eating a ragout containing mushrooms. A child with a type 1 reaction to kiwi fruit might experience severe itching in the mouth or vomiting within 15 minutes of eating a kiwi fruit.

The most dangerous Type l reaction is called anaphylaxis – a severe reaction that can be fatal within minutes. If you or your child experiences light-headedness), swollen tongue or throat, difficulty breathing, fainting or facial swelling immediately after eating food, seek immediate emergency care.

Type l food allergies are easy to diagnose. They respond to allergy skin tests, and show up on blood tests because they result in an excess of IgE antibodies. For many doctors, this is the only kind of real food allergy. Recent estimates show that that Type l food allergies occur in between 3-5 % (sometimes to 8%) of children, and in 1-2 % of adults.

Type ll food allergy does not involve IgE antibodies. Instead, IgA, IgG and IgM antibodies may be produced. This reaction pattern is associated with the release of inflammatory substances by the immune system. Many food allergies are of this type, therefore, they are not detected by standard allergy tests, which usually only test for the IgE antibodies.

Some reactive patterns are ‘hidden’. Delayed patterns of food allergy (referred to as Type lll food allergy) often go unrecognized because the symptoms are not usually obvious, and may occur days after the food is eaten. Also, since they do not involve the production of excess IgE antibodies, delayed allergy reactions to not show up on skin tests or IgE antibody tests. Rather, they tend to show up as clusters of physical, behavioral and learning problems affecting several body systems at once.

You may experience Type lll allergy as a combination of recurring or persistent symptoms such as breathlessness, frequent clearing of throat, episodes of hyperactivity and emotional hypersensitivity, chronic stuffy nose, and frequent flu-like symptoms. Another person may experience recurring headaches, frequent itching of the eyes, abdominal pains, fatigue, bouts of depression, sleep problems, and swelling of the lymph nodes. These delayed reaction patterns of food allergy are difficult to diagnose. Yet according to many health practitioners, they account for the majority of food allergies, especially in children.

In fact, food allergies are so common – and still so frequently undiagnosed – that you should take any undefined pattern of illness that involves different symptoms and different body symptoms as a sign of food allergy until proven otherwise.

Treatment

It used to be accepted that children outgrew food allergies, and adults sometime report the same, but we now that allergies just evolve and change over time. For instance, allergies to milk or eggs can evolve into respiratory or other allergies, or as various health problems. For true healing to occur, the underlying allergies must be addressed.

The most common treatment for food allergies is avoidance. This will relieved the symptoms and prevent further damage; however, it can mean a lifetime of restrictive diets.

There is some evidence that eating organic foods can decrease the incidence or severity of allergic reactions to food, and may even help protect against allergic reactions. Organic foods provide more of the quality nutrients needed to build up the immune system, which is always weak in those with allergies. Certainly, a diet high in organic foods decreases the chances of developing allergies to food additives and pesticides, and can reduce the incidence of allergies.

However, if you already have food allergies, the damage they have already caused still needs to be corrected.

The best solution to food allergies is desensitization. There are different treatment options available, some of them immunizing the body to allergens with extracts taken under the tongue or injections. Acupuncture has also been shown effective in treating some allergies. The problem is that these therapies may not address the underlying health issues, such as nutrient deficiencies, toxin overload or stress, that caused food allergies in the first place.

For a real solution to food allergies, choose a program that involves detoxification to clear the body of toxins that contribute to allergies, corrects other underlying health problems, and desensitizes you to the allergens that are affecting you.

Once the food allergies are under control or eliminated, it is important that you obtain solid nutritional advice to help you maintain and build the health of your immune system. If you don’t eat enough of the right foods, or eat too much of the wrong foods, you are at risk of developing new allergies or other problems. A good diet is still your best protection.