Small businesses, take heart: Even Starbucks makes mistakes

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

For those of us that just want to get a plain old tall coffee at Starbucks the experience of waiting in line while the person in front makes one of those complicated, off-the-menu, calorie-laden, ice cream-in–the-guise-of-coffee orders makes us want to turn right around and head to the corner 7-Eleven.

Starbucks sensed this frustration and in 2015 launched a new service where customers could order and pay ahead with their mobile app. That way, the order would be ready and waiting for us to swoop in and grab our drink without delay. Except it’s not working out that way. Read More…

This Startup CEO Believes New Tech Will Be a Job-Killer…And He’s Okay With That

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(This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post)

I previously wrote about how Wendy’s, the fast-food restaurant chain, is deploying 1,000 kiosks in its restaurants across the country. The company said it was doing so not just to reduce overhead, but to respond to its customers’ demands for quicker service.

As I mentioned in that report, Wendy’s is not the only restaurant investing in automation. “Everywhere, companies like Wendy’s are automating,” I wrote. “Chains like Red Robin and Uno Pizzeria & Grill are using Ziosk tablets so that customers can order, pay and play games while waiting for their food to arrive. Wawa convenience stores, beloved in my hometown of Philadelphia, take all of their deli and sandwich orders via self-service kiosks. Airports around the country have restaurants equipped with similar tablets to quickly order a bite before a flight.”

Read More…

Google Gives Your Battery More Life…And Other Small Business Tech Stories This Week

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(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 – Chrome’s latest update should help extend your laptop’s battery life.

Google has announced that the popular browser’s newest update, Chrome 57, will help prevent battery drain and subsequent performance issues by throttling background tabs that are using up too much power. (Source: Forbes)

Why this is important for your business:  Read More…

What are the odds of March Madness improving office productivity?

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

As the NCAA basketball tournament kicks off this week, should employers be cheering or groaning? That depends on what studies you read.

Tell any business owner that the tournament will improve their employees’ productivity and they’ll say that’s about as probable as Iowa making the final four. In fact, a study this week by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported in Fox Business estimated that 51 million office workers will participate in office pools during March Madness and cause employers to lose a whopping $4 billion in productivity. Sounds like it’s bad for business.

Or not. Read More…

Microsoft Just Introduced a Killer App For 85 Million Customers…And It’s Free

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(This post originally appeared on Inc.)

“Didn’t we have that same product issue a few months ago?”

“I know you and I had that conversation a while back. Don’t you remember?”

“Why are we paying for Office and hardly using it?”

You’ve asked these questions. Now, you’ll have some answers. This week, Microsoft launched a new product called Microsoft Teams and, if you’re already one of its 85 million Office 365 customers, you don’t have to pay anything more for it. Read More…

Study: You need 86 candidates to hire that one right person

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

Finding the right employee is not easy and a new study proves why.

According to research by recruiting software service Lever, a typical small business employing fewer than 200 people needs to go through an average of 86 applications to find that one right person for the job. The study looked at data from about 1.5 million candidate considerations and 15,000 hires at 600 of Lever’s customers throughout most of 2016. Although reviewing that many candidates sounds like a lot of work, this rate is actually better than most larger companies, who need to see an average of 100 candidates before hiring someone. Read More…

These New Self-Service Kiosks Could Change the Fast-Food Industry

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(This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post)

Wendy’s, the giant fast-food chain, will be installing self-ordering kiosks at more than 1,000 — or sixteen percent — of its locations by the end of 2017.

According to this report from the Columbus Dispatch, the kiosks are already in testing at several locations in Ohio. They work. They’re ready.

Wendy’s isn’t the only company doing this. Chains like Red Robin and Uno Pizzeria & Grill are using Ziosk tablets so that customers can order, pay and play games while waiting for their food to arrive. Wawa convenience stores, beloved in my hometown of Philadelphia, takes all of its deli and sandwich orders via self-service kiosks. Airports around the country have restaurants equipped with similar tablets to quickly order a bite before a flight.

Read More…