The Chefs Table


Navigating the 4 C’s of Credit around the Perfect Economic Storm.

Posted in Entrepreneur by ftiess on the February 24th, 2009

Getting your bearings straight. To state it simply the 4 C’s of credit are Character, Capacity, Capital, and Conditions. All of these factors are used in the evaluation by a prudent loan officer to develop an extension of credit from a lender to a borrower. Besides being the most important factor Character also hold the distinction of being the hardest of the factors to accurately measure. Capacity refers the borrower’s ability to repay the loan. Capital evaluation involves looking over the financial strength of the borrower by determining his or her Net Worth. Finally, the economy, national security, and unemployment rates are all Conditions that may affect a borrower’s ability to secure a loan.

In Irons – to head in the wind and refuse to fall off
Character evaluation is the single most difficult measure of a person’s ability to repay a loan. Has the person been bankrupt before, has their car ever been reposed, have they attended college, do they own a home? These are all questions, plus many others that a loan officer must use to determine if a person is of good character for a loan consideration. In my opinion character must be developed at a rather young age, and rarely develops past the stage of pre-pubescence. When morals, ethics, and values are instilled in a child, he or she will have the ability to make the tougher choices when they are older.

Waterline -the line along the hull at which a boat floats.
Capacity to repay a loan is the second factor in a loan evaluation. How much does the borrower owe, own, and earn? This is one of the problems associated with today’s housing crisis. In the October 13th 2008 issue of Time Magazine Niall Ferguson wrote “when families and banks tip into bankruptcy, more assets get dumped on the market driving prices down further and necessitating more deleveraging This process now has so much momentum that even $ 700 billion in taxpayer money may not suffice to stop it.”
So with our current figure of bailout dept reaching a trillion how can we expect to stay afloat?
Ferguson stated the cause “Much of the increase in debt was used to invest in real estate. The result was a bubble….as bubbles always do- it bursts” All of the mortgage telemarketers, Di-Tech commercials and snail mail loan offers in the world will not fix the storm that we have created for ourselves. How will the government fix it, sorry to tell you but they can’t. We have to start thinking a little more for ourselves before taking that “Live Now Pay Later” refinance deal that in some cases have place the value of the principle mortgage more than the home is worth. Why are some people sinking in this mortgage crisis, they have consumed so much that their boats waterline is now below sea level.

True Wind -the direction and speed of the wind felt when stationary, at anchor or on land.
Capital has been for years been based upon the value of one’s home, as collateral. Today though, one’s net worth is really based upon liquid assets, stock, bonds, and securities. It is for that reason that the credit market has been frozen, and yes beginning to thaw these past few months. With a dead housing market, diminished holdings no wonder we have seen so many commercials concerning selling and buying of gold. After all it is really the only stable capital .

Jibing – changing direction with the wind aft; to change from one tack to another by turning the stern through the wind; also spelled gibing.
Conditions have affected the credit market for the last few months and will continue to in the long run. Our current state, we are at war on at least two fronts, we are in the biggest economic recession since the depression, our invest securities market is less than half the value that it was last year, we are bleeding millions of jobs. Today Jeannine Aversa, an AP Economics Writer quoted Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke “Only if that is the case, in my view there is a reasonable prospect that the current recession will end in 2009 and that 2010 will be a year of recovery,” Bernanke told the Senate Banking Committee. So just when the wind picks up, the seas are getting a little rough, the sails are trimmed and we have a new helmsman, gibe ho. Lets hope for the best. By way the markets did go up based Bernanke’s comments.

So what is the most important thing to remember about the 4 C’s of creditConcerning Consumer Credit- Common Sense

Resources
1. JoAnn & Jim Carland (2005) Catching the American Dream: New Venture Growth video series.

2. Fox, Elizabeth. “BASIC SAILING: Sailing Terms.” 1997. Rutgers University School of Communication

3. Ferguson , Niall. “The End of Prosperity.” Time Magazine 13 Oct 2008: 36-39.

4. Jeannine Aversa . “Bernanke: economy suffering ’severe contraction’.” Associated Press Tue Feb 24, 4:59 pm ET 24 Feb 2009

5. Rosland Capital Commercial

And the envelope please ..the Oscar for best short film animation is

Posted in The Chefs Table by ftiess on the February 21st, 2009

“Fraudulent at 50, the State of our Union” Starring…….
One can almost hear the late Don LaFontaine say

In a time when we see corporate America conducting themselves in a manner unbecoming that of a fiduciary officer why has the spotlight of truth only recently found its mark on the stage of reason? Have we not learned the lessons of WorldCom and Enron?

For years we have seen the obsolesce of certain brands of American produced automobiles and have questioned the relevance and reason for purchase of such gas-guzzlers with gas prices reaching an all time national average of $3.97, on July 7th 2008. We have seen the value of bank stocks plummet because of the corporate mismanagement of expected growth and recently seen their lack of understanding in the solvency of the financial market. More importantly, we have seen a bait and switch technique used by the highest of officials in promising one thing, the creation of 4 million jobs to now saving 4 million jobs. Viewpoint 4 min 15 sec.

What is the common factor in all of these cases, accountability? For too long we have wanted more than we have needed, taken more than was fair, and given back when it was convenient. This is not an argument for socialism; it is an argument for accountability. The backbone of our economy is not the automakers, the banks, or the fed; it is the small business owner, their employees and customers.

When the common middle class citizen is reminded, on a daily basis, about the mis-statements, and “interpretations” of truth he or she may begin to question the validity of personal accountability. Is someone watching? Fraud by definition is “All multifarious means which human’s ingenuity can devise, and which are resorted to by one individual to get and advantage over another by false suggestion or suppression of the truth. It includes all surprise, trick, cunning, or dissembling, and any unfair way which another is cheated.” (Black ,468)

Others may argue that trimming a little of the fat, surplus of assets, off a business for the purpose of personal gain is an acceptable norm in today’s culture. I believe that business’s that hold themselves to a higher standard of asset accountability are the same business we will see flourishing after ten years. Dennis AuBuchon wrote, in the American Chronicle, titled The Benefits of Having Integrity in Business that “News events seem to play on the lack of integrity of individuals in business and the decisions they make in running it. The importance of integrity in business cannot be underestimated. Decisions made by management of companies affect the lives of their customers, themselves, and their employees.”

AuBuchon also states, “Companies must have in place a code of ethics/integrity which exemplifies the principles of integrity. These rules must be followed by all employees of the organization.” In my opinion the first step that a manager or operator must first take, when developing a plan for business, is an internal audit of the negotiable and non-negotiable factors in conducting that business’s activities. Negotiable matters may include the degree of disciplinary action that one may take when an employee does not perform as expected. Non- negotiable’s, in my opinion, are those areas of concern, which will cause the business to lose respect in the eyes of the public and the other employees. Examples include employee theft, misappropriation of funds and of course all activities that could be considered fraudulent under the noted definition.

Drs. Jim and Joann Carland stated in their work, “Catching the American Dream” the single most important factor in reducing fraud within a business, the perception of detection. The chance of employee fraud decreases once a system is established to reduce the risk of loss. Once employee knows the rules and the consequence for inappropriate actions, he or she is less likely to break them. Permitting our business to take place in the light of accountability is the most secure measure to protect ones self, our employees, and our customers.

Had the automakers had the foresight to see result of the road that they have traveled, forced into certain bankruptcy they might have gone greener and leaner a little earlier? What if someone questioned the extent and result of irresponsible mortgage lending 5 years ago, would two of the nations largest banks still be worth a tenth of their 2008 stock value now. Finally, when we Americans realize that “A change we can believe in” begins with our own integrity then “Yes we can” begins a path to individual, corporate, and global accountability. However until we “the people” reduce our own ambivalence to the truth we, most likely, will continue to run away from the spotlight of verity into the darkness of chicanery.

Resources

1. Historic Gas Prices http://zfacts.com/p/35.html

2. Banks http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE50K4DA20090221

3. Youtube- President Obama’s Press Conference 2/9/2008 Viewpoint 4:15

3. Black, H.C (1979) Blacks Law Dictionary, Fifth Edition, St. Paul West Publishing Company 468

4. AuBuchon, Dennis. “The Benefits of Having Integrity In Business.” American Chronicle October 19, 2007 21 Feb 2009 http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/40723>.

5. JoAnn & Jim Carland (2005) Catching the American Dream: New Venture Growth video series.

Best Practices to Reduce Restaurant Employee based Fraud and Loss of Property.

Posted in The Chefs Table by ftiess on the February 18th, 2009

As an equal opportunity employer all candidates should go through a screening process regardless of position. Upon successful completion of the initial position review and upon the managers recommendation for employment the candidate will complete the screening process before the first day of employment.

Screening Process

Submit candidates name, social security number, and current address to an online employee reference contractor for a background check.
Send the candidate to a health service provider to screen for substance abuse and to perform a health care screening to ensure that the employee has the physical capacity to perform the duties.
Review the job specific policy and procedure checklist and have the employee sign and initial all expectations.

Front of the House – Servers, Cashier, Hostess

Cash and Credit Card
The hostess/ cashier should be accountable for all dining room transactions, transfers and credit.
He or she should provide a receipt for every transaction.
Servers must ensure the customer signs a copy of the credit card receipt.
The shift manager is responsible for setting up cash drawers for the cashier. The cashier will recount the drawer in front of the manager and both should sign the shift log at the beginning and end of business.
The cash register drawer should be closed after each transaction. Never leave a register unlocked when not attended. And never leave the register key with a register.
Identify each over-ring and under-ring. Managers should sign off all voids and over-rings.
Limit the amount of accumulated cash in any register. Use a drop-safe every 30 minutes for all amounts in excess of $200.00
Keep tendered bills on the register until the transaction is concluded.
Conduct only one transaction at a time.
Check for counterfeit currency. Use marker on all bills over $20.00.
In the event that a customer leaves without paying, or shortchanges the server, the server must report the theft to the manager immediately. This prevents servers from pocketing cash and blaming the customer.
All cash tips must be reported by the server in accordance with federal procedures.

Back of the House- Cooks, Steward, Dishwashers.

All orders must be printed on the computerized system. The only verbal food orders that should be allowed are those given by a shift manager.
All overcooked, spoiled or damage products must be reported to the line chef as soon as possible.
Any personal equipment- knives, utensils etc. must be identified with a personal inscription and stored at the end of your shift in the chefs’ office locker. There is one locked drawer for each cook. A utensil kit, issued at the first date of employment, including a spatula, two tongs, thermometer, 4 kitchen spoons must be secured in the cooks lock box at the end of the shift with all personal equipment. Cooks may not use toolboxes or carry cases to transport personal and restaurant tools to and from work.
All broken glassware and dishes must be secured in cardboard boxes for the shift supervisor to inspect at the end of the shift.

Inventory Control and Purchasing

A weekly physical inventory of all prime cost items should occur at irregular times and days. Prime cost items include all proteins and alcoholic beverages.
The purchasing steward should be responsible to provide to the shift manager all receipts of purchase for review at the end of the delivery window, a set period of time that orders may be received from purveyors. Spot check the steward to ensure that all items have been put away properly. Review the purchase list for the following day to see if multiple items are ordered. Since the steward opens the storeroom with the opening shift supervisor and maintains the storeroom during business hours the evening shift supervisor must receive the steward’s copy of the key and secure it for the following day.
In the event that any items are needed from the storage areas during the evening shift the shift manager will obtain the needed items.
All prime cost items must be counted at the beginning and ending of each shift. The line chef and bartender are responsible to the shift manager for the accountability of all prime cost items.
Doors to storage and supply rooms must be locked at all times that the shift manager or steward are not present.
All scheduled visitors and sales representative must enter the restaurant from the front entrance and be escorted to the office.
Delivery drivers are not permitted inside of the operation. If they need to use the restroom or see the manager they must be escorted.
Since all purchases are produced by a perpetual inventory that is based upon the point of sale system a physical inventory must be completed at the end of each month for all ingredients, small wares, and service wares.

Data Protection

Maintain all signed receipts for 90 days in accordance with credit card procedure. File in secure file cabinet on a weekly basis.
Cross-shred all potentially sensitive materials including customer receipts after 3 years of storage.
Store all purchase agreements in locked file cabinet.
Store all receipts of purchase for 3 years in locked file cabinet.
All personnel files must be locked in the file cabinet when not being referenced.
All file cabinets are to be locked when not in use.
All data files must be backed up daily on both the hard drive and through the secure net service. The automated backup of all transactions, purchases, disbursements and credits must be verified at the end of the business day. Once the data is electronically secure an email will be sent to your manager’s account verifying that the data is secure.

Personnel Policies

Keep a record of all employee purchases.
All employees must have the shift manager perform transactions for sale of items purchased from the restaurant.
Shift lockers should be available for all employees. Personal property must be kept in the lockers during working hours. Employee will need to provide a combination lock for locker use and remove it at the end of the shift.
Employees should be allowed access to the building during scheduled hours of work through the employee entrance. If the employee would like to visit other employees, or make a purchase from the dining room for any reason he or she must receive permission from the shift supervisor.
Breaks may be taken in the exterior smoking are outside. Employees should enter and exit the building using their electronic ID. Employees should be encouraged to take their break in the employee breakroom next to the time clock.
All employees must wash their hands for a minimum of 20 seconds after using the employee bathroom or after returning from a break.
Employees must park in the employee parking section only.

Refuse Control

Trash remove is to be handled by both of the dishwashers. Trash is be removed at the end of the shift and placed in the locked trash bins located outside. The shift manager should be responsible to monitor the disposal of the trash during closing procedures using the closed circuit recording system.
The shift manager must check the lock at the end of the shift and inspect the surrounding area for possible pilfered goods.

Bank Deposits, Key Control and Cash Security

At the end of the shift the shift manager should be responsible to complete the closing statement and bank deposit form. Once the funds, receipts and form are locked in the bank deposit bag each bag should be locked in the safe located in management office.
Safe-drop collection. The safe is a time safe that will allow you to collect the safe-drop collections from the cashier area. The key to access the safe-drop is located inside of the safe. The time that this is be done, safe-drop transfer to secure safe, is between shifts and at the end of the business day. During the transfer time during the day both managers are to escort the deposit to the secure safe. Since only one manager is on duty at the end of the day the building must first be secure then the transfer is to be made with the line chef and the shift manager.
At some time of the mid shift – between 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm an armored security service should pick up and make the bank deposit. Shift managers should have a master key which secures both the public entrance/ exit, storeroom, managers office and the kitchen /employee entrance/ exit.
The secure safe, primary safe, has a personal safe combination which is issued to each shift manager. Access to this safe uses the shift manager electronic id and the combination entry. Giving this card or combination to any person could be grounds for immediate dismissal and possible criminal charges if fraud is committed.

Security Recording Devices

Cameras should be strategically located all around the premises and should be monitored from both the managers’ office and security.

Extreme Makeover- the E-commerce Edition

Posted in Entrepreneur by ftiess on the February 14th, 2009

Goooood Morning Sears Family

Are the typical brick and mortar Sears storefront and iconic images of past Wishbooks are being replaced by the “softer side” of commerce? When thinking of an adaptation in commerce I was reminded of the success of Sears.

Past and Present
Sears Roebuck, in business since 1887, started as a catalog company offering jewelry adapted to market needs during the roaring twenties to open its first store in 1925. Through the depression and several wars Sears continued to grow because of its commitment to expand its brands and marketing efforts. Ten years ago Sears ventured into e-commerce by developing Sears.com. The current marketing program features a sponsorship of Ty Pennington’s Extreme Makeover Home Edition.

After over a hundred years of growth, decline, growth, and now again decline businesses, like Sears are reaching reluctant shoppers through on-line point of sale and store pickup transactions, an advantage over on-line only retailers.

Sears has several marketing advantages over other on-line retailers like Amazon.com and Overstock.com. With over 3800 stores and a annual revenue exceeding 50 billion dollars Sears is physically accessible to most Americans. Unlike e-commerce retailers that only sell on-line, retailers that have adopted the best practices of an on-line format, like Sears can capture and complete transactions within an hour as opposed to days. The customer can also return the product without the cost of shipping the item back.

The Shopper

Since on-line shoppers are researching products more and more, before venturing into a store the reassurance that a high ticket product is accessibly tactile is becoming more important. In this baby boomers perspective companies like Amazon and Overstock are located some where in cyberspace, I know they are out there, yet I can not see it. Therefore I must have faith that they will complete a transaction based upon a perceived reality of existence. I need to do the on-line research work to get the best price, and to actually see if the product is for me I need to visit a showroom, I am a tactile shopper, not a very efficient way of shopping.

What will the future hold for e-commerce?

Recently Mukesh Chatter, President and CEO of NeoSaej discussed the future of e-commerce with radio host Larry Webber, of Market Edge.

Future of ECommerce

Mukesh Chatter, President and CEO of NeoSaej, discusses the future of ecommerce, and MoneyAisle, a next generation online auction marketplace where consumers find great rates on bank CDs and High Yield Savings accounts.


Show Host:
Larry Weber

Show: Market Edge


Channel: Internet Marketing



In a two words the future of e-commerce for a successful retailer is competitive efficiency. The disintermediation in the cost of advertisement will reduce the overall competitive cost to the consumer. Variations in retail prices has become an individualized commodity market for e-commerce participants, therefore both seller and buyer compete for the best selling price. In a traditional commodity market buyers compete for a price. Chatter has developed a technology called SAEG- seller automated engines which permits a reverse auction of sale. Simply stating the future of e-commerce will be as simple as “googleing” for a product and then the retailer “bids” on the lowest price. Retailers will become aggregators of our personalized “Wishbook”, collecting data to optimize the sale.
E-commerce is about to have an Extreme Makeover.

Move that BUS!!!

Resources – Sears.com , webmasterradio.com

Entrepreneurship Podcasts

Posted in The Chefs Table by ftiess on the February 4th, 2009

Retooling Early Stage Development- What does the customer want. Steve Blank

What is the Next Big Thing? Create an oppurtunity in the midst of this economic crisis.Three Silicon Valley dealmakers – Tony Perkins, CEO of AlwaysOn; Tim Draper, Founder and Managing Director of Draper, Fisher Jurvetson; and Michael Moe, Founding Partner of ThinkEquity – discuss the evolutions in online media, the power of partnerships, and other next-generation opportunities for the global marketplace.

E-commerce Podcast concerning the 6 most important pages to have on your website.

http://www.gsinc.co.uk/tips Web Design and ECommerce SEO video tutorial on the six key webpages an ECommerce website should contain. Presented by Gareth Davies of GSINC Ltd. For ECommerce tips and videos visit

Selling Online How to Create a Successful E-Commerce Web Site

Learn how to sell online from Red Oxx, a Montana-based seller of travel adventure gear. See more videos and how-to business information at http://allbusiness.com

Start a Business with Residual Income

The Characteristics of an Entrepreneurial Leader- Frederick J Tiess –
Johnson and Wales University
Fred Tiess shares his observations concerning the qualities of entrepreneurial leaders.
Click Here to Listen
Resource- WCU Podcasts

Tips for an Entrepreneur - Larry Page- Google co-founder

Tip 1: Just don’t settle. Especially with employees, it is very important to find great people you are compatible with.
Tip 2: There is a benefit from being real experts. Experience pays off.
Tip 3: Have a healthy disregard for the impossible. Stretch your goals.
Tip 4: It is OK to solve a hard problem. Solving hard problems is where you will get the biggest leverage.
Tip 5: Don’t pay attention to the VC bandwagon. Don’t start a company just because you can. Instead, have a really good idea that is good regardless of the funding situation.
Resource – Stanford ECorner

What Is Creativity? Professor Robert Sutton -Stanford University

Using Play-Doh and the Apple iPod as examples, Robert Sutton, Co-Director of the Center for Work, Technology, and Organization at Stanford University, explains that often creativity is simply making new things out of old ones.

Resource – Stanford ECorner

Five Critical Skills That Entrepreneurs Need - Jerry Kaplan – Co-Chairman Egghead.com

Kaplan talks about the five critical skills that entrepreneurs need:
1) Leadership: ability to build consensus in the face of uncertainty
2) Communication: ability to keep a clear and consistent message
3) Decision-making: knowing when to make a decision
4) Being a good team player: knowing when to trust and when to delegate
5) Ability to telescope: to focus in on the details and then move back to the bigger picture.

Resource – Stanford ECorner

Jerry Kaplan, serial entrepreneur, executive, technical innovator, and author, elaborates on the five biggest mistakes that entrepreneurs make:
1) Having unclear goals and an unclear mission
2) Trying to prove that they are smart
3) Greed – doing it for money.
4) Hiring people that they like rather than people that they need.
5) Not knowing when to let go.

The Principle of Agility -Jeff Raikes – Microsoft Corp

In Raikes’ early days at Microsoft, the strategy was to focus on agility–to have the products run on a number of different computing platforms. To be a successful entrepreneur, you have to learn and respond to challenges that arise and adapt your strategy accordingly, says Raikes.

Resource – Stanford ECorner

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