Monthly Archives: January 2017

10 Spy Tricks: An Office Espionage Series

I spend a great deal of my time dealing with highly sensitive, highly confidential information. Over the years I have noticed that many of the institutions I have worked with have gone to great pains and considerable expense to make certain their computer systems have state of the art firewalls and "hacker-proof" encoding systems. Nonetheless, they continue to leak data like a sieve!

How can this be? Simple, they are guarding the air conditioner duct instead of the front door.

So, what do I know about it? My knowledge of the field is pretty backdoor in nature.

First of all, I work a lot with people who love nothing more than to stir up hate and discontent wherever they go. They will intentionally uncover and publish sensitive information. It is fun for them. In order to find out why they do these things I do a lot of debriefing with them when an incident occurs.

Second, I have two brothers who made carriers out of law enforcement. One of my brothers served many years as a state trooper and another as a sheriff's deputy. They were both extremely successful in the investigation facet of the job and I am about to tell you why. Then you can see if you are vulnerable to the same kind of attack.

The sources of data loss, in no particular order, are as follows.

1. Waste Archeology.
Simply speaking, someone who really wants to know your secrets will go through your trash. And guess what? It is completely legal. Buy a $ 20.00 shredder, and use it.

2. Taps.
Seriously, if you have a wireless system it is pretty simple to eaves drop via laptop from the coffee shop next door.

3. Pop-ins.
Be extremely wary of maintenance crews and repair staff you have not called in. Check ID's. Also, be aware of someone who comes in asking a lot of questions. You may be surprised what the reception staff will tell someone who smiles and asks nicely.

4. Hacking in.
Do you know the easiest way to hack in to a secure system? Steal the password taped to the computer screen at Ed's work station. Trust me, I see it every day. You know what else? Most people use the same password for every system they need to access.

5. Cordless phones.
Remember most cordless phones and cells are basically fancy radios. If it puts out a signal, the signal can be picked up with a scanner.

6. Ticking bombs.
Answering machines, voice mail, fax machines anything that requires an access code can be beaten (remember the password taped to the computer?).

7. Starbucks.
Never discuss sensitive information in a public restaurant! If I wanted to know about a corporations business, I go to the snack bar at lunch and read the paper over coffee. You will not believe the things you hear (if you're in education, teacher lounges are hair raising!).

8. Brain cramps.
Unlocked cabinets, offices, desks, paper work left out, answering stupid questions over the phone. Hello?

9. Traitors.
Face it, some folks will sell you out for the right price. The right price might be as simple as someone asking, "So, what confidential things are you working on these days?" You really would not believe what people have told me in answer to that question. Keep sensitive information on a need to know basis.

10. Describing a spy.
The typical spy is a short, fat, tall, thin man, with curly, bald hair. She often wears provocatively conservative clothing and is liberally conservative. In other words, ANYBODY is the typical spy.

Now I will expound upon each section individually.

Part 1

One of the first areas I mentioned in breaches in security was "rifled" trash. I believe this to be foremost method of stealing confidential information. In reality it is not even stealing. In California Versus Greenwood the Supreme Court held the Constitution does not prohibit warrant less search and seizure of garbage left for collection outside the curtilage (the enclosed area immediately surrounding a home or dwelling) of a home. This could include places of business.

Here are some pro-active steps you can take.

1. Do not transfer confidential documents to recycling vendors.

2. If you have a copier, install a shredder next to it.

3. Purchase a cross-cut shredder for extremely sensitive documents.

4. Destroy all waste paper.

5. Get shredders for each individual. People will not wait in line to use a bulk shredder.


Part II.

Remember, James Bond is not interested in your secrets.

That being said, competitors, disgruntled employees, ex-spouses and other wreakers of havoc are interested in your secrets.

There are many methods of "bugging" out there.

The five main categories are, in alphabetical order: Acoustic, Optical, RF, Tie-In, and Ultrasonic.

1. Acoustic – low tech glass to the wall, ventilation, electrical out-let, out side the window, stand by the door, close proximity listening.

2. Optical – high end and expensive.

3. RF – radio frequency and receiver devices.

4. Tie-in – hooking directly in to a phone line. The box is usually easily accessible on an exterior wall.

5. Ultrasonic – think transmitter, receiver but with audio pressure rather than radio waves.

The most prevalent and dangerous of this is alphabetically and most destructively listed first. Always be aware of your immediate surrounding when discussing confidential information.

Part III

Always check the identification of persons who pop in to do technical work around your office. This is especially true if you PERSONALLY have not called them for service. These folks are known as "spooks".

You see, "Spooking" is a hide in plain site method of gaining access to confidential information

It seems carrying a clipboard will gain a spook access to most places, even those with confidential data to protect.

But, there are other common tools the spook may carry to increase their appearance of authenticity: 2-way Radio, Maglight, Construction worker hard hat, and my personal favorite the attention tone cell phone. Now, this particular ruse means the spook has a partner but is anything more impressive than that tone from the "base office" checking the technicians' status?

However, the most powerful, by far, access granting technique (I mean this will get you in anywhere) is a set of Dickies. Yes, Dickies. The same things you wore for summer jobs in high school and college. They are a virtual cloak of invisibility in our culture.

Most common guises:

1. Telephone / communications technicians – (typically wearing / grey Dickies)

2. Computer service technicians – (polo shirt and tan Dickies pants)

3. Copy machine technicians – (polo shirt and Dickies pants)

4. Custodians – (typically anyone with a set of / grey Dickies is granted cart blanche access)

5. Messenger services – (typically wearing brown Dickies)

6. A / C heating technicians – (typically wearing -green Dickies)

The beauty of this type of "spooking" is nobody ever challenges these folks. And if some particularly diligent person does question them, the spook goes into his, "fine with me, but it will be at least four weeks until I can get back here. We're really backed up." That is usually enough to intimidate even the most on top of things staff member.

I do not usually recommend testing out these surveillance techniques, the power of the Tricky Dickie is not to be believed unless you actually see it in action. So, get your lazy brother-in-law a set of Dickies and send him through your office. You will not believe the results. Afterwards, get the lazy bum to do your yard work so you get your moneys worth from the Dickie investment.

Part IV

There are many ways of stealing computer files. As a matter of fact there is a whole niche market dedicated to nothing more than developing and distributing new types of spy ware. Then there is another niche market dedicated to selling protection against these pieces of malware. Folks, I talking millions of dollars each year, connected to these two enterprises. Would it surprise you to know that many of the same people writing the protection software also write the malware?

Any who, how to these insidious pieces of data stealing malware get into your systems? Simple, you or one of your associates, put them there.

I know what you're thinking, "Not me! I would never do such a self destructive thing. Neither would anyone I work with." And, at least intentionally, you're right. But, take look at the most common avenues of entry and think through your response again.

Most Common Sources of Spyware:
1. Screen savers
2. Emoticons
3. Clip Art
4. Spam
5. Email attachments
6. Unprotected web browsing (cookies)
7. Peer to Peer applications (mp3 files)
8. Shareware
9. Freeware
10. Involuntary Download (may present as a fictitious error you must click to correct)
So, have you EVER added any of this to your system, even to an email? I know me too.
Oh well, as MaElla (my grandmother) used to say, "Once bitten, twice shy."

What have we learned?

Basically, do not put anything unverified on your system, even if it is really, really cool.

Bye the way, does anyone know where MaElla got "Once bitten, twice shy"?

Part V

First and foremost, never use a cordless phone for anything other than the convenience of answering a call. Switch to a corded line for any specific communications.

Monitoring cordless and cellular phone calls has become a million dollar hobby in America. Some even sell their monitored conversations on line. Think ex-girlfriend sites.

Mobile phones are an even greater liability. Not only are means available to monitor the conversations, but it is not particularly difficult to track the location of the parties based on their signal. Now, that is scary.

This tracking will become even easier when newer 3G phones come online because their base stations are even closer together.

What can you do?
1. Use a regular line for increased security.
2. Dedicate a secure line in your office for sensitive communication. They are not cheap. Or-Com offers one that has fair reviews for about $ 300.00.
3. Use first names on non-secure lines.
4. Speak in general terms on non-secure lines.

If you think these precautions a completely paranoid, you may be right. On the other hand, browse Spy Emporium for an overview of just a few of the surveillance devices available.

Part VI.

If you work with confidential data, and you use any of the following pieces of technology, it is just a matter of time until your confidentiality is compromised.

1. Disposable roll fax machines.
Used rolls contain copies of every item the machine has received.

2. Unattended fax machines.
Fax machines left on are excellent sources for stealing confidential data. When I expect a fax, I alert the office staff to put it in a folder in my in-box.

3. Dictation machines.
If you use dictation machines and leave tapes on the secretaries' desk to be transcribed do not be shocked when a tape goes missing (Tell the truth, this has already happened has not it?).

5. Answering machines.
Most are accessible with a 3 or 4 digit code. Most people do not change the factory set "3, 4, and 5." These are easy to hack.

6. Cordless microphones.
Crystal clear signals for about 1,300 feet or a quarter mile.

Part VII.

One of the most popular and reliable methods for gathering information from an organization is to "scout the perimeter." Although, this is not as sexy as the "mission impossible" methods, it is very popular and very effective.

Here are your most frequent weak spots.

1. The company lunch room. Many people actually carry confidential files with them to review over lunch.
2. The neighborhood coffee klatch. This is true for the same reason as above.
3. The guy who is always at the newsstand when you pick up your paper. You know the one you discuss current office events with because he does not know the people anyway.
4. The chatty new friend your spouse just made. Think about this when discussing business with your spouse.
5. Any off-site meeting places. Luncheon rooms, county offices, etc.


Next to going through the trash, the most vulnerable area for exploitation is the human brain.
The major offenders:
1. Unsecured offices, cabinets, drawers and doors.
2. Files left on the desk over night.
3. Group passwords.
4. Company phone directories.
5. Desktop rolodexes.

Part IX

Another source of compromised confidential information is the office traitor. Most people have a price. The price may have been paid the last time they were insulted, degraded or unappreciated at the office. One the other hand, there may be an actual monetary price for which a trusted associate can be turned.

Here are some of the characteristics you may need to be on the look out for.

1. Those passed over for raises, passed over for promotion.
2. Those experiencing significant financial difficulty.
3. Those who gamble.
4. Those that employ recreational pharmaceuticals (including alcohol).
5. Those involved in labor and management disputes.
6. Those that seem to always be on the lookout for the next big deal.

Part X.

Basically, if you take a look at the qualifications for a field agent for the CIA you can build a fair profile of what an office spy may "look like."

1. A Bachelors Degree, rarely more.
2. Solid academic record, not outstanding.
3. Interest in inter-business and international affairs.
4. Solid interpersonal skills.
5. Solid communication skills.
6. Frequent traveler.
7. Interest in foreign languages.
8. Prior residence outside the area.
9. Possible prior military experience.
10. Experience in business and / or economics (but with deficit skills in their own finance management).
11. The person is usually between the ages of 21-35.
12. Previous work in law enforcement or corrections.
13. May be considered a loner, not a joiner.
14. No police record.
15. Hobbies include martial arts, scuba, hunting, proficiency with firearms, chess, math, avid reader, may write prolifically or play a musical instrument, etc.
16. The person may be interested in training manuals and field guides.

In other words, just about anybody who would make a good employee. The key is to look for unusual groupings of these skills. Most people will meet 3 or 4 of the criteria. Those who meet 6 or more should be considered possible candidates.

This section completes a ten part series concerning confidentiality and security.

Hot Dog Stand Pricing – How Much to Charge For a Hot Dog

One stumbling block that new hot dog stand owners sometimes struggle with is knowing exactly how much to charge for a hot dog. While there are not really any easy pricing guidelines that you can follow, you can find the ideal price points for your business by using your intuition as well as doing a little research.

Hot dogs in the US currently sell for anywhere between $ 1.50 and $ 6 and probably have sold for much more than that. How much a customer is prepared to pay will come down to a variety of factors such as how hungry they are, how good your hot dogs look and what other options they have to get a meal or a snack nearby.

If you have a captive audience such as you would in a baseball stadium then you can charge top dollar. If on the other hand you are lined up against many other concession stands that are all competing for business then your pricing would have to be more realistic.

It is important that you get your pricing right. If you price too low then you will struggle to make a profit and your business model will not be viable. If you price too high then you will be missing out on sales and that will mean that your overall profits will not be as high as they could be.

Here are some pricing tips and some of the factors that you can consider to help you to figure out how much to charge for your hot dogs and other menu offerings.

Local Competition

It is helpful if you can get an idea of ​​average hot dog prices by studying other vendors in your local market. This will give you an idea of ​​what people in your city or area are used to paying for their hot dogs.

After you have done a broad assessment of prices in the wider area you can then look at the prices of the competition in the immediate area around your stand.

You should either look to price your products in line with other local vendors or you should look to price higher than they do and offer more value in the way of service or product quality. Whatever you do, do not try to undercut other local businesses as there is no sense in starting a price war and doing damage to the industry.

Hot Dog Stand Costs Affect Pricing

When it comes to determining prices it helps if you have a good understanding of your costs in terms of ingredients per hot dog as well as other overheads.

If you have paid a lot of money to get a vendors permit or to secure a concession space at a major event then you will have to have strong prices that reflect these costs.

Go for Volume

In the fast food business you are generally better off pricing your products cheaply and making your profits on sheer volume of sales if you can pull it off. This will ensure that you are clearing your stock regularly, that you can get discounts for bulk buying and that your hot dog stand looks busy and popular. If your location can sustain a decent volume of sales then this is generally better than doing lower volume and looking to make a higher amount of profit on each sale.

Value Meals, Add Ons and Price Points

Consider offering value or 'combo' meals on your menu that include a hot dog as well as other offerings such as a drink and a bag of chips. This encourages customers to buy other products from you in addition to their hot dog.

Some stands offer a set price for a hot dog that includes a certain number of sauces or toppings. Customers can then request additional toppings for a small additional charge.

Give some thought to price points and the psychology behind consumer buying decisions. In the fast food market the $ 5 price point is still a common mental barrier for many folks. If you offer meal combinations that remain slightly below this level then you should do well.

Discounting to Clear Stock

There is no sense taking home stock at the end of the day if you can avoid it. You do not necessarily want to become known as a regular discounter and have people turn up at a certain time looking for a bargain. However if you are working a temporary location then you may as well offer a discount towards the end of the day to clear your stock.

Price Testing

Make sure that you test prices over time to find out which price points produce the highest profits for your business. Just do not change your prices too often if you are in the same location or you will find that it bothers your regulars.

7 Herbs That Help Flush Gallstones

The gallbladder is a small organ located directly under the liver. It acts as a bile reservoir; it concentrates bile which is secreted by the liver and is used by the body to digest fats. If the liver is overloaded with toxins and saturated fats, the bile (which carries toxins and fats) will eventually inflame the gallbladder. When enough cholesterol deposits (from saturated fats) have formed, they crystallize with the bile to form Gallstones. If the gallbladder becomes inflamed, it causes sever pain in the upper right abdomen. This condition must be treated immediately as it can be life threatening. Often, persons with Gallstones have no symptoms. If a stone blocks the bile passage however, nausea, vomiting and pain in the upper right abdominal region occur. These symptoms often arise after the individual has eaten fried or fatty foods.

Here are 7 herbs that work together to reduce inflammation, pain and help flush Gallstones safely out of the body.

1. Barberry Bark- Barberry is one of the best remedies for and promoting the flow of bile. It is indicated when there is an inflammation of the gall bladder or in the presence of gallstones. When jaundice occurs due to a congested state of the liver, Barberry is also indicated. Studies show that the main ingredient berberine, activates the macrophages (literally, "big eaters"), white blood cells that devour harmful microorganisms.

2. Wild Yam Root- Wild yam is very good for the liver and endocrine system, by toning and nourishing the gallbladder, it helps to balance hormone production.

3. Cramp Bark- Known as a nerve sedative and anti-spasmodic and therefore helping with cramps. This is very helpful for people with Gallstones. It is also used to relieve muscle tension in the intestines, airways, uterus, and striated muscles in the limbs or back. It has also been used in treating high blood pressure and other circulatory conditions.

4. Fennel Seed- Helps open obstructions of the liver, gall bladder and spleen to ease painful swellings. Fennel is also used to treat yellow jaundice, the gout and occasional cramps.

5. Ginger Root- Shrinks liver tumors in animal testing. Also, impairs cholesterol absorption and stimulates the conversion of cholesterol to bile acids which further cleanses the liver and gall bladder. Ginger also inhibits platelet aggregation.

6. Catnip Herb- Catnip nourishes the stomach and nerves. It calms the nervous system and is used also for digestion. Catnip herb has also been used to treat inflammation and help to eliminate toxins and flush Gallstones.

7. Peppermint Leaf- Preliminary clinical trials suggest that formulas containing peppermint and related terpenes (fragrant substances found in plants) can dissolve Gallstones.1 A number of studies indicate that peppermint may aid in reducing the size of gallstones and thus help some people avoid surgery . Also known as a muscle relaxant and reduces inflammation.

The Liver and gallbladder contains all of these 100% organic and whole herbs. Now, you can try this formula risk free for 30 days. If you do not feel better, get your money back, guaranteed!

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4 Popular Types of Shot Glasses

A shot glass is a favorite choice for serving strong liqueurs and spirits, as well as miniature cocktails. These glasses are a great choice for drinking whiskey, sambuca, vodka, or tequila in a quick-fire manner. The fluid capacity is generally in the region of 1-1 / 4 ounces to 1-1 / 2 ounces. Plus, they come in plenty of materials, sizes, colors, and shapes.

Because of the small size of the shot glass, a stainless steel pourer is usually attached to the top of the spirit bottle. A benefit of this is greater control of the liquid when poured and avoids any accidental spills on the bar. Plus, the pourer helps to create the layered drink because the slower flow rate makes it easier to avoid mixing different alcohols.

Here are four of the most popular types of shot glasses for a wide variety of occasions:


The most standard shot glass is sized about 1-1 / 2 inches in diameter and 2 inches in height. Most of these glasses have the ability to hold 1-1 / 2 ounce of alcohol. Shot glasses are made with thick sides and bottom to stop them shattering when slammed on a table or bar.


A slightly smaller version is the pony shot which has the capacity to hold about 1 ounce of spirits. A further type of glass to hold an ounce is the cheater glass. This type of glass appears much like it's the same size as the standard but has a thick or very heavy base which reduces its shot capacity.


The molded glasses (also referred to as fluted glasses) are similar in size to the standard ones but are given a more unique design. This type of glass has a special design crafted on the bottom of the glass such as small ridges which make an impression on the table when slammed. This type of glass can also be engraved with a company name to create the more personalized shot glasses. Most of the high-quality glasses use this type of molded design.


The taller glasses are perfect for drinkers that prefer to combine alcohol with a mixer. This type of shot glass is quite thin and can include a flared design with the top mouth area noticeably widen than the bottom. Because this type of glass is made from a thinner material they are not a practical shot to slam on a table or bar after drinking.

How to Clean Your Commercial Fridge Units

Commercial Refrigeration Units make up an integral part of any food and beverage establishments. Being the main storage equipment that they are, without these refrigeration items any food and drink business would end up spending more by buying ingredients on a daily basis, or worse, per hour basis.

This is why each commercial refrigeration unit must be properly maintained and taken care of. One way of maintaining your commercial fridge is by cleaning it. Keeping your commercial fridge clean will not just prolong its life, but it will also promote health and food safety for your customers, the ones who actually keep your business alive.

Danger of Mold and Mildew

Mold and mildew are those annoying fungi, microscopic organisms that live and multiply in moist places, in this case the deep-seated corners of your commercial fridge. Keep in mind that what you are keeping in these fridges are food and beverage – something people ingest. Therefore, to cut the story short, storing food in a fungi-infested fridge will pose a dangerous threat to both your business and to the health of your customers. Get rid of those mold and mildew, or better yet, prevent it from building up.

Here are the steps on how to clean your Commercial Refrigeration Units:

Commercial Fridge Cleaning Step 1: Clear out its contents.

When clearing out the contents of your commercial Refrigerator, you need to inspect each food and drink items carefully, and check if any of them has gone bad. If there's any, then you need to throw them out right aware. If you have another fridge, you can store perishable items there first while cleaning the other one.

Commercial Fridge Cleaning Step 2: Use a mold and mildew remover, or just make your own.

It's easy, really. Just prepare a spray bottle, white wine vinegar, and warm water. Simply mix 1 cup of white wine vinegar to 2 cups of warm water, then shake it in a spray bottle. Just spray the mixture on the mold and mildew then leave for a few minutes.

Commercial Fridge Cleaning Step 3: Clean your commercial chiller completely.

Afterwards, thoroughly rinse away the mold and mildew as well as the vinegar mixture and the whole fridge interior using a non-abrasive wash cloth or a sponge. Use the same dry materials to dry the cleaned commercial chiller ,. Then put back all food and drink items as previously stored.

Commercial Fridge Cleaning Step 4: Keep those mold and mildew from building up.

Now, it's time to do the regular cleaning and maintenance of your commercial refrigeration items by doing the vinegar mixture cleansing at least once a month, then monitoring the quality of your food and beverage items. Throw them away once spoiled.

Ten Innovative Ideas to Make a Meeting Exciting

The boss walks in your office and casually asks you to increase sales by 20% and he has given you three days to complete the task. You are a little surprised by the request but you gladly accept the assignment. Before he leaves your office he asks you to cut the cost of doing business by 30%. He has kindly given you five days to complete the task. Some may be horrified by the assignments but you smile and tell your boss you will give it your best effort. Later in the day, he walks back in your office and says something that's frightening. You begin to sweat. He has asked you to do something that's almost impossible. He has asked you to make the next company meeting exciting. He can hear you gasping. You want to scream "Please give this assignment to someone else." You want to shout "That's an out of this world task." You calm down, find some courage and boldly take the assignment. You can not think small. Handing out hats will not be sufficient. Telling a cute story will not be enough.

Here are 10 Things you can do to keep a meeting exciting:

  1. Announce to the group that during the meeting you will be mentioning three things that are not true. Inform the attendees the untrue remarks might be personal or about business. The people who come up with the three incorrect comments partake in a raffle and the winner receives a free dinner for two at a posh restaurant or perhaps they get Friday off with pay. People will be intently listening and it will add some fun to the meeting.
  2. Have the CEO of the company enter the meeting and gladly refill coffee cups and water glasses. Perhaps he's wearing a tuxedo. He offers people a pillow for their chairs. The CEO provides tasty snack to the attendees. He passes out teddy bears to everyone. The CEO enters the meeting several times and does not say a word. This will create anticipation and smiles.
  3. Hire a temporary employee to bring in numerous boxes, one at a time and stack them in a corner. If someone gets curious and asks you what's in the boxes tell him you can not talk about it until the meeting is over. Have the temporary employee shake his head as he leaves the room and ask you "Are you sure you want these boxes in here?" Contemplate for a little bit and say "I think so." For added excitement have an alarm go off in one of the boxes. Get up, grab the alarm clock and without people noticing, set it ring in 10 minutes. Repeat the process several times. At the end of the meeting open the boxes and pull out some tasty snacks or gift certificates for the attendees.
  4. Have an employee occasionally enter the meeting room and ask you "Have you told them yet?" Answer "No I have not." This will make the employees curious and alert. Each time he walks in the room he wears a different color tie. At the end of the meeting ask the employees to write down the colors of ties he wore. The people who correctly write down the colors of ties win a prize.
  5. Throughout the meeting ask everyone to perform an outrageous task that must be completed by the next meeting. For example, ask the manager of the advertising department to obtain free advertising for the company on national television. If they respond in disbelief simply say "You heard me." Everyone will wonder what outrageous assignment will be tossed their way during the meeting and the anticipation will add some excitement to the meeting.
  6. Hire a comedian to sit in the meeting and take notes. Frequently ask him to repeat comments that the attendees have made. Have him intentionally misquote them. The incorrect quotes cause the attendees to seem arrogant, rude, silly, selfish etc. For example, "My intelligence is simply astonishing." Have the comedian misquote a response a timid employee made to one of your comments, "Boss, that's outrageous and I simply will not allow it." Smile and the group will laugh.
  7. Hire a singer to attend the meeting. Inform the group the new employee was highly recommended by an employment agency and will be a great asset to the company. Whenever you ask him questions he responds by singing answers in different music styles; perhaps with a country music slant or hip hop. Simply shake your head after he sings.
  8. Have an artist sit in the room and make caricature portraits of attendees of the meeting. Keeping the portraits a mystery until the end of the meeting will add some excitement. Let the employees place their portrait in their office or take it home to show their family and friends.
  9. Inform the attendees there will be a quiz on the content of the meeting. The person who has the most correct answers wins a desirable prize. The employees will be paying more attention during the meeting.
  10. Without informing the attendees of the upcoming quiz, sprinkle famous quotes from movies into the meeting. Place the quotes in awkward situations in order to make the employees curious about the use of the movie quotes. Whoever writes down the most quotes that are accompanied by the correct movie wins a prize.

Do not just have a goal to make the meeting interesting or appealing; make the meeting exciting. The employees will appreciate your effort and it will create a wonderful rapport with the employees. Be innovative once in awhile and you will have a happier office.

Many of these tips can work well for face to face meetings and even web conferencing meetings. If you are planning an audio only teleconference meeting Numbers 1, 4, 5, 9, and even 10 will spice up your conference calls. It's time to get creative with your own meetings and "think outside the box" when it comes to keeping your meetings exciting!

Martini Glass Trivia and Fun Facts

Here are some trivia and fun facts about Martini glasses that you may not know. Share this with friends and family whilst enjoying Martini cocktails. It will certainly add pizazz to a fun-filled evening.

1. The name Martini was derived from the city of Martinez, California circa 1887.
2. Early manuals for mixing cocktails in the latter part of 1800s suggest that a Martinez cocktail is made out of sweet Vermouth, gin, bitters and topped with a cherry instead of an olive.
3. The first official mention of Martini was in The New and Improved Illustrated Bartending Manual in 1888.
4. The slim stem of a Martini glass was designed in such a way so that your hand would not come in direct contact with the bowl containing the liquids.
5. If your hand comes in contact with the contents inside (via the Martini bowl), the warmth radiated will destroy the drink's flavor and render it flat.

6. The Martini drink has along the years, become a symbol for elegant nightlife in general; this is why many American bars frequently display photographs of the conical-shaped glass for Martinis with an olive oil on their signage.
7. Sales of Martini glasses hit the roof after the drink was popularized in James Bond movies. The term "shaken not stirred" became an enduring catch phrase.
8. It is said that prominent figures like Frank Sinatra, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Alfred Hitchcock, Winston Churchill and F, Scott Fitzgerald drank their Martinis from classic Martini glasses.
9. The ample open top of the Martini glass is claimed to construct surface tension that conveys the bouquet of the gin and fashion an elegant exhibit for the olive garnish than a typical cocktail glass.
10. Ever wondered about the cone shape of a Martini glass? This is to keep the drink's ingredients from separating.
11. Many believe that the Martini glass was invented during the Prohibition era; the wide cavity of the glass made it effortless to dispose of the banned alcohol during a police incursion.
12. Even from the Martini glass's early days, its characteristic shape was meant to be both functional and visually alluring.
13. The Martini glass is the most well known type amongst all cocktail glasses.
14. The Martini glass is infamous because of its unique shape. The tip of the cone outlines an estimated 90 degree perspective at its cross section. Its sharp tapers make it different from other cocktail glasses.

15. An ideal Martini glass is 4 ounces. 6 and 8 ounce glasses are also popular for serving more contemporary mixtures.
16. Martini aficionados firmly believe that a perfect Martini drink must be served in a 4 ounce glass.
17. One very fashionable accessory to accompany a Martini glass is the stir sticks featuring glass olives.
18. Stemware charms are also popular. These charms are tenured to the stems of the Martini glasses so guests may recognize their drinks.
19. Because of the resurgence of Martini cocktails, Martini glass kits have become one of the most coveted gifts.

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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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?

A Day in the Life of an FMCG Sales Manager

Products that fall into the FMCG category are the opposite of durable goods. They are those items that usually sell for a relatively low price and do not stay on the shelf for very long. These include items like groceries, soft drinks, toiletry items, and other products that are purchased in large quantities.

Although the average profit made on an FMCG is somewhat small, these items do sell in large numbers. It is the quantity of items that make up the large scale profit in the FMCG market.

FMCG sales jobs are those that work directly with the customer and also include business to business sales. In other words, a sales manager could be a position that works within an FMCG company or corporation and sells products to other businesses, or they can work within the retail market, selecting, direct the staging of, and managing the fast moving consumer goods stocked by a particular store or chain of stores.

The business to business FMCG sales manager is a position with a higher degree of responsibility and usually a higher paying job as well. These managers typically spend their day on high level operations duties.

They may meet with other individuals working in FMCG sales jobs, like individual sales staff who call on other businesses. They may also spend a great deal of time meeting with managers from other areas of the business, such as those working in production, finance, marketing and creative services. This kind of FMCG sales manager is usually an officer of the company within smaller businesses and would be considered a member of mid-level management within a large organization.

FMCG sales managers who work in direct sales within the retail market have distinctly different job duties. These kinds of managers will often spend their day working with retail supervisors or directly with sales associates, depending on the size of the business in which they work.

If the sales manager is overseeing a series or chain of retail stores then he or she may manage store managers or store supervisors in an entire region. In this case the manager will spend a lot of time having conference calls and sales meetings with others in FMCG sales jobs throughout the region.

He or she will likely spend a big part of the day reviewing sales figures, making decisions regarding the products that are carried by the stores in the region, and meeting with other managers over topics of in-store marketing efforts, employee relations and other general operations.

The FMCG sales manager that works within an individual store will have significantly less responsibility. These jobs have the lowest level of compensation of all those which fall under the general job title as well.

Managers in these FMCG sales jobs spend their day organizing store staff, handling customer and employee issues, reviewing the performance of staff, and making purchasing and stocking decisions for the store.

The Different Types Of Catering Establishments

The catering industry services millions of clients around the world through several channels designed to cater to different requirements. It is not limited only to event catering though this is perhaps the most well-known type of channel. Knowing and understanding the other establishments makes us appreciate just how valuable the industry is today.

Catering itself is basically preparing and serving food and drink to clients. These clients may be office workers, healthcare workers, prisoners, railway, flight passengers and industry workers. It's a massive clientele which can not be serviced by a single segment. This is why the industry consists of a list of 'types' that cater to different requirements. Take a look.

Event catering

A challenging yet potentially lucrative business, event caterers are tasked with servicing events be it a gala affair, a wedding or a business luncheon. Since the setting can be very varied, they must be able to accommodate different style requirements, food choices and be proficient in organizing such events if clients so request.

Event catering is also known as outdoor catering as client requirements demand service away from the supplier's base.

Airline, railway and ship catering

Food and drink service provided to people onboard airlines, railways and ships are three other important segments of the catering industry. The work is undertaken by independent catering companies contracted to provide the same. On-board meal services are part of the package for long distance journeys.

Catering to passengers and crew requires massive logistics that are not easily handled. If successfully pulled off, however, profits can be extremely high.

Transport catering

Where other types of catering are usually planned, transport catering services passengers and the general public similar to a restaurant. Aside from food and drink, the establishments may have restroom facilities and counters selling snacks and other provisions.

Today, transport catering can also refer to airline, railway and ship catering so the lines can blur.


The most popular and most used catering service is restaurants which pepper villages, towns and cities across the world. They range from setups offering cheap food to 7-star establishments that focus not only on food but luxury facilities designed to impress and pamper clientele.

Diversity of cuisine is one of the main features boasted by restaurants where it's possible to find world food in one establishment or establishments specializing in certain cuisines.

Industrial catering

Industrial catering services people at work in industries at subsidized rates. The service may be provided by a contracted caterer or undertaken by the management.

The low cost of food and beverage is what distinguishes the segment from others as the belief is that better fed workers are likely to be more productive and happier which satisfies them and the management.

Welfare catering

Social obligations to do with providing food to schools, colleges, old age homes and prisons etc fall under welfare catering. It's a charity-based service meant to uplift society.

The catering types mentioned here are presented in the form of hotels, guest houses, B & Bs, pubs and cafes. Companies servicing industries may or may not have their own hotels although that's usually the case.

The logistics, cost and workforce needed to provide food and beverages can be immense and for people with no experience, it can be hellish. Professional caterers have the experience and the equipment to take care of whatever requests the client has which is why it's always wiser to hire a caterer where feeding large numbers of people is required.