Commercial Fridges and Freezers Are Essential for the Food Service Industry

If you own a coffee shop or café, or even a hotel or restaurant, you will understand and appreciate the value of high quality commercial refrigeration. Commercial fridges and freezers are essential equipment for any business within the food service industry.

If you have this type of business, you will need to make sure that you store food correctly. This involves keeping it at the correct temperatures, for the appropriate lengths of time, and in environments that keep the food from being contaminated by other foods, dirt or debris and dust. Choosing the right commercial appliances for your business is an important hob and requires investment of time and money. However, by purchasing the correct equipment, you will save money and most importantly, your business will be operating within the stringent food health and safety guidelines.

If you need to buy commercial refrigeration appliances for your business, you should find a reputable supplier that has a reputation for supplying high quality, well-made appliances. Commercial fridges are much bigger, and more robust than the domestic models. In addition, they are designed for the heavy use that is an everyday occurrence in a busy commercial kitchen.

There are also a variety of chilled cabinets and display counters with refrigeration that can be fitted into delicatessens, cafes, Patisseries and other food retailers. Display and counter refrigeration units are wonderful ways of safely displaying food so that customers can see and choose the produce they wish to purchase.

A good supplier will have an in-depth knowledge of all the models in their range. They will know exactly which appliance would be best for your kitchen or shop front. In addition, good commercial refrigeration suppliers understand the food industry. They have first-hand experience of food preparation and food sales so they will also be fully aware of the health and safety laws that need to be adhered to, and of the needs of food preparation staff.

It is this specialist knowledge that makes commercial refrigeration far more than the mere purchase of an electrical appliance. It requires thought and planning. Because this is an investment in a business, care should be taken that the right equipment is bought, this saves time, money and ultimately helps the business owner to run a successful enterprise.

Look online for reviews and information about your chosen supplier. This is a good way of checking their credentials. Another good indicator is to find out who they currently supply. Companies that have built a reputation supplying leading names within the food service industry will prove to be a good choice. They will have a much wider choice of appliances to choose from, and they will have a wealth of knowledge they will use to guide you in your own choices.

By working with the very best commercial refrigeration supplier, you will be able to source and purchase the finest fridges and freezers for your business. Your investment in your business will help you run a successful commercial kitchen and serve your customers the very best quality foods at all times.

How Expatriates Are Exploited By The Offshore Financial Services Industry

Every year around the world, greedy financial advisors and international insurance companies persuade expatriates to invest an estimated $5,000,000.00 or more in offshore savings/retirement schemes that are little better than a swindle

Imagine an advertisement couched in the following terms:

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Advertisement

COLOSSAL INTERNATIONAL INSURANCE LTD

Expatriates – How to Save For Retirement

For regular savings toward retirement our Offshore Pension Plan is the perfect vehicle. Here are the great features:

1. You contribute, say, $1,000 per month over the next 25 years.

2. If we achieve, say 10% p.a. growth your fund at maturity should, in theory, be worth about $1,065,308

3. But our charges will have swallowed up around 47% of the $300,000 you contributed. That means about $140,000 of the growth is lost to you.

4. If you stop payments, for any reason whatsoever and at any time during the first 23 months you get not a penny back; we shall keep all the $23,000 you had paid in.*

5. If you stop payments at any time for any reason whatsoever we shall hit you with a substantial penalty. For instance, had you paid for, say, 7 years and then cashed in, the amount you would get back is uncertain but is unlikely to exceed the $84,000 you had paid in over the seven years.

6. You can reduce your monthly contribution at any time. However, If you do so we s hall continue taking our charges as if you were still Paying at the original level. That means if you reduce the $1,000 per month to $200 per month we will keep levying the charges that would apply to a contribution of $1,000 per month.

7. You can increase your contribution at any time but if you do we shall apply to the increase a fresh ‘initial period’ – i.e. the period during which you would get little or nothing back if you stopped payments.

8. You could stop payments at any time and leave the fund invested with us but we will still, month by month, take out the charges to a total of around $140,000 (see 3 above).

9. There are offshore savings vehicles that give access to all the same investment areas but with much lower charges and no hidden penalties but we prefer not to tell you about these.

(Throughout this article the $ sign stands for any major currency. e.g. EUR, GBP, YEN, AUD, CAD)

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The above “advertising” copy is very different from the hype in the real advertisements but it accurately sums up the typical features of International “Contractual Regular Savings and Retirement Plans” offered by some offshore insurance companies.

If they were advertised as above, would anyone ever buy them? Surely not. Consider some of the details:

1. Forty Seven percent of payments gone in charges!

2. All of your money confiscated if you stop contributing before you have made 2 years payments!

3. Crippling ongoing charges applied even of you reduce or stop payments.

4. If you increase payments a new set of charges and a new zero return period is applied.

And yet every year, thousands of expatriates are talked into joining such schemes.

Accurate figures are not available but reasonable estimates suggest that over $500 million is directed to such plans annually.

Who has the effrontery to market such nonsensical investments?

1. International Life Insurance Companies

These companies are mostly the offshoots of British ‘household name’ insurance Companies, and

2. Offshore Independent Financial Advisors

An Offshore Independent Financial Advisor is anyone who chooses to call himself an Offshore Independent Financial Advisor (IFA). Anyone? What about training? What about experience? What about background?

In most countries there is no legislation to prevent anyone setting up as an Independent Financial Advisor (IFA). Offshore insurance companies make cursory, far from thorough, checks on background before giving agencies but they cannot check qualifications because none are specified.

For an experienced, sometimes unscrupulous, salesperson it is easy to “spin” the negative features into looking like advantages. He/she is usually a skilled communicator, subtle in gaining the trust of his ‘prospects’.

Why do so many IFAs take advantage of the expatriate’s vulnerability in a new and unfamiliar personal financial situation?

The answer, of course, is money. The salesperson is paid a percentage of the client’s first year premiums equal to 3 times the years of the contract. On top of that there is normally a 40% over-ride.

Actual figures depend on the amount being invested and the contract term but where an expatriate is saving $1,000 per month:

If the plan is for 10 years the salesperson’s commission with over-ride = $12,600

If the plan is for 25 years the salesperson’s commission with over-ride = $ 5,040

For no extra work, simply by extending the savings term from 10 years to 25 years the Salesperson/IFA/Consutant receives an immediate extra payment of $7,500. No wonder the consultant often pushes hard for the longer term often using falsehoods to achieve it.

With very few exceptions the financial consultant is self-employed. He/she receives no salary. In practice, the IFA works not for the insurance company, not for his brokerage but as a self-employed consultant retained to look after the client’s best interests.

Unbelievable as it may seem, the IFA does not have to wait for premiums to be paid in order to receive his commission. The insurance company calculates the commission that would arise gradually month by month from regular premiums over the term of the plan, then pays it all, the entire amount in USD, GBP, EUR, or YEN to the IFA just as soon as the client’s very first monthly payment is made.

The average period for which payments are actually continued on these plans is a little over 7 years. When the expatriate stops payments the penalties will probably come as shock. Almost certainly he/she will be sorry he ever heard of the deal.

A complaint to the insurance company will get nowhere. ‘”Sorry”‘, they will say “you bought the plan through your Financial Advisor who works for you not for us. Take it up with that Advisor”.

Complaining to the IFA will also be futile. Even if he/she can be found, no laws have been broken and civil action in a foreign country is likely to be hugely expensive and pointless.

It is easy to say the victim should have read all the small print in the policy rules but deciphering all the meaning of that small print is often difficult. Easy too to say that he was foolish to contract for 10, 20, 25 years or other long term only to find he had to stop payments within 24 months and lost all or almost all of his contributions.

But the expatriate life is full of uncertainty. Right now thousands of expatriates are fleeing Lebanon. How many will also face job changes? How many will unexpectedly have to stop contributions to contractual savings plans?

There are, of course, offshore insurance companies that, to their credit, refuse to market these types of high products. Likewise, there are Offshore Financial Advisers who possess the skill, knowledge and integrity to offer service of great benefit to their clients.

One might suppose that expatriates would be better advised to deal with advisers based where there is regulation of the financial services industry. But home based advisers are not subject to regulation on business conducted overseas. In addition, many home based advisers will lack sufficient breadth of experience and skill to deal with the requirements of an international clientele.

To sum up, expatriates are financially exploited by being enticed into saving through offshore contractual policies that are little better than a swindle, presented to them by ill trained but persuasive and unprincipled sales ‘consultants’ masquerading as professional practitioners.

How many expatriates might be at risk is uncertain but with an estimated 6 million Americans living and working overseas and other countries’ nationals probably amounting to a similar number, the total must be substantial.

Could anything be done about this abuse? Almost certainly it could. If the insurance companies simply abandoned contractual savings plans or at least did away with ‘indemnity commission’ the shady offshore advisors would almost certainly disappear because they would be deprived of the mechanism that gives instant high income for little effort.

Copyright 2006 Hugh Stevenson

Translation Software In Translation Service Industry

It is easy to start a global business, but it is not simple to reach your potential customers. One of the best ways of reaching your target customers is through their own (mother) language. It is because of this reason that these days business of all sizes, operating in international markets are providing translation services as part of their key communicative decisions.

On the face of it, today the complexity of providing translations service has increased and the demand of modern translation tools and software has risen dramatically in the past few years.

Looking at the present picture of global communication; Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) with tools such as Trados, Wordfast, Transit, Translation Manager, etc. has become key technology in the translation service industry. It is expected that with the increased number of official languages in Asia and Europe, and ongoing growth of non-English Internet resources, software translation and computer-aided translation systems will become vital tools in everyday work.

The growing significance of communication cannot be addressed by human translators alone and this has further resulted in the demand for modern tools that save time and increase quality, accurateness and efficiency. The different CAT tools are fast becoming a cornerstone of translations projects around the world. At present doing translation without CAT tools is suicidal, is like going into the wild with bows and arrows. Computer-Assisted Translation programs are needed to help translators in their every day chores and take away the burden of repetitive translations. Human translation will be always needed, where the translator is the pilot that needs to take the key decisions in the translations process and take curves smoothly towards the target language and the CAT is like the racing car, essential to move fast and be competitive.

The present CAT tools are still lacking features that would bring much benefit to the international language translation community, such as:

– Competitive prices!!!! The prices for the most popular CAT tools are still too high for the average translator that needs to dig deep into his pocket to come up with the hard earned money.

– Lack of flexibility when used in conjunction with some DTP programs such as QuarkXpress, Indesign, PageMaker, etc. where text export-import operations are needed together with the introduction of TAGS to preserve the text format.

– Exclusive programs not able to work outside of the Windows environment such as the Macintosh or Linux platforms.

– Problems when working with Far East languages such as Chinese and Japanese and European Operating Systems.

– Large consumption of computer resources.

No doubt there is a lot of room for improvement!

Communication Skills in Any Service Industry Are Still Necessary for Success

Communicating well with the public is important for any business, but it is especially significant for service businesses. Instant text, voice and image communication technologies make it faster and easier to communicate with our customers than ever before. But the content and quality of communication still rely on good verbal and written communication skills. We can use the method of communication our customer prefers, but what we communicate to them remains much more important than how it was sent. It continues to be important for us to hone our verbal and written communication skills and make sure new hires also possess those skills. There are three general types of information that service industry professionals need to communicate to their customers.

Documentation:

Most documentation is required by law, industry standards or company policy and must be communicated to each customer. It usually describes the service performed and the limits of any guarantee or warranty. In addition there is usually some information the service company requires for the customer’s service record or file. Service reports are normally designed so the technician can communicate most of the required information by simply checking off appropriate boxes, but there must be space for the technician to relate specific information about his/her actions. Those comment sections require good written communication skills. As a trainer of new technicians I always warned them of the importance of what they write on those legal documents. They are not only communicating with the customer but also with their supervisor, a regulatory agency, or even a lawyer, judge or jury if there is ever litigation involving the service. Because customers seldom read the service report completely before signing it, it is important for technicians to verbally communicate the information to them to make sure they understand it. This adds value to the service and requires good verbal communication skills. Although documentation is necessary it has the drawback of being primarily one-way communication with little participation from the customer.

Education:

Communicating this type of information involves some customer participation because it is normally provided in response to a question from them. Educational communication should be professional and clearly understood. It requires that the technician have a thorough knowledge of service performance and techniques. Experience, training and third party reference materials help make this type of communication possible but it still requires good verbal communication skills. Educating customers about their particular problem and the solution provided for them will add much value and credibility to each service.

Expression:

This type of communication is often underused or completely overlooked because it is not required by law and is not technical or educational in nature. However, it just may be the most important and fruitful line of communication we can establish with our customers. It expresses our concern, empathy, appreciation and attentiveness. It adds a personal touch to the relationship with our customer. An attentive technician listening and responding to customer concerns; an administrative assistant dealing with customers in a pleasant, efficient and caring manner; a salesperson following up with each new customer after the sale to make sure the problem is being addressed to their satisfaction; or the owner or supervisor sending customers a thank you or holiday card with a brief personal message. These are all examples of expressive communication. We can express ourselves verbally, in writing or even implied by our body language or tone of voice, but we must be sincere. It is this type of communication that turns a customer into a friend and we all know how much harder it is to fire a friend than it is to fire a contractor.