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Cat cafes: the latest trend in food and philanthropy
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Cat cafes: the latest trend in food and philanthropy

Coffee, tea and adopt a cat. That’s the mantra at the latest trend in cafes that are beginning to spring up across the United States. Cat cafes are already popular in Japan, where there are also cafes featuring owls and penguins, and where many apartment owners ban residents from owning animals. Now, the New York […]

Business training for chefs is on the menu
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Business training for chefs is on the menu

Restaurants are notoriously unsuccessful businesses. Two-thirds don’t make it to three years, and many cafes and bistros find that profit margins are notoriously thin. But on the flip side, successful chefs have become business moguls in their own rights. Think about people such as Emeril Lagasse, Nobu Matsuhisa and John Besh, all masters of restaurant […]

Chocolate, your favorite comfort food, could be running low
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Chocolate, your favorite comfort food, could be running low

Chocolate covered marshmallow trees have already appeared at See’s. No doubt chocolate Stanley Cups are on the shelves of Canadian supermarkets, or soon will be. Now comes news from the Washington Post’s Wonkblog that the world may be running low on chocolate. That word comes from the world’s two biggest chocolate makers, Mars, Inc., and […]

hand and water hose, Bloomberg headline: California Water Prices Soard
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Parched: Drought issues ripple out to consumers, growers, small businesses

With dry conditions or outright drought  plaguing a significant section of the United States,  it beats me why TV weather people still pull gloomy faces when they’re reporting impending storms;  you’d think they would be leading the dance of joy. Financial writers know that water issues – from crop hydration to the marketing of bottled […]

you udder buy some manure sign
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Quicktips: Manure expos, funky funerals and travel deals for single parents

Maybe this column should be called “quirky tips” instead of “quick tips,” because I can’t resist sharing some of the interesting and offbeat jottings from my notebook.  Hopefully you can embrace the oddities and spin an idea or two into a colorful summertime business feature. First off, my ears perked up the other day when […]

Goodwill Store deals on 4th of July
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Fourth of July stories sparkle on any business beat

Already 2014 is about half over and the Fourth of July holiday is speeding toward us like a runaway locomotive.  It’s the make-it or break-it bellwether for many summer tourism businesses and particularly interesting this year because the Fourth falls on a Friday, making for an automatic three-day-weekend for many workers. According to Orbitz, many […]

Big beef recall and other woes kick off food-safety season
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Big beef recall and other woes kick off food-safety season

Well, it’s rather a downer for the industry-led National Hamburger Month that there have been a couple of major ground beef fiascos in the past few days, including the news that meat tainted with the e. coli bacteria may be linked to illnesses in four states, as the Los Angeles Times reported.   When 1.8 […]

As World Cup excitement mounts, find local ties to Brazil's economy
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As World Cup excitement mounts, find local ties to Brazil’s economy

Only a few weeks remain until the kick-off of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil – and the much-watched football (or soccer, to those of us in the United States) tournament will bring all eyes to South America’s largest economy. FIFA, by the way, stands for Fédération Internationale de Football Association and the league, […]

fresh fruit market in spain
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Restaurants, retailers and consumers react to food price hikes

Consumers may want to savor their Cinco de Mayo margaritas and guacamole a bit more than usual this year, because reports of pending food price hikes and shortages include the avocado and lime along with other fruits and vegetables.  A platter of fajitas might strain the budget more, too, with beef prices at the highest […]