Blogs we love!

Here’s a blog we love!

https://praticogoods.com/blogs/news/45465665-the-benefits-of-using-stainless-steel-cups

This blog talks about the benefits of using stainless steel cups and we use them throughout our office to reduce waste and increase employee satisfaction!

We believe in stainless steel tumblers so much we’re adding them as an offering in our “Stock Your Store” on our web-store! Check out the store to see what a great price we have for you and your customers!

The Benefits of Using Stainless Steel Cups

The Benefits of Using Stainless Steel Cups

Stainless steel cups may not seem as glamorous as beautifully crafted glass cups, but they offer more benefits.  People may doubt this, but it is actually true.  There are many benefits to using stainless steel cups.

Plastic and glass cups cannot match the safety, durability, and sustainability of stainless steel cups.  These cups offer strong impact resistance.  They are 100% reusable and recyclable.  It is a practical choice.

It Can Last a Lifetime

stainless steel cups last longer

Stainless steel is quite indestructible.  They possess lifelong properties that do not diminish with repeated use.  It has superior strength-to-weight ratio compared to glass and plastic cups.  Glass cups are fragile.  Not surprisingly, they are often not the best choice when it comes to large events and venues.  Aluminum bottles may be tough, but they are susceptible to corrosion and leaks.  These things also have synthetic interiors which eventually decay over time.  Plastic can crack or disintegrate overuse and washing.  These things cannot hold hot liquids.  They also melt when exposed to extreme heat.  The truth is when it comes to longevity – stainless steel cups beat them all.

Safest Material to Hold Your Drinks

stainless steel cups are safe for kids

Every now and then, controversies will arise regarding the toxic chemicals that can be found in plastic containers and aluminum bottles.  These controversies gave rise to consumer backlash.  Not surprisingly, more people are opting to buy stainless steel products.  The natural composition of the stainless steel is non-toxic.  They are free from BPA, zinc, lead, phthalates and other toxic materials that are linked to health issues.

Stainless steel is well known for its antibacterial and hygienic properties.  It is widely used in the food and beverage industry.  Stainless steel cups and bottles do not leak.  They do not need interior coatings or linings that eventually disintegrate.  Stainless steel is nonreactive to acid, so you get a clean taste without smell or flavor.

Easy to Clean and Maintain

Unlike plastic and glass, stainless steel is incredibly easy to clean.  These things are resistant to stains, rust, and corrosion.  They are considerably easy to wash, and they do not require careful handling, unlike glass cups.  You can wash them by hand or throw them in the dishwasher. I particularly enjoy the rust-proof aspect of these cups.

stainless cups are easy to clean

Environment-Friendly, Reusable and Recyclable

Billions of plastic cups and bottles end up in landfills yearly.  If they are placed end-to-end, they could circle the entire planet.  On the other hand, stainless steel glasses can be reused for years.  They can even be recycled at the end of their useful life without degradation.  They can be kept out of landfills.  Stainless steel cups are durable, recyclable, reusable and environment-friendly.  They are a great addition to your kitchen.

Great For Outdoor Activities

Because of the durability of stainless steel cups, they work well for outdoor activities like camping and picnics. Paper cups are convenient but leaving drinks in them can cause them become soaked and soggy. Stainless steel cups are great for not only general hot or cold drinks, but they also make it very easy to mix drinks, alcohol or non-alcoholic. Our specific cups are also very stackable, making it easy to carry to any party or outdoor event with ease.

One Con I Noticed When Handling Steel Cups

When using steel cups, make sure you keep them in the shade or a cool area. I’ve noticed they heat up quickly, especially when you leave them in the car or out in the blazing hot sun.

Where Can I Find a Great Stainless Steel Cup Set?

You can add one to your cart by going to our stainless steel cups page here.

 

 

 

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Blogs we love!! 16 things you MUST do on your lunch break!

Here’s another blog we love!  Check out these great suggestions about taking your lunch break and getting a true break from your work to refresh and reset! Then check out our website BreakRoomRehab.com to #rehabyourbreakroom!

16 Things You Should Do On Your Lunch Break Every Day

If it has to do with leadership, jobs, or careers, I’m on it. 
Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

How do you spend your lunch break? Do you quickly chow down a sandwich at a nearby deli with your eyes glued to your Blackberry? Do you devour a salad at your desk with one hand on your keyboard? Perhaps you skip lunch altogether because you have “too much on your plate.”

“A common complaint I hear is about lunch time getting squeezed down to ten minutes, or to nothing at all, with people eating on the fly or eating while hunched over their computers,” says Michael Kerr, an international business speaker, author and president of Humor at Work.

Why does this happen? Because America has become such a work-obsessed society that we tend to shun the notion of taking a break, explains Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward, PhD, organizational psychologist and author of The YOU Plan. “Just like professional athletes, we all need the energy from calories for our minds to function at their best. And we all need a little time to recharge, too.”

In Pictures: 16 Things You Should Do During Your Lunch Break

Last month I laid out the 16 things you should do at the start of every work day and the 16 things you should do at the end of every work day. I concluded that how you spend the first few and last few hours in the office can have a significant effect on your level of productivity. As it turns out, what you do during your lunch hour can be just as important, and that time shouldn’t be overlooked. Taking a midday break during which you refuel and re-energize can not only make you a better employee but also a healthier and happier person.

“You should be as strategic about your lunch hour as you are about your day in general,” says Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant; How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job.

With the help of career and workplace experts Michael Kerr, Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward, Lynn Taylor, Anita Attridge, Alexandra Levit and David Shindler, I compiled a list of 16 things all workers should do during their lunch break.

“It’s critical to make the most of lunch and remind yourself that by taking a proper break you will accomplish more in the long run and that productivity and creativity will increase, while your levels of stress and fatigue will diminish,” Kerr says.

Anita Attridge, a career and executive coach with the Five O’Clock Club, a career coaching organization, adds that taking time to disconnect from your work provides renewed energy, and, as a result, makes the rest of the day go more smoothly. “Typically, the afternoon can bring some lulls that can be offset by having been away from your desk. Talking with people about something besides work during lunchtime can also boost your energy level and improve your mood.”

Alexandra Levit, the author of Blind Spots: The 10 Business Myths You Can’t Afford to Believe on Your New Path to Success, agrees. A lunch break not only fuels your motivation to power toward the end of the day, it also gives you something to look forward to in the morning. “Most people accomplish work best in short bursts with breaks in between, so organizing your schedule around these natural energy peaks will help you be more productive.”

What you do during your midday break might vary depending on your job, company culture or personal priorities—but the experts agree all workers should try to do these 16 things during lunch hour:

Make a plan. “Don’t squander your lunch break because it’s ‘free time,’” Taylor says. Time is a non-renewable resource, wherever you are, whatever the time of day. Try your best to plan it out and make the most of it.

You should also plan your activities immediately after lunch, Kerr suggests. “Giving thought to how you prioritize and schedule events in the afternoon can maximize your productivity. For example, scheduling a meeting or conference call right after lunch may end up causing you  stress over the lunch hour or you may end up squeezing the lunch break in order to get back in time and be ready for the meeting.”

Take a real break. Breaking from work for 60 seconds to chow down your lunch at your desk doesn’t count. “In order to get a period of true respite, the time has to involve an actual break from work,” Levit says. Try not to check your e-mail, bring work with you or talk about work during lunch.

Decompress. The first thing you should do when your lunch break begins is take a deep breath and relax, Taylor suggests. “You’ve likely been on over-drive all morning, putting out fires. Before you decide how to spend that golden hour, take a couple minutes to clear your head. Take your break-neck pace to a halt; don’t automatically jump to the next ‘to do’ item. When you’re relaxed, you can better strategize your goals with a broader and wiser perspective.”

Get up from your desk or workspace. “Staying at your desk is a big no-no in my book,” Kerr says. “There are more and more reports on the dangers of sitting too long, so even just getting up to walk to another room to eat is important, or better still, getting outside for some fresh air and a quick walk can do wonders for the body and spirit.”

Even if you don’t sit at a desk, you should get away from your workspace during lunch, as it will help you clear your mind.

 

Eat. Don’t try to be a hero and starve yourself for the sake of being a hard worker or checking off another “to-do” item, Taylor says. “You’ll pay for it later when you can’t concentrate and throw your body off balance. If you’ve earned a headache or are lightheaded at 4 p.m., you haven’t ultimately gained anything.”

Enjoy your food. Lunch should be about having lunch, Woodward says. “Treat yourself to something you enjoy that fits with your diet,” he adds. “If you have a favorite place or a particular food you enjoy make sure to go and enjoy it at least once a week. You only live once.”

It’s OK to splurge from time to time—but try to stick to healthy meals as often as possible.

Do what you can’t do in the morning or evening. Some errands—like going to the Post Office or the bank—must be handled during work hours. “Be strategic and use your lunch break to accomplish some of those personal errands that can’t be handled before or after work, or on the weekends,” Taylor says.

But be careful that you don’t cram too many personal errands into your lunch break, Kerr warns. “You’d just end up swapping one stress for another kind of stress without getting the re-energizing benefits a good break can offer.”

Use the time to connect with someone new.  “I used to work in an office of 3,000 people, so it was pretty much the norm to not recognize most everyone in the elevator,” Woodward says. “Our workplace interactions can be so fleeting that we really never actually get to know the people we spend most of our days with. When you don’t really know those you interact with it’s easy to dehumanize them and take them for granted. Take some time to get out of the office, grab a sit down lunch, and get to know your co-workers.”

Catch up with old friends. If you have a friend who works nearby, try to meet him or her during lunch occasionally. “Remember, your personal life needs tending to just as much as your work-life, so be sure to take the spare time you have and use it to fulfill your personal needs,” Woodward says. Your midday break is a good opportunity to catch up and socialize, in person or by phone—but don’t lose track of time, and don’t treat it like happy hour.

Have a system for dealing with your absence. This will allow people inside and outside the company to know when you will be back, how to contact you in an emergency or have an alternative point of contact, says David Shindler, founder of The Employability Hub and author of Learning to Leap. It may also help you relax and avoid obsessively checking your e-mail during lunch.

Engage in activities that will help you re-energize. Take a walk outside, visit the gym or meditate. Get out and do something that will make you feel better about yourself. “A quick dose of sunlight and fresh air is the perfect elixir for the midday blues,” Woodward says.

Network. Even if you’re perfectly happy in your job, and you’re not looking for a new one, it can’t hurt to continuously build and maintain your professional network. “This is critical to success in any line of work,” Woodward says. “However, finding the time to connect with those in your network can be tough.”

Attridge adds, “Strategically, lunch is an excellent time to continue to build relationships and network with others whether that is by having lunch with them or calling them to catch up.”

Don’t get stuck in a routine. Many of us are creatures of habit. Maybe you go to the same pizzeria every day or eat with the same colleague. You might always use your lunch break to run errands or make personal calls. Try to mix things up in order to clear your head and boost your energy.

Avoid all screens. Try to stay away from your iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, and computer. “Give your eyes a break,” Taylor says. Most office jobs require you to stare at a screen all day—so try to avoid that during lunch.

If you can’t help it for whatever reason (maybe you want to shop online or e-mail a friend), get up from your desk so your body perceives this as a true break, Levit adds.

Regroup. Treat lunch as sports teams treat halftime: take a few minutes to reassess where you’re at and re-prioritize the rest of your day depending on how the morning has unfolded, Kerr suggests.

Don’t take too long or too short of a break. If you’re allotted an hour for lunch, take it. Maybe not every day, but when you can, use the full sixty minutes to get out, eat, exercise your mind or body, catch up with an old friend or a colleague and/or tackle items on your personal agenda.

However, if everyone else in the office takes shorter breaks, follow suit so you don’t stand out.

“Don’t take breaks that are too long or too frequent, as people will start to notice,” Levit says. “And don’t pressure colleagues to adhere to your break schedule. You are primarily there to work–not socialize–so let them do what works best for them.”

“You have the ability to make your lunch hour an invigorating boost to your afternoon by doing what you enjoy; be it a brisk walk listening to music, talking with a close friend, being in nature, even if briefly, or spending time on your favorite project or pastime,” Taylor concludes. “It’s your time to refresh.”

Market Sales to the MAX!

New to micro markets?  Have you been incorporating them for years?  Micro markets have been growing steadily for years and gaining in popularity.  Markets offer operators the ability to increase their revenues by 4x’s their previous vending earnings.  For extremely diligent operators we’ve seen as much as 10x’s their previous revenues and here is how:

1. Give the customers what they want!

Micro markets are meant to be fresh! And we don’t mean just fresh food options, although those are an important part! Fresh … micro markets need to be changed, adjusted, updated and renewed all the time!

Use Three Square Market’s intelligent inventory management to know when products have come to the end of their lifecycle and it’s time to move in new, exciting products!

2. Promotional Sales and Loyalty

Promotions, loyalty, rewards, coupons! There is a reason mega stores like Targets and Walmarts introduce programs to increase their customer’s involvement with their stores … it’s because it creates the relationship between a person and your business! In a social media heavy world – customers what to feel connected to your store!

Using Three Square Market’s loyalty/rewards/coupon system will develop personal relationships with your clients and which will encourage them to become a loyal customer of your market!

3. Using the system to its MAX.

Like anything, the best things in this world take some work. We want you to be successful so we’ve developed the 32M University. We strongly suggest that no matter where you are in your micro market world that you take our 32M University course to ensure that you know the in’s and out’s of the system.

There are SO many amazing features within our system and we want you to USE them! Build your success by building your knowledge! Talk to your salesperson or our customer service staff today to learn more!!!

Customer Service: 715.386.2233

Or follow our YouTube!

Ready For It??

Cold and flu season is coming … are your markets ready for it?!

All employers want healthy employees! And all operators should want healthy employees, because they can’t purchase from your markets from home (and, of course, because you care about the well-being of others in general, too)!

Stock your markets with the cold and flu fighting products that keep everybody healthy and happy … 

One great option is the Lil’ Drug Store – an all-in-one medicine solution!

 

LIlDrugstore132
Click To View

Be sure to stock up on other winter essentials like tissues, soup, and hot coffee (see our Office Coffee Solutions HERE)!

Stay healthy and stay successful.

Blogs We Love! …

Here’s a great blog from the Staff at Vending Market Watch back in 2016!  It may be older, but it’s still very much relevant.  Take a look … 

THE 5 MUSTS OF SELLING NEW PRODUCTS IN YOUR MICRO MARKET

The ins and outs of introducing new snacks into micro markets.

New Products

Snacking has been steadily growing over the past several years. According to new Technomic research 83 percent of consumers in 2016 snack on a daily basis, which is 7 percent higher than previous years. This is great news for micro market operators because one of the best things about micro markets is the variety of snacking options available for operators to offer consumers. Unlike vending, micro markets have few, if any snack restrictions, and can be home to products of different sizes, multiple flavors, various dayparts and top-selling brands.

One big mistake micro market operators make is not introducing new snacks frequently enough, making a market feel stale. Without new, trendy and seasonal products, consumers just won’t come to shop. Here are the top 5 tricks of the trade micro market operators use to successfully introduce new options.

#1: LISTEN TO THE CLIENT

Micro market operators have the option of offering a much larger number of stock-keeping units (SKUs) compared to vending. But of the thousands or so new products introduced each year, how does a company decide which products to offer?

First and foremost new products need to meet a consumer demand. Operators should speak with clients about their specific requests and/or general desires. For example, many locations want to go healthy, asking for no salt or low sodium snacks, gluten-free chips, high protein energy bars and other very specific products. Other locations might just ask for granola bars, without the specifics of what they define as healthy. Find out what criteria will meet the need and seek out products from there.

Second, operators should consider hosting an open house and/or tasting event at the micro market. This not only creates excitement and brings people into the micro market, it allows for immediate feedback on the new products. Consumers love having their opinion matter, so try asking them to vote on the new micro market items they like best. Work those items in during the next round of new product introductions. Ever-changing consumer snacking trends mean operators should, on a consistent basis, discuss new product introductions with clients.

#2: INTRODUCE NEW ITEMS IN A TIMELY MANNER

Once you know generally the type of items a location wants, the next question becomes, how often should you introduce new products? There is no magic number or timeframe used by every operator. Some operators attempt to receive at least two new items per week across all categories. This requires reviewing the distributor’s ordering guide continuously and strict warehouse management of all the new SKUs.

Other operators introduce one to two items per month, keeping the micro market fresh and new without there being a continuous turnover of new products. Review rebate offers and manufacturer promotions for ideas, but also make sure the items meet location requests or demographic preferences.

Designate a certain number of SKUs as NEW, and use those to track your rotation of new items or assign the management of new SKUs to a specific warehouse supervisor to ensure you can regularly and efficiently refresh the micro market product line.

#3: PROMOTE THE NEW PRODUCT

There are several ways to emphasize new products in micro markets; in a cooler or on a shelf operators can hang a brightly colored tag reading “new” or use a static cling. Using a tag or cling means the product can reside with other ‘like’ items while remaining distinguishable and drawing the consumer’s eye. New products can also be placed in a space on their own near the entrance of the micro market, letting consumers know immediately that the market has been ‘refreshed’ with new items.

Another way of promoting new products is utilizing digital advertising and displaying new items on monitors and kiosks. Since all consumers need to use the kiosk to pay, an operator can be sure the new product marketing message is being seen by market users.

Some micro market systems also allow operators to send customers direct email, which is a great way to market new products. However, don’t inundate a person’s inbox or they will block you. Also, it’s a good idea to offer promotions around new products in emails and other marketing messages, such as bundling for a discount or a buy one, get one offer. This has been shown to raise awareness and sales of new products.

#4: REVISIT PAST PRODUCTS

Just because a product didn’t sell well once, doesn’t mean it won’t sell well in the future. Reviving products back into a micro market can have a positive effect on sales. If a location begins requesting an item that was previously tried, operators should consider reintroducing the product. Management and clientele changes or the evolution of snacking trends can mean a product that did not meet consumer needs a few months ago could generate incremental sales today.

Also, look at different varieties and sizes of products that are being requested again. Perhaps the item suffered due to a lower perceived value. Talk to the location, ask for specifics about the product; brand, flavor, package size, etc. You could uncover that a larger (or smaller) bag would be more welcome, or opting for a more trendy superfood ingredient makes a difference.

#5: REVIEW THE NUMBERS

Data is king when it comes to introducing new products. In fact, data lets operators know which new products are moving and those that need to be replaced or moved. Because of the massive amount of products and ever-changing consumer snacking trends, it’s important to do at least weekly inventory management of products, regardless of how many new product introductions an operator makes. By reviewing the data, operators can make room for new products as well as removing, re-pricing or repositioning items that aren’t selling.

Repositioning items can be especially helpful for increasing the sale of new items. Try adding a display at the kiosk to increase impulse purchases of the new item, or draw attention to it. Or try reorganizing the snack display, giving the new items more prominence. Benchmark the sales data before and after the change, to ensure sales are increasing, as well as not adversely affecting sales of other items.

New snack offerings in micro markets can revitalize market sales and bring excitement; operators should be sure to place the same amount of attention on new product introduction and selection as they did to the micro market when it first opened.

Changing your store based on holidays …

If we’ve said it once, we will say it again …

Your micro market inventory should never be static! Let’s think about the benefits of a micro market vs. a vending machine:

  • Virtually no restrictions on product size
  • No restriction on type of product
  • Increase product space
  • Easy to update, change, move, and fill products

Did you know that 70.6% of Americans hand out candy and are spending approximately $25 each to do so!

Stat via https://www.thebalance.com/halloween-spending-statistics-facts-and-trends-3305716

As a micro market operator you have a captive audience at hand, why not become a part of the estimated $9.1 billion dollars that will be spent on Halloween this year? By updating your product selection and adding seasonal items … such as Halloween Candy … you can increase your market traffic significantly!

Shoppers like to see frequent small changes to their frequented locations.  By changing up your market you can increase your client’s product knowledge and interests!

Using Three Square Market’s predictive inventory management system, you as a market owner can understand what your high, medium and low performing products are.  We encourage our operators to utilize all aspects of our system including rewards, loyalty, and coupons, predictive inventory management, mobile applications, and more!

Happy Halloween!

What Coffee Brewer is right for you?

Half-full? Half-empty? These options will help your cup ‘runneth over’! 

giphy-downsized

There are a lot of options on the market for micro market operators, and it’s easy to pick based on just one piece of information … BUT don’t get trapped by picking the lowest cost or the highest retail price point! Just because something is the lowest price often times doesn’t mean it’s the best value.  Let’s take a look!

See our Comparison Chart Here: http://bit.ly/2yT76wW

  1. Your standard cup brewer (Any single-serve machine)
    The positives: low-cost investment, low maintenance, popular products.
    The negatives: This brewer is the same as many household single-serve brewers. Low originality can lose you a large percentage of sales, short life-span, a high cost of product = low-profit margins.
    Where do we recommend?: We recommend using these machines as a trial coffee solution or in very small office settings. 
  2.  The medium level coffee brewer (Our favorite is Newco)
    The positives: medium-cost investment, very low cost of products, high-quality output, and the highest profit margins. 
    The negatives: increased maintenance and the cost of entry can be daunting for a first timer.
    Where do we recommend using it?: We recommend using these in medium to large markets, and even small markets with high coffee consumption. These are the top-rated employer-paid OCS solution coffee makers as chosen by your peers! Overall, this is a great machine for any market setting!
  3. The high-level coffee brewer (We use Bravilor Bonamat, straight from our European operators to you!)
    The positive: Quality, quality quality.
    The negatives: High cost of entry, involved maintenance.
    Where do we recommend using it?: We recommend this option anywhere you have discerning coffee drinkers. It’s great for both medium and large markets and can definitely keep up with volume output. You can schedule maintenance alerts and the machine does a lot of the work for you. This coffee maker has top-notch quality coffee and specialty coffee products. If you’re competing with local coffee houses, this is the way to go! You can price your products under the expensive chains but still, make a great profit margin!

Bottom-line: There are a lot of great options and any one of them might be right for you. Make sure you think about your clients, your locations, your business owner, the long-term, and your schedule before you make the choice that is right for you. AND if you need help … we’re here for you! 

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