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Exclusive: Breakfast sales hold steady as people heading back to offices cut back elsewhere – TalkOfNews.com

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Breakfast sales hold steady as people heading back to offices cut back elsewhere

#Breakfast #sales #hold #steady #people #heading #offices #cut

Consumers may be dining out less, but breakfast sales are holding steady as people return to offices and grab a quick bite or iced coffee on the way to work.

Overall traffic to restaurants fell 2% in the second quarter from a year ago as inflation drove menu prices up, according to market research firm The NPD Group. The only category that was unchanged: breakfast and morning snacks.

Restaurant companies like Starbucks say morning sales are being driven in part by people returning to their pre-pandemic work routines. David Portalatin, NPD’s food and beverage analyst, also noted the relative affordability of breakfast items.

“For a lot of people, it’s simply a cup of coffee and maybe a specialty coffee that they’re paying a premium price for, but it’s sort of more manageable,” he said.

The cost for food away from home rose 7.6% over the 12 months ended in July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Prices for food at home climbed even higher, rising 13.1%.

Kathleen Flynn, a 26-year-old photo producer in New York, said she’s rarely eating out these days and has been cutting back spending. But she still stops by a coffee shop, La Cabra, each morning for a cardamom bun and a cappuccino.

“I have to do this because it’s my joy,” Flynn said.

A return to normalcy

Before the pandemic, the restaurant industry saw breakfast as the biggest opportunity to grow sales and gain loyal new customers. Fast-food chains stepped up the quality of their coffee and morning menus to convince people to swing through the drive-thru on the way to work or school.

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In early 2020, just weeks before lockdowns, Wendy’s launched its breakfast menu nationwide, joining the likes of McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Burger King and Chick-fil-A in offering the morning meal.

But when the pandemic hit and shuttered offices and schools, breakfast saw the sharpest decline in sales. Starbucks reported that customers were buying lattes and macchiatos later in the day. Many Taco Bell locations opted to skip serving breakfast and opened later in the morning because of staffing challenges. By contrast, General Mills and Kellogg saw sales of pantry staples like cereal and Pop Tarts surge, while demand for orange juice climbed for the first time in years.

More recently as people started going out more often and reestablishing their daily routines, the trend is reversing. Total spending at quick-serve eateries, which includes fast food locations and coffee shops, climbed 32% in the 52-week period ended June 12, compared with 2019 levels, according to data from market research firm Numerator.

“Now that we’re getting back to more normalized behaviors, we’re really just returning to the oldest trend where breakfast was generally outpacing the growth of other dayparts,” Portalatin said.

More Starbucks customers are buying their coffee in the morning again. The company’s outgoing Chief Operating Officer John Culver told investors in early August that 51% of the chain’s sales in its latest quarter happened in the morning, closer to pre-pandemic levels. The company expects morning sales to strengthen even more as commuters return to offices.

Strong breakfast sales bolstered McDonald’s U.S. same-store sales growth of 3.7% in the second quarter, executives said in late July. The chain hasn’t brought back its popular all-day breakfast menu, which means Egg McMuffin fans have to get up earlier in the morning now.

Doughnut lovers are buying picking up their boxes of Krispy Kreme earlier in the day as well.

“People are starting to engage in the doughnut for the office et cetera in the morning time, so we see some growth there,” Krispy Kreme CEO Mike Tattersall told CNBC.

Paris Baguette, a South Korean-based chain of bakery cafes, has seen its U.S. breakfast traffic climb 20% compared with pre-pandemic levels, according to Nick Scaccio, the company’s U.S. vice president of operations. He attributed the chain’s strong growth to a coffee partnership with Lavazza and its efforts to build brand awareness.

The French toast stick wars

Breakfast remains a largely untapped opportunity for the restaurant industry, with many people still opting to eat cereal or eggs at home. The meal accounts for 20% about of restaurant transactions, according to NPD.

And in terms of spending, breakfast only accounts for about 13% of total fast-food sales, according to Technomic principal David Henkes.

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But restaurants and convenience stores were gaining new customers in the morning before the pandemic. And as they look to build back their traffic and sales in the months ahead, many are putting more effort into marketing their morning menus.

The push is apparent in this summer’s French toast stick wars. After Sonic and Burger King added versions of the portable treats to their permanent menus, Jack in the Box brought back its version as a limited-time offer. Then earlier this month, Wendy’s introduced its Homestyle French Toast Sticks.

“[Fast-food chains] especially are really innovating around new menu items to try and capture those incremental sales as consumers start to return to the breakfast daypart within restaurants,” Henkes said.

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Exclusive: Florida Woman Sues Kraft for $5 Million Over Prep Time for Velveeta Shells and Cheese – TalkOfNews.com

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Florida Woman Sues Kraft for $5 Million Over Prep Time for Velveeta Shells and Cheese

#Florida #Woman #Sues #Kraft #Million #Prep #Time #Velveeta #Shells #Cheese

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Velveeta’s microwaveable shells & cheese product takes just three and a half minutes to heat—among the quickest of quick lunches. Florida woman Amanda Ramirez claims it’s not that simple.



Bloomberg | Getty Images

Ramirez’s attorneys filed court documents with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on November 18. In the suit against Kraft Heinz Foods Company, Ramirez alleges that heating up an individual serving of Velveeta Shells & Cheese consumes more time to prepare than advertised. She seeks $5 million in damages.

The complaint says instructions on the packaging are “false and misleading.” While the label says you should microwave shells & cheese for 3:30, Ramirez’s attorneys claim the timing doesn’t allow for all the steps required to make the meal. They allege that if you include those—removing the lid and sauce pouch, adding water, heating, then stirring—there’s no way the pasta will be ready in just 3:30.

The 15-page lawsuit also contends that the claim is merited because Kraft is essentially making money as “a result of…false and misleading representations.”

“The Product is sold at a premium price,” the complaint says, “approximately no less than $10.99 for eight 2.39 oz cups, excluding tax and sales, higher than similar products, represented in a non-misleading way, and higher than it would be sold for absent the misleading representations and omissions.”

Ramirez isn’t just seeking $5 million in damages but also a new ad campaign that will correct the alleged misinformation.

Perhaps predictably, Heinz Foods issued a statement to CNN in which the company dubbed the lawsuit “frivolous” and said it “will strongly defend against the allegations in the complaint.”

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Exclusive: China touts vaccination progress at it seeks reopening path; encourages booster shots for seniors – TalkOfNews.com

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China touts vaccination progress at it seeks reopening path; encourages booster shots for seniors

#China #touts #vaccination #progress #seeks #reopening #path #encourages #booster #shots #seniors

China says progress has been made in vaccinating elderly population

BEIJING — Mainland China announced significant progress Tuesday in getting Covid-19 booster shots for people “over age 80.”

As of Monday, 65.8% of that age category had received booster shots, an official told reporters.

That’s up from 40% as of Nov. 11, according to prior disclosures.

China also announced a new push to get its elderly population further vaccinated for Covid-19.

An official said at a press conference that vaccination is still effective in preventing severe illness and death, and that the elderly are among the biggest beneficiaries.

The document did not provide specific details on how authorities would go about vaccinating more people.

Analysts have said that getting a greater share of the population vaccinated would help put China on the path to reopening. Only China-made vaccines are locally available so far.

The Covid vaccination rate for older people in China is generally below that of the U.S. and Singapore.

China pushes for vaccination among elderly population

Tuesday’s announcement and press conference followed a weekend of unrest as pockets of people in cities across China vented their frustration with Covid policy. Local officials had tightened measures in some areas, in contrast with signals from Beijing earlier in the month that suggested China was on its way toward reopening.

The weekend demonstrations weighed on market sentiment in Asia on Monday. There were no indications of subsequent protests amid heightened security.

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Mainland China’s latest Covid controls have negatively affected 25.1% of national GDP as of Monday, according to a Nomura model. That’s above the prior peak of 21.2% recorded in April during the lockdown in Shanghai.

When asked in English whether China was reconsidering its Covid policy after the protests, an official simply said they have been monitoring the virus’ development, without further elaboration.

The country reported for Monday the first drop in daily local infections in more than a week.

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Exclusive: How to manage your cash flow during a recession – TalkOfNews.com

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Balance sheet: How to use this financial statement

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Managing cash flow poorly can result in small businesses struggling, especially during times of recession.

Maintaining a healthy cash flow is always essential for your business but it might require extra attention in this difficult economic landscape.

In this article, we talk about how a recession can affect your company cash flow, setting payment terms, increasing the chances of faster payment, who you can turn to for support, and offer plenty more tips.

Here’s what we cover:

Recession concerns

More than three-quarters (77%) of finance brokers say their small business clients are concerned about the possibility of a recession, according to a recent survey by Iwoca, a fintech company that provides credit facilities to small businesses trading in the UK.

Not only that but there was a rise in the number of brokers reporting ‘managing day-to-day cash flow’ as the most common reason for applying for a loan (37%).

Steven Scoufarides, Head of Broker Channel at Iwoca, says: “The current economic outlook for small businesses is precarious – we are seeing signs of an increasing number of SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises] searching for finance solutions to manage their cash flow and brace for the potential of a recession.

“But, as they’ve proven time and time again, small businesses are resilient and will shield themselves against this economic threat in every way they can.”

How a recession can affect your business

Difficult financial periods can affect a company in a number of ways, with small businesses – many of which have fewer resources and shallower pockets than their larger counterparts – particularly at risk.

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You might find your company’s sales fall as both existing and potential customers tighten their belts.

Some might put in smaller orders or switch to cheaper options in your product lines. Others may ask for discounts or could be slower settling accounts.

You might find yourself spending more time chasing outstanding invoices.

And if a customer goes closes their business because of the economic situation, that will obviously damage your cash flow and cash reserves.

All of these events could have a detrimental effect on the way that cash flows through your business.

And, as we know, cash flow is the lifeblood of any company.

But there’s no need to panic.

6 ways to manage your cash flow

There are a number of actions you can take to shore up cash flow and keep your business at least ticking over during times of uncertainty.

Here are six things you can do now.

1. Be prompt with your invoicing

Staying on top of receivables – the money you get from sales – is essential for healthy cash flow.

This means invoicing promptly and asking for payment to be equally prompt. It also means constantly checking your list of invoices to see what hasn’t been paid yet.

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Good cloud accounting software will flag up when an invoice is overdue and let you see quickly and easily who really should have paid.

It can be used to send automatic reminders for outstanding invoices, too.

Sending statements to regular customers is a good way of gently nudging them to pay and avoiding the risk that they’ll suddenly query a long overdue invoice.

It’s worth noting any slow payers, so you can be prepared when you next issue them with an invoice and you can prioritise customers who pay on time.

If you’re paying out money yourself – for raw materials, venue hire or freelance staff, for example – make sure that whenever possible you receive payment from your customer before the money for your suppliers leaves your account.

Finally, keeping those receivables trickling in on a regular basis is as much your responsibility as it is that of your customers.

Make sure you invoice promptly, that the details of the product or service and who commissioned it are easy to see, and that if your client uses purchase orders and other references, these are correct and immediately obvious.

2. Review your payment terms

Payment terms usually refer to the amount of time a payer has to make a payment to you for a product or service you’ve provided them with.

This might typically be 14 days, 30 days or cash on delivery (COD) if you’re providing a product that has been dropped off at your customer’s premises.

Including payment terms in your invoices and statements is a good idea. They should also mention how you expect payment to be made, which these days is normally electronically.

Timing is important here.

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You can offer a discount for early payment, for example. This might be, for instance, a reduction of 5% if your customer pays within 14 days rather than your standard terms of 30 days.

On the other hand, you can also charge interest for late payments.

Unless you’ve stated your own interest rate, you should apply what is known as statutory interest, which is 8% on top of the Bank of England base rate.

To do this, you’ll have to issue another invoice with this interest charge on it.

It’s worth bearing in mind that this is something of a last resort and you’ll need to make a judgement about whether it’s worth annoying or upsetting a regular, valuable client with such an action.

3. Create a cash flow forecast

Another important step is to create a cash flow forecast, if you don’t have one already.

This will show the expected flow of cash in and out of the business over the next six, 12 or 18 months.

It will usually include income from sales and other sources such as bank interest alongside expenses including wages, raw materials costs, rent and rates plus utilities.

As well as being accurate and comprehensive, it’s important that your numbers are realistic, perhaps even a bit pessimistic. A forecast that overestimates income and plays down outgoings is misleading and can be worse than useless.

However, once you’ve got an accurate prediction of your finances, you’ll have a clear sense of where you are and where you’ll be a few months hence.

You can decide whether to try and cut costs, and if so by how much.

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Similarly, you’ll know whether or not to cancel investment and other expenditure. And if you have a team (or teams), you should also be able to create sales and revenue targets for them.

A cash flow forecast can inform you whether you might have to seek a loan, as well as when and for how much. You should review and update your cash forecast on a weekly basis.

4. Check your profit margins

During financially challenging times, it’s worth checking your profit margins.

You might have a great product that sells very well but how much money are you making out of it? Can you reduce costs or nudge the price up a bit?

Do you know which products or services are the most profitable and are therefore the ones you should be promoting at the moment?

5. Use an accountant

You might be loath to take on a new financial responsibility and increase your outgoings but employing an accountant, even in the short term or on a project basis can be a good return on investment.

An accountant can help with cash flow by providing or advising on services such as bookkeeping, and creating business and finance plans.

They can make sure you’re paying the right amount of tax and that you’re financially compliant.

They’re sometimes able to help you identify business grants and new funding to get you through difficult times.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales will help you to find an accountant, based on your business sector and location.

The Institute of Financial Accountants also has a useful search tool.

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6. Reduce your business outgoings

As well as money coming in, can you reduce your outgoings? It’s worth shopping around for a better deal on your insurance, for instance.

Look through your expenditure or outgoings to check whether there is anything you can cut or exchange for a more cost-effective alternative.

Final thoughts

Recessions can be worrying times for many people. However, it’s possible to regard the current economic landscape as an opportunity to review your business finances and operations.

You can then make some positive changes that will not only get you through the difficult times but set you up to make the most of the economic upturn whenever it arrives.

Editor’s note: This article was first published in September 2022 and has been updated for relevance.

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