Culinary Arts Education – Degrees For a Job in the Hospitality Industry

There are many people that dream of a career in the hospitality industry and the most popular job is, of course, the head chef. To attain this role within a quality restaurant you will need to go through a culinary arts education course that will prepare you for working as a professional chef. These courses include the actual hands on preparation of food as well as the theories and lessons you will need to work in the industry. The courses run for anywhere from three to five years and even longer in you choose to complete a double degree.

There are many schools offering culinary education including everything from local community colleges through to world class cooking schools such as Le Cordon Bleu. Most of these schools offer professional degrees in culinary arts and will provide you with an opportunity to get a great job in the industry. However, it is more than likely you will need to get experience as an assistant, or sous chef, before you will be promoted or offered a job as a head chef. Like most other graduates you will need to make your way up the industry until you reach the top.

It is important to compare the different culinary arts education courses that are offered. Consider that some of the courses will not offer a formal degree so it is a good idea to put plenty of research into your decision. Create a short list of schools as it is a good idea to apply to more than one school in case you are not accepted by your first choice.

10 Marketing & Social Media Tactics to Boost Holiday Sales

Tis the season for holiday sales!

Shoppers are flocking online in search of gift giving ideas. According to Mashable, "65% of shoppers tap social media looking for the perfect gift … and two out of three shoppers purchased a gift they found via social media."

So what are the best ways to cash in on seasonal sales with your business?

Whether you are a service-based business or sell products, here's some suggestions to get in the spirit with holiday sales.

1) Learn from the Ghost of Christmas Past

Look at metrics from last year's holiday sales. What products were bestsellers? Which promotions created the largest lift in sales? What special offers were a total bomb?

Discover what worked and did not so you can capitalize on it when you plan this year's promotions.

2) Make a Holiday Social Media Cover Image

Decorate your social media business pages with a specially designed cover image. It's the perfect place to announce special holidays promotions and deals.

Be sure to create one for all of your social media accounts.

3) Use Holiday Hashtags

Twitter shoppers may use hashtags to find their next purchase. So take advantage of hashtags to get discovered.

Some popular hashtags include: #blackFriday, #DIY, #holidaysssavings, #stockingstuffers, #holidays, #Christmas, #Hannukah, #Kwanzaa, #NewYears

4) Create Social Media Graphics for Promos and Deals

Everyone loves getting a great deal when holiday shopping. Make festive graphics promoting special promotions that make purchasing the perfect item irresistible.

Deals can include:

• one day only,

• limited quantity sales,

• buy-one-get-one free,

• special discounts or holiday coupons.

Consider offering a "12 days of Christmas" promotion with a special deal each day!

Canva makes it easy to make custom holiday social media graphics.

5) Boost Sales with Free Shipping

Consider offering free shipping for holidays gifts. Create highly visible buttons or banners promoting it on your website.

Or you can boost the order size by offering free shipping on orders over a bigger dollar amount such as $ 100.

Studies show that shipping costs are one of the largest detracts to making a purchase online so this one tactic could result in big returns for you.

6) Offer Gift Ideas

Holiday shopping can be frustrating when you do not know what to buy for the person who has everything. You'll want to promote your bestselling gifts.

Make gift buying easy by sharing gift suggestions like:

• 5 gifts for mom,

• 10 gifts grandparents love,

• 5 gift ideas for tech savvy teens etc.

Then offer links to purchase each of the items you mention on your blog and on social media.

Better yet, if you have a blog, write articles based on these topics and refer to your products within the article with links back to the purchase page.

7) Write Reviews

If you offer one of the hot new products of the season, consider writing and reviewing a review about it on your blog. In this review you could mention your own offers that would be a great gift accompaniment.

As an example, do a review of the top three smart phone accessories for Mom this Christmas and share pictures of them with a red bow on them along with a side-by-side features comparison. Then mention how your offer go great with these gift ideas while including links to purchase.

You could also incorporate your Amazon affiliate link for those products

8) Suggest Stocking Stuffer Ideas

Help idea stumped shoppers by offering suggestions for small items for everyone on their shopping list!

Write a blog post with the hottest stocking stuffers for the season. Share daily stocking stuffer ideas on social media using hashtags like: # beststockingstuffers2016 #cheapstockingstuffers #stockingstuffersforwomen

9) Reward Loyal Customers

Offer to give a $ 100 Gift Card to a randomly selected customer cutting posting a picture or video with your product on social media. Set up a campaign having them use a special hash tag like #christmascountdown.

This can help your promotional campaigns to go viral as customers share on their timeline and family / friends see their post.

10) Share Holiday Spirit

Connect to the spirit of the holidays in your customer's hearts. Engage your customers by asking them their favorite holiday tradition.

Get people to interact with your brand by asking them to share:

a. Their most-loved family recipes from Thanksgiving or another holiday event.

b. What their most loved Christmas song is.

c. DIY Christmas decorating tips.

d. Easy gift wrapping suggestions.

Traveling Tips for Severe Weather

There is a lot of forethought that goes into a trip. You think about packing, plane tickets, travel time, what to do when you arrive. However, sometimes Mother Nature can spoil even the best travel plans. Thankfully, you can take steps to prevent her spoiling the vacation you worked so hard for. Weather can impact you on every level. From what you bring, to what you buy, to what you do after you arrive, to even arriving or leaving on time. It can also affect the vehicle you rent or take around. The following are a few helpful tips you can utilize to help ensure that the elements have very little negative affect on your trip.

First and foremost, try going during the most temperate time of the year. If you plan on traveling north, try to go in the summer, or spring. If you are traveling south, fall or even winter are pretty safe bets. You can also familiarize yourself with the weather patterns of the area you are going to. If you are going to Arizona or New Mexico, check to see if its monsoon season or if there is a drought currently taking place. If you are going to a place like New York or Chicago during the winter, check the snow patterns. Some places have consistent snowfall throughout the entire winter, starting either before you expect or ending long after.

You can also pack to prepare, just in case the weather takes a turn for the worse. Normally you can buy whatever you need at your destination but a little forethought will help you avoid those unnecessary costs. Packing a heavy coat for winter states or a couple umbrellas for rainy states will go a long way in making sure you stay happy and you can spend your money on something you want rather than something you’ll end up needing.

Something else to consider is where you are staying. Make sure the hotel you are staying at is up to date and centrally located to the places you’d like to go. There are few things worse on a trip than having to spend it cooped up in four walls because a hurricane or blizzard suddenly hit. You can also rent a certain type of vehicle to help with your destination and needs. An SUV will come in handy if you are going somewhere that might have conditions that affect the road.

Finally, try and reach out to any local people in the area. They can sometimes be much more helpful than any website or television forecast. Your rental car company or hotel concierge should be able to provide you with a first-hand account of what you can expect weather-wise for your vacation. So, remember: research the area you are traveling to. Pack a light jacket, sensible shoes or a couple of ponchos. Look into your hotel location and accommodations and make sure your mode of transportation can handle most inclement weather. If you follow these simple tips, you should be ready for anything!

Life Insurance 101, An Explanation of Various Types of Life Insurance

TERM LIFE INSURANCE – Life insurance for a set number or years. You can choose from 5 to 30 year terms. No cash value, if you die during the term you collect the death benefit. The policy dies after the selected term has ended and you receive nothing unless you have a, return of premium rider or you convert the policy to some form of permanent insurance.

RETURN OF PREMIUM TERM INSURANCE (ROP) – A term insurance policy that returns all or a portion of premiums paid at the end of the term if the death benefit has not been paid.

SIMPLIFIED TERM INSURANCE – Term insurance which uses a simple application. Underwriting is done electronically. No underwriting requirements by the applicant unless red flags arise out of the electronic underwriting process. Policy is usually issued much quicker than regular term. There is a limit of death benefit for this type of policy ($350,000 or less) depending on the insurance carrier. This type of policy is generally more expensive because of additional risk by the insurance carrier. Less underwriting =more risk.

CRITICAL ILLNESS INSURANCE – Applied for as a stand-alone policy or as a rider to another life insurance policy. Pay immediate benefit for a covered illness even if death does not occur.

ACCIDENTAL DEATH INSURANCE – Pays benefit in event of a covered sudden accidental death. Applied for as a stand-alone policy or as a rider to another form of life insurance.

MORTGAGE PROTECTION INSURANCE OR DECREASING TERM INSURANCE – Term insurance that pays the balance of your mortgage should death occur. The amount of death benefit decreases to match the amount owed on mortgage. The insurance is set up to end at the same time your mortgage is set to end.

UNIVERSAL LIFE INSURANCE (non variable) – Flexible premiums. Can be a permanent insurance as long as premiums are paid and policy is funded properly. Investment policy in which risk lies with insurance company.

Has a minimum guaranteed interest rate which differs by company. This policy has the ability to gain contract value. The death benefit can be set to level (death benefit stays the same throughout) or increasing (death benefit increases as contract value rises). You may obtain loans or make withdraws but you must be careful, if the policy is not funded, it will collapse.

VARIABLE UNIVERSAL LIFE INSURANCE – Agent must have securities license to sell. Very similar to non-variable universal life. The difference is that the policy owner assumes investment risk. There is no guaranteed interest rate. Policy can collapse if investment does not do well and policy is not funded properly.

WHOLE LIFE INSURANCE – Simply put, you pay the premium and the policy will last your whole life. You usually have an option to borrow against the policy, amount depends on the value of the policy. This type of policy is usually much more expensive than the universal life policy.

GRADED BENEFITS WHOLE LIFE – Partial or no benefits paid until a named or tiered waiting period has passed. If you die before the waiting period has passed, you usually will receive the return of your premium payments with some sort of interest.

FINAL EXPENSE WHOLE LIFE INSURANCE – This type of whole life insurance is aimed at burial and funeral expenses and other final expenses. Usually, no medical exam required and death benefit is limited to $50,000 or less.

SINGLE PREMIUM WHOLE LIFE – This whole life policy is paid for by a single lump sum payment. In return the beneficiary receives a larger death benefit than the payment.

THINGS TO CONSIDER: You may be interested in mixing and matching different types of policies. For example; There is a need for 500k immediately. As time goes on, the kids have graduated college and are out of the house, the house is almost or totally paid off. Now the need is less. In this example you may want to purchase a 330k universal life and a 20 year 200k term. This plan will save you money and still protect your family for life.

Or, you may want to mix term, critical illness, accident, universal life, or whole life in various ways depending on your needs.

RIDERS:

Waiver of Premium Rider – pays life insurance premium if you become disabled and can’t work. There is usually a waiting period and rider usually expires at age 60 or 65.

Critical Illness Rider – Rider is explained above.

Return of Premium Rider – Rider is explained above.

Guaranteed Insurability Rider – this rider allows you to purchase an additional amount of life insurance at a later date without having to prove insurability again or take another medical exam.

Term Conversion Rider – allows you to convert a term insurance policy into a permanent policy without proving insurability again.

Accelerated Benefit Rider – this rider is only for permanent life insurance policies. This rider is usually included automatically for free. It allows you to collect a portion of your policy’s death benefit if you become terminally ill with a short life expectancy, usually one year. The portion paid out is subtracted from you policy’s death benefit.

Accidental Death Benefit Rider – This rider pays in addition to the death benefit if you die from an accident.

Child protection Rider – Usually used to pay final expenses if the unthinkable happens. Often, at a nominal cost and purchased in units of $1,000.

UNDERWRITING: requirements depend on insurance carrier, type of policy, amount of death benefit, age, build chart, gender, medical history, medications, family history, motor vehicle report, and other factors.

An application is always required, although, non-medical policies usually have a simple application.

Requirements could be: Paramed (certified medical processor or nurse comes to your place of choosing, takes you through a medical questionnaire, measures your height and weight, takes blood and urine sample, possibly EKG either resting or non-resting), Medical information from your physician or hospital, Medical exam, etc.

HEALTH CLASSES – Typical health classes would be, Preferred Best, Preferred, Select Standard, Standard, and then different nicotine classes such as, preferred nicotine, select nicotine, and standard nicotine.

It is possible to be rated less than standard depending on health and underwriting factors.

You must qualify for a health class. This is chosen by the underwriter after the underwriting process is complete. The agent can only quote you the different health classes but this can change with the underwriting process.