Monthly Archives: April 2017

Advantages to Computers in the Food & Beverage Industry

Computers have revolutionized the food and beverage industry as they have nearly every other industry. Computers have had positive, measurable effects on the front end and back end of hospitality operations. Computers systems have improved employee performance, and food and beverage quality and consistency. Within the food and beverage industry there is no longer a question of should technology be used, but rather a question of which technology to use? In the food and beverage business, computers are here to stay.

In the hospitality industry, customer service is an absolute critical factor for success. Computers are helping in this area in several ways. In many restaurants, the wait staff can process various forms of payment at guest tables, which allows guest to leave directly from their table without the need to stop at a centralized checkout station. This has removed long unsightly lines, which annoy customers, and disrupt the flow of traffic in food and beverage businesses. This service is made possible by either small hand held computers which handle credit card transactions using wireless technology, or via remote point of sale systems that interact with a central computer system. This improves the customers dining experience, which should be the goal of any food service business.

A key management concern of any food and beverage business is the profit margin. In this vital area of business, computers have also proven to be an indispensable tool. Computer systems help manage the entire food service process from ordering the ingredients needed to produce menu items, to forecasting the amount of items to prepare for each dining period based on historical patterns. This helps to reduce wasted food, which is very expensive and comes out of the businesses profit. It also helps in preparing menu items before hand, which reduces customer wait time. Computer can also forecast with high accuracy rates the volume of business to be expected which allows managers to properly staff their business. This is vital because having too much staff on hand can consume unnecessary amounts of payroll, and not having enough staff on hand will cause customer service problems.

Computers are also being used in very innovative ways by some food and beverage businesses. For instance, Darden Restaurants that owns and operates the Red lobster and Olive Garden chains uses computers to help choose new building sites. This computer system uses a software program called the Darden Site Analyzer. The software gathers critical information needed to select a site, such as demographics, distance to other restaurants and customer information specific to the Darden business model. The program then analyzes the site and provides a series of reports to help Darden make the final decision. Darden plans to improve the software so that it can evaluate things such as whether a new Darden restaurant will negatively effect other Darden restaurants in the same area.

Computer systems have become a vital part of all aspects of the food and beverage industry, they help with purchasing decisions, inventory control, employee scheduling and training, and customer acquisition and retention. A leading indicator of this growing trend is the fact that many hospitality training programs now include computer and technology courses in the curriculum.

Each year innovators are creating more unique ways that technology can be used to enhance the overall commercial dining experience. Computers make out of home dining a more enjoyable experience for the consumer and a more profitable manageable experience for business managers and owners.

(c) 2006, Marcus Barber

Healthy Eating – Four Reasons to Take Probiotics

If you are someone who is interested in maximizing your health, one thing you might be considering is your intake of probiotics. These healthy bacteria live in the stomach and help keep your immune system strong, promote optimal digestion, and keep your entire body working in proper order.

While everyone needs to be consuming a healthy dose of probiotics on a regular basis, there are particular times when you need to increase your dose.

Let’s take a closer look at the main times when serving yourself a little extra dose of probiotics is a wise move…

1. When You Are Ill. Because probiotics play a vital role in keeping your immune system in top shape, it is important you focus on consuming these probiotics when you are struggling with your health.

If you are currently ill, an extra dose can give you the power your body needs to fend off whatever it is fighting: helping you get back to optimal health. When you have a common cold or the flu, as well as when you are struggling with a health issue, an additional dose could be helpful.

2. After You Have Completed The Prescribed Antibiotics. While you are sick and need antibiotics, they can be useful. What they won’t be good for is your gut health. Antibiotics will kill any harmful bacteria currently residing in your system. However, they will also take out all the “good” bacteria.

Serving yourself an extra dose of probiotics during this time can help bring your gut environment back to optimal, ensuring your immune system stays strong.

3. Before And During Travel. The next time it is a smart move to add a few extra probiotics to your daily menu is before and during travel. Before travel, the goal is to make your immune system as healthy as possible, which will help fend off any viruses present in the area you are going.

During the traveling period, taking the probiotics will help keep your system as healthy as possible, and help you avoid any digestive woes that may occur due to eating foods, not your typical dining choices. If you are all about trying local cuisine when you travel, your taste buds may enjoy this, but your stomach may feel otherwise. Using a probiotic may help prevent unwanted issues from occurring.

4. Throughout Pregnancy. Finally, the last time to make sure a probiotic is present in your life is throughout pregnancy. Keeping your body extra healthy at this point is important, and a good quality probiotic may help to reduce your risk of suffering from birth-related complications such as Gestational diabetes.

As you can see, a probiotic is not something you want to slough off and take lightly. It is a must-have in any diet plan aiming to keep you as healthy as possible.

Nursing Informatics – Integrating Health Care With Information Technology

What is Nursing Informatics?

Nursing Informatics is the integration of clinical nursing with information management and computer processes. It is a relatively new focus in health care that combines nursing skills with information technology expertise. Nurse informatics specialists manage and communicate nursing data and information to improve decision making by consumers, patients, nurses and other health care providers.

The nursing process has four main steps: planning, implementation, evaluation, and assessment. However, because information management is integrated into the nursing process and practice, some nursing communities identify a fifth step in the nursing process: documentation. Documentation and patient-centered care are the core components of the nursing process. Automated documentation is vitally important, not just for nursing, but for all patient care. Up-to-date, accurate information at each step of the nursing process is the key to safe, high quality patient-centered care.

The successful implementation of information systems in nursing and health care requires the following: First, it is necessary to have well designed systems that support the nursing process within the culture of an organization. The second requirement is having the acceptance and integration of information systems into the regular workflow of the nursing process and patient care. Finally, it is important to have resources that can support the previously mentioned factors. One of the most effective and valuable resources a healthcare organization can add is a Nurse informatics specialists.

Nursing Informatics Specialists

Nursing Informatics Specialists are expert clinicians with an extensive clinical practice background. These individuals have experience in utilizing and implementing the nursing process. These nurses have excellent analytical and critical thinking skills. They also understand the patient care delivery workflow and integration points for automated documentation. Having additional education and experience with information systems is also important for this occupation. Finally, Nursing Informaticists are excellent project managers because of the similarity between the project management process and the nursing process.

To be competitive in this field one should become familiar with relational databases by taking a class about database structure. They should also become competent and comfortable with MS Office, especially Excel, Access and Visio.

Why these jobs are Important to Healthcare?

Nurse and health informatics bring a great deal of value to patients and the health care system. Some examples of how they provide value include:

  • Provide Support to the nursing work processes using technology
  • Increasing the accuracy and completeness of nursing documentation
  • Improving the nurse’s workflow
  • Automating the collection and reuse of nursing data
  • Facilitating analysis of clinical data
  • Providing nursing content to standardized languages

HIMSS and RHIO

To provide some background on the field of healthcare/nursing informatics, there are some governing bodies for this field. The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) is the main governing body for health care and nursing informatics professionals. This group, formed in 2004, has the following four goals: NI awareness, education, resources (including websites), and RHIO (Regional Health Information Organization).

RHIOs are also known as Community Health Information Networks (CHINs). These are the networks that connect physicians, hospitals, laboratories, radiology centers and insurance companies.They all share and transmit patient information electronically through a secure system. Those organizations that are a part of RHIOs have a business interest in improving the quality of healthcare being administered.

Steps to a Job in This Field

To enter into the nursing informatics field, typically you need a minimum of a four year degree. There are specific health informatics degrees available. Earning your Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) is also a requirement before sitting for the ANCC certifications test for Nursing Informatics. Some individuals start with just a two year degree or diploma, but continue on to earn their BSN before becoming certified. Although there are several different routes for getting into the field, the most favored manner is to earn a Master’s in Nursing Informatics from the start, however, most individuals start their career prior to earning their master’s degree.

Most nurses who are in the informatics field start in a specialty area, such as the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Perioperative Services (OR), Med-Surg, Orthopedic Nursing, or Oncology, just to name a few, and work in that specialty field for an extended period. Working in a specialty area helps nurses get to know the normal working processes and routines as well as understand the patient care process in their specialty. They usually are experts at their specialty and then develop interests in computerized documentation or some other technological healthcare focus. They then tend to gradually move into an information systems clinical support role.

If you have an interest in nursing and technology, this might be a career that can match both of these skills into one rewarding job.

Vet Costs: The Top 5 Secrets To Dramatically Lower Them

Veterinary Care is expensive. I should know, for I am a Veterinarian who owned a Veterinary Hospital for nearly 15 years. Veterinary Medicine has changed dramatically in the last 30 years; gone are the days of James Herriot when vets treated every type of animal, and regularly made house calls. This article will give you an understanding of why veterinary charges have gone up so much, and the top 5 things you can do to lower your vet costs.

As veterinarians can offer more advance diagnostics and treatment, veterinary fees have risen accordingly. Vet visits and surgery cost dog owners almost $800 and cat owners $500 last year, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association. If your pet becomes seriously ill, you can easily spend thousands. Knee surgery in dogs can easily cost over $5,000; a pet with cancer can have radiation therapy and chemotherapy costing in excess of $7,000.

Veterinarians are charging more to make their practices profitable, and obviously make more money. Veterinary clinics have escalating costs of staff salaries, higher expenses for the diagnostic equipment, yet also seeing decreases in new clients. For a clinic to financially profit, it means charging more per client, and having the clients come into the practice more often. This combination of higher salaries, expenses, but no real new clients means the only way for most practices to make more money is to charge more per client; hence higher vet costs.

My first suggestion is to price shop. Prices at animal hospitals can vary widely. In my small town of Nelson, I charged the least of all the practices, but many clients didn’t know that. Make sure you get recommendations from other pet owners first. There is a misconception that the higher priced practices give a better quality of care – but this is often not true. Ask about the common procedures, like vaccines, checkups, neutering and spaying. In addition, do not forget to ask for discounts from your vet. If clients ask, they will often get a discount. Some vets offer multiple pet discounts as well as discounts for seniors.

Be wary of the business practice popularized by McDonald’s, ‘The Upsell’. Examples of this include your veterinarian suggesting ‘preventive’ diagnostic tests during a check up, or in many cases advising having a dental cleaning. You should be asking and questioning why? Just how bad are the teeth; is the degree of dental disease really that significant? One of the major veterinary associations is advising that any pet with Grade 1 gingivitis (mild gum inflammation) have a dental scale and polish. This procedure is at least 300 dollars. This has risks for your pet would need to be under general anesthetic. It has high profit margins as the Animal Health Technician or Assistant usually does all the work. However in my opinion, a pet with mild gum disease does not need this done. You can begin preventive care at home. You could begin to brush your pet’s teeth. You could feed a diet designed to break off some of the plaque and tartar.This is only one example, although it is the biggest up-sell in Veterinary Medicine today.

Hospitalization fees are another often avoidable expense. Your Vet will make a lot more money if he (or she) can keep your pet in the veterinary hospital. They can charge a fee for the day of hospitalization, plus a fee for re-examining your pet in the morning. Ask to have the Procedure performed while you are there. Let’s use X-Rays as an example. Get the practice to schedule this while you are there and waiting – it doesn’t take long to perform X-Rays. They will likely comply if you only ask. By being a little bit of a ‘pain in the butt’, you will get better service at a lower price.

Medication is expensive, and it’s marked up a lot at your vet. The markups range from 50% to 125% plus the prescription fee. There are many ways to save money on pet medications. First, ask your vet about a drug’s cost and find out if it is available through pharmacies. Your local drug store may offer it at a much cheaper price. Also, ask your vet about lower-priced generic medications that would be appropriate. In addition to your local pharmacy, check veterinary-medication prices at DrsFosterSmith.com, 1800PetMeds.com, and PetCareRx.com. You have the right to ask your veterinarian for prescriptions that you can fill elsewhere, and save yourself unnecessary expenses.

The biggest key to lowering your veterinary fees is by being an involved and empowered pet owner. Take charge of your pet’s health care. You know your pet better that anyone else. How well do you think a Veterinarian can get to know your pet with a 15 minute visit once a year? Educate yourself on basic at home veterinary care, and use many of the inexpensive natural remedies. Let’s use allergies as an example, for many of you have allergic pets. You can either continue to use expensive prescription medication from your vet, or start with some natural remedies. These include therapeutic doses of essential fatty acids, being 1000mg per 10lbs of body weight daily. Or it can be using a herbal remedy called Licorice to stop the itching. This is only one small example, but do you see how you can take charge of your pet’s health care and have a happier healthier pet?

You should now have an understanding of why veterinary costs are rapidly rising, but more important what you can do about it. You can price shop, avoid the common veterinary up-sells, avoid hospitalization fees, get less expensive prescription medication, and take charge of your pet’s health care by using inexpensive at home remedies. I encourage you to at least use some of these suggestions to start saving money immediately on your vet costs.

Alternative Health Careers – Five Occupational Options

As the field of natural healing therapies continues to grow, so does the demand for alternative health careers. Some of the diverse healthcare occupations that alternative and complementary medicine offer prospective students include healing arts disciplines in massage therapy, homeopathy, herbal medicine, natural health, and acupuncture, among many others.

Today’s alternative health careers like massage therapy require specific training and education; including an expanding minimum standard of 500 instructional hours comprised of basic sciences (anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, and pathology), Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, and sports massage. Other related studies like CPR and first aid, as well as business management and client communications are commonly integrated into this program of study.

Homeopathy is also a unique option to those seeking alternative health careers. Similar to most medical programs, homeopathic courses require rigorous educational studies like anatomy, biochemistry, homeopathic philosophy, physiology, materia medica, and other comprehensive coursework. To successfully acquire alternative health careers in homeopathy, individuals should review educational prerequisites as most homeopathic colleges and schools typically require some formal training and education prior to enrollment.

If you’re drawn to alternative health careers that involve herbal medicine, a number of holistic education programs including Chinese medicine, naturopathy, homeopathy and natural health commonly offer herbology and aromatherapy as part of their curricula. Choose from beginner classes to more advanced training options like earning your degree in herbal sciences.

Natural health professions are also part of the vast array of alternative health careers. Earn your diploma or certificate as a natural health practitioner after you’ve completed an in-depth course in natural healing therapies like massage, aromatherapy, herbal medicine, Reiki, and reflexology. Healing arts schools vary in subject matter, so check with prospective schools prior to applying.

Of these alternative health careers, acupuncture and Oriental medicine practitioners probably have one of the most unique educational foundations. In addition to learning both Eastern and Western medicine philosophies, acupuncture education offers a rare look into Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) principles and theories; including needling techniques, Tai Chi, moxibustion, Chinese herbal medicine, Tuina, Qi gong, and even Chinese medical language, among others. Prospective students should be aware, however, that alternative health careers in acupuncture do require several years of dedication.

If you (or someone you know) are interested in learning more about these and other alternative health career options, let professional training within fast-growing industries like massage therapy, cosmetology, acupuncture, oriental medicine, Reiki, and others get you started! Explore training programs for alternative health careers near you.

Alternative Health Careers – Five Occupational Options
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Role Of Food Service Consultants

If you have ever received bad service in a restaurant, you know that it can be a sales killer for any restaurant business. However, if you desire to have your restaurant be among the better restaurants in town and you aspire to be the best in your niche, then, providing great service is one of the best ways to earn a strong reputation. And one person that can help you deliver great is a professional food service consultant. The professional food service consultant can advise and give you the guidance you on the proper service techniques for your concept and assist in training how to deliver great service.

Providing great service is complex and needs all departments to coordinate their training and to achieve great service. It effects each food service departments such as banqueting, catering, room service and kitchen. Good food and beverage managers learn how to organize each of these departments to achieve great service.

Providing great service in hotels is even more complicated because there are so many departments involved. Every department imaginable including housekeeping, human resources and purchasing can have an impact on service. Different types of hotels have different food service needs as well. Little wonder that providing great service is so complicated. Food service consultants are the experts who know exactly what is needed by different restaurants.

Food service consultants play an active role in recipe development. They take on a number of services like:

– Development of food products

– Compilation and preparation of recipes

– Developing new ideas for recipes

– Innovating new product range

– Product management from planning to cooking and presentation

– Analyses of the market

– Analyses of competitors

– Recipe development

– Menu development advice and planning

– Catering

– Product tasting and evaluation

– Food styling and presentation

– Food recommendations

In addition to the above, food service consultants also focus on the nutritive value of foods so that the restaurant can serve foods that appeal to a large number of customers. Food consultants can even provide food specific nutrient analysis to show the exact number of calories, protein, carbs and vitamins in particular foods. This is important as many people are becoming more health conscious. A well trained food consultant can help you modify your recipes so that they are flavorful, visually appealing and nutritious.

Along with recipe development, good food consultants also can support the training of your people.

Therefore, if your restaurant business seems to be lagging behind and you just don’t know what to do, consider contacting a professional food consultant to assist in supporting your needs. You could also depend on food and beverage consultants to produce attractive pictures and sales materials for the restaurant.

Great food and service is an integral component to your restaurant business. A restaurant with excellent food service is the foundation for popular.

Basic Steps to a Healthy Pregnancy

If you are planning to have a baby, or are already pregnant, give your baby the best possible start. Miraculously, many women have an apparently health pregnancy and give birth to a healthy baby without any thought at all. However, many are not so lucky and sometimes that perfectly healthy baby has health issues early on such as rashes, allergies, ear infections etc. As an obstetrics nurse with 40 years experience in childbirth and prenatal education, I would like to encourage you not to leave the health of your pregnancy and baby to chance. Take steps now to be healthier.

Start with a good physical from your midwife or MD. Ask your practitioner about a thyroid panel and Vitamin D level. Make sure your iron stores are good. If you are vegetarian, ask your health care provider about B12 supplementation. Start on your prenatal vitamins and minerals and of course, if you haven’t quit smoking do it now. The effects of 1 cigarette a day after the 4th month of pregnancy are still measurable at age 10.

Take a good look at your diet. Write down everything you eat for 3 days and then check it off by the following list.

1: 7 colors daily: Blue – berries, elderberries;

Purple – plums, grapes, purple cabbage;

Red – tomatoes, radishes, cherries, red peppers, red onions;

Yellow – lemon, mango, lemon, grapefruit, yellow tomatoes, grapefruit;

White – cauliflower, onions, garlic;

Orange – oranges, tangerines, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes and yams;

Green – lettuce (not ice burg), celery, cilantro, parsley, cabbage, napa cabbage, kale, organic spinach, swiss chard, bok choy.

2: 7-9 Servings of fruits and vegetables

3: Complete protein at every meal (pregnancy, nursing and children) *

4: Good fats – Olive Oil, Grape Seed Oil, Omega 3 fatty Acids. raw seeds and nuts

5. Whole Grains 3 to 4 servings for pregnant women

6. Get rid of calories without food value-pop, chips, candy etc.

7. Limit or eliminate the white – white flour, white rice, and sugars of all forms.

This may seem overwhelming. Don’t let it be. Just start educating yourself and move towards making this list the basis for your food intake.

Last but not least, schedule your first prenatal as soon as you have conceived. Information gathered in your first trimester is used for treating any pregnancy complications that should arise.

Please start a list of questions for your care provider, so you can get all of your questions answered. This information is not intended as medical advice, but as information to discuss with your midwife or doctor.

* Complete proteins come from combining various protein sources. As a general rule meat, fish, poultry and milk have a more complete protein balance. Egg whites are the best. Quinoa and soy beans are the top of the plant proteins. It is good to vary the protein sources in your diet and eat combinations of plant proteins.

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Vitamins Are Organic Compounds That Are Necessary In Small Amounts To Sustain Life And Health

Vitamins are nutrients essential for health. Vitamins are organic compounds that are necessary in small amounts in animal and human diets to sustain life and health. Vitamins are organic compounds which are needed in small quantities to sustain life. Vitamins are organic substances, essential for maintaining life functions and preventing disease among humans and animals and even some plants. Vitamins are complex organic compounds that occur naturally in plants and animals.

Vitamins are named by letters – vitamin A, vitamin C, D, E, K, and the group of B vitamins. Vitamins are organic components in food that are needed in very small amounts for growth and for maintaining good health. Vitamins are compounds that are essential in small amounts for proper body function and growth. Vitamins are organic substances that are required in small amounts for normal functioning of the body. Vitamins are substances that the human body requires but is unable to synthesize and therefore, must obtain externally.

Vitamins are not individual molecular compounds. Vitamins were not discovered until early in the twentieth century. Vitamins are of two type’s water soluble and fat soluble. Vitamins are required in the diet in only tiny amounts, in contrast to the energy components of the diet. Supplements can be beneficial, but the key to vitamin and mineral success is eating a balanced diet.

Vitamins cannot be synthesized by the cells of an animal but are vital for normal cell function. Vitamins cannot be isolated from their complexes and still perform their specific life functions within the cells.

Persons already experiencing coronary health issues should consider having their vitamin D levels checked and take action if a lack of vitamin D detected. I’ve cited the review, “Is US Health Really the Best in the world?”, by Dr. Barbara Starfield (Journal of the American Medical Association, July 26, 2000), in which Starfield reveals the American medical system kills 225,000 people per year–106,000 as a direct result of pharmacological drugs. Berries come in many shapes and sizes, but they are all healthy sources of fiber, potassium and vitamin C. Strawberries, blueberries and blackberries are low in fat and calories, and contain compounds that might protect you from certain health conditions. B 12 deficiencies cause a host of health problems, including potentially irreversible nerve damage that can occur before symptoms are noticed. The easiest way for most people to avoid a deficiency is to take a B 12 supplement containing at least 1000 micro grams of B 12 two or three times a week. The Health Organization Founded by Dr. Rath is Unique in the world: All the Profits it Makes Go to a Non-profit Foundation. Vitamins and minerals are essential to life-and we mean essential. The early human diet was largely vegetarian, humans have adapted to utilize nutrients and vitamins from plant sou.