How To Ensure Your Catering Equipment

5200568007_e98b79fdb6_z

Image via Flickr creative commons from PKL Group

Catering equipment is expensive and if anything goes wrong such as breakages or theft, you may suffer huge set-backs if you can’t really afford to replace it in a hurry. You may suffer large profit slumps if you can’t produce food as quickly you usually would. Catering insurance can not only cover your equipment but also your customers, your employees, the food you send out and if you operate a mobile catering business, they can cover your vehicle fleet.

Mobile catering is a fast growing business, you will often see an army of these vehicles offering all foods imaginable at festivals, concerts and funfair’s. Mobile caterers can also cover weddings, corporate events and other similar occasions. Mobile catering compared to the traditional set-up such as a shop or restaurant, has relatively cheap set-up costs. Without expensive buildings to rent you will need a much smaller start up fund. Mobile catering is just like any other business and has the same odds against them, including the hazards of being mobile and using public highways. Different types of vehicles can used for mobile catering from small trailers dragged behind a normal vehicle, food carts, large vans or trucks witch can not only deliver and sell the food, but cook the food inside them to in industrial quality kitchens. Insuring the vehicle is necessary and you need to let your insurers know you are using your vehicle for business. They may not cover you and you may need to find specialist insurance from a company such as NCASS (Nationwide Caterers Association or Simply Business. Most mobile caterers in the UK offer a comprehensive combined liability insurance package which covers all issues including up to £10 million to cover, public liability, products liability and employer’s liability including busy periods and over time.

If you are just about to start up your own catering business, be it in a pub or restaurant you may wish to purchase all your catering equipment from the same place, such as the cash and carry Makro. Purchasing all your equipment from the same place can ensure conformity, giving your kitchen a professional feel and easy flow, making your chefs job’s easier. You will also build a relationship with the supplier making any later repairs or further purchases at a later date, easier. One of the biggest investments involved with setting up your business will be kitting out your kitchen. You will need expensive industrial grade catering equipment and your kitchen needs to flow, allowing your food to flow seamlessly from the prep area to the cook line and onto the pass towards your customers table. There are some places you can save money, renting equipment or leasing it is a great idea on certain pieces of kit. Items such as ice machines are ideal to rent due to their short life span. Big industrial ovens and steamers are ideal to buy second hand due to their long life and high cost.

One are you will not wish to scrimp on is your insurance. Protecting yourself from expensive lawsuits is imperative to business owners. You may also wish to investigate Loss of business insurance, that will help recoup some lost revenue or something totally out of your hands happens near your business. You may also wish to check out specific peril insurance, this covers natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, floods or power outages. A more in depth guide into the different kinds of insurance can be found online at about.com.

How can you become a Counsellor

4102645583_3b9a649474_z

Image via Flickr creative commons from Alan Cleaver

Counselling psychology  like many modern psychology specialities originated around World War II as the U.S. Military has a strong need for vocational placement and training. As far as rewarding careers go, if you are good with people then you need not look any further than a career in counselling. Counsellors help people to explore their emotions that are often related to their experiences. This helps clients reflect on how these experiences can affect their lives and may offer insight into an alternative means of dealing with these issues. Counsellors do not typically give advice, more that they help clients to reach their own conclusions and decide their own course of action. There are many different models of counselling depending on what institution you work within. Some experiences and situations almost all counsellors will find themselves in include;

–        establishing a relationship of trust and respect

–        encouraging clients to discuss sensitive or embarrassing subjects

–        actively listening to their clients and emphasising with their situation

–        accepting without bias the issues raised by the client

–        challenging any inconsistencies they notice the client saying or doing

–        undertaking personal therapy

Counselling jobs are extremely varied and it is guaranteed that each day will be totally different and new challenges will arise constantly. Currently there is a swell in demand for counsellors and psychotherapist. Whether you choose to train in counselling or psychotherapy mainly depends on what work you see yourself doing in the future. If you wish to work somewhere such as a GP practice or school where you will be dealing with issues such as health problems and depression then chances are you may wish to train as a counsellor. Alternatively, psychotherapists will deal with more private individual based therapy over a longer term with clients. Psychotherapy training takes longer, and you will be required to undergo your own personal therapy, counsellors are also advised to but may not be required to. A British student can typically expect to find themselves studying to become accredited for up to 3 years, whereas psychotherapy can take up to 5 years. There are also introductory courses available that may help you deciding whether counselling is the right path for you. Lasting about 80 hours covers many modules related to counselling and is ideal for people with little to no prior experience or knowledge of counselling. More information on the different specialities available can be found at the counsellors guide or for more advice for counselling students visit BACP. Online learning centres such as NCC Home Learning offer a wide range of courses including an amazing counselling course.

There are many different types of counsellor, from marriage counsellors, grievance counsellors to therapists dealing with sexual health or mental health problems. You will not really need to decide what area suits you best until you are on a course, chances are you will find your niche while learning. You can perform a test online that may help you decide what kind of counsellor you should be, check it out here http://www.quotev.com/quiz/568049/What-kind-of-therapist-should-you-be/. Alternatively if you want to find an accredited counsellor near you there are a many directories or search engines online such as the counselling directory.

Counselling really can cover an extremely large range of topics including career counselling,  credit counselling, crisis management, emotional therapy, existential counselling, genetic counselling, intervention, postvention, relationship counselling, suicide intervention and telephone counselling to name just a few. It is truly a diverse and wide ranged career path with many options available to those willing to train. If you enjoy helping people and are a good listener capable of viewing topics as objectively as possible then counselling may be for you.

Your Guide To Keeping An Organised Schedule

5832672702_6f7cc411fa_z

Image via Flickr creative commons from abulhussain

When you’re at work, one of your top priorities should be organisation. Without a good grasp of time management and personal organisation, important documents are likely to get mislaid and urgent deadlines will not be met. The same goes for when you’re looking for a job – you’ll have to demonstrate to your prospective employer just how organised you can be, not just within your job but also on a daily basis. For example, if you’re constantly running late, you will not make a great impression. Organisation counts for a lot, whatever job you’re in, but it’s even more important if your role is secretarial. So here are some tips to help you keep to an organised schedule.

Stay on task

Many people are fooled into thinking that if they multi-task they will be able to complete several tasks at once. The problem with multitasking however, is that your brain becomes distracted and then you find it harder to settle back into what you were originally working on. So forget procrastination, and forget trying to answer your email, finish off a phone call and research your next project. Stick to one task at a time and see it through to the end. Then once you’ve finished, cross it off and start the next item.

Write everything down

Making a to-do list before you leave the office each night can really help you to stay on schedule. When you arrive to work the next morning, instead of having to figure out what your tasks for the day ahead are, you’ll already have everything written down. If you can, prioritise each task so that you complete the urgent deadlines first and leave the more relaxing work until after lunch when your brain is feeling a little sleepy. Another good idea is to assign a time limit for each task, giving you a better idea of how much you will realistically be able to accomplish in one day. Tate secretarial jobs will require you to juggle many tasks at once, so keeping a written record of your to-do list will ensure you do not forget anything.

Use your time wisely

It’s perfectly natural to have off days every now and again. Although you may not feel like doing much work, you can actually make the best use possible of your time. Organisational tasks such as filing do not require much brain power so if you’re feeling a little off-colour, rather than spending an unproductive day desperately hoping your boss won’t notice that you’re on Facebook instead of doing your work, spend the day getting all of your documents and files in order. At least then you will not have to look far to access something on another working day where you are extremely busy.

Take a break

You may feel that you’re too busy to take your lunch break or that taking five minutes out of your hectic schedule to get some fresh air will slow you down. In actual fact taking a short break can have a positive effect. Just five minutes every few hours will help your brain to switch off and you’ll start to see a way through those problems. So instead of working yourself up into a frenzy and then losing motivation and energy towards the end of the day, take a couple  of short breaks every few hours and you’ll have enough motivation to work until the end of the day and not leave the office feeling spent.

Styling a dress for a formal occasion

5738801137_1ed69955a4_z

Image via Flickr creative commons from Sarah.F.Bowman

The summertime is wedding season which means that it is likely that you’ll be invited as a guest to many a wedding this year. You may also find that a lot more formal events take place in the summer, such as parties at sports events and the like, simply because the weather is suitable to hold outdoor parties long into the night. I’ve found that many women struggle with knowing what to wear to a formal event. Unless you’re used to attending such events, you’re likely to not have a lot of appropriate outfit choice currently hanging in your wardrobe. A dress is always a good place to start when attending a formal event as it is very ladylike. But how do you turn an average dress into something glamorous and elegant? Here is how to style a dress for a formal occasion.

Formal means black tie

First things first, you’ll need to make sure your dress is appropriate for the occasion. A formal occasion calls for black tie clothing. It can be difficult to know what to wear if you’re a lady as you cannot simply don a tuxedo. Instead, women should wear a cocktail dress or a long length dress. An elegant maxi dress would be ideal for such an occasion. Missguided USA dresses will give you a hot fresh look for any formal event.

Accessories

As formal wear can err on the plain side, a great way to embellish it is with some sparkly jewellery. However, if you’re attending a formal event, any old jewellery will not do – diamonds, pearls and jewel stones are appropriate. Make sure you always try your chosen jewellery pieces on with your dress before the day of the event, just to make sure that they match. Colour wise, you should aim for silver jewellery if your dress is on the cold side of the colour wheel, such as blue or grey, and gold jewellery if your dress is on the hot side of the colour wheel, such as red or orange. If it is an evening event, a small clutch bag works best – try to match it to the shade of your dress if possible.

Shoes

Formal events tend to last way into the night so it is advisable to wear shoes that you will feel comfortable in all day. However, comfortable shoes and a cocktail dress are not really synonymous. Many cocktail dresses call for elegant high heels – if its summer, try wearing peep toe heels and contrasting your nail varnish with the colour of your shoes. Always remember to take a pair of comfortable ballet flats with you to slip into when your feet start to hurt – bare feet are not appropriate for a formal occasion.

Hair and make-up

In terms of hair and make-up, you can afford to be a little more dramatic here. If you find it hard to style your hair in any other way than how you usually wear it, visit a hairdresser instead. They usually have a booklet of hairstyles suitable for formal occasions from which you can choose your favourite one. They will also be able to advise you on what would suit your face shape. For your make-up, you cannot go wrong with a smoky eye and lashings of mascara.  A slash of red lipstick will finish the look perfectly.

 

How to persuade someone to pick up your leaflets

3315199336_17061e78e2_z

Image via Flickr creative commons from Abi Skipp

Getting customers into your shop is enough of a challenge, but once they’re in there you have to ensure that you entice them to buy as much as possible. These tactics become increasingly important at times when consumers are strapped for cash and reluctant to spend – as has been the case for the last few years. Distributing leaflets can help to provide customers with useful additional information about certain products, so it might be a good idea to distribute leaflets concerning ranges of items you’re particularly keen to sell. However, there’s obviously quite a lot you need to think about if you’re to get the results you want.

Firstly, it helps to think about where and how you intend to display your poems. You need to consider purchasing point-of-sale display items – you can find an extensive selection at UKPOS – and make sure you place these leaflets in positions where they’re likely to catch the eye of the customer. However, you also need to give very careful thought to the actual design of the leaflets for maximum effect. Obviously, you need to strike the balance between having an accessible design and being genuinely informative. This is tougher than it might sound, but with a bit of careful consideration you get the right results.

An article from eHow.com offers some useful tips in this regard. It points out that as you may not know exactly who your audience is likely to be, you need to keep things simple, short, and to the point. However, you should also remember that shoppers are likely to encounter rather a lot of this sort of material – so unless you find a way of making it instantly interesting to them, they may simply ignore it.

Obviously, you need to give very careful thought to the design of your leaflet. This means that you need to keep the content snappy and also that you need to ensure it doesn’t end up simply looking cluttered. Images can be useful and eye-catching, but if your leaflet looks too busy it may fail to capture people’s attention. It’s also a good idea to print colour leaflets instead of black-and-white ones. The use of colour can really be effective in catching the shopper’s eye, as well as making the overall appearance of the leaflet look sharper. Black-and-white leaflets, on the other hand, can appear somewhat smudged and indistinct.

According to Distribooter.co.uk, a call to action can also be useful when you’re designing a leaflet. For example, if you’re promoting a discount then you need to ensure you make this clear. This is far more likely to boost sales. It’s also important to ensure that you check and double-check the design of your leaflet before you go ahead and print. Obvious typographical errors and other design mistakes aren’t just embarrassing; they can also make your whole business appear that bit less professional. This is why you need to go over your leaflet with a fine toothcomb and make sure that no such errors appear.

How To Reduce Your Chances Of Hearing Loss In A Noisy Workplace

4368077582_19fb967bfb_z

Image via Flickr creative commons from Jaymis

Hearing loss in the workplace or occupational deafness is a serious issue and one that affects an estimated 360 million people around the world, according to the World Health Organisation. It can be either congenital or alternatively acquired. One cause of acquired hearing loss can be down to excess noise in the workplace, perhaps because of noisy machinery on a factory floor or maybe loud music in a pub or a club.

What are the impacts of hearing loss?

The condition can have a major impact on the lives of sufferers and at a very basic impair their ability to communicate properly with other people. Feelings of loneliness and isolation are very common, as is the intense feeling of frustration. Communication issues can be tackled through the use of sign language, but the social and emotion impacts of hearing loss can still be very relevant.

Awareness is key

One of the most important ways of minimising your chances of acquiring occupational hearing loss is to be aware of the condition and what causes it. If you know that you are putting your hearing at risk by working in a noisy environment without using any form of ear protection then you will be far more likely to take steps to minimise your exposure and level of risk. Empowerment through knowledge is key.

Safety equipment

Making use of supplied safety equipment and following recommended safety procedures is always going to be essential when it comes to avoiding injury and reducing the chance of acquiring occupational deafness. Personal protective equipment options are wide and varied and include everything from large over-ear ear defenders through to in-ear buds. Of course it is essential to ensure that the equipment is up to the job and that means making sure seals are undamaged and clean, and that no modifications have been made to the ear protection device. It’s advisable for businesses to provide a variety of options when it comes to hearing protection so employees can choose which one suits them best.

Employer responsibility

While it is important that you are aware of the risks of working in a noisy environment and take steps to mitigate those risks, it is important to remember that all employers have a responsibility. Health and safety in the workplace is a major issue today and businesses have a legal responsibility to protect the health of their workforce under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. If an employer is not meeting the required standard and fails to adequately protect workers then the company can be held liable.

Taking action

Workers should feel empowered to take action if they feel their employer is not offering a sufficient level of protection, or if legal health and safety requirements are not being met. Making an industrial deafness claim is a lot easier these days thanks to the number of professional claims specialists out there and there is a far higher level of understanding today about the issue and the impact that occupational deafness can have on a person’s life.

Why Your Business Might Benefit From Switchboard Support

7415476606_d4ea2f876a_z

Image via Flickr creative commons from starmanseries

Those people charged with operating a business’s switchboard are very likely to be those with whom a person first makes contact.

As a result, the kind of service they receive really matters, for the following reasons:

– the promptness with which their call is answered can be seen as an indicator of the kind of efficiency with which they can expect to be dealt on an ongoing basis

–  many people feel reassured by being able to speak to familiar voices when they are in telephone contact with a company, or at the very least, someone who sounds authoritative, and so appears to know their way around the business, and to whom they should direct specific enquiries

– those who contact a company by phone expect to be able to speak to someone who does not have to juggle such duties with several others, and so will have the requisite knowledge of how to handle specific types of telephone query, and will not break off their call by having to ask questions of one of their colleagues

– if a call should be directed to a salesperson or the department dealing with such enquiries, it should be passed on as quickly as possible, so that the chance is not missed to capture that sale

–  professional switchboard support will mean fewer abandoned calls, as people will get prompt attention and so gain a more favourable impression of the company which they are calling

– it will reduce the need for other staff to be diverted from their regular duties to deal with telephone enquiries

–  the caller will gain a positive impression of the company as one which sees that initial contact with people outside as a vital step towards a possible sale, or securing new business

– a professional switchboard operator will know the basics of using such systems, such as how to quickly transfer calls, how to handle callers who need to be placed on hold for any length of time, and is likely to quickly pick up a company’s accepted forms of salutation and any prescribed ways of handling calls, and finally

– such people will be totally dedicated to such a task, so a caller will not get the impression that handling their enquiry is merely one of a string of tasks which the handler has to deal with.

It’s important for any business to realise that a phone conversation is a two-way process, which begins from the moment when the phone is picked up. So the ability to sound authoritative and efficient, without being cold and detached, is one of the main attributes of any switchboard operator.

Any business of any size can get switchboard support information easily by going online. Its managers may well also be surprised at the positive results which can thereby be achieved, not least because they will soon see how important that initial contact with an external caller can be, but also because an efficient call handling service will cut down on the amount of time people can waste in dealing with enquiries which divert them from their principal tasks.

The best new productivity apps of 2013

8248451090_2c878b3440_z

Image via Flickr creative commons from Heisenberg Media

It was once said of truly important inventions and ideas that “if you build it, they will come”. But the fact is that, in this era of constant innovation, which itself produces difficulties for people and organisations which are constantly looking to stay ahead of the game, it takes far more than simply having a good idea, concept or product to win over converts.

The fact is that people learn about new innovations at different stages in their development, and that can greatly affect the rate of their adoption. Even in a modestly-sized company, adoption of a new app can be affected by a variety of factors – not least the wide age spread of the people for whom it is intended.

Apps, therefore, have to be designed to be useable by all those who are likely to benefit from them – even older people who may therefore be less tech-savvy.

And with millions of app developers keen to make money by developing methods of helping people get more use from their mobile devices, there is plenty of potential for developing apps which can do things which have the capacity to make our lives so much easier.

But how do you find the best ones? Here, courtesy of Laptopmag.com, is a small selection of apps which are considered the best at helping people be more productive and do more business wherever they are:

– Quickoffice Pro: This is a way in which Microsoft Office word processing, spreadsheet and presentation documents can be edited, using even the most compact of devices running on the Android or iOS platforms. So in effect, it means users can take their work with them while they’re on the move, and even make presentations from a smartphone.

– Evernote: This is similar to having a personal assistant with you at all times, allowing you to take notes, take photos, produce to-do lists, and record voice reminders. It’s especially recommended for taking notes or pictures during a long meeting, but the most highly-lauded feature is the ability to make notes readable across a range of devices, so they can be accessed anytime, anywhere.

– CamCard Lite: No one carries a huge wedge of business cards around with them these days, especially when this app brings together the ability to take a picture of a business card, and then save the details it contains to the address book on the user’s tablet or smartphone.

All of these apps are available on a range of operating systems, but their adoption has particularly taken off among users of Apple devices – who are widely considered to be the most eager adopters of most forms of the latest technology.

– Lose It!: Finally, this is an app for those who are feeling guilty at having to sit at their desks all day, and want to keep a food diary of everything they eat. Then, they can add the details of what exercise they have taken, and the app will tot up how much of their calorie intake they have been able to work off. It might make grim reading for some – but to others it’s a compulsive aid to helping them stay healthy and, therefore, productive.

Anyone who uses apps to help them stay productive while on the go will also see the benefit of such products as Snugg iPad Mini cases, which will not only help them protect their treasured tablet or mini computers, but will also help them stand out from the crowd, and reduce the possibility of them being lost – along with all the valuable data and work aids which they contain.

How to Ensure Members of the Public Can Clearly Recognise your Staff Uniform

HA0476 Traffic Officers New Uniform. August 2009. This set of images describes several subjects including Traffic Officers on the network, in their TO vehicles, helping to the public and working at Regional Control Centre.

Image via Flickr creative commons from the Highways Agency

Uniforms have been around for millennia. They help distinguish employees and associate themselves with a particular role or firm. If a customer is in need of assistance, a uniform makes help easy to find.

Similarly, the uniforms worn by service men and women are practical, safe and, in the case of the police force, represent a presentable public-facing image. Ensuring the public can clearly recognise your staff is easy with trusted suppliers such as Premier Workwear Uniforms.

Image is everything and the right uniform can say a lot about your business – often, it is the first impression a potential customer will get. In Australia, Flight Centre employees all wear the same uniform, regardless of their position in the company.

“No-one is any different, we’re all equal, and that goes for the office fit-outs too – we all occupy 10 square metres – even our founder and Managing Director Skroo Turner. But the uniforms are the most tangible aspect of the egalitarian culture. It helps convey professionalism,” says general manager of property and procurement, Rhonda McSweeney

As an employee, wearing a uniform is a reminder of your personal responsibility. Consumers and clients will also appreciate the way a customer-facing organisation makes efforts to be presentable at all times.

Although there is little to no research regarding what kind of effect a uniform has on profitability or turnover, they represent a culture and an image for a business. They are crucial to brand identity.

Each time a client interacts with a member of staff, it should be treated as an advertisement for a company – because of this the uniform should be individual and memorable. Colour is particularly important. According to a report by the University of Loyola in Maryland, colour can increase brand recognition by around 80 per cent.

When it comes to choosing which colour is correct for a certain business, colour psychologists can help out. According to colour specialists, Colours of the Soul: “If you think about it quickly but without analysing it, you naturally react more formally to someone in a navy suit than to someone in a yellow one. Colour can and does affect our reactions to people whether we want it to or not, the effect is subtle but very real nevertheless.

“You can send a positive or negative message by the shade of colour you wear or use in business.”

A lot of the world’s biggest brand names use uniforms to their advantage and a distinctive colour is a huge part of that. Think of how instantly you identify EasyJet through their bright orange theme. Similarly, all British Airways staff have a smart and distinctive dress code which converys their image of style and class.

There are some cons in the world of work uniforms, they rarely allow an employee to express their individuality and can be an added cost to the already pricey business of running a company. But at the same time, a managed uniform service can be offset slightly with tax deductions.

Keeping Your Whites White – Stain Removal Tips

5639047922_19c234225d_z

Image via Flickr creative commons from brittreints

As well as leaving you exhausted, work in a kitchen can take its toll on your clothing. Especially if you are required to wear chef whites clothing, they are a magnet for grease, muck and oil – keeping them clean and pristine white can be a struggle.

If you think it would be easier just to wear something other than white, you may be surprised that the colour is much more than a tradition. Their heavy cotton protects a chef from the heat of the stove but also stays breathable, keeping them cool. White is also the most reflective colour, repelling heat rather than soaking it all up.

An interesting footnote to this is the double breasted nature of the chef jacket. The idea being that if the front were to become unspeakable dirty, the chef can simply switch the coat around.

But, diversions aside, here are some tips to make sure you stay looking as good as the food – at least at the beginning of your shift.

Don’t use hot water

Especially when it comes to blood, hot water can seal in stains, ruining clothing forever. Use warm or cold water to soak the garment before gently rubbing the stain out. Try not to rub too vigorously here as doing so can just drive the stain into the fabric. Once you have done this, you can put them into a proper wash. Make sure you wash all your whites together.

If once you have finished washing the stain has not yet fully disappeared, don’t put the jacket in the drier. This will make the satin harder to remove next time around. Let it dry naturally before giving cleaning another go.

Product

Try to avoid using bleach unless absolutely necessary. Although you don’t have to worry about it staining clothes – them being white already – it will weaken fibres and, over time, will lead to yellowing of the fabric.

When soaking, use an oxygen-based detergent for about an hour. If your jacket happens to be covered in grease stains try using a dishwasher detergent. For stubborn stains like tomato or red wine, try going at them with a bit of vinegar before soaking. Leave them for about ten minutes and this should help get rid of the stain.

After you have gone through the soaking process, then was the jacket in a non-bleach detergent.

Handy tips

There are a few things you can do that may seem strange at first to get your whites whiter than ever. Adding a half cup of lemon juice to a medium load in the washing machine can work wonders. When soaking hard water’s minerals can lead to the greying of your chef whites – if you live in a hard water area half a cup of vinegar can soften it up.

Dealing with yellowing fabric

If, despite your best efforts, your whites are starting to turn a murky shade of yellow, there are a few things you can try to get them back to normal. After you have washed the garment as normal, rinse the fabric in a little bit of vinegar mixed with water. Once you have done this, hang it out in the sunlight to dry.

Wear an apron

It goes without saying. But an apron can be your very first line of defence.