The Small Business vs. StartUps

The right environment for starting a new business has been written about before at Dailyfoodtoeat, but today’s post delves even deeper into the topic by evaluating current legislation and other proposals aimed at infusing cash into entrepreneurial sectors. Contributor Juliana Davies, a regular writer for business education website http://www.mbaonline.com, offers tips and advice for readers with all levels of expertise.

Business Friendly Policies Benefit More Than MBAs and Entrepreneurs

Job creation and stable employment statistics are things most Americans would like to see, particularly in these economically troubled times. Mass layoffs and “job reduction plans” are more commonplace now than ever before, though, leading many to wonder if change is even a possibility. In most cases, it is—though it may not come in a familiar package. Many of today’s leading economists have identified the small business sector as a possible silver lining for the U.S. economy. “Business startups remain robust even in the most severe recession,” a recent report from the Kauffman foundation found; numerous other studies have backed these findings up, suggesting that the biggest growth potential lies in the entrepreneurial and startup sector. These businesses are actually creating jobs, rather than eliminating them—a trend many say must be encouraged if the nation is to rebound financially.

Supporting small businesses through tax incentives and job creation bonuses was one of the main goals of the 2011 American Jobs Act. In particular, that act would significantly reduce the payroll tax for companies that paid $5 million or less in annual payroll expenses; would roll out comprehensive reforms and tax reductions aimed directly at entrepreneurs; and would establish a payroll tax “holiday” for companies that added workers or increased salaries. The act projected that, if followed, its provisions could create as many as 1.9 million new jobs in 2012.

Unfortunately, the nation’s job creation rate as of mid-2012 has fallen far short of that 1.9 million figure. This mostly owes to the congressional tension surrounding the act. The small business provisions have received some heat, but most of the opposition—centered primarily in the Republican side of the House and Senate—has targeted some of the act’s other focal points, primarily veteran’s benefits, educational tax credits, and “Made in America” incentives. As a result, the act has not been implemented coherently enough to make much of a difference for small businesses.

New entrepreneurs and start-up hopefuls do not need to wait for resolution in order to make a difference, though. The economy still needs jobs creation, and small businesses are still in the best place to provide those opportunities. In many cases, the down economy is an ideal climate for starting something new, as finance rates are at an all-time low and there is an increased market interest in supporting local shops and businesses.

Still, getting started too fast or without regard to some basic efficiency tips can be costly. Entrepreneurs do not usually need formal business training to succeed, though some degree of business savvy is usually helpful.

Taxation is one of the most common pitfalls. “If you don’t think about taxes until your company starts earning revenue, you’ve waited too long,” David Ehrenberg, CEO of Early Growth Financial Services, wrote in an article for Forbes. “While the IRS may not be especially interested in your company until you’ve been funded and have some capital, you need to think about taxes from the outset—to avoid tax trouble down the line, and to save money through deductions.”

Young companies are also best served by starting small, focusing on immediate goals, and being conservative with profits and expenditures. Grand visions of future expansion are to be encouraged—but acted upon only after significant thought and financial planning. Start-up businesses are likely going to be one of the saving graces for this country in the next decade. Getting the process right, both when it comes to federal incentives and independent business policies, is going to be increasingly important, for leaders and entrepreneurs alike.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

 

Startup Companies Use Food Trucks to Treat Employees

California is home to some of the country’s greatest and most original food trucks, so it should come as no surprise that many startup companies are finding innovative ways to work with them. Small software companies in particular have identified food trucks as a low-cost way to reward their employees and improve employee retention from larger technology companies like Facebook and Google.

This makes more sense if you look at food trucks as startup companies themselves, with low entry costs and the advantage of mobility, most food trucks are relatively new to the road and are still looking for a way to become a permanent fixture in their city’s dining scene. Many programmers have come to expect job perks and free time at work, and startup companies that aren’t able to provide these often lose quality employees to large corporations. While many larger companies have built in-house kitchens and hire culinary staffs, food trucks provide healthy, quality food and a recreational vibe.

At the digital advertising startup Rocket Fuel, ‘Free Food Truck Fridays’ have become a huge hit, citing happier and healthier employees since the onset of the weekly event. Another software company called Twilio treats its employees with caterings and prepaid food truck meals in a variety of cuisines. Though the company plans to move and expand its office it will still retain food trucks as part of its company culture, rather than building an in-house kitchen.

Technology companies are increasingly looking to food trucks to build morale and create a ‘hangout’ atmosphere at the office. Gamefly, based in Los Angeles, began bringing food trucks to their office after the company’s founder Sean Specter became aware of Kogi BBQ. Now the company feeds its employees from food trucks about twice a month. “The reality is that people don’t want to eat the office every day of the week,” says Specter. “It’s an added perk to working here. It’s very social.” There are also less dining options in Los Angeles without the food trucks. Known as a ‘work island effect’, employees often get sick of the same two or three restaurants over and over.

In Austin, Texas, food trucks have taken off in a huge way, and tech startups have not failed to notice them. Employees are often given lunch tickets to food trucks parked outside their offices, and at one company employees let out an audible cheer when they received a company-wide email announcing that a food truck was on its way. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, offering healthy meal options has become a best practice for employers.

Now at California’s Rocket Fuel employees are coming into working more instead of working from home, and the company is using ‘Food Truck Fridays’ to attract new talent, often interviewing candidate on Fridays. Employees who have left the company for larger corporations even tell coworkers how much they miss the food at Rocket fuel.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

 

Vegan Startup Gets Backed by Twitter Co-Founders

A new startup company aims to replicate the taste and feel of real meat with all vegan products. The company is called Beyond Meat, and it has recently been backed by two Twitter co-founders, Evan Williams and Biz Stone. Williams and Stone have their own business incubator called Obvious Corporation, owned with former Twitter VP of Product Jason Goldman. Stone has been a vegan for ten years, and this played into his decision to support Beyond Meat.

Typically Obvious Corporation has backed web-centric companies, but Beyond Meat had a different approach to vegan food that the Twitter co-founders identified with.

“These guys are coming at the meat analogue industry not as a novelty kind of thing or hippy dippy,” said Stone. “They were coming at it from this big science, super practical, scalable angle. They were saying, ‘We want to get into the multi-billion dollar meat industry with a plant-based meat.’”

Beyond Meat has already begun releasing vegan products, which have mixed reviews. Even mixed reviews are positive however for meat substitute, which often do not mimic the taste of or texture of meat very well. New York Time writer Mark Bittman reviewed Beyond Meat’s Veggie Chicken Strips back in March.

“The thick strands…didn’t precisely resemble chicken strips, and when I tasted them unadulterated I found it bland, unexciting and not very chicken-like. But not offensive, either, and as an ingredient we’d all be hard-pressed to distinguish it from most of the animal-based models.”

Beyond Meat products will also be priced more competitively than other meat-substitutes. Beyond Meat’s vegan competitors can charge $12 or more for a pound of their products, while beyond Meat’s products sell wholesale for less than the price of natural meat. Products are already available at Whole Foods locations in Northern California, and they will soon expand to the east coast as well.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

 

Food Delivery Takes to the Skies with Tacocopter

Online food delivery has just been given its greatest novelty yet, an unmanned helicopter that delivers tacos straight to you. This new concept, called Tacocopter, is a new startup out of Silicon Valley which has recently garnered a huge internet following.

The idea behind Tacocopter is that anyone can order tacos on their smartphone, which will send a GPS location to the unmanned drone helicopter. The helicopter will then be equipped with made-to-order tacos and will fly out to find you and drop your food off right where you’re standing. Payments will happen online, making it a simple process for the helicopter to drop off your tacos and immediately fly back to the restaurant to take the next order.

The only catch is that Tacocopter isn’t exactly legal in the United States yet. Currently, the U.S. government is blocking the launch of Tacocopter, which has been around since July 2011, because of FAA regulations that prevent unmanned aerial vehicles to be used for commercial purposes.

Tacocopter cofounder Star Simpson said, “Honestly I think it’s not totally unreasonable to regulate something as potentially dangerous as having flying robots slinging tacos over people’s heads…On the other hand, it’s a little bit ironic that that’s the case in a country where you can be killed by a drone with no judicial review.”

In addition to the FAA regulations, Tacocopter faces a myriad of technical issues such as navigating through urban areas, keeping the tacos warm, creating a city map with precision to ensure that no crashes occur, avoiding birds, telephone wires and anything else that might interfere with the delivery. Indoor deliveries and theft from others are further complications with Tacocopter, keeping the product firmly grounded until some headway can be made.

In the meantime, the Tacocopter website is up and running, and offers some enticing visuals to keep us waiting with baited breath until we can start ordering flying tacos. Simpson is currently working on other projects but always heads back to Tacocopter, convinced that the benefits of the product outweigh the barriers.

Food delivery by drones could help reach locations previously unreachable, and they could eventually be used to serve customers in restaurants as well. The full implications of this product could transform the food industry, though Simpson states that the goal of Tacocopter is not to replace human labor in the restaurant industry.

Ultimately, if Tacocopter ever gets off the ground it should have a huge following, appealing to Americans’ love of food, gadgets, and laziness. With the U.S. government as the primary obstacle keeping Tacocopter grounded, we’re hoping that the FAA can make a small exception for flying taco delivery.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

 

Gusta Helps Food Lovers Connect to Exclusive Events

New website Gusta offers access to some of the most exclusive food events around the globe, with limited tickets to new and upcoming events. This idea has already emerged in various other websites and apps, such as grubwithus and spoondate. Gusta is essentially a means for chefs to promote events and invite patrons without spending many hours handling invites and payments. Gusta also takes time out of searching for events in the elaborate ‘underground dining scene’ in many cities.

Gusta works with chefs to promote events, as customers can subscribe to events they may be interested in, and Gusta will automatically tout these events through email and various social media platforms. All payments for events can be made securely on the website, and chefs have ultimate control over all features pertaining to their events.

The events published on Gusta are ‘underground’, so difficult to locate but gaining in number around the world. The site handles multiple currencies, establishing it as a decidedly international website, and charge 10% per ticket, leaving the rest to the chefs. 10% is a small toll though for access to some of the world’s most unique dining experiences. Supper clubs offer chef-inspired creations in vastly different settings, ranging from mansions to small homes. No matter the cuisine, trying out Gusta ensures a one of a kind dining experience.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com