Joe Biden at Netroots Nation Detroit

    I spent yesterday at the Netroots Nation conference in Detroit. The highlight for me was probably getting to see Vice President Joe Biden, who showed up at Cobo Hall about halfway trough the day to rile up the gay, abortion-loving base of the Democratic party. There were a number of noteworthy moments… like when, after praising all of us in the audience for our selflessness, Biden acknowledged that many of us were probably “horses’ tails”… but the one that’s getting the most play in the press came toward end, when the Vice President’s comments were interrupted by Latino activists chanting, “Stop deporting our families.” Biden, to his credit, agreed with them. In fact, he suggested that we applaud them, going on to say, “(Immigrants) are not the problem.” Quite the contrary, he said, immigrants are actually what makes our nation great. “They fuel our dynamism,” the Vice President said, before moving on say that whites of European ancestry will soon no longer be in the majority in America. That, he added, was not necessarily a bad thing.

    bidennetroots

    Personally, I’m surprised that he took the stage. Given all that happened yesterday morning, with Russia-backed rebels shooting a passenger plane out of the sky in the Ukraine and the Israelis initiating a ground war in Gaza, I thought that the White House would politely suggest to Biden that he stand down, given his history of speaking truthfully off the cuff… But apparently they figured that he couldn’t make matters any worse that they already were.

    Speaking of Biden’s well documented tendency to wander off script, he talked quite a while about his now famous comments on Meet the Press, where he got in front of the White House on the subject of marriage equality, saying that he supported same-sex marriage. To hear Biden tell it, Obama wasn’t mad. Upon arriving back in the White House, he said, the President hugged him and told him never to change.

    While I liked much of hat he had to say, I was more interested in just watching how he presented it. I find politicians fascinating. After forty-some years in politics, it’s all muscle memory. He drifts. He jumps around. And, when he occasionally hits on something that resonates with the crowd, he pounces on it. His volume rises exponentially, and he repeats whatever phrase it was, to really drive it home. It’s like watching someone paddling around in the ocean on a surfboard, looking for a good wave to ride to shore on.

    Of all the things he said, the only thing I think he might get heat for his is comment about how we, the Progressives, are well positioned to “bend history,” and change the American narrative. “This is one of those moments that people get a chance to bend history just a little bit,” he said. “And there are fundamental changes taking place.” We’ve reached an “inflection point” he said. We’re at a point where we could pull the steering wheel to 15-degrees .to the left and permanently change the course of history.

    update: Here’s the video that I shot. It’s not compete, but it should give you as idea as to the content of Biden’s speech.

    Posted in Mark's Life, Michigan, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

    Warren v. Hillary at Netroots Nation 2014

    I know that the drama doesn’t really come across in this photo, but the tension was palpable when the Warren for President folks, handing out posters and hats, set up shop right next to the Hillary for President folks, who were busily building a pyramid of blue “Hillary 2016″ coffee mugs, at Netroots Nation 2014.

    warrenhillary

    You can’t see it here, but almost everyone blew right by the Hillary folks to get their hands on the Warren signs. This photo was taken in the aftermath of the first wave. The woman in the pink, one of the Hillary folks, was muttering under her breath and rolling her eyes. I’m not sure what she was expecting, given that we were all going in to meet Elizabeth Warren, but I still felt kind of bad for them. I wonder if, when team Hillary signed up to sponsor the event, they knew that Warren would be delivering the keynote.

    Posted in Detroit, Politics | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

      The state of breastfeeding in Washtenaw County

      A few weeks ago, after a hard-fought campaign by public health professionals and women’s rights advocates across the state of Michgan, Governor Snyder signed into law the Breastfeeding Antidiscrimination Act (SB 674), essentially giving nursing mothers in our state the right to breastfeed publicly without fear of arrest. In celebration of this fact, I reached out to Washtenaw County WIC Breastfeeding Coordinator Gayathri Akella, and Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Pauline Lesser, to discuss the current state of suckling in SE Michigan.

      breastfeeding2

      [If you don't already now that breastfeeding is the most super awesome thing that babies and moms can do, just click here for the facts.]

      MARK: Let’s start with the statistics… How many women breastfeed in Washtenaw County?

      GAYATHRI: The best data we have comes from WIC.

      Healthy People 2020 breastfeeding goals:
      Ever: 81.9%
      Exclusively at 6 months: 25.5%

      Michigan WIC Rates:
      Ever: 62.7%
      Exclusively at 6 months: 16.32%

      Washtenaw County WIC Rates:
      Ever: 77.07%
      Exclusively at 6 months: 21.2%

      MARK: I assume that “ever” means that they tried it at least once, whereas “exclusively” means that they aren’t using formula at all, and they’re just relying on breast milk. Is that correct? And do we have historical data, to show if we’re trending up or down?

      GAYATHRI: You’re right in your assumptions. As for trend data, the following also comes from WIC.

      Washtenaw County WIC Breastfeeding Initiation Rates (at birth):

      1997: 20.26%
      1999: 48.25%
      2000: 53.62%
      2002: 55.54%
      2003: 58.08%
      2004: 59.16%
      2005: 61.22%
      2006: 61.85%
      2007: 64.53%
      2008: 65.54%
      2009: 67.50%
      2010: 69.00%
      2011: 70.60%
      2012: 70%
      2013: 78%
      2014: 77%

      Breastfeeding Duration Rates at 6 months of baby’s age in Washtenaw County:

      2000: 21.90% (16.60% statewide)
      2001: 23.82% (17.17% statewide)
      2002: 25.60% (17.02% statewide)
      2003: 28.10% (18.58% statewide)
      2004: 24.56% (18.26% statewide)
      2005: 28.33% (18.48% statewide)
      2006: 24.52% (19.05% statewide)
      2007: 24.88% (18.02% statewide)
      2008: 25.44% (17.96% statewide)
      2011: 26.81% (19.29% statewide)
      2012: 25.84% (20.39% statewide)
      2013: 20.98% (15.57% statewide)
      2014: 21.20% (16.32% statewide)

      MARK: If I’m reading these numbers correctly, every year more and more women are claiming to have attempted breastfeeding. In 2013, according to this local WIC data, 77% of women reported that they at least tried to breastfeed. That same year, though, only 20.98% report as having breastfed for six months. Assuming that they’re being truthful about attempting, and not just responding that way because they feel as though they should be trying, why is it that over 50% of new mothers stop? And how do we change that dynamic? Do we need more lactation coaches to help get new mothers over that initial hurdle, where breastfeeding can be painful, awkward, etc? Do we need to stop hospitals from sending new mothers home with formula?

      GAYATHRI: You’re right. A lot of women initiate breastfeeding, however very few women are still doing it at six months. Unfortunately, there are numerous reasons for this drop. Here are just a few.

      1. Inconsistent Messages: Unfortunately our local hospitals are not designated “Baby-Friendly”. Baby-Friendly, which is a program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), recognizes hospitals that provide a high level of care and education for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. Baby-Friendly hospitals follow “The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding for Hospitals,” as outlined by UNICEF and WHO. The steps include: following a policy that is routinely communicated, educating expecting mothers about breastfeeding, helping initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth, and teaching women how to maintain lactation. The Ten Steps encourage breastfeeding on demand and “rooming in” – to allow mothers and babies to remain together, as well as referring mothers to breastfeeding support upon discharge. Unless medically indicated, no food, drink (other than breast milk) or artificial nipples are to be given to breastfeeding infants. There is ONLY ONE hospital in Michigan that is Baby-Friendly designated. It’s the William Beaumont Hospital in Grosse Pointe, which attained its designation in 2012. Michigan, it’s worth adding, is one among a very few states that did not meet the Healthy People 2010 goals for breastfeeding.

      2. Socio-Economic Challenges Faced by Single Mothers: Various studies have found that socially disadvantaged mothers start breastfeeding less often and also breastfeed for a shorter period. A lot of moms have to return to work within six weeks post-partum, risking the continuation of breastfeeding.

      3. Teen Mothers and Higher Incidence of Smoking: The literature on the determinants of breastfeeding has consistently identified maternal smoking and lower maternal age as predictors of lower breastfeeding rates.

      4. Lack of Prenatal Breastfeeding Support: WIC has Breastfeeding Peers, often moms who have been on the WIC program themselves and who provide breastfeeding education and support. But they only work with women who enter WIC prenatally. Prenatal breastfeeding education provides confidence and willpower to initiate and continue breastfeeding.

      MARK: So, how do we fix it?

      GAYATHRI: Three things; 1. More Baby-Friendly hospitals. 2. Building bridges between WIC and medical providers. (We need to increase the referrals to the WIC program by medical care providers in the early part of pregnancy.) 3. More outreach to expectant moms, leading to increased early prenatal entry into WIC.

      MARK: I understand that there are factors at play, like those which you noted above, which result in a significant number of women not breastfeeding. I’m not quite clear, however, as to why, over the past ten years, we’ve fallen from 28% to 21% when it comes to new mothers who are breastfeeding exclusively for at least six months. How do you account for that drop? Why the precipitous drop now?

      PAULINE: Mark, a few things can account for that. One is a change in how WIC captures that data. It’s complicated but it has to do with whether a mom was coded correctly in the system in the time period prior to Spring of 2011.

      We know, though, that many of our WIC moms face economic realities that force them back to work sometimes as early as two weeks postpartum. And it takes four to six weeks to establish milk supply. Even women who have the proper facilities find it difficult sometimes to maintain their breast milk when the mother-baby rhythm doesn’t have those four to six weeks to be solidified. Women who don’t respond well to breastpumps face an even tougher challenge because they could pump for hours on end and still not be able to leave enough of their milk for their absence, thus leading to supplementation with formula.

      MARK: In addition to the health benefits to the baby, if I’m not mistaken, there are also significant financial benefits across society when women breastfeed. Do you have any estimates as to what the health care savings might be in Washtenaw County if, say, we got our six month breastfeeding number up to 50%?

      GAYATHRI: According to a 2010 study published by Pediatrics, “If 90% of US families could comply with medical recommendations to breastfeed exclusively for six months, the United States would save $13 billion per year and prevent an excess of 911 deaths, nearly all of which would be in infants ($10.5 billion and 741 deaths at 80% compliance)”.

      MARK: Until yesterday, I’d never heard of the Washtenaw County Breastfeeding Friendly Business Awards, the annual program that you run. How long have you been at it.

      PAULINE: The Washtenaw County Breastfeeding Coalition started giving the awards (or providing feedback as to how companies might improve to get an award) in 2008. Toyota, Zingerman’s, The Little Seedling, Eastern Michigan University and Google have all won in the past. We’d like to broaden our reach this year, though. Even though pumping spaces and breaks are required by law, some folks still don’t seem to get it.

      MARK: What are the criteria you’re looking for in a potential winner?

      PAULINE: Businesses are required by law to provide time and space for mothers to pump. Our winners in the past, who we refer to as “Gold Level Supporters,” have all gone above and beyond what’s required, providing things like dedicated mothering rooms with appropriate furniture, a sink in the room for washing parts, locking cabinets so each mother can put away her pump and parts, etc.

      MARK: In addition to praising companies that go above and beyond for their employees, do you also have an award for companies that don’t do enough is this regard… a boobie prize, if you will?

      PAULINE: We don’t call them out by name, but, yes, our co-chairs have been known to give constructive feedback if a woman chooses to nominate her employer in a satirical way. And we’re always available to present the “Business Case for Breastfeeding,” should a business owner want to hear it.

      MARK: And what is the business case for breastfeeding? I mean, I know it’s the right thing to do, and it likely leads to greater employee satisfaction, which probably translates to increased productivity, etc, but I’m curious if studies have actually been done which prove that to be the case… Do we, in other words, have quantifiable evidence that it makes good business sense to support nursing mothers in the workplace? Personally, I don’t think that it matters. Right is right, regardless of the bottom line. I’m just wondering if such data exists.

      PAULINE: The Business Case For Breastfeeding is actually a federally developed training designed for staff like Gayathri to present to businesses that are reluctant to fully support breastfeeding. More info on this comprehensive program is available here.

      MARK: What should people do if they want to nominate a business?

      PAULINE: Just fill out a quick nomination form. Nominations will be accepted until July 28, 2014.

      MARK: And when will the awards be given out?

      PAULINE: The event will be held on August 22 at the Washtenaw County Learning Resource Center, at 9:00 AM.

      [Those of you who want to go deeper on the politics of breastfeeding should check out my last post on this topic, titled Let Them Eat Tits.]

      Posted in Food, Health, Local Business, Michigan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

      Privatization of Michigan’s prison food service industry pays off in maggots, violence and increased corporate earnings

      aramark

      Rick Snyder, the 48th Governor of Michigan, took office in 2011 pledging to put politics aside, and do what was best for the State. Unlike other Republicans, he said, his intention was not to push a hardline agenda of privatization and union busting. “I don’t believe in privatization,” the self-proclaimed ‘tough nerd’ said in 2012. “I believe in being competitive.”

      Sure, as a result of being competitive, some jobs previously done by state workers, like preparing the food we serve to Michigan prisoners, may eventually be done by for-profit corporations that promise cost savings, but the self-proclaimed ‘tough nerd’ assured is that it wouldn’t be for ideological reasons. No, if these jobs were privatized, it would just be because these companies demonstrated that they could operate lean, effective operations that could both provide superior service and help set our state back on a path toward fiscal solvency.

      So it was, in September, 2013, that Snyder signed a three-year, $145 million dollar contract with a corporation called Aramark to handle prison food service across the State. Aramark, we were assured, had demonstrated that they could do more will less.

      It would also mean, of course, that 373 union workers represented by American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), would lose their jobs, helping to further the conservative agenda… But that, we were told, wasn’t what this was about.

      “We went through an extensive process to look at doing it in-house versus looking to the outside,” Snyder told a WJR reporter. “I believe in competitive bidding — versus privatization — but we went through a competitive bidding process and we found a good answer. It will save us money and hopefully provide better service.”

      Of course, there were claims at the time that the administration had put forward false information in order to justify privatization. Nick Ciaramitaro, an AFSCME lobbyist, told the Detroit News that Snyder and company had “cooked the books” in order to sell privatization. Ciaramitaro questioned the estimated savings that Aramark could achieve, as the State had already gotten the prison food service system to a point where Michigan prisoners were being fed for $2 a day. He also pointed out the fact that the food service workers his union represented actually did more than just prepare food, as they were also trained as corrections officers, who knew how to handle Michigan’s inmates.

      There was also ample evidence that Aramark was failing elsewhere. As the Detroit Free Press pointed out in May, 2013, the company’s practices were being called into question in both Florid and Kentucky, where violations were mounting… Here’s a clip.

      …Florida and Aramark parted ways in 2008 after the state repeatedly fined the company for contract violations and an audit accused Aramark of cutting costs and boosting profits by skimping on meals.

      In Kentucky, corrections officers and others said a 2009 prison riot was provoked by poor food service by Aramark, state Rep. Brent Yonts, a Democrat from Greenville, said Monday.

      A 2010 report by Kentucky Auditor of Public Accounts Crit Luallen identified food skimping, food safety issues and excessive billings and said Aramark refused to provide requested records related to its food costs, personnel costs and bonuses paid to managers…

      But we went ahead with the deal, knowing full well what Aramark would likely do. They’d achieve financial gains by paying their employees considerably less, and cutting back on things like food quality and employee training. They’d cut costs to the bone, with no thought as to the consequences… The worse the food, the less prisoners would eat, and the more corporate profits would grow.

      And, guess what? Once Aramark took over the contract in Michigan, that’s exactly what they did.

      Here’s a clip from the Detroit Free Press.

      Gov. Rick Snyder and his officials are now considering scrapping the $145-million, three-year contract before the summer heat intensifies unhappiness over prison food and possibly threatens security and safety….

      Maggots in the kitchen and on the chow line. Workers caught smuggling contraband or engaging in sex acts with inmates. Food shortages and angry prisoners.

      Those are among the problems that have plagued Michigan prisons since December when the state — in a move aimed at saving more than $12 million a year — switched from using state workers to feed prisoners to a private contractor, Aramark Correctional Services of Philadelphia.

      Ongoing turmoil with the 7-month-old contract — including many instances never previously disclosed — is detailed in more than 3,000 pages of state records obtained by the Free Press under Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act: One Aramark food service director showed up drunk and failed a Breathalyzer. Another worker was caught trying to smuggle marijuana. Others have failed drug tests, kissed prisoners, threatened to assault inmates, or announced intentions to “go postal” inside a facility, records show.

      “I’m at my wit’s end,” Kevin Weissenborn, the Michigan Department of Corrections manager in charge of policing the Aramark contract, e-mailed one Michigan warden in March, records show.

      …But the prison food contract isn’t the first state of Michigan privatization effort to run into major problems. The privately run Youth Correctional Facility in Baldwin, known as the “punk prison,” which opened in 1998 under former Gov. John Engler, closed in 2005 amid reports it was too costly to run and neglected the health and educational needs of its young inmates…

      As you may recall, the same thing happened not too long ago in Muskegon Heights, where the Governor-appointed Emergency Manager determined that, in an effort to save money, they’d eliminate public education altogether, replacing it with an an all-charter system, run by a for-profit corporation. As Democratic candidate for Governor Mark Schauer told us on this site a few weeks ago, that failed too.

      “They see kids with dollar signs on their foreheads,” Schauer said. “I’ll give you an interesting case in point. Muskegon Heights schools were in financial distress. So Governor Snyder sent in an emergency manager. And the emergency manager chose a for-profit charter school company to run the entire district. It was a company called Mosaic. Well, recently, Mosaic ended their contract. Three years early. And the emergency manager said, Mosaic was doing a good job academically… I can’t really speak to that part… but, he said, this did not fit their financial model. They could not make a profit, he said. So they quit. The public shool district did not have an option of quitting. Elected school boards don’t have that option.”

      How many of these examples do we need to see before we stop voting these people into office? How much evidence do we need before we see privatization for what it is? This pro-privatization jihad isn’t about making life in our state better for Michiganders. It’s about destroying public unions, slashing taxes and siphoning public money into the bank accounts of corporations and their shareholders. It’s about allowing our most wealthy citizens to contribute less, and, at the same time, cutting the union funding for those progressive candidates who would demand that these entities do things like pay their employees a living wage, provide safe workplaces, and contribute taxes toward things like public education and infrastructure.

      I don’t know that it would change anything, but I’d love to go to Lansing with a truck of Aramark meals and hand-deliver them to the offices of Rick Snyder and those legislators who voted for privatization, asking that they eat them. I think the looks on their faces would speak volumes on the subject of privatization.

      [note: The meal featured above is an Aramark breakfast. You can read about the contents here.]

      Posted in Civil Liberties, Corporate Crime, Food, Michigan, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

      Are iPhones, social media, selfies and other societal trends fucking up the restaurant business?

      cellrestaurant

      My friend Rhonda Crosson, who left a career as a biochemist in Michigan to become a baker in the big apple, recently shared the following from Craigslist NYC. Personally, I suspect it’s fiction, but, as it raises a number of interesting issues concerning how personal technology is impacting the restaurant business, I thought that I’d share it here, in hopes that it might lead to an interesting conversation. [note: I've edited a bit for grammar.]

      Busy NYC Restaurant Solves Major Mystery by Reviewing Old Surveillance:

      We are a popular restaurant for both locals and tourists alike. Having been in business for many years we noticed that, although the number of customers we serve on a daily basis is almost the same today as it was 10 years ago, the service just seems super slow, even though we added a lot more staff and cut back on the menu items.

      On review sites, one of the most common complaints against us, and many restaurants in the area, is that the service is slow, or that the wait for a table is a bit long.

      We decided to hire a firm to help us solve this mystery, and, naturally, the first thing they blamed it on was our employees. We were told they needed more training, and that maybe the kitchen staff just wasn’t up to the task of serving that many customers.

      Like most restaurants in NYC, we have a surveillance system. Unlike today, where it’s a digital system, 10 years ago we used special high-capacity tapes to record all the activity. At any given time we had 4 special Sony systems recording multiple cameras. And we would store the footage for 90 days just in case we needed it for something.

      The firm we hired suggested that we locate some of the older tapes and analyze how the staff behaved 10 years ago versus how they behave now. We went down to our storage room, but we couldn’t find any tapes at all.

      We did find the recording devices, though, and, luckily for us, each device had 1 tape in it that we simply never removed when we upgraded to the digital system.

      The date stamp on the old footage was Thursday, July 1, 2004. The restaurant was real busy that day. We loaded up the footage on a large monitor, and, next to it, on a separate monitor, we loaded up the footage of Thursday, July 3, 2014. The number of customers we served that day was only a bit more than 10 years prior.

      I will quickly outline the findings. We carefully looked at over 45 transactions in order to determine the data below:

      2004:

      Customers walk in.

      They get seated and are given menus. Out of 45 customers, 3 request to be seated elsewhere.

      Customers on average spend 8 minutes before closing the menu to show they are ready to order.

      Waiters show up almost instantly to take the order.

      Food starts getting delivered within 6 minutes… Obviously the more complex items take way longer.

      Out of 45 customers, 2 sent items back that, we assume, where too cold. (Given they were not steaks, we assume the customer just wanted the items heated up more.)

      Waiters keep an eye out for their tables so they can respond quickly if their customers need anything.

      When customers are done, checks are delivered, and, within 5 minutes, they leave.

      Average time from start to finish: 1:05.

      2014:

      Customers walk in.

      Customers get seated and are given menus. Out of 45 customers, 18 requested to be seated elsewhere.

      Before even opening the menu they take their phones out. Some are taking photos, while others are simply doing something else on their phone. (We have no clue what they’re doing, as we don’t monitor customer WIFI activity.)

      7 out of the 45 customers had waiters come over right away, showing them something on their phones. On average, these exchanges took 5 minutes of the waiter’s time. Given this is recent footage, we asked the waiters about this and they explained those customers had a problem connecting to the WIFI and demanded help.

      Finally the waiters are walking over to the table to see what the customers would like to order. The majority have not even opened the menu and ask the waiter to wait a bit.

      Customer opens the menu, places their hands holding their phones on top of it and continue doing whatever on their phone.

      Waiter returns to see if they are ready to order or have any questions. The customer asks for more time.

      Finally they are ready to order.

      Total average time from when the customer was seated until they placed their order 21 minutes.

      Food starts getting delivered within 6 minutes, obviously the more complex items take way longer.

      26 out of 45 customers spend an average of 3 minutes taking photos of the food.

      14 out of 45 customers take pictures of each other with the food in front of them or as they are eating the food. This takes on average another 4 minutes as they must review and sometimes retake the photo.

      9 out of 45 customers sent their food back to reheat. Obviously if they didn’t pause to do whatever on their phone the food wouldn’t have gotten cold.

      27 out of 45 customers asked their waiter to take a group photo. 14 of those requested the waiter retake the photo as they were not pleased with the first photo. On average this entire process between the chit chatting and reviewing the photo taken added another 5 minutes and obviously caused the waiter not to be able to take care of other tables he/she was serving.

      Given in most cases the customers are constantly busy on their phones it took an average of 20 minutes more from when they were done eating until they requested a check. Furthermore once the check was delivered it took 15 minutes longer than 10 years ago for them to pay and leave.

      8 out of 45 customers bumped into other customers or in one case a waiter (texting while walking) as they were either walking in or out of the restaurant.

      Average time from start to finish: 1:55.

      We are grateful for everyone who comes into our restaurant, after all there are so many choices out there. But can you please be a bit more considerate?

      Like I said, I find the whole thing a bit suspect. Not only do the numbers sound inflated, even by NYC standards, but the whole thing just seems a little too perfect. More importantly, though, I don’t know that I trust the science. How, for instance, did they choose these 45 individuals in each cohort that they focused on? And how many of these 45 were in groups with others being studied? For instance, if there was a group of 10, and all of them were among the 45 observed in 2014, then it would be relatively easy to see how they could have gotten to the “27 out of 45 customers asked their waiter to take a group photo” number. If, however, these 45 people were all in different groups, that would indicate something completely different.

      For the purposes of our discussion, I don’t think it really matters, though. Whether or not the person who posted this really has data indicating that evolving consumer behavior is what’s driving wait times, etc, I think we can probably assume that personal technologies, the advent of the selfie, and the rapid proliferation of food review sites, are changing the restaurant landscape. And it’s probably fair to assume that these trends would probably be felt more at a New York restaurant that’s popular with tourists, than, say, in Ypsilanti.

      I mean, I know that this kind of thing is increasingly an issue in more prosperous areas, where there’s more of a developed “foodie” scene. I have a friend in Austin, for instance, who travels with a portable lighting setup that she uses to photograph the meals she writes about on Yelp. While I’ve yet to see anything that intense happen here in Ypsi-Arbor, I suspect it’s on the horizon.

      So, while the narrative above reads as somewhat extreme, I suspect it hints at trends that restauranteurs need to be aware of.

      For what it’s worth, I suspect there’s also an up-side, in that people who own restaurants now have more of an insight as to how their customers are thinking. Also, I wouldn’t imagine that it hurts to have people sharing images of your food, etc. The question is, does the good outweigh the bad?

      As someone who has thought for years of opening a restaurant of his own, I find all of this incredibly interesting… Can you still make money in an environment, I wonder, where tables are harder to flip, and people are spending more time on their phones than they are eating and drinking?

      Posted in entrepreneurism, Food, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

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