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Siegel Sez

August 31, 2006

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

It was Saturday night and I was at a Ruby Tuesday restaurant. Ruby Tuesday has a nice salad bar. If you order the salad bar as a meal, the price here in Atlanta is $7.49. If you order it with your entrée it is $2.79. When the waiter came to take my order I asked if I ordered the salad bar with an appetizer and not an entrée, what would he charge me. He looked at me, thought for a moment and then said he would “only” charge me $2.79. Then before he left our table he said, “I’ll tell you what, if you leave me an extra two dollar tip I won’t charge you for the salad bar,” and then left. I looked at my friend I was dining with and was shocked; wouldn’t this make me an accomplice in a crime against his employer? What would you do? I know I think differently than most. Would you have laughed and said a deal is a deal? Would you turn him in? This exchange with our waiter really bugged me probably because I am a business owner. Did I overreact? Think about this and I will tell you what I did at the end, but again, what would you have done?

Thanks to all who came to our Atlanta social event two weeks ago, it was a great time. Where were you living when you were 10 years old? Congratulations to Douglas Clark who won the two business class tickets anywhere AirTran flies. He was formerly with Mandarin Oriental but now has his own consulting practice here in Atlanta. Also I must thank all who participated and AirTran for providing the tickets. Make-A-Wish did very well that night with this mini-fundraiser. Check out some pictures of this event at http://www.hospitalityupgrade.com and click on Cool New Stuff (or use the following link http://www.hospitalityupgrade.com/_cool_new_stuff/cool_new_stuff.asp). Also on the Cool New Stuff link is the video from NBC covering the HFTP Guestroom 2010 initiative which is now becoming a road show. If you missed it at HITEC in June in Minneapolis, then you can see it at the upcoming International Hotel/Motel & Restaurant Show(http://www.ihmrs.com) in November in New York. Also, if you are a vendor who is contemplating exhibiting this year at the show and want to save some money, e-mail mailto:Sharon@hospitalityupgrade.com regarding a spot in our Technology Pavilion. There are still spots available, but don’t put it off too long, we are going to keep it smaller this year to allow more room for those in the pavilion.

Now back to Ruby Tuesday. When my check came there was no charge for the salad bar just as he said he would do. I decided to leave him $2.79, the cost of the salad bar and no tip (the service was actually not all that great). I also wrote a note explaining what employee theft costs businesses and how we all end up paying for it. I also suggested he stop this practice immediately because stealing is stealing and even though in this case it was small, it was leading him down a path that was going to have serious repercussions. I also told him in my note that being a business owner I had to tell the restaurant manager about his deal which I would do on my way out. I must admit I am a softie and didn’t really want this guy to get fired, but I needed to send him a message. Even though I wrote in the note that I was telling the manager, I didn’t. But I figured his thinking I did might inspire him to think about our “deal” and if it was worth it. Do you think he avoided the manager for the rest of his shift? So, that is what I did. Do you think I handled it correctly? Let me know.

Here now is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s technology review of the last two weeks. I couldn’t help but reflect on the news about IPIX. Do you remember when that technology was so popular and the hotel industry realized what a great marketing tool the World Wide Web was going to be? How things have changed. I will see you after Jon’s news with this week’s attempt at “you-know-what”.


Technology NEWSSTAND

by: Jon Inge
Systems News in Plain English from Jon Inge


- Hospitality’s tech challenges aren’t unique
Because hospitality technology is a pretty specialized field, it is easy to think that our challenges are unique.  However, a recent feature article in InfoWorld magazine showed that many other industries face the same issues we do.

Since InfoWorld tends to focus on IT developments and solutions in general, it decided to look at five different vertical markets to see what specific problems they had, and if there were lessons that could apply to IT in general.  The reporters looked at several different companies each in the arenas of financial services, retail, telecommunications, health care and government.
The result was a major reality check on the types of real-world problems that get in the way of implementing new technology.  Sure, the advantages of new developments are attractive, but they will remain a goal rather than a fact while, for example, some large retail chains still struggle to switch stores from dial-up to broadband.  And in hospitals, where doctors would benefit from having access to consolidated patient records wherever they are but don’t have desks, resolving basic hurdles such as putting laptops on wheeled carts and ensuring strong wireless coverage throughout the building are first-step necessities.

There was one overriding common theme, however - consolidation.  All five verticals emphasized the cost and efficiency benefits of standardized operations running on centrally hosted systems with Web services links to older applications that cannot realistically be replaced just yet.  To quote the summary, “Telecom may lead this trend, but few industries can afford to maintain a bloated hodgepodge of applications and their associated operating costs. Consolidation is the only way to leave anything in the IT budget for innovation.” 

The real world will always throw up unexpected challenges which need pragmatic solutions, but we can be reassured that other industries have the same goals we do, are using the same technologies to get there, and provide experience we can learn from.


- Scott Alvis appointed president and general manager of SynXis
- Chet Smith hired as KoolConnect Technologies’ chief technical officer
- George Schweitzer named executive vice president of business development at UniFocus
- Jessie Burgess promoted to director of IT - telecommunications at Accor North America
- Brian Cunningham leaves Nirvana, launches ActivityTec consultancy
For more on People on the Move for 08/31/06


- Visual One integrates IDeaS’ Revenue Optimization with its PMS
Visual One announced the integration of IDeaS’ Revenue Optimization with its property management system, to help set best available rates and maximize both transient and group revenue.  The integrated products have been installed at various joint clients including the Perdido Beach Resort in Orange Beach, Ala.  http://www.ideas.com, http://www.v1s.com


- Lodging Interactive launches eProposal Rapid RFP Response system
- IPIX liquidating its 360-degree still/video photo and surveillance technology
- Wynn Las Vegas picks WebSideStory’s HBX Analytics to optimize its Web site
For more on Marketing/Management for 08/31/06


- Hampton Hotels releases new “My Hampton” home page portal for guests’ HSIA access
- Sybase recognizes Metromedia’s HotelEXPERT as finalist in its sixth annual Innovator Awards
- icableholder appoints StayOnline as North American distributor
For more on Guest Services for 08/31/06


- Carnus Systems launches Auto-RLM automated revenue and labor management system
- Valutec and Shift4 partner to process gift and loyalty cards through POS systems
- UniFocus acquiring LaborSage
For more on Back Office for 08/31/06


- IPIX liquidating its digital 360-degree still/video photo and surveillance technology
- Safemark Systems announced recent installations of its guestroom safes at fourteen hotels
- Hotel 1000 installs Miwa’s FeLica proximity locks
For more on Security for 08/31/06


- China Airlines signs with OctopusTravel.com to provide hotel, etc. bookings on its Web site
- Noble House renews contract with Pegasus for reservation services for its 13 properties
- Groupology launches small-group reservations service using PegsTour and UltraDirect
- Pegasus finalizes reservation services contracts for 37 former Distinguished Hotels properties
- InterContinental contracts with Pegasus for commission processing
- www.search.travel search engine gives priority to “.travel”-authenticated sites
- Travelocity planning to let travelers use existing miles and points to book travel services
For more on Reservations for 08/31/06


- Cheesecake Factory implementing QSR Automations’ ConnectSmart Kitchen
- Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa in Las Vegas installs InfoGenesis POS
- Black Angus Steakhouse to install Compeat Restaurant Accounting Systems in 85 sites
- OpenTable passes 25-millionth diner milestone
- Denny’s selects Radiant’s MenuLink back office software for 543 restaurants
For more on F&B/Point of Sale for 08/31/06


- GenaRes integrates AnyRate’s competitive rate intelligence software into its CRS
- IDeaS integrates revenue optimization with Visual One’s Property Management System
GenaRes Worldwide Reservation Services has integrated AnyRate’s competitive rate intelligence software into its CRS, complementing its earlier integration with EZ Yield.  GenaRes customers will be able to use the AnyRate competitive rate shopping programs at discounted fees, including the AnyRate Flash real-time rate search tool.  http://www.any-rate.com, http://www.genares.com
IDeaS announced the integration of its revenue optimization with Visual One’s Property Management System, to help set best available rates and maximize both transient and group revenue.  The integrated products have been installed at various joint clients including the Perdido Beach Resort in Orange Beach, Ala. http://www.ideas.comhttp://www.v1s.com


- Certain Software releases Version 4.7 of Register123
- Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) contracts with Passkey
Certain Software has released Version 4.7 of its Register123 meeting management application. Enhancements include more automated communications with travel agencies on changes in registrants’ travel information, on-site registration with kiosk badge printing and more flexible payment processing options including accepting cash payments and collecting wire transfer bank routing information.  http://www.certain.com
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) has contracted with Passkey for online group reservations as part of its convention services package for event planners.  http://www.visitlasvegas.comhttp://www.passkey.com


And now for you-know-what…
Two women friends had gone for a girls’ night out. Both were very faithful and loving wives, however, they had gotten a little over-enthusiastic with the cosmos that night. Incredibly drunk and walking home, they needed to tinkle, so they stopped in a cemetery.
One of them had nothing to wipe with so she thought she would take off her panties and use them. Her friend, however, was wearing a rather expensive pair of panties and did not want to ruin them. Looking around, she saw that she was lucky enough to have squatted down next to a grave that had a wreath with a ribbon on it, so she proceeded to use that.
After the girls did their business, they proceeded to go home.
The next day one of the women's husbands was concerned that his normally sweet and innocent wife was still in bed hung over, so he phoned the other husband and said, "These girls' nights have got to stop! I'm starting to suspect the worst ... my wife came home with no panties!!"
"That's nothing," said the other husband. "Mine came back with a card stuck to her butt that said, ‘From all of us at the fire station. We'll never forget you.’"

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