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Author Archive | Kasy Allen

7 Tips to Help Tackle the School Summer Cleaning Rush

Mop bucket in the closet - time to clean!

It may be summer break for the kids, but that doesn’t mean that the school closes down for the season; in fact, for custodians and janitors, it’s the time when they can be the most productive.  The kids aren’t around to continue to clean-up and sanitize after, and there’s a big empty building waiting to be cleaned.

However, the truth is there’s a lot of space and rooms in a school and without planning things out, it can be overwhelming.  Here are a few tips we thought may help you organize the school summer cleaning rush.

1. Know the School.  How many rooms are there?  What are the square feet of each of those rooms?  How many custodians are able to help?  With this information, you can at least write down how many classrooms you have, how many bathrooms, and how many larger rooms there are.

2. Know the Rooms. Each room type is going to have its own needs – some rooms have tile, some have carpet, some need to be waxed, some need to be stripped, etc.  So when cleaning the rooms, you’ll want to know exactly what you need to bring along so you’re not lugging around more than you need.  After you know what each of the rooms needs are, write a list down, and try to get a rough estimate of how long it will take to clean each room.  A classroom deep clean may take 6 hours to complete; whereas, a single bathroom may only take an hour.  With simple math, you can see how 6 classrooms and 2 single stall bathrooms could be cleaned in a 40 hour work week.

3. Checklists.  If you’re a veteran at what you do, I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself, “I don’t need any checklists, I got this girl!”  Well, that may be true, but your knowledge is meant to be shared.  Create a list, and perfect it overtime so that others can learn what it is that’s expected of them when they clean the facility.

4. Don’t Tackle it all at Once. If you live in a small school district, it may be easy to get the entire building clean in as little as a month, but for larger schools, it may be easier to section of the school by weeks, or months during the summer.  Do grade by grade, floor by floor, or wing by wing… whatever makes sense to you.  Just don’t get overwhelmed with all of it – take a deep breath.

5. Get the Right Cleaning Supplies. A lot of schools are turning to a green cleaning system, which is good for everyone; regardless, before you get started with cleaning, you’ll need to make sure you have the right cleaning supplies in stock so you’re not running out last minute to gather supplies.

6. Organize. Like in any building or home, periodically we’ve got to look at re-organizing closets, shelves, and cabinets.  This is the perfect time to get things back in order so you can start fresh when the new school year begins.

7. Evaluate Equipment Condition. There’s a lot of equipment placed throughout the school, but regular maintenance is essential in making sure all of that equipment stays up and running when busy time rolls around again.  Use the summer as a time to run through the big and small equipment to see where repairs and maintenance upkeep can be done.  It’s always good to stock up on needed parts too, just in case something stops working when you need it the most.

Are you a custodian that works in a school? What summer cleaning tips have you found to help get through the summer?

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And We’re Back… Better Than Ever!

If you visited us as our site went down on the night of July 25th, you probably got a taste of what our new site was going to look like.  A very small sample indeed, but as our maintenance page was up, our developers worked hard to get the new site up!

Hard at work getting the new Tundra site up!

New website launches call for tiki torches, sombreros, and a little head scratching.

What You Can Expect

We cleaned house with the new site.  We tried to bring our customers an experience that helped them navigate the site easier, learn about our services, and who we are.   Here’s a few of those fun features…

Stationary Search Bar. The search bar at the top of the site will always be there as you scroll around.  And that search bar includes important information that can help you easily contact us or chat with us, sign in to your account, get help, and visit your shopping cart.

Category Pages.  We now have popular items at the bottom of the product pages, links at the top to helpful articles and posts, faceted navigation so you can narrow down your search, and less clicks to reach the products you’re looking for.

Product Grid Pages. These pages also have faceted navigation on the left side of the screen, interactive breadcrumb so you can easily go back in navigation, larger images, and callouts so you know exactly what items are quick ship items and new items.

Take a look at our new product pages on etundra.com.

Product Pages. We are now able to support multiple images for our products (look for more to be added soon), social buttons, help section, and related products.

My Account. Now when you login, you’ll have all the information located on one page – payment method, shipping address, contact information, helpful links, and order history.  You can even search by your order number.

Checkout Process. A new shipping policy that lowers rates across the board – that means more money in your pocket!  And from shopping cart to check-out, it only takes 3 steps!

Co-Branded Sites. For our customers that have co-branded sites, you’ll also find that things are much, much cleaner; making it way easier to navigate to the products you’re looking for.

Content. There’s nothing better than launching a beautiful new site with content that mirrors its marketing and branding efforts.  The good news is that we found our voice!  I’m sure you’ve started picking up on it on The Back Burner blog, but that same voice can be seen throughout our site now.

Our Culture.  We’re super excited about our new About Us section.  We went from only 3 pages on our old site, to a whopping 16 on the new site!  You can learn about our culture, fun facts about us, testimonials, and current job openings.

Design Center. Our Design Center also got a big build-out!  We went from 1 dedicated page to 9!  You can learn about our designers, see our portfolio, and soon be able to dream about your own restaurant design!

Look at those nice images.  Those are nice images.

Imagery. Speaking of finding our voice, we also started the process of cleaning up our images.  We hope that you’ll find that the images are sharp, clean, and, sometimes, a little fun.

Security. The entire site is now under HTTPS with a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), which is a web protocol that ensures that as your shop, browse, and even checkout your visit with us will be safe and secure.

Now it’s Your Turn

Go to the site and explore.  See all the new things we have to offer, and let us know what you think.  We’re always looking for new ways to bring more to the table, and would love to hear from you.  And, make sure you visit our new 404 page, one of my personal favorites!

*As a side note, I’d like to thank Brennan (one of our awesome developers) for his midnight Taco Bell run.  What would we have done without those awesome midnight munchies!

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Chalk My Life – Tundra’s Story [Video]

Nothing gets me more excited to tell a story or write a blog post than the passion of others.  I was thrilled that we were all able to work together to tell Tundra’s story Draw Chalk My Life style.

We started by interviewing Michael Lewis and Rob Fenton, our founders, and Andrew Call was able to pull together a two-part blog post from those interviews: part 1 and part 2.  But we knew that we wanted to do more – enter the amazing chalk art skills of Stephen Garcia.  Stephen’s (pronounced Steven) art can be seen on the big black chalkboard anytime you come into our showroom, and we thought he’d be the best person to help us draw out this story – great hunch, huh!

Video Transcription

(Music)

Michael Lewis: Hi, I’m Michael Lewis. I’m the original founder of Tundra Specialties. I’m sitting here today with my co-founder, Rob Fenton, who came on a few months after we started. I ran a company in New Jersey that was in the restaurant supply business. I sold my interest in that business and came out here, and therein became the birth of Tundra.

As I was leaving my last company, in 15 minutes I wrote down the values of what I, with starting over, what did I want to take with me from the prior experience. That’s where the 13 values came from. They’re unedited. The short answer is we had a high integrity for customers, for vendors, for employees, for product. We were going to deliver a level of service that we believed was not available up to that point.

Rob Fenton: One of the values is having “ways” and not policies. It wasn’t the policy, it was the way to take care of the customer. I came from a B2B application, and we took the B2B concept and applied it to a restaurant industry that at the point in time didn’t have that much focus on customer service, in our opinion.

Michael Lewis: We started very fundamentally, it’s the old story of starting in your garage. It literally did start in my garage, and was able to walk around the streets of Boulder and just introduce myself and at least say, “We have these in stock and we can get a whole lot more.”

The product line just grew from there, but it all came out of a concept that, the idea that the parts availability to restaurants with only through service companies, and service companies needed to install things, and it became a very pricey thing. There was a lot of items that restaurants could actually install themselves.

In order to grow, we could do one of two things:

  1. We could open branches in other parts of the country.
  2. The other way was the advent of the internet.

That was starting to have something to it. At that time, Ryan [Lewis] came aboard and was given the responsibility of developing our first website. Then we went on to the second one. With each one we were able to expand the amount of product we put on. We were able to get deeper into the customer world. We made a commitment to the web before the first site launched.

Rob Fenton: Our biggest concern, certainly the first ten years, was not how fast can we grow. The question was how can we keep up? How do we maintain, how do we keep our company values, which were important to us, and still provide the level of service that we were becoming known for?

Michael Lewis: What we did was listen. The product growth over the 20 years has gone from parts to smallwares to equipment to disposables to textiles. That was all customer pulled. Over the 20 year history, we’ve become a complete restaurant supply house, including installation and design services, as well as, providing any product a restaurant would need.

Rob Fenton: I’m proud to say that we have never lost a customer. Once we have developed a relationship, we’ve never lost one.

Michael Lewis: I really see Tundra as being probably one of the most significant restaurant suppliers in the country. To be able to be in the United States, to be able to distribute all the products we have in the most efficient way, and have one of the easiest ways for customers to transact business with that. I’m not saying we’re the largest, go back to a word I use is significant, whether that also means the largest, we’ll see.

(Music)

Thanks to Nathan Combs for his awesome videography work, and putting up with me as I get excited to tell our story in a fun way!

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Restaurants & Kids

Restaurants that are kid-friendly, and those that aren't.

Yes, I know there are restaurants that cater to kids and restaurants that don’t.  I’m a mother to two awesome little boys – online I call them Max and White Bread – and we typically have to pick our restaurants based on whether the boys are joining Mom and Dad, or not.  So, I know that these “kids in restaurants” posts need to be in three parts:

My original article was going to be on making a more kid-friendly restaurant, but as I started talking about this subject, I learned that people are really passionate about this topic.  And I get it, even as a Mom.

I’ve been in a restaurant with screaming kids, and you think to yourself, “Seriously, are you not going to take your screaming kid out to the car until they are done with their fit?  The rest of us are trying to enjoy our food!”

I’ve also been the parent whose kid is screaming, and I’m like, “Ugh, okay, let’s go outside until you cool off and we’ll start over.”  But I’ve also learned that I can teach my children manners and choose restaurants that are great for them, that are kid-friendly.

We also have restaurants that we refuse to bring our kids too.  Those types of restaurants are for when Mom and Dad are dining alone, and we’re okay with that.

I’ve also been a waitress in a restaurant and know what it’s like to serve a table full of kids – there’s likely to be a mess, a lower bill (hence a lower tip too), and screaming (oh, the screaming).  But again, parents and servers can learn a thing or two to make the entire experience better.

With that, I’ll end by saying that I hope that you get a chance to read each of the articles posted before sounding off.  I know we all have passion in one of these areas, but we all live our own lives and can share compassion for one another – play nice folks.

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How Kid-Friendly Restaurants Can Better Cater To Kids

You got the crayons, the coloring mats, and the fun kids cups, but then stopped there.  There are so many other things you can do to make your restaurant more kid-friendly (yes, more).  Creating a little fun and teaching your servers what being kid-friendly means can really help increase sales in the end.

This doesn’t mean you have to become a fun zone, you can keep your style; just add a little spice, a little flavor, and you’ll turn your restaurant from a place that serves kids meals to a place the kids beg to come back to.  Here are some great ideas that I’ve seen some restaurants do right when it comes to being kid-friendly.

Toys & Games

1. Fun Area & Chalkboard Wall

Fun toys and chalkboard wall help make this restaurant kid-friendly

No, you don’t have to have a complete game room like in the picture above, but these are great distractions for small guests.   I love how this restaurant created a nook in the backend of the building, so that other non-kid diners could still enjoy their meal in peace towards the other end of the building.

The chalkboard wall is easy – some paint and chalk, and you’re set.  You can even wash it clean and do your own doodles on it.  Just remember that little artist might think it’s fun to scribble all over your doodles, so don’t get upset about that.  Also, make sure to get the big chalk so that little ones don’t choke on the small pieces of chalk.

2. Make Your Kids Menu Fun

Make the kids menu fun to help little diners.

Kids like to be independent, and if they can order their own food, well, at least at the beginning of the meal they’ll be entertained/preoccupied if your menus are written for them.  I love this kid friendly menu that blogger Kimberly came up with (she has free printables too), but if you don’t want to waste time cleaning them, just turn them into paper ones to throw away.

And it doesn’t have to be just about the food, include some games, jokes, and fun facts.  I love how The Kitchen Next Door does their kids menus.

3. Restaurant Bingo!

Help the kids have fun in the restaurant with bingo!

These bingo cards are fun and can be changed up a bit to include different items – even branded just for your restaurant.  My kids would sit well past waiting-for-food-to-come time and end up playing right through the meal!

Anyone else notice how dated that phone was?  So 90’s, pssh.

4. Awesome Coloring Pages

Awesome coloring pages for kids in the restaurant that even the adults will like.

I don’t know a kid out there that wouldn’t be occupied with these cool coloring pages; in fact, I think the kid in all of us would have fun coloring these.  Make sure you have fine tip markers for the small areas; although, crayons would be interesting for those young scribblers.

5. I-Spy Bottle

Easy to make I-Spy bottles to help entertain kids in a restaurant.

These neat I-Spy Jars could keep kiddos occupied for hours (well, at least a good 20 minutes)!   The best part about them is that they’re cheap to construct, easy to make, and can be themed around the food you’re serving, i.e. if you serve organic-food-to-farm style food, throw in little veggies (plastic of course), or if you’re an Italian style eatery, find some little toys that remind you of Italy.

6. Shut The Box

Shut the box is an easy game to have on-hand when kids visit a restaurant.

Most of us have heard of the dot game (and I’m not bashing it, it’s still a fun game that we all enjoy), but have you heard of Shut the Box?  My life changed when I learned about this game; seriously, it’s enough entertainment to keep the kids busy until the food comes to the table.  With my kids, we reserve this game for restaurants only so that they don’t bored of playing it all the time at home (mom tip, not necessarily a restaurant tip).

Gracious Servers

7. Snacks, Always Snacks

Great idea to bring out bread ahead of time to help hungry little eaters stay occupied.

Before your servers even take drink orders, they already know if kids are sitting at their table, so encourage them to bring out edibles as they approach the table – bread, crackers, chips, whatever.  When I used to waitress, all I had available to give to kiddos was oyster crackers, but that was enough to keep them occupied until I could get their drinks.

8. Special Requests

Great family dining that also offers American food.

One of our favorite Mexican restaurants, Azteca, has an enormous menu and tons of great food.  They have the perfect environment for us to visit, and they know that there are picky eaters even amongst the adult diners.  Yes, they have an authentic kids menu with Mexican dishes, but they also have Gringo Dishes for those diners that just like chicken (pollo) nuggets.

No matter how much I beg my kids to try a tostada or enchilada, they always go for the American plates.  They aren’t trying to be picky (and they’d likely eat anything we chose for them, if we made them eat another menu item), but kids like things like hamburgers and hot dogs, and sometimes it’s a hamburger and hot dog type of day (even if it is at a Mexican Restaurant).

This was a long tip, but my point was that when it comes to kids, be polite when it comes to special requests.  If your trying to teach them different tastes, I get that as a Mom, but if they don’t want red sauce on their noodles (and it’s not too much to ask), can we just get plain noodles with butter and parmesan?

9. Cook For The Kids First

They are impatient, so kids should be fed as soon as the food is done - Mom & Dad can wait.

I can wait for my food, but the kids get impatient.  As soon as the food is ordered, your servers should be putting high priority on the kids’ menu choices.  Mac and cheese takes minutes to make, so if it’s done before the parents meal, ask them if they want it early… they’ll thank you for it!

10. Don’t Discriminate

Yes, we know that you hate kids in your resturant, but you're kid-friendly, aren't you?

If the restaurant is clearly kid-friendly, you and your servers shouldn’t get upset when kids walk through the door.  If you do, you (or your servers) need to find another job.  Besides, like Andrew Knowlton said, “After all, you’re probably going to be in the same boat as I am in a few years.”

And for the sake of all humanity, please, don’t discriminate against people with special needs.  My son has a disability, I know what it feels like when you stare at us uncomfortably (and how do you think that makes a little boy feel?).  I’m not at your restaurant for you to cater to his needs, that’s why I’m there too – I’ll take care of him.  If you’re curious about what he has, I’m okay with you asking me, just don’t be rude, okay?

Pinterest Fun

A lot of these ideas we were able to pin over on our Pinterest board, “For the Kiddos,” in addition to some fun, kid-friendly recipes.  Have fun pinning!

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6 Tips for Better Plating & Presentation

Plating & Presentation

No questions about it, people eat with their eyes.  Once a plate is sat down in front of a guest they have already passed judgment on how that food is going to taste.  They look at the plating, they look at how the food is arranged, and they look at the flatware and glassware.  They haven’t even tasted the food yet, but they have already formed an opinion on what the food is going to taste like.

At this point, we think you could agree that having some sort of presentation with the tableware is as important as making sure the food tastes good.  But you don’t necessarily have to go overboard to make a great presentation.  Here are our top 6 tips for bringing a little pizazz to the table:

Food Plate & Presentation on Big Plate

1. Use larger plates and bowls.  When there’s a lot of empty space, it helps the food speak for itself.  It puts emphasis on the food, much like a solo artist under the spotlight – all eyes are on them.

Stacked Food Presentation

2. Stack food.  If the food goes well together, try stacking it instead of having everything spread out.  You don’t have to opt for mile-high towers, but a little height looks nice.

Messy Dribbles on Plate

3. Wipe up dribbles.  Unless it’s artfully done, dribbles are distracting and take away from the main attraction.  Wipe up spills and keep the dish clean.

Microgreens Plating & Presentation

4. A dash of color.  Sprinkle on some chives, parsley, or micro greens to add a dash of color to food that may otherwise look plain.

Vegetable Cut Plating Presentation

5. Make the right cut.  Think of other ways you can cut the food.  Doing big chunks of vegetables on a plate looks much different than thinly sliced, peeled, and shredded food.

Spoon Swoosh on Plate

6. Learn to swoosh.  Spoon swooshes are a great way to add a little oomph to a plate.  But take our advice on this one: never, ever touch a swoosh twice (things will get messy if you do).

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Shut The Fridge Door: How Cloud-Based Temperature Monitoring Systems Can Help Save Your Business

Cloud Based MonitoringHow many times as a kid did you hear your mom yell, “Get what you need and shut the fridge door already!”  Well, turns out that mom was right, studies have showed that refrigerator door openings account for 7% of fridge energy use.  Now, think of that number with a walk-in refrigerator that’s average cubic feet is easily more than twice the size of a home refrigerator (yikes, that’s a lot of energy wasted), and what if that same walk-in refrigerator was accidentally left open all night.  Now we’re looking at an entirely different type of loss: lost energy and lost food.

But accidents like this can be prevented.  Cloud-based monitoring systems are quickly changing how restaurant and food service owners are able to accurately monitor temperatures.

What is It?Notif Eye Cloud Based Monitoring

Cloud-based monitoring essentially means that information is sent wirelessly from sensors to an online system, and that information can be accessed from anywhere in the world, as long as you have a computer, tablet, or smartphone.  The information that can be sent is limitless, and is used in many different ways.

For cloud-based temperature monitoring systems, like NotifEye, the information being sent is temperature degrees ranging from -40⁰ to 257⁰F. Sensors are placed in different locations (wet or dry locations) throughout the food service establishment and they gather temperature readings that are then sent to a secure online system.  The data sent over can be viewed anytime of the day, but even more importantly the software monitors the readings and will alert you when a temperature is off, like the refrigerator door being left open, the fryer not keeping oil hot enough, the holding case losing temperature, etc.   Notifications can be sent to you via email or text.

What Kind of Temperatures Could I Monitor?

It’s up to you.  The standards are walk-in refrigerators, freezers, ice machines, and dry storage area, but we found uses for temperature monitoring in just about every area of the restaurant.  What if the heater was set way too high in the dining room and blasting 90⁰F all night?  You could walk in the next day and find out about it, or you could be notified about it as soon as readings are gathered.

Why is it so Important?

There are multiple reasons why it’s important to monitor temperatures on a regular basis. Every year there are thousands of businesses in the food service industry that lose valuable inventory or get fined by the local health department because temperatures are inadequate.  Monitoring temperatures ensures that equipment is running how it should, and saves your business from potential risks.

It helps prevent health violations and harm to your customers, and it helps save your business.

Is it Pricey?

All cloud-based temperature monitoring systems are priced differently, but we’ve seen plenty that are very reasonably priced.  Many restaurant owners that have installed the systems have reported return on investment in less than two years.  And since temperature monitoring seems to be one of the core values in the 7 steps of HACCP, we see it as an investment that could save your business one day.

What Are The 7 Steps of HACCP?

Glad you asked, HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) is a list of seven recommended food safety rules originally written for NASA, but has since been adopted in the food service industry by the FDA and USDA.  The 7 steps are:

  1. Conduct a Hazard Analysis. The hazards are grouped into 3 categories: biological, chemical, and physical.
  2. Identify the critical control points, including cross-contamination, cooking, cooling, and hygiene.
  3. Set up actions to ensure safety is maintained at all of the critical control points defined.
  4. Establish monitoring procedures for the critical control points, and make sure to use the right signs, tools and training materials to make sure they are monitored accurately.
  5. Establish corrective actions for the critical control points.
  6. Set-up recordkeeping procedures to log information, like with flowcharts and temperature checks.
  7. Verify that the system put in place is working: validation, ongoing verification, and reassessment.

By the way, HACCP is pronounced “hassip.”

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Infographic: DIY Restaurant Equipment Repair

Picture this, it’s right before dinner rush and something breaks in the kitchen. Unfortunately, it’s not the time to run out to get the part needed to make the repair, and improvising is all-to-often the go to quick fix that stands in as the substitute. Whether it’s pliers to turn knobs, a steam table pan to replace a broken caster, or duct tape as a temporary door latch, we’ve been in multiple kitchens and seen the same problems.  Yes, these quick fix tools will do their job through dinner rush, but with extra parts on hand, and a little DIY knowledge, keeping the kitchen going can help save on a lot of other issues in the long run.

We get an unbelievable amount of questions from people on how to fix different kitchen appliances, and a lot of you are definitely willing to give the repair a try yourself.  The good news is that a lot of those repairs may look challenging, are actually quit simple and only require a little elbow grease.  So, in an effort to spread some DIY love, our team got together and came up with this infographic, which we hope will help get you started on your own repairs.  This infographic will help you learn about parts and repairs for refrigeration, oven ranges, and fryers.

Note: To enlarge the infographic, simply click on the image below and a small box will pop-up.  In the top right corner there will be a button where you can expand the image.

Looking to repair a commercial refrigerator, oven, or fryer? Take a look at this infographic.

Want to have this infographic on your own site to help your customers?  Well we’d love for you to share the DIY love, just use the code below and paste it in the html of your site.  If you need more help with getting it on your site, just leave us a message below.

Embed This Image On Your Site (copy code below):

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Suspended Coffee – Dream Big. Start Small.

Suspended Coffees

When I started doing research on the Suspended Coffee Movement I expected to find a lot of information on restaurants and people working together to support those in need, but what I actually found was that this movement has its flaws that causes many restaurants to turn their cheek the other way.

What is the Suspended Coffee Movement?

First, a little background on what the Suspended Coffee Movement is.  Based on an Italian goodwill tradition, the idea is to pay it forward with coffee.  It sounds simple, but the story goes that a couple of friends were sitting in a coffeehouse and one friend heard a patron say that they’d like to order 5 coffees, 3 of which needed to be suspended.  This happens with the next few patrons until a homeless gentleman comes in and asks if there were any suspended coffees, and because people had paid for additional coffees (suspended the coffees), he was able to receive a free cup of coffee.

How could that be bad?

Well, if you’ve ever worked in the restaurant industry in front of house, especially in an area with a high homeless population, you can probably already answer that question.  The argument is that the free coffees are actually causing more issues than good.

The baristas and staff that are expected to manage the suspended coffees are already working to do the jobs they are assigned.  To then have to keep track of the suspended coffees, including managing the money (if the POS can even do that), would have to be figured out beforehand.

There’s also the issue of keeping the staff honest.  Without proper rules and management set-up prior to offering suspended coffees, who’s to say where those coffees go… friends? family? favorite customers?  There’s also dishonest patrons that may take advantage of the deal simply because they can.

And loitering (where I suppose was where I was going with the busy homeless population) is another issue.  In cold places, like Colorado (and such), keeping homeless people out of seats so paying patrons can have a sit, is always a struggle.  Drunk, belligerent vagrants tend to ward patrons away rather than encouraging them to suspend coffees.

But it’s the principal of the movement that we need to keep in mind.

It’s not about the coffee.  It’s not about the homeless.  It’s not about helping the less fortunate.  It’s about helping the world be a better place.

Your Ticket to Italy Sales Receipt

It’s really a simple idea.

It’s about paying it forward: doing something, anything to spread a little human compassion, and encouraging people to pass it on.  You could just as easily buy a cup of coffee for a homeless man, as you could just pass him a $10 gift certificate so he could order an entire meal.  You could also leave a rather large tip for a waitress that went out of her way to make your day, and maybe that encourages her to do something nice for someone else.

The point is that all of these small things add up to big things.  You could continue to look at the world as a big disappointment and hope to get by, or you could look for opportunity to make it a better place.

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