“We want to shrink this nation.”
– Al Gore
Going From Trashy, To Classy
Everyone has that one trashy neighbor on their block. Whether it’s the neighbor the HOA and everyone on the block considers a mortal enemy or the neighbor that’s been “renovating” for the last 36 months and has 12 cars and a giant dumpster perpetually parked on the front lawn, we try not to think about them. We ignore them as best we can. But the U.S might have a new neighbor it can’t ignore.
At least that’s the point Plastic Oceans Foundation is trying make. Now that the Pacific trash vortex has grown to the size of France, the foundation has launched a campaign to recognize the floating garbage patch as the world’s 196th country, dubbed the “Trash Isles”. In the foundation’s application to the UN, the claim is made under Article 1 of the 1993 Montevideo Convention arguing that a state’s existence is “independent of recognition by others.” The Pacific trash vortex has a border (kind of), a flag, stamps, currency, even its own citizen – Al Gore. Seriously, Al Gore. Apparently, that’s all that’s required to be a country. How’s that for classy?
Hot Consumer Trends: Bioplastics And The Circular Economy
While everyone loves to poke fun at Al Gore and the inherent absurdity of the Trash Isles, the campaign definitely highlights a growing concern in the minds of many consumers. Trash is a problem. In fact, Plastics News cited a 2015 study showing that 84% of global consumers actively seek out eco-friendly products whenever possible. But wiping the Trash Isles (and Al Gore?) off the face of the planet and building a circular economy is easier said than done. GreenBiz reports that the number one challenge in moving away from the “take-make-dispose” system and toward a circular economy is improving America’s recycling facilities. The second? The business community’s tendency to wait for consumer activism to hit a threshold before moving green initiatives forward. Companies and their entire value chain have to work together to create the widespread change in consumer recycling behavior.
2x + y = Confusing Restaurant Traffic
If you take two massive hurricanes and add a world-wide sporting event what do you get at your restaurant? Confusion. The industry already suffered through a rocky summer with restaurant traffic decreasing despite a steady economy. Once Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, however, restaurant sales dropped by 15 percent in the state and more than a percentage point nationwide, reports QSR. Hurricane Irma and the other swirling storms in the Atlantic also are causing supply chain managers to worry. While sports events often boost restaurant and bar sales, the Mayweather-McGregor fight cost restaurants a heavy premium to air the fight or a major loss in sales for those who paid for it at home. So what’s the math lesson here? Brush up on your algebra and let us know how we can help you take all these variables into account.
Truck Drivers Wanted, AI Needed
Jack Kerouac may have made the open road seem like a mind-opening dream, but the life of a truck driver can be tough. Not only do they have long hours of traveling, many of them may be out of a job in the near future. Even though turnover is low and freight rates are tame for now, according to SupplyChainDigest, the trucking and shipping industries are worried about what will happen when automation bangs down the door. Self-driving cars are quickly advancing, so many people are staying away from driving careers because they don’t want to be replaced by technology. But an autonomous future is most likely still many years away.
What happens in the meantime? Currently, there are approximately 3.5 million truck drivers in the U.S., and 48,000 open trucking positions. But those open positions could balloon to an estimated 890,000 by 2025 as drivers ride off into the sunset of retirement. So while driver shortages haven’t become a crisis yet, one thing is clear. The gap between a trucking industry in crisis and an autonomous solution isn’t going to close by itself. People need to understand that, at least in this case, AI might be the tech that saves jobs, rather than the one that takes them.
Hurrah! No More Tablet Monitoring
Many restaurants work with more than 20 delivery marketplaces, Patrick Eldon, CEO of orderTalk, told Modern Restaurant Management. For each, delivery employees have to monitor a tablet and input the order into their POS system by hand. This seems like a time-consuming task that should have been solved by technology already, right? Well, finally orderTalk has developed an API adapter that can work with order inputs from any external source. This means that restaurants don’t have to spend all of their time, money and attention on an API that may or may not work with their system. It also means they will have better accuracy when dealing with multiple channels and not have to worry about someone pressing the wrong key or confusing the orders. Can we get three cheers for this disruptive technology? Hip hip hurrah!