Collective Silence More Harmful Than a Raging War

  1. War does not determine who is right — only who is left. –  Bertrand Russel.

    “Let’s buy crayons after the war ends”- a suffering acquaintance of a family in Ukraine said this to their little girl yesterday.

UN Day was huge to me as a student. We used to have an annual competitive exam by the UN’s United Schools Organisation of India. I had such a considerable belief in the UN. I believed they would never let a war happen again. Then a few ensued: Iran-Iraq War, The Gulf War, et al.

And today, Ukraine is boiling. All this for what?
Holy- Rus or Mineral-rich Ukraine?
Yet, the UN is quiet–so is the rest of the world. Holistically speaking, taking historic and people’s validation into account, doesn’t Ukraine deserve to be independent? Are we even living in the 21st century?

A sister of my son’s friend from martial arts, whose family is in Ukraine, hopes to buy crayons to colour once the war ends. Everyone involved in the war is in my prayers. I’m at an age and stage where I think, as human beings, we should act to force the change we wish to see rather than wait for it to happen miraculously. It’s about how we can inspire each other to be at best-deploying the advancement of technology and minds for the good of humanity.

We are all human beings.
We love to boast our political affiliations with pride, not introspect on our choices.
We try to remember who did good and evil to us, not reflect on what we did to others and the repercussions.
We are never open-minded; we take pride in our disgusting intentions.
We are human beings; we only bother about what affects us.

Make your voice heard not to pull others down but build a strong-knit global village.
Not left or right, but a stance that makes us human.

Silence is deemed approval. When powerful minds flex their muscle and are hostile, do we keep quiet? Haven’t Hiroshima and Nagasaki shown us the after-war effects for decades? To condemn what’s not right, does one have to be part of NATO? Will being part of NATO bring back the lost lives and erase the “bloody” history?

But, being a mere human being myself, it’s time for me to grab my tea and watch more news on the war. Lest we forget, Ukraine’s dire situation is above the country we belong to and our political choices; we are all human beings blessed with heavy processing brainpower. So, let’s unite our voices and use social media for the common good. Otherwise, this oppression will spread like wildfire; you know where. The pawns are already on the move.

Let’s hope this little girl gets her crayons and picture a peaceful image.

Be Good to Yourself

Are you taking care of your mental and physical health? Do your deeds and thoughts tend towards some self-love than just self-abuse? Recently, I have realized the need for self-care. This thought process should start from within you. This is to all who are more prone to pleasing others and only know to care for others.

There will be ups and downs. But, the indifference meted out to you should not pull you down but help you expand as an ocean–keep the pleasures and pains as treasures hidden underneath, be strong, create the same crests and troughs producing beautiful rhyme and rhythm come what may.

In this process, stay away from negativity– participate in discussions that inculcate a positive thought process, a room for open discussions where you are celebrated and encouraged towards positive stimulation to the brain. As a result, Bala and I become small donors to two or more nonprofits every year. You are responsible for the community’s health and, in turn, the world you live in. So I decided to stop talking about politics on social media. This doesn’t mean I don’t care, but I act to make the change.

The takeaways:

Eat healthily,

Exercise,

Don’t overthink,

Think positively,

Stay away from abusers and abusive thoughts

Last but not least, don’t fix when things aren’t broken.

If you are happy, continue being happy. Not all are in the same boat; not all pieces of advice is to everyone 😉

Embrace Life

This plant amazes me.

It survived the winter storm and the scorching summer.

  It’s neither a big tree nor a twiner. It’s what it constitutes and comprises. 

 It’s all from what’s within.
It’s still a tiny plant- a herb.
Does this not show us how to make the best use of what we have?

Size doesn’t matter. 
Nature and time test us all equally; how one emerges and survives is the key. 

Ordinary people become extraordinary by showing their true mettle in the face of adversity. 

Be persistent, resilient, and shine.
Embrace life! 

Easy, Quick, and healthy Steam-fried Cabbage

Add mustard seeds, sesames, chia seeds, and finger millets (Ragi flour) to 2 teaspoons of warm oil in a pan/w. Once the mustards start spluttering, add two medium spicy green chillies, and grated ginger. Mix it well, and add carrots sliced thin and cabbage cut into long thin strands. Add salt, turmeric, and put the lid on for 2-3 minutes. At this point, add kale and put the lid on without stirring. In 2 minutes, when the kale turns soft and starts sweating, mix it all well. On a medium flame, leave it on the hob for another two to three minutes. Now,  switch off the flame, add a dash of lemon juice and a handful of freshly grated coconut. Put the lid on, and in 5 minutes, your power-packed, healthy quick cabbage curry is ready.

This recipe is rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein. 

You can also deep fry cabbage, as shown here, by sprinkling chickpea and rice flours on the shredded cabbage by moistening with water, salt and chilli powder.  Or, try this healthy recipe which I made by accident, running out of time and ideas on a hot summer day. 

Restaurant Landscape — Post-Pandemic

Employing digital marketing techniques is a step closer to ensuring a safe dining experience post-Covid

Driving on the deserted roads of once a busy Burnet Road in Austin has not been an easy picture to forget and move on. Covid-19 has turned 2020 into one of the worst years both in terms of economic and people loss. According to Reuters, workers in the leisure and hospitality industry have fared worse than most during the pandemic. With countries stopping travel (domestic and international) and issuing stay-home orders resulting in things as they are, the restaurant industry suffered the most. 

 It’s too late to revive some restaurants and food trucks forced to shut down as soon as the lockdowns were announced. Their inability to swiftly move online and reach out to customers in a contact-free world was the primary reason for this debacle. Survived are those that adapted the relevant technology and made their digital presence prominent. Some companies such as Dominos and Starbucks have posted a marginal profit even in this scenario. 

As can be seen from Figure 1, a survey showed that cooking at home was on a high during the initial days of Covid-19, with goods being delivered at the door or with curbside pickups made easier. After a couple of months, when the fun of trying new recipes and home cooking became tedious, restaurants started doing pick-up or take-out and delivery services. This tedious chore of cooking every single day made people realize what they have been missing. Slowly when restaurants started the dining-in facility with social distancing and extra sanitization in place, customers sighed a relief of normality. 

Figure 1: Eating habits that were observed pre and post-Covid 19 [1] 

With vaccinations in place, these numbers look optimistic. But, unequivocally, the two things that people missed this past year: travel and restaurants

So, are our restaurants better equipped to handle the demand while still following safety measures? CDC has issued guidelines on the no mask policy this week. Does that mean restaurants can go back to complete normality? Considering the phobias and uncertainty around, we can’t conclude the answer may be a complete yes.

 Online interactions have penetrated way deeper into our lives over the past year; consumers prefer virtual interactions, “touchless” contacts– paperless menus, QR codes, online order & payment options, and not to undermine people’s dependence on online reviews! On top of that, retaining customers has become possible only with sales promotion techniques such as coupons, discounts, join-our-app promotions, etc., alongside pampering on their special days and holidays in place. Finding online customers also means tracking and profiling them; personalize and customize their needs with a good user experience (UX) and customer experience (CX), which will embellish a restaurant’s online performance and its CX of the whole process. The bottom line is the businesses that survived the pandemic moved digitally or have been digital.

For a restaurateur, it’s not an easy task to be digital. To manage the digital traffic, feedback and reviews, and to oversee the heavily overcrowded competitive online presence on top of updating menus and maintaining hygiene standards is a tough grind. That’s where the marketing software companies come into the picture, which has been a blessing to the restaurant industry post the Covid-19 pandemic.

 With millennials and Gen Z’s preference to working remotely and dining out becoming prominent, restaurants have to move their menus online. Meal kits and dinner box deliveries have proven that people want daily, healthy meals to be delivered home. Online reviews by authentic users and social media influencers available at no cost are the critical decision-making parameters that sway a prospect to a customer. So, with all the backend engineering and the employment it generates, the restaurant industry can now be considered a primary sector. A successful online presence warrants the need for digital marketing: announcing your presence to the digital world.

Digital marketing is a complicated process of targeting and managing prospects, customers, & advocates. Software companies that manage these restaurant profiles ought to have dedicated professionals working 24×7. As customers’ every move and every silence is tracked by the search engines, more so with ever-evolving digital platforms and new algorithms. This tracking provides the data that feeds a restaurant’s digital process. Reaching customers is a good starting point and could be done via email marketing, content management, presence on relevant social media platforms, and website optimization. With consistency in these initial steps, to be on the top pages of search engines is an arduous ultimate step for the success of any online business. 

As shown in Table 1, customer adoption of digital technologies to order food is rising. Besides these, generating QR codes helps reach customers without being lost in transit.

I did not do this before the pandemic and have not done it since its onset (%)I do this somewhat or much less now than I did before the pandemic’s onset (%)I do this about the same as I did before the pandemic’s onset (%)I do this some or much more than I did before the pandemic’s onset. (%)
Using the phone to call in an order for pickup18.515.724.141.7
Buying food from a restaurant’s website27.814.319.338.6
Using mobile order-ahead to order food from restaurants to eat at home30.313.717.938.1
Ordering food delivery using aggregators such as Grubhub or UberEats49.211.413.126.2

  Table1: Altered activities related to eating food from restaurants [2] 

Digital marketing also incorporates AI (Artificial Intelligence) techniques to gauge customer preferences and trends. This automation helps businesses identify any short-comings in their services and address the pain points of their customers and the restaurants, too, improving the dining experience.  

Profiling and targeting prospects require great attention to detail. Is our customer a fitness freak or a vegan or seafood lover? What demographics do they fit? Social media platform statistics show the demographics of their audience: age, gender, location, ethnicity, etc. So, a restaurant’s existence on social media yields dividends in ways that never existed before. Its analytics give precise information about target customers. A digital marketing software company and restaurant business complement each other to be digitally successful and exist in the future. 

With software marketing tools in place, digital marketing bridges the gap between the customers and restaurants. 

Customer Segmentation involves:

  • Demographic Segmentation
  • Psychographic Segmentation
  • Geographic Segmentation
  • Behavioral Segmentation


Digital Marketing targets these customers by:

  • Email Marketing
  • PPC Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Content Marketing
  • QR Code Generation
  • Feedback Management
  • App Marketing
  • Personalized Marketing
  • SEO Marketing

With the changes in people’s lifestyles, the restaurant industry must embrace digital technologies more so post-pandemic. Consequently, accessibility to design and procure food by the touch of a finger should be ubiquitous. The recent AI trends enabling this digital marketing revolution should help pave the way for the future of any restaurant business, thus making it immune to any future pandemics.

References:

[1] QSR Magazine

https://www.qsrmagazine.com/consumer-trends/restaurants-greatest-competition-post-covid-19-home-cooked-meals 

[2] PYMNTS.com                                                                                                   https://www.pymnts.com/news/retail/2021/restaurant-habits-in-the-post-covid-future-by-the-numbers/