<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Inc Well | Small Business Advice for Chicago Entrepreneurs]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/inc-well http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.com en-us Tue, 28 Apr 2015 13:35:10 -0500 Tue, 28 Apr 2015 13:35:10 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Rent The Runway to Debut Chicago Storefront]]> Tue, 28 Apr 2015 13:06:53 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/191*120/459541392.jpg

Rent the Runway will open the doors to a Gold Coast storefront Thursday, making Chicago the third city to host a freestanding store from the popular online retailer.

The company’s CEO and co-founder Jennifer Hyman told Chicago Magazine they chose to come to the Windy City because it is already home to some of its most loyal customers, and they wanted to bring them the opportunity to rent, see and try on the designer duds in person.

The magazine reports the shopping experience will offer in-store styling appointments and same-day rentals.

Borrowing a dress for a long four-day weekend could run anywhere from $30 to upwards of $800, the publication reports. Designer accessories will also be available to rent.

Chicago’s Rent the Runway will be located at 710 N. Wabash Ave. and open weekdays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and weekends 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

For more information visit renttherunway.com/stores.

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<![CDATA[Uber Launches UberEATS Delivery Service in Chicago]]> Tue, 28 Apr 2015 08:40:07 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/206*120/uberEats.png

Chicagoans can now order more than just rides from Uber – the popular ride-sharing app has launched a new program that will deliver food to customers too.

UberEATS launched in the Chicago market Tuesday, and aims to be the go-to service to bring busy workers lunch weekdays from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

“Chicagoans can use their Uber app to request lunch from the most popular, iconic restaurants in the city — no standing in line, no waiting for a table, just a tap of the app and lunch is on its way,” their website states.

The UberEATS curated menu changes daily, and will kick off with an inaugural menu from Rick Bayless’ popular XOCO, Freshii, County Barbeque, Doc B's, DMK Burger Bar, and more.

"Like requesting a ride via Uber, UberEATS offers real-time order tracking and effortless automatic payment through the app. Enjoy food from Chicago's most popular local restaurants brought to you faster than any other delivery service - 10 minutes or less," an Uber spokesperson said in a statement.

How to order:

1. Open the app and slide over to EATS (only visible when you’re in The Loop or River North)
2. Enter address or move pin to your location, and tap VIEW MENU
3. Select number of meals, tap PLACE ORDER, and your driver will appear curbside clutching culinary delights within minutes

For more information and rotating menu items, visit https://blog.uber.com/CHIEATS.

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<![CDATA[Job Ideas for Full-Time College Students]]> Fri, 24 Apr 2015 12:21:40 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/College-student-generic-bac.jpg

When it comes to work, college students need flexibility – with a full class load, extracurricular activities and homework, a job can be the last thing on a student’s mind. But college expenses pile up quickly, and a part time job is a great way to offset costs while still staying focused on your academics. It can also be a great resume-builder.

While it may not apply directly to your ideal career path, jobs demonstrate other valuable qualities – time management, work ethic, teamwork, etc. – that will be especially useful when it finally comes time to search for that first job out of school. There are a number of part-time jobs that provide this basic foundation of skills and experience, applicable to almost any job.

Here's a list of part-time jobs that college students may want to consider while in school.

1. Tutor. Tutoring demonstrates a commitment to academics, teaching and fostering progress – all great characteristics. Often times, tutors also have the flexibility of creating their own schedule and potentially working from home, making it an ideal choice for part-time work. If you did really well in one of your classes, ask the professor about tutoring opportunities within that class. You can also visit the university’s educational resource center for tutoring opportunities.

2. Child Care Worker/Camp Counselor. When working with children, time management, leadership and being able to balance many things at once are just a few of the valuable skills you may pick up. If you enjoy working with kids, this could be a dream part-time job. Not only can babysitting provide flexible hours, but it typically pays well. Also, there’s always the possibility of getting some of your homework done during your downtime, especially if you babysit kids at night. Being a camp counselor is also a great way to meet other students and learn team building dynamics through various camp activities.  Camp counselors usually get free room and board providing a great opportunity to save money over the summer. Search online or check with the career office for open positions.

3. Waiter. Restaurant work is challenging, fast-paced and requires balancing work and customer satisfaction, all of which is applicable to other working environments. Since servers can somewhat dictate their own schedule, it can be easier to work around a class schedule and you’ll get to walk out of work with cash in your pocket.

4. Teaching Assistant. Getting further involved in academics, networking with your professors and helping to mentor students a just a few of the valuable experiences you get as a teaching assistant. If you enjoy working with students, are especially passionate about a subject, or even want to get closer with a particularly interesting professor, ask your professors about opportunities to work with them, or if they know of another professor who needs help.

5. Paid Intern. Doing an internship is a great way to show interest in your field of choice. With companies always looking to hire college students for internship or fellowship programs, you may just have to do some digging to find the ones that are paid. Either way, you’ll gain valuable experience in your industry and can help accelerate your career goals. When it comes time to look for your first job after graduation, your internship experience combined with your education will help separate you from your peers.

6. Resident Assistant. If you live in the dorms, becoming a resident assistant (RA) could be a perfect job. Normally, RAs get free room and board along with an hourly wage – great perks. RAs are also required to be an ongoing resource for the students, an ambassador for the school and initiate creative planning for the students – all skills that transfer well to a more formal position.

While your studies are your main focus, these part-time jobs not only temporarily help foot the bill, but also help cultivate valuable skills that will look great on your resume. Just remember, make sure whichever job you choose still leaves you with enough time to get your homework done, too!

Dennis Bryar is a branch manager within the finance & accounting practice at Chicago-based Addison Group. Addison Group is a leading provider of professional staffing and search services with offices nationwide and specialized practices in administration & HR, finance & accounting, healthcare and IT.

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<![CDATA[Ed Debevic’s to be Replaced With High-Rise]]> Fri, 24 Apr 2015 15:48:21 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/11137110_10152876011048299_1762192408383809822_n.jpg

Ed Debevic’s and their infamous snarky waitstaff will be packing up shop at the Chicago River North location and moving elsewhere – so the space can be used for a brand new high-rise.

Crain’s Chicago Business reported Friday JDL Development has inked a deal to purchase and remove the retro-themed diner at 640 N. Wells St. and replace it with either condos or apartments.

In the meantime the restaurant has been searching for a new spot in River North to serve their 1950s-style burgers, fries and shakes with a side of trademark sassy comments, Crain’s reports.

Ed Debevic’s at the corner of Wells and Erie Streets has been a mainstay in Chicago’s neighborhood of River North for more than three decades since its 1984 open, and is the latest restaurant to give out to developers who eye single-story buyouts as the area’s real estate values continue to skyrocket.

Across from Ed Debevic’s storefront at 633 N. Wells, Chicago staple Gino's East pizzeria is set to be replaced by a 444-unit apartment tower, Crain’s reports, as well as the Howard Johnson Inn at 720 N. LaSalle which will soon house 298 brand new apartments.

"As our famous saying goes, 'Eat and Get Out.' I can confirm that it is likely Ed Debevic's will be leaving its current address at 640 N. Wells Street, at some time later in the year," said Jeff Himmel, for Debevics, LLC., which owns Ed Debevic's. "We're currently looking at locations closer to Michigan Avenue. We invite our fans to join us in our final days at the corner of Wells and Ontario."

Crain’s reports it has not been released how much JDL invested for the Ed Debevic’s property, but it is safe to say it will be a much larger figure than the $4.5 million the building's owners paid for it in 2005.



Photo Credit: Ed Debevic's]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago Ice Cream Shop Closes, Recalls Products]]> Thu, 23 Apr 2015 18:28:25 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/219*120/jeni%27s+ice+cream+sign.jpg

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams has closed their North Side Chicago shop and recalled all of their products after a listeria contamination was found, the company announced Thursday.

The recall includes all products bearing the “Jeni’s” brand name including ice creams, frozen yogurts, sorbets, and ice cream sandwiches for all flavors and containers across all shops and retailers nationwide. Jeni’s scoop shops nationwide have also been closed.

The contamination of listeria monocytogene was discovered in a sample randomly collected by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.

“We have decided to recall everything currently on retailer shelves, and we are closing our scoop shops until we are 100 percent confident every item we sell is safe,” Jeni’s CEO John Lowe said in a statement. “We have called in experts to help us find the root cause.”

Lowe said they plan to working with the company’s suppliers to determine if the bacteria was introduced by one of the ingredients used in their production.

“We will not reopen the kitchen until we can ensure the safety of our customers,” he added.

The company asks those who have purchased any of their products to dispose of them or return them for a full refund. For more information, visit jenis.com/recall.



Photo Credit: NBCChicago]]>
<![CDATA[Chipotle Announces Delivery in Chicago]]> Thu, 23 Apr 2015 17:38:58 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/207*120/Chipotle+Sign.jpg

Chipotle fans rejoice! You can now get your chicken bowl delivered right to you.

The fast-casual Mexican food chain has announced a new partnership with Postmates, making them their official third-party delivery service.

The Chipotle delivery will be available in all markets where Postmates operates, including Chicago, New York City, Miami, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Dallas, Seattle and Philadelphia.

“There have been a lot of people that have been delivering Chipotle through various services over the years and we’ve tried to in a lot of cases shut them down, because we weren’t sure whether the quality was going to be sufficient or whether they were following our rules,” Mark Crumpacker, chief creative and development officer at Chipotle, said in a call to investors. “This is different because we’ve made an official deal with Postmates and they have been delivering Chipotle for quite a while, too.”

Postmates said the delivery will start at $4.99 and is capped at $7.99, depending on distance.

Postmates, essentially an Uber for delivery food, was also pegged by Starbucks to test delivery in some markets.

The move comes as Chipotle announced a 10.4 percent sales increase in the first quarter of 2015.

“Strengthening our ecommerce program is a top priority for us this year,” Crumpacker said.

In addition to the delivery partnership, Chipotle also plans to incorporate a mobile payment option into its ordering apps. The chain plans to launch an ordering app for the Apple Watch, set to debut Friday, and will explore options of mobile payment services like Apply Pay and Google Wallet.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[McDonald's Plots Turnaround as Sales Continue to Slide]]> Wed, 22 Apr 2015 12:16:36 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/McDonald%27s+CEO+Steve+Easterbrook.jpg

McDonald's plans to unwrap a plan next month that it says will help turn around sales declines around the world.

CEO Steve Easterbrook, who stepped into the role just last month, said Wednesday the company will share "initial details" of the plan May 4.

"I think there is a hunger and an interest in our business to embrace change," Easterbrook said during a conference call. While McDonald's has been "phenomenally successful" for decades, he said that has also made the company conservative.

The world's biggest hamburger chain, based in Oak Brook, Ill., said global sales declined 2.3 percent at established locations during the first three months of the year, with results for April expected to be negative as well. The drop included a 2.6 percent drop in the U.S., where people are increasingly heading to places that market their food as more wholesome.

Already this year, McDonald's has announced a number of changes in the U.S. including a simplified grilled chicken recipe and curbing the use of antibiotics in raising chicken. Amid ongoing protests calling for pay of $15 an hour and a union for fast-food workers, it also said it would raise wages and offer vacation time for workers at company-owned stores.

McDonald's is trying to change its image while its competition is taking its customers.

A day earlier, Chipotle Mexican Grill said its sales rose 10.4 percent at established locations during the quarter, as a pork shortage and bad weather damped results. The chain has been enjoying strong sales growth, with executives saying the company is changing the way people think about fast food.

Taco Bell's parent company, Yum Brands, said the chain's sales rose 6 percent during the period. The increase was helped by the introduction of Taco Bell's breakfast menu, which has repeatedly targeted McDonald's in its advertising.

Meanwhile, McDonald's is struggling in other regions of the world as well. During the first quarter, the unit encompassing Asia, the Middle East and Africa reported an 8.3 percent drop in sales at established locations, hurt by a supplier controversy in China last year and ongoing consumer perception issues in Japan.

Sales at established locations dipped 0.6 percent in Europe because of softness in France and Russia.

For the period ended March 31, McDonald's Corp. earned $811.5 million, or 84 cents per share. That compares with $1.2 billion, or $1.21 per share, a year earlier.

Results were weighed down by 17 cents per share in charges. The stronger dollar hurt its results by 9 cents per share.

Stripping out these items, earnings were $1.10 per share. That was more than the $1.05 per share analysts expected, according to Zacks Investment Research.

Shares of McDonald's Corp. added $2.30, or 2.4 percent, to $97.17 before the market open.

Revenue for the Oak Brook, Illinois-based company declined to $5.96 billion from $6.7 billion. Analysts expected $6.02 billion in revenue.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[McDonald's Closes 350 Stores in First Quarter]]> Thu, 23 Apr 2015 14:35:43 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/179*120/1491410191.jpg

McDonald’s has closed 350 underperforming stores worldwide in the first quarter, including several in the United States, the company announced.

The closings are in addition to the 350 restaurants the company originally planned to close in 2015.

A McDonald’s spokeswoman said the closing stores include 130 in Japan and 220 in the U.S. and China. The three countries house a total of about 22,000 McDonald’s restaurants.

The closures come as the Oak Brook-based company revealed global sales had declined by 2.3 percent in the first quarter, with results for April expected to be negative as well. The company also saw a 2.6 percent drop in the U.S., where people are increasingly heading to places that market their food as more wholesome.

The world’s largest hamburger chain also announced plans to unwrap details next month about a turnaround plot they hope will help revive sales.

CEO Steve Easterbrook, who stepped into the role just last month, said Wednesday the company will share "initial details" of the plan May 4.

"As the world's leading restaurant company, we are evolving to be more responsive to today's customer," Easterbrook said in a statement. "McDonald's management team is keenly focused on acting more quickly to better address today's consumer needs, expectations and the competitive marketplace. We are developing a turnaround plan to improve our performance and deliver enduring profitable growth.”

Already this year, McDonald's has announced a number of changes in the U.S. including a simplified grilled chicken recipe and curbing the use of antibiotics in raising chicken. Amid ongoing protests calling for pay of $15 an hour and a union for fast-food workers, it also said it would raise wages and offer vacation time for workers at company-owned stores.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Motorola Shows Off New Police Tech]]> Wed, 22 Apr 2015 22:58:20 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/motorola-police-drone.jpg Schaumburg-based Motorola has developed gear that improves communication, connectivity and law enforcement.

Photo Credit: NBC Chicago]]>
<![CDATA[Founders of Two Chicago Startups Make Inc.'s "30 Under 30"]]> Wed, 22 Apr 2015 16:40:11 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/Sidewalk_Sale_bucketfeet.jpg

Inc. named the founders of two Chicago-based startups in its “30 Under 30” list this year, which showcases the “best and brightest young entrepreneurs.”

The magazine’s 10th annual list features Chicago companies Avant and BucketFeet among the 30 companies ranked.

Co-founded by Paul Zhang (28), John Sun (30) and Al Goldstein (34), Avant is an online consumer lender that approves people for loans even with “slightly tarnished credit ratings.”

The business magazine described Avant as “part of the leading edge of young companies shaking up the traditional banking industry, which has left a big, yawning gap when it comes to serving this consumer niche.”

The other Chicago company honored in the list is the shoe startup BucketFeet.

Aaron Firestein, 29, co-founded the company with Raaja Nemani in 2011. What sets their startup apart from other shoe companies is that anyone can submit artwork to the BucketFeet Platform, with chosen artists receiving $250 up front and $1 per pair sold.

Since becoming a hit online, the company has expanded its reach to 30 countries. The shoes are sold at countless stores. from Bloomingdale’s to the company’s local stores in Chicago and New York City.

Fans of Avant and BucketFeet can support the Chicago companies by voting for their favorite 2015 “30 Under 30” founders on Inc.’s website.

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<![CDATA[Kraft to Remove Synthetic Colors From Mac and Cheese]]> Tue, 21 Apr 2015 03:50:39 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/kraft-alt-AP1102090112555.jpg

The iconic mac and cheese in a blue box will start showing its true colors.

Northfield, Illinois-based, Kraft Foods announced Monday it will remove artificial preservatives and synthetic colors from its “Original Kraft Macaroni and Cheese” in the U.S. starting Jan. 2016.

Kraft will replace the synthetic colors currently used with natural sources such as paprika, annatto and turmeric, the company said. The company hopes the move will “delight consumers with on-trend updates to meet consumers’ changing lifestyles and needs.”

“[Families] told us they want to feel good about the foods they eat and serve their families, including everything from improved nutrition to simpler ingredients,” Triona Schmelter, vice president of marketing meals at Kraft, said in a statement. “They also told us they won’t compromise on the taste of their mac and cheese – and neither will we. That’s why we’ve been working tirelessly to find the right recipe that our fans will love.”

The company’s announcement comes on the heels of other changes in its mac and cheese recipes.

Kraft’s “Mac and Cheese Boxed Shapes” in the U.S. launched last year with six grams of whole grains per serving, reduced saturated fat by 25 percent, lowered sodium by 100 milligrams per serving and no synthetic colors. Most recently, artificial preservatives were removed from the same product this past year.

The company’s Canadian division, Kraft Dinner, will begin removing synthetic colors from its “Kraft Dinner Original” by the end of next year. Synthetic colors were removed from “Kraft Dinner Boxed Shapes” last year while its “Original” recipe reduced sodium by 19 percent since 2012.

“Listening, extensive research and continuous improvement have been part of the Kraft Mac and Cheese 75-year heritage,” Schmelter said. “From packaging like convenient ‘Cups’ to products like ‘Deluxe,’ ‘Organic’ and ‘Whole Grain’ to light prep instructions, we’ve innovated this iconic brand through the years to remain North America’s favorite mac and cheese.”

Kraft Foods made headlines last month when it recalled about 6.5 million boxes of original flavor "Kraft Macaroni and Cheese" and merged with H.J. Heinz Company.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Lilly Pulitzer Target Collection Sparks Shopping Frenzy]]> Mon, 20 Apr 2015 11:15:08 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/lilly+pulitzer+for+target.jpg

Lilly Pulitzer's highly anticipated Target collection debut led to disappointment for many shoppers.

For many fans, the Sunday release was filled more with long lines, empty racks and website problems than purchases of the colorfully printed products.

The much-hyped collection was slated to go on sale early Sunday morning, but some online users reported problems with Target’s website. On top of the extreme online traffic, stores across the nation saw large crowds and long lines, with some selling out entirely in just a few minutes.

By Sunday afternoon, Target said products online were nearly sold out.

Target said the response to the debut was “nothing short of remarkable” both online and in stores, but heavy traffic caused slowness on the site that resulted in “an inconsistent experience for our guests.”

The Minneapolis-based company apologized for any disappointment the website troubles caused, but noted the site did not crash. Instead, the company said it took the collection offline for 15-20 minutes to “manage traffic to the site.”

“We took several measures throughout the morning to manage the extreme traffic levels and make the collection accessible to our guests,” the company said in a statement.

The company said it does not plan to replenish the limited-edition collection’s products online or in stores, a move that left many customers disappointed.

The fan frenzy gave several stores a Black Friday feel and had many taking to Twitter using the hashtag #LillyPulitzerforTarget.

Target, which said it would not apologize for items selling out quickly, did address fan frustration as items appeared on eBay for increased prices.

"Seeing items on online auctions reinforces that this collaboration is resonating with customers," the company said in a statement. "Items are becoming collector's items. However, it's disheartening to Target as a brand. Target does these collaborations to make designers available to people at a great price. Putting items on EBay takes away from the entire spirit of the program."
 



Photo Credit: Target.com
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<![CDATA[Study Finds Wearing Designer Brands Could Help Get You Hired]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 12:40:06 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000012000338_1200x675_429773379926.jpg A recent study showed wearing designer brands could help you get hired.]]> <![CDATA[8 Interview Mistakes You Might Not Know You're Making]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 12:13:30 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/handshake_web.jpg

Interviewing for a job takes preparation, but no one is perfect. Interviewees for positions at all levels make mistakes, but there might be some you don’t know you’re making.

At a recent event for the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, Meghan Godorov, assistant director of career development at Mount Holyoke College and Sarah Bollinger, assistant director of career development at Muhlenberg College, revealed the top eight interview mistakes they see people make.

The pair reportedly said the mistakes they saw were even made by senior hires.

Here are the eight mistakes you might not know you’re making in an interview:

1. Not Researching

Researching not only the company you’re applying for but the skills you possess is crucial to a successful interview. While you may not a lot about a company, you should also know how your own abilities fit with their business.

2. Having an Unprofessional Social Media Presence

Believe it or not, employers check your social media sites. Your social media sites are your personal branding so you need to think about how you’re putting yourself out there. Experts recommend building a LinkedIn presence and keeping your Facebook and other accounts appearing professional.

3. Poor Interview Netiquette

Many interviews are now being done via the Internet or over the phone. Some of the common mistakes made during these digital interviews include not being in a quiet space and not dressing appropriately for a video chat. Practice looking the camera of your computer before a video interview so it appears as though you’re looking at the interviewer as opposed to yourself on the screen.

4. Not Knowing How to Sell Yourself

One of the most common interview questions is often the most poorly answered. The question isn’t intended to find out your life story, it’s your opportunity to give your elevator pitch—sell yourself!
5. Not Preparing the Right Questions
Ask questions during the interview that you can’t answer yourself through researching online. Make sure these are thought out because an employer will want to know you did your homework.

6. Not Writing Thank Yous

Godorov and Bollinger say it’s acceptable to send an email thank you for any video or phone interview, but an in-person interview should get an email thank you within a day or two of the interview as well as a handwritten thank you to each person you spoke with for more than 10 minutes. Each thank you should be tailored to the recipient.

7. Choosing Bad References

Choose your references wisely and make sure they know you’re using them as reference. Using your boss as a reference without telling your boss you’re applying for other jobs will make you look bad to both employers. Also, make sure you have the most up-to-date contact information for each reference.

8. Under/Over Valuing Your Worth

Salary negotiations are one of the biggest interview challenges. Be sure to research the appropriate salary range for the position you’re interviewing for and don’t over or under sell yourself when it comes to the wage you want.
 



Photo Credit: NBC Local Media]]>
<![CDATA[United Airlines to Offer Free Beer, Wine Aboard Flights]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 11:40:14 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/184*120/2996851.jpg

Starting this summer, economy passengers will get the first class experience on United Airlines as they unveil a new in-flight food and beverage program that gives passengers generous meals with free beer and wine on long-haul flights.

The airline will introduce their new and improved experience June 1, which includes a new “hearty” multi-course meal service, complimentary beer and wine on international flights, and an expanded list of premium snacks.

The three-course meals served to passengers on international flights will begin with a drink of your choice alongside a selection of cheese and crackers with baked whole-grain bruschetta chips.

As for the menu of main-course meals, the newly designed dishes include:

• Home-style turkey meatloaf in spicy barbecue sauce, served with sweet potato mash, mixed vegetables, an artisan ciabatta roll and amaranth mango salad
• Tuscan ravioli with roasted red pepper sauce, served with a petit artisan ciabatta roll and mixed-grain salad
• Udon noodles with stir-fried vegetables and ginger soya sauce, served with a petit multi-grain baguette roll and apple wheatberry salad

If you’re still hungry, dessert will be offered as gelato, sorbet, ice cream or mousse.

To wash it all down, customers will be given complimentary bottled water – and of course, more beer and wine at no charge.

"United is committed to improving every aspect of our customers' experience on the ground, in the air and with every interaction," said Sandra Pineau-Boddison, United's senior vice president of customers. "The changes to come on June 1 will deliver an elevated onboard experience on many of our intercontinental flights and will offer travelers the high level of service they expect from a global airline."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Self-Service Beer Machines Coming to UC]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 10:38:55 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/beer+getty.jpg

A new self-service beer machine will make its United Center debut just in time for Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks playoff games.

Two of the machines, operated by DraftServ, will be installed April 18 near the Goose Island Brew Pub in the arena, according to Crain's Chicago Business. They'll stick around at least through the postseason for both the Bulls and the Blackhawks.

Here's how the beer machines work. Beer drinkers can buy a DraftServ card from a cashier using a credit card. Then, they swipe the DraftServ card and fill up their glasses as much as they want, paying by the ounce. The amount of beer poured will  be charged to the credit card used to purchase the DraftServ card.

At the United Center, spectators can choose from four brews: Bud Light, Budweiser, Stella Artois and Goose Island, according to Crain's. The Bud Light and Budweiser will cost 42.5 cents per ounce and Stella Artois and Goose Island 47.5 cents per ounce.

Attendants will check IDs and give out wristbands for those old enough to buy beer. No matter how big your glass is, the machines will only pour up to 20 ounces of beer at a time and allow two beers per ID.

DraftServ machines are meant to help reduce lines at concession stands as well as control drinking among fans. An inebriated fan's DraftServ card can easily be deactivated if the fan becomes disruptive, according to DrafServ.

Several venues across the U.S. have already started using the machines, including Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Gwinnett Arena in the Atlanta metropolitan area, Target Field in Minneapolis and Miller Park in Milwaukee. The machines also operate on Norwegian Pearl cruise ships.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Thousands Use April 15 to "Fight for 15"]]> Wed, 15 Apr 2015 19:53:42 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/chi-fight-for-15-041515-1.jpg

Thousands of lower-income workers and their supporters rallied across the nation, including Chicago, in a quest for a $15 minimum wage.

The move was touted as "the largest-ever Fight for 15 mobilization."

The nationwide protests took place across 200 U.S. cities, including Chicago, and included healthcare workers, school employees, homecare workers, childcare workers, airport employees, Walmart workers and others. 

Chicago's protests included one during the morning commute at the McDonald's restaurant at West 83rd Street and South Ashland Avenue. An afternoon rally was held at University of Illinois Chicago campus before protestors marched and gathered outside another McDonald's restaurant, at 111 W. Jackson Blvd., in the Loop. 

"We want real paid sicks days and our correct pay raise. I'm here to ask for support from this community to stand with us, fight with us and help us," one protestor told supporters at the UIC rally.

Workers said they chose to protest on tax day both because April 15 matches their minimum wage demand and because they want to "highlight the fact that they are paid so little that too many are forced to rely on public assistance to get by."

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<![CDATA[Feds Shut Down Debt Collection Agency After Probe]]> Wed, 15 Apr 2015 22:47:34 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/debt_collection_448x336.jpg

Allegations of fake loans, lies and threats finally caught up with Chantelle Dickey. The Federal Trade Commission and the Illinois Attorney General filed suit against Dickey and her husband, Charles Dickey, accusing them of a nationwide scheme to defraud consumers.

"We got hundreds of complaints, we've got thousands of victims,” says FTC Midwest director Steve Baker. “We believe this enterprise is taking at least $3.4 million from consumers over the last five or six years they've been operating."

NBC Chicago first reported on Dickey last fall as complaints against the Aurora-based business came in by the hundreds. Insiders told NBC 5 Investigates they believed the tactics Dickey used were deceptive and illegal, and targeted victims across the country -- many of whom say they were harassed for debts they never owed.

Darlene Petroski said she got the call at work.

"He was threatening me," Petroski recalled. "I was going to be arrested, my drivers license was going to be suspended. I felt so bullied. I was anxious. I actually started to cry."

A similar scenario played out at Sandy Lipowski’s place of employment.

"She [Dickey] said I owed a balance of $735. But they were willing to settle with me for $301.22. I have no idea where they got that number from," Lipowski said.

A former employee said Dickey stayed one step ahead of law enforcement by changing the name of her business whenever complaints stacked up.

"Change the name, reinvent yourself, and now you can collect debts under a different name," the insider told NBC 5 Investigates.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said Dickey did just that at least nine times over the last five or six years.

"It's completely outside the law and the volume of people they've contacted making these illegal claims is just enormous," said Madigan.

Authorities have temporarily shut down the Dickeys’ business and have frozen its assets, pending the outcome of the civil case. The pair faces civil penalties of $50,000 for each violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act and an additional penalty of $50,000 for each violation committed with the intent to defraud. The FTC said cases like this one are uncommon in Illinois.

"We don’t really see boiler rooms in Chicagoland, so this is a bit of a new one on us," explained Baker. "We’re usually suing people in Florida or California, or Canada or Jamaica. To have them sitting in our own backyard here is a fairly unusual thing."

Chantelle Dickey did not return calls seeking comment.

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<![CDATA[Restaurant Reservation App Reserve Launches In Chicago]]> Tue, 14 Apr 2015 16:10:49 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/211*120/reserve+app.jpg

Dinner reservations are at your fingertips.

Reserve – a New York-based, 6-month-old startup – officially launched in Chicago Tuesday, adding to the trendy restaurant reservations businesses in the city.

The service charges diners a $5 concierge fee but is free to restaurants, unlike Chicago-founded app OpenTable which charges restaurants $1 per seated guest. According to ChicagoInno, actors Jared Leto and Jon Favreau as well as musician Will.i.am. are early investors in the app.

The brand new app already boasts more than 20 local restaurants in its database.

“We’re thrilled to announce that starting today, hungry Chicagoans can now use Reserve at more than 20 amazing restaurants in the Windy City,” Reserve CEO and co-founder Greg Hong said in a statement. “Whether you’re celebrating date night at Michelin-starred Sepia or closing a deal at The Kitchen, Reserve, your dining concierge, is here to help.”

Users open the app, give a few details and then choose from a curated list of restaurants. Details about the restaurant’s ambiance and menu are also available.

The app gives users recommendations of other places to try and the option to privately send comments and suggestions to restaurants.

Users no longer have to fuss with picking up the tab at the end of the night. Along with Reserve’s $5 concierge fee, a user’s total bill including tax and tip are automatically charged to the card the app has on file.

Diners who cancel within two hours of the reservation are charged a $10 fee while no-shows incur a $25 fee that goes directly to the restaurant.

Restaurants partnering with the app are listed below:

• Acanto
• Ani
• Arami
• Bin 36
• Boarding House
• Celeste
• Dusek’s Board and Beer
• Formento’s
• Geja’s Café
• Homestead on the Roof
• Le Colonial
• Lula Café
• Mercadito
• Nightwood
• Promontory
• Sepia
• Tippling Hall
• The Gage
• The Dawson
• The Kitchen
• Trencherman

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<![CDATA[What's Next in Interactive Gaming?]]> Wed, 15 Apr 2015 12:38:12 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000011961798_1200x675_428506691654.jpg SG Interactive takes games that are recognizable in the casino world and makes them come alive in the digital space. According to President Jordan Levin, new technology has created a major oppportunity to quickly develop new products and get them to consumers faster than ever before. What's next in gaming? Younger players want more casual content – like Candy Crush and Bejeweled – in the casino space. in the future, look for SG Interactive to develop more immersive gaming experiences.]]> <![CDATA[McD's Gives Free Food to Those With Taco Bell Receipts]]> Tue, 14 Apr 2015 12:58:04 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/McDonalds13.jpg

Apparently, some McDonald’s restaurants are giving away free Egg McMuffins to customers who bring in a Taco Bell breakfast receipt before Friday.

The promotion was first announced on April 3 and took place at McDonald’s stores in northeast Pennsylvania, limiting customers to one sandwich per person, per day. It was not immediately clear if stores in other regions were also participating.

The offer is the latest move in a fast food breakfast battle between the two chains.

Last year, Taco Bell aired a TV spot set to the tune of “Old McDonald Had a Farm,” showing a man who had been eating Egg McMuffins since 1984. After trying Taco Bell's breakfast, the man trims his mullet, switches to tighter pants, gets a smart phone and takes down his "Loverboy" poster.

The commercial was a follow-up to another ad that featured real-life men named Ronald McDonald professing their love of Taco Bell's breakfast.

McDonald's has long been the fast-food leader in the mornings, with its popular Sausage Biscuits, Hotcakes and other items pulling in roughly 20 percent of the company's U.S. sales. But the chain has faced stiffer competition in recent years, with competitors such as Starbucks and Subway rolling out breakfast sandwiches as well.

McDonald’s recently announced plans to up its breakfast game and test all-day breakfast. The Oak Brook-based fast food chain, which has more than 14,000 U.S. locations, has also said it plans to step up its marketing of breakfast as it faces intensifying competition. 

McDonald's did not immediately return NBCChicago's request for comment.



Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
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<![CDATA[Sprinkles Gives Away Cupcakes to Celebrate Anniversary]]> Mon, 13 Apr 2015 13:15:33 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/480496361.jpg

Sprinkles Cupcakes marked its 10th anniversary Monday, and to celebrate the past decade locations are giving away free cupcakes.

Customers in Chicago can enjoy a free cupcake from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. at Sprinkles' Gold Coast location at 50 E. Walton Street. Limit one per customer.  



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[McDonald's Unveils New River North Digital Office]]> Fri, 10 Apr 2015 11:47:57 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/MDRN2.jpg

McDonald’s is cooking up more than just burgers.

The Oak Brook-based burger chain unveiled its new River North digital office Friday amid lagging sales with the hopes of attracting "talented individuals to support our business,” according to a company spokesperson.

“We know that digital is changing how consumers define convenience – and we want to be front and center in meeting these new expectations,” Becca Hary, director of global media relations at McDonald’s Corporation, said in a statement. “Our customers are also relying on technology for everyday life, so digital is opening up all kinds of doors for McDonald’s.

The downtown digital hub in Chicago is McDonald’s second, alongside the first location that opened in San Francisco. Crain’s Chicago Business reports that the 40 or so tech veterans recruited for the digital office come from companies such as Amazon.com, Facebook, PayPal, Cars.com, Ticketmaster and Groupon.

McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook told Crain’s that the launch of the digital hub is a “critical part of his turnaround plan for the burger chain, which has suffered more than two years of sales declines.”

During 2014’s third quarter, the company said sales fell 3.3 percent globally and in the U.S.

Crain’s also reports that McDonald’s has recruited dozens of new employees focused on digital efforts since the late 2013 hire of digital chief Atif Rafiq, previously the general manager of Kindle Direct Publishing at Amazon.

The digital efforts include mobile apps, digital marketing and social media. The chain reportedly plans to employ about 250 more staffers in the division by the end of the year.



Photo Credit: Marshall J Betterton]]>
<![CDATA[Tips for Rahm Emanuel to Better Manage Stress]]> Wed, 08 Apr 2015 10:46:43 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/Rahm_Emanuel+%285%29.jpg

It’s no secret that managing stress at work is crucial to becoming successful.

Research has shown that stress can have negative impacts on a person’s behavior. In fact, a recent survey by TalentSmart showed 90 percent of top performers know how to manage their emotions in times of stress in order to remain calm and in control.

On the heels of Chicago’s first-ever runoff election, it’s clear that politicians are no exception to this need for managing stress in order to succeed.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been the target of much criticism for his “bully” persona, rash outbursts and his frequent inability to control his emotions. He even addressed his personality flaws in an advertisement during his re-election campaign.

But will Emanuel heed to voters’ concerns and try to have a little more self-control when it comes to his emotions?

We’ve gathered a few tips for how to manage stress in the workplace, and Emanuel might want to take note.

Don’t React, Act

Sharon Melnick, a business psychologist and author of Success Under Stress, told Forbes that understanding what you can and can’t control is key to maintaining a level head. She reportedly said a person is in control of their own actions and responses, but not in control of others’ actions and responses. Be in control of yourself and let the rest go.

Breathe

Proper breathing techniques are known for helping people calm down in times of stress and manage their anxiety levels. Don't just "think before you speak," beathe before you speak. Try a simple yoga technique by inhaling for 10 seconds and exhaling for 10 seconds. 

Learn How to Cool Down Quickly

You can also use your breath to help you cool down when you’re feeling frustrated or hot-headed (ahem, Rahm). Melnick says the anger emotion is often brought on by a heated feeling in your body causing you to react. Try inhaling through your mouth, like you would sip through a straw, and exhaling through your nose before responding to whatever is causing you to feel angered or frustrated. The technique will likely help cool the body down and balance your emotions.

Encourage Yourself

If you’re hearing a lot of negative things about you or your performance, try thinking about the good things you’ve done and remind yourself of your best qualities. Encourage yourself to be better and others might become inspired.

Maintain Perspective

Don’t forget that your version of the story isn’t always the only version of the story. Try to view things from the way others view them and you might not be so angered by a situation. This technique can also help foster an environment that can lead to better compromises.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Report: Best Places to Work in Chicago Area]]> Mon, 06 Apr 2015 15:00:03 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Generic+Happy+People.jpg

Three words: Unlimited vacation time.

A new report has ranked the Best Places to Work for 2015 in the Chicago area and the top-ranked business not only offers employees the benefit of unlimited vacation time, but also a flexible spending account that provides pretax dollars for public transportation, child care and other necessities.

The list, released by Crain’s Chicago Business, ranked businesses in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties with more than 50 full-time employees as of Sept. 1.

Businesses were ranked on pay, fairness of pay, promotions, health care and other benefits, hiring practices, vacation time, relationships with management and co-workers, career development and other day-to-day workplace issues.

Chicago-based digital advertising firm Rocket Fuel, which has just over 1,000 employees, was named the best place to work for 2015.

“The company offers breakfast, coffee and snacks daily, plus a hot gourmet lunch Monday through Thursday. Its vast, sunlit, 13th-floor River North office has a contemporary lunchroom, meditation rooms, a spacious conference room that doubles as a yoga studio and phone booths for conference calls,” Crain’s wrote.

Following Rocket Fuel on the list was another digital advertising firm in Chicago, Centro.

Centro’s benefits include matching 401(k) contributions, medical, dental and free vision insurance, 12 paid holidays, 10 personal days and one Save the World day a year for charity, three weeks’ paid vacation, support for continuing education, plus snacks and soft drinks in the big, sunlit Centro Perk break room.

Others in the top 10 list include Chicago’s DigitasLBi, EMC, Oak Brook’s SWC Technology Partners, Assurance Agency, Radio Flyer, Point B, LaSalle Network and Factset Research Systems.

Crain’s also ranked the best places to work for Millennials and Gen X-ers.

For millenials, the top place was software and engineering consulting firm DMC and for Gen X-ers the best place was auditing, accounting and consulting firm Plante Moran.
 

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<![CDATA[Manufacturing CEO: Know Your Niche, But Be Ready to Diversify]]> Fri, 10 Apr 2015 17:02:53 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000011900027_1200x675_426335811791.jpg Royal Die & Stamping Company is a niche manufacturer, providing components for the automotive, electronics, and telecommunications industries. Erik Freitag, President, talks about how Royal Die & Stamping has diversified its business over the past 80 years to meet the changing needs of the marketplace. While it's key to find a strong market and service it, Erik recommends keeping your eyes open for opportunities to diversify.]]> <![CDATA[Area Company Sees Work on Final Four Floor]]> Fri, 03 Apr 2015 17:35:14 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/179*120/467038512.jpg

There may not be a team from the Chicago-area vying for a championship in this weekend’s Final Four, but the area will still be represented in a big way as teams compete for college basketball’s biggest prize.

That’s because the floor that the teams will be playing on was designed and built by Connor Sports, which is based in Elk Grove Village. According to the Daily Herald, the business has been making the courts for the event since the 2005 edition. They also constructed courts for the regional round sites for both the men’s and women’s tournaments using carefully-selected maple trees from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

“March Madness gets everybody excited around here,” Jon Isaacs, Connor’s vice president told the newspaper. “It makes us feel like we’re on top of the world.”

In addition to providing courts for the Final Four, Connor Sports has also designed and installed floors for a variety of teams, including the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics of the NBA, and they were also the official court provider of the FIBA World Cup of Basketball in 2014. Each of the courts they create cost an average of $100,000, but the price varies depending on how large the playing surface is and how intricate the design on the floor ends up being.

This year’s court is especially complex, with a variety of woodstains, finishes, and logos all over the playing surface in Indianapolis. According to the Herald story, the final product cost the NCAA around $150,000, and the 250 panels that make up the surface weighed a total of 60,000 pounds.  

The National Championship stage from plank to paint… #FinalFourBuilt by Connor Sports

Posted by NCAA March Madness on Friday, March 27, 2015

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<![CDATA[Portillo's Coming to Gurnee]]> Fri, 03 Apr 2015 18:45:12 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/206*120/portillos3.png

Residents of Gurnee won’t have to drive far much longer to satisfy their craving for a Chocolate Cake Shake, Italian Beef or famed Portillo’s Hot Dog, as the restaurant group plans to open a new location right in town.

Gurnee Mayor Kristina Kovarik confirmed with the Daily Herald that Portillo's applied for a permit with the city Thursday.

They aim to open up shop at 6447 Grand Ave., replacing the former Applebee's, the publication reports.

"It's a big first step," Kovarik told the Daily Herald. "We've wanted a Portillo's for a really long time."

The restaurant group will still have to jump through some hoops before they can open their doors, but Kovarik said their application is “a big first step.”

"We're in the very early stages," Kovarik said, adding the restaurant group. "There's a long road ahead."

Once the restaurant group receives a special use permit and gains approval from the plan commission, she says, they will be able to open later this year.



Photo Credit: Instagram/PortillosHotDogs]]>
<![CDATA[6 Things College Seniors Should Do Before Graduation]]> Fri, 03 Apr 2015 09:17:28 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/graduation+generic+new.JPG

Summer is almost here and that means thousands of college seniors across the country will soon flood the job market in search of their first real job.

For the best chance of success in the job search, college seniors have a lot of preparation to do.

Here are a few tips to help those preparing to finish school get ready to enter the workforce – and hopefully land their dream job after graduation day.

Take advantage of networking organizations: Use networking events on campus as an opportunity to expand your contacts and to become more comfortable with making conversation with people you just met. You’ll also learn how to interact with prospective employers and what experience and skills hiring managers value.

Join your profession’s student group: You can build connections within your profession by attending industry student events. Treat every interaction like an interview – these people likely will be your contemporaries.

Become friendly with career services: Get acquainted with the career services on your campus – they are there to help you find a job. Use their resources, their connections and their expertise to help you prepare throughout the year to land that ideal job. Make an appointment with a staff member to get personalized advice and guidance.

Tap your network: You don’t have to go far to network – for industry insight, just look at your own network of family, friends, alumni and professors. Let them know you’re job hunting, they might know someone who’s already established in your desired field. Set up informational meetings when appropriate, or get in touch with an alumni in your desired field to build relationships and to learn what it’s like to work professionally in the industry.

Perfect your resume: Don’t wait until the last minute to perfect your résumé. You want to be sure that if someone requests it after a school networking event, or a job opportunity arises, you’re prepared to capitalize on it immediately. There are countless ways to write a resume, but our tip is to keep it short and simple.

Clean up your social media presence: It’s never too early to make sure your social media presence is work-friendly. Employers pay close attention to a potential candidate’s social media sites throughout the hiring process, so represent yourself well. If you wouldn’t show something to your mom or your teacher, take it down. Also, join LinkedIn to establish a professional online presence, and to connect with recruiters, alumni and industry leaders.

The sooner you get organized about your impending job search, the easier it will be. So before your last semester rolls around, begin to explore you desired career, network with industry professionals and work to build your resume. Give yourself the greatest opportunity to land the ideal job right from the start. Good luck! 

Gabe McDonald is an IT Branch Manager at Addison Group, a nationwide provider of professional staffing and search services. Addison combines a national network and localized service for broad reach with a personal touch. Specialized practices deliver the right candidate at the right time in Administration & Human Resources, Finance & Accounting, Healthcare, and Information Technology. Addison has received Inavero’s Best of Staffing award for both Client and Candidate service for the past four years. Learn more at www.addisongroup.com.
 

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<![CDATA[Pillsbury Doughboy Creator Dies at 89]]> Thu, 02 Apr 2015 15:38:42 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/doughboy.jpg

The Chicago man who created the advertising icon Poppin' Fresh, more widely known as the Pillsbury Doughboy, passed away Wednesday at the age of 89.

Rudolph R. Perz created the doughboy during the 1960s while working for the Leo Burnett advertising agency in te city. He is among the "30-second stars" the Museum of Broadcast Communications plans to honor later this year.

Perz was formerly of the suburb of Wilmette and lived in Glenview until his death.

"The one image I have of my dad was of him tapping the can of refrigerated dough against the kitchen table," his daughter, Martha Nora, told the Wilmette-Kenilworth Patch. "That’s how his mind worked for everything. The wheels were always turning and your never were sure what idea he would come up with. There was always a twinkle in his eye and he loved the element of surprise."

Visitation was scheduled for Saturday, April 4, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., at Donnellan Family Funeral Home, located at 10045 Skokie Blvd. in the suburb of Skokie, according to an obituary on Legacy.com.

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