What You Missed in the Biz Brief This Week: June 25, 2014

Fazoli's Coming to Travel Centers and more...

In today’s information-overloaded business world, we often find ourselves deluged with literally hundreds of news items from dozens of sources. While it is likely impossible to read every article and remain productive, by not doing so we risk missing the one article that could change a key business practice or thought process. And that is where the NATSO Foundation’s publication, Biz Brief, provides assistance! The NATSO Foundation's Biz Brief is a daily collection of the most relevant business intelligence for truckstop and travel plaza operators. 

While we think the Biz Brief is a must-read every day, if you only read ten news articles this week, these ten most-clicked Biz Brief articles are the ten to read. 

  1. Fazoli's Coming to Travel Centers 
    Premium quick-service restaurant chain Fazoli's is opening three locations inside travel centers. Fazoli's, which is based in Lexington, Ky., offers fast and fresh Italian food. The three travel centers, which were not identified, are in Dubuque, Iowa, Glenwood Springs, Colo., and Whitehouse, Texas. The food company currently has more than 220 units in 27 states. It plans to open 11 additional restaurants in 2014. Click here to read more >

  2. Fleet Payback on Natural Gas Investment Challenging 
    Fleet operators participating in the Natural Gas Vehicles USA Conference in Houston shared opinions regarding their companies' natural gas conversions. Many report that the financial model for success is challenging. The initial conversion investment is large and fuel economy is running 9 percent lower than diesel engines. Consequently, the positive benefits must come from a combination of lower natural gas prices and monthly mileage great enough to pay back the initial investment. According to Bill Bliem, senior vice president of fleet services at NFI Industries, "There need to be some changes in the cost model." Click here to read more >

  3. The $23,660 Minimum Wage 
    In March of this year, President Obama called on U.S. Labor Department Secretary Thomas Perez to update the regulations that define eligibility for overtime pay. That review and update could create changes to the exempt salary classification, which currently has a minimum threshold of $23,660. More than 7 million Americans earned between $23,000 to $25,000 in 2013. Should the current minimum salary be adjusted, income levels of many salaried workers could increase significantly. Click here to read more >
  4. Pennsylvania Turnpike Hikes Tolls for Seventh Year 
    The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has once again voted to increase toll rates effective Jan. 4, 2015. This marks the seventh consecutive year of increases. The Commission said annual toll increases are necessary “for the foreseeable future” to comply with laws requiring the commission to pay $450 million a year to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for highway and bridge work outside the 550-mile turnpike. The new charge for a truck, paying cash, to travel the length of the highway is $306.50. Click here to read more >

  5. Pilot Flying J Commits $1.25 M to Trucking Industry Campaign 
    Pilot Flying J on June 19 committed $1.25 million over the next five years to Trucking Moves America Forward to assist with the trucking industry image campaign. The partnership kicked off with a press conference at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. This marks the campaign's most significant contribution to date. Click here to read more >

  6. What Services Are Your Customers Seeking? 
    Over the next three years, Starbucks plans to roll out more than 100,000 tabletop chargers for wireless charging of cell phones at no cost to customers after learning that battery depletion ranks among the top stress-inducing frustrations for cellphone owners. "Every business, whether it's a coffee house, or an advertising agency, is in the technology business," says Gerald Lewis, group creative director at the digital marketing specialty firm John McNeil Studio. "Starbucks, as a forward-looking brand, recognizes this." How can you differentiate your business? Click here to read more >
  7. Strategic Skills a Leader Needs 
    Less than half of all business leaders think their teams are prepared to handle the increasingly complex business environment. More than 60 percent of CEO's say their industry's transformation is the greatest cause of uncertainty. However, 86 percent of companies that utilize a strategic leadership development training program are able to rapidly respond to the changes in their environment. The attached infographic provides an outline of the strategic skills necessary to compete successfully in today's business world. Click here to read more >

  8. Businessweek Asks: Why Not Raise the Gas Tax? 
    While legislators continue to investigate ideas ranging from taxing repatriated corporate profits to modifying Saturday postal service to generate federal transportation revenues, Bloomberg's Businessweek says Congress is ignoring the obvious solution of increasing the federal gasoline tax. Economics Editor Peter Coy said, "In 1993 the federal tax accounted for 17 percent of the retail price of a gallon of gasoline. Now it’s just 5 percent." Click here to read more >

  9. Voters Support Lawmakers Who Raised Gas Tax 
    Two states have made significant changes to their gas taxes in the past two years. And the political cost to those who voted for the increases was minimal. In Pennsylvania, 124 of the legislators who voted for the tax hike were on the primary ballot last month. Only 5 were defeated. Likewise, in Virginia only 5 percent of those who voted for the gas tax increase lost their elections. Teddy Lederer of Transportation for America asks, “Could it be that voters are more supportive of raising revenue than we think?” Click here to read more >

  10. Missouri Adds Truck Parking 
    Missouri recently added 40 new trucking parking spaces along Interstate 70 at a cost of $1 million. Missouri has more than doubled truck parking along its interstates in recent years by converting closed weigh stations and rest areas into commercial truck parking lots. Click here to read more >

I might be biased, but I think if you aren't receiving Biz Brief, you are missing out! Not a subscriber? Be sure to submit a request to be added to the email list. Already receive it and have feedback for me? Be sure to email me at editor@natso.com.

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