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Restaurants sue after denial of Miami Beach sidewalk permits

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MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) – Two restaurants are suing Miami Beach after getting permits to sit on the curb, part of a crackdown the city says is targeting businesses that don’t follow the regulations.

Tapelia and Ole Ole argue the city’s new ordinance, passed in March, is too vague and allows city manager Alina Hudak to deny permits for past violations, poor online reviews, or any other criteria she chooses. Miami Herald reported.

The city recently rejected 13 applications for a sidewalk permit. The denials cannot be appealed and the companies cannot reapply for a year. Some of the rules violated include not disclosing actual prices on menus or not including gratuities on the check, addressing passersby, and putting up outside signs with specials.

“We are cleaning up our city,” deputy city attorney Rosenwald wrote in a statement. “A new annual patio permit is a privilege the city gives to its top operators, and the city code gives the city the freedom to decide which operators meet the city’s goals for the sidewalk cafe program, after considering proposed criteria.”

But Gabriela Hernandez, the manager who oversees Tapelia and Ole Ole, said the restaurants are being punished by an overzealous city and will be forced to close without the permits. That would cost 100 people their jobs, she said.

“This is the Thanksgiving gift that the city is giving to 100 families,” Hernandez said. She said about 90% of their revenue comes from sidewalk tables, which allow customers to people-watch past the open-air mall.

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Amazon expands network to speed up delivery, tackle holiday crisis

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Since the end of 2019, Amazon has hired roughly 670,000 people, with its global workforce now totaling more than 1.4 million, according to the company

Amazon topped the country with more than 450 new facilities used to store, sort and ship items, according to logistics consultant MWPVL International, doubling a logistics empire that aims to deliver items in one day or less, and increasingly to do this without the help of outside shippers.

Many of the new buildings are concentrated near major cities, allowing for more items for sale on the website closer to major population centers. The facilities will also include more than two dozen smaller outposts that are primarily stocked with best-selling items, allowing the company to prepare for delivery disruptions while expanding its fast shipping capabilities, MWPVL said.

During the pandemic, Amazon kept its promise to deliver many items to customers in one day. Nevertheless, the company continued to build a network capable of doing so. The work prepared Amazon for an unusual shopping season for the holiday season, in which a national labor shortage and global supply chain challenges have limited the ability of many companies to source and deliver certain products as quickly as in the past.

Amazon has been encouraging customers to shop early this year due to supply chain problems, and business leaders have said they are “ready to deliver” and have been preparing for the holiday season since the start of the year. As of mid-November, there will be more, according to estimates by research firm ShipMatrix Inc. were estimated by research firm ShipMatrix Inc. and sporting goods showed delivery times of a few days, ShipMatrix said, emphasizing Amazon’s message to shop early.

Brian Olsavsky, Amazon’s chief financial officer, said the company’s inventory increased in preparation for the busy period. For the first time in a while, he said, the company has no capacity throttling.

“We’ve made larger-than-normal commitments,” he said in an October meeting with analysts. “Admittedly, in many cases it costs a fine.”

As of late 2019, Amazon has hired about 670,000 people, according to the company, with a global workforce of more than 1.4 million. At about the same time, Amazon said it nearly doubled the size of its fulfillment network. The company now has more than 930 locations across the country.

For years, Amazon has relied on a system where many packages are packed in one facility and then sorted and shipped at another. Recently, the company has begun opening more centers that double as fulfillment and delivery locations, said MWPVL president Marc Wulfraat, who collects and analyzes real estate data. Amazon has said it is expanding its service to ship items within five hours.

By the end of the year, Amazon will have opened about 30 of its fulfillment-and-delivery centers, which can store up to three million of the company’s best-selling items. The facilities will open near some of Amazon’s largest markets, including near Chicago, Atlanta and Washington DC. Amazon is on track to open 150 of the centers in the coming years, Mr Wulfraat said.

Amazon’s investments allow Amazon to self-deliver more of its customers’ orders. While the company had switched to make most of its own deliveries before the pandemic, that trend has accelerated over the past 18 months. According to research by Nielsen Consumer LLC, Amazon delivered more than 56% of its own packages as of the first quarter of this year.

US companies large and small have faced supply chain disruptions in recent months, exacerbated by labor shortages. The labor shortage has forced Amazon to sometimes divert products, and in the third quarter Amazon spent $2 billion on additional wages and other costs associated with its supply chain.

Amazon said in October that it was using more ports and doubling its container handling capacity, while its aircraft fleet will soon total more than 85 aircraft. It has also opened more seasonal facilities stocked in preparation for rising demand, according to Mr. Wulfraat.

Brandon Fuhrmann, who sells kitchen products on Amazon, said the company recently allowed him to expand capacity in its US warehouses by about 25%. “That’s a positive sign” as the holidays approach, Mr Fuhrmann said.

Retailers across the country are moving to fulfill items in any way during the holidays. Some force shoppers to accept replacements for items that are out of stock or in limited quantities due to supply chain tightness. Foot Locker Inc. and Home Depot Inc. are among the companies that try to prevent shoppers from leaving their stores or websites with empty shopping carts.

At Amazon rival Walmart Inc. the company said this month that it had more products flowing through its supply chain this quarter than the same period last year, indicating it is well stocked for the holiday season. Walmart ramped up delivery during the pandemic using store inventory and gig drivers. Target Corp., which this month also said it was well stocked for Black Friday, has used its partnership with delivery company Shipt to deliver certain items quickly.

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European energy prices rise as colder weather to boost demand

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European energy prices rise as colder weather to boost demand

(Bloomberg) —

Energy prices in Europe rose Monday after weather forecasts showed colder temperatures for the next two weeks, boosting demand for heating.

Benchmark Dutch natural gas for next month climbed a whopping 9.7%, German month-ahead power rose 11% and carbon futures jumped to a record. Widespread below-average temperatures are expected in most of Europe for the next two weeks, according to Maxar Technologies LLC, with the lowest levels expected in the Nordic region.

As winter approaches, energy markets will become increasingly sensitive to expected consumption at lower temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere. European gas prices have been under pressure since demand recovered in the summer and new supplies have dried up, with more liquefied natural gas going to Asia and Russia and focusing on filling its own storage sites.

  • Temperature forecast for the next two weeks in Northwestern Europe:

“Given how tight the gas balance currently looks, any significant cold spell below the seasonal average would push forecasts for end-of-season gas supplies to critical levels, pushing prices up,” said Stefan Ulrich, a gas analyst at BloombergNEF. “If the winter proves to be particularly cold, we cannot rule out further extraordinary measures to calm the gas market and by extension the energy markets.”

A bitterly cold gust of wind, which came over from the Arctic over the weekend and was still felt Monday, is expected to abate during the week. The chill is pushing short-term electricity prices in Germany and France to near record levels. Carbon for December delivery jumped to a record $75.74 on Ice Endex.

Benchmark Dutch gas for next month climbed a whopping 96.25 euros ($105.34) per megawatt hour on ICE Endex in Amsterdam. A series of power cuts in Norway will curb supplies.

According to network operator Gassco AS, gas production at the Sleipner field in Norway was stopped on Sunday due to corrective maintenance until Tuesday. Production in Visund, another field in Norway, will be shut down on Wednesday for annual maintenance.

In addition, gas storage locations in Europe are quickly exhausted. Stores are 64% full, well below the 10-year average of 86% for this time of year.

©2020 Bloomberg LP

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Restaurant grateful SA remains on alert level 1 for the time being

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Restaurant grateful SA remains on alert level 1 for the time being

This comes amid an looming fourth wave and the detection of the novel coronavirus variant Omicron.

CAPE TOWN – The restaurant industry said it was grateful that South Africa remains on alert level 1 for now.

This comes amid an looming fourth wave and the detection of a new coronavirus variant, Omicron.

This sector was hit hard during the hard lockdown.

“We are definitely going to reiterate that it is time for the government to change its dialogue about COVID-19 and the waves that will continue to hit us as we evolve through the pandemic. What we definitely need to do is ensure that the healthcare system is sorted, to ensure hospital beds are available and that we are doing everything we can to limit further economic disasters,” said the Restaurant Association of South Africa’s Wendy Alberts.

Alberts said the industry couldn’t afford to knock again.

“As an industry, we have felt hardship at every level, and we really need to make sure that we work hand in hand with the government so as not to get announcements that will cause further damage to the industry. We simply cannot afford to shut down the industry under all circumstances and we will focus firmly on working with the government to limit further economic destruction of the industry,” said Alberts.

WATCH: Ramaphosa: SA Remains at Level 1; increasing the number of vaccines; and travel bans on SA should be lifted



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