In exchange for the easing of economic sanctions, Iran has agreed to some limits on its nuclear program. As a result, some sanctions on cars, trucks, and automotive parts are easing, and international businesses may look to cash in.
The European automotive industry, for example, has been suffering for a number of years amid the economic crises. Some car manufacturers already have small production bases in Iran, but they may look to expand, according to Peter Fuss, senior advisory partner at the EY Global Automotive Center.
“They will definitely reach out to this upcoming market again and evaluate whether there are opportunities,” Fuss says.
In the U.S., some chief executives get more than a thousand times the average worker pay at their companies. In Switzerland, home to some of Europe's highest paid CEOs, the votes have just been counted on a measure that would limit executive compensation there to just 12 times what everyone else makes. The verdict?
It failed pretty convincingly. Sixty-five percent of Swiss voters said no to salary limits, just 35 percent said yes to what was known as the 1:12 initiative. Despite widespread worry among the Swiss over the growing gap between rich and poor, the BBC's Imogen Foulkes says voters ultimately agreed with the arguments against 1:12.
"The key arguments were this measure is too restrictive, it will really hamper Swiss business, it could deter foreign investment and foreign talent from coming to Switzerland, and here we are -- one of Europe's healthiest economies, one of the only healthy economies in Europe at the moment," Foulkes says. "If it's not broken, let's not try to fix it."
While the 1:12 initiative was defeated at the ballot box, that doesn't mean executives in Switzerland are free to seek any the highest compensation they can imagine without limits. In March, Swiss voters overwhelmingly came out in favor of a law that banned so-called golden parachutes and placed strict limits on bonuses. And, Foulkes says the 1:12 vote doesn't put the issue of income inequality to rest.
"A few months from now, we have yet another referendum, and that will be on guaranteeing a minimum wage. So concerns about too high salary, and about a widening wage gap -- which Switzerland, like the U.S., has been seeing over the past few years. Those concerns remain."
It's been a slow recovery for restaurants since the recession. Average profit margins are slim, ranging from three to five percent. Recent growth in the industry has come mainly from what's known as off-premises sales -- food going from their door to yours.
"When one looks at all restaurant industry traffic today, three-quarters of that traffic is off premises," says Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the National Restaurant Association's Research and Knowledge Group.
If you're craving a Chili's Southwestern BLT or Santa Fe chicken quesadillas, the restaurant chain now has hundreds of locations across the country that will bring that meal directly to you.
Riehle says takeout and delivery is growing mostly because consumers have more money to spend on meals. And they're busy.
"So there really is a confluence of events in that consumers have a heightened demand for convenience," he says.
The drive-thru doesn't quite cut it anymore. Burger King, for example, is expanding delivery service. Company officials say smartphones have completely changed the notion of "having it your way."
Burger King has a $10 minimum for delivery. Chili's minimum? $150.
That's because people usually skip high-profit items like soft drinks and alcohol. But the company is making up for it, says Edithann Ramey vice president of brand marketing for Chili's.
"So it's the alcohol we miss, but again, we're making it up because it's, I mean these orders are much larger than even the $150 minimum, so it still becomes a nice sales jack," she says.
Still, so many things can go wrong
"You may drive 20 minutes before you get to the house, and that food's just been sitting for 20 minutes," says Todd Barrios, who teaches hospitality management at Stephen F. Austin State University and previously worked in restaurant management.
For one thing, he says, delivery drivers need more insurance. And then there's the issue of food quality.
"The freshness and heat may not be there as it is if you were to go to that place in a sit-down environment."
Barrios says all it takes is one bad experience with a restaurant, and customers can be turned off for good.
The holiday season that’s nearly upon us isn’t just make-or-break time for retailers. It’s high season for charities that rely on donations. Partly, yes, because people are thinking about those end-of-the-year tax deductions. But the Thanksgiving spirit in particular can be a recruiting tool for the rest of the year.
In a warehouse at the Maryland Food Bank, forklifts zip around moving millions of pounds of donated food. It’s not just stuffing and potatoes that pour in this time of year. CEO Deborah Flateman says 60 percent of cash donations come in between September and December. The food bank has to turn away volunteers.
“The volunteers who are coming in and doing work in the food bank today probably made that appointment and that commitment in July,” she says. “That’s how popular this time of year is.”
The challenge is keeping those people involved after the holidays, says Stacy Palmer, editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
“Smart nonprofits use the interest from volunteers who come and serve at the food kitchen and say ‘maybe we can get you more involved in other kinds of ways,’” she says.
And people who volunteer, Palmer says, are more likely to give money, too.
“Sometimes the introduction is made initially during this time of year, when people do step out and seek opportunities for helping,” says Flateman, with the Maryland Food Bank. “We start building relationships that way.”
When you hear someone talking about an IP address, do your eyes glaze over? Did you even know IP can stand for something other than intellectual property? Sounds like you need a Techsplainer, Marketplace Tech's new segment where we answer your tech questions.
Today, we're talking about IP -- or internet protocol -- addresses. If you have a connection to the internet, you have one. But do you know what IP addresses are, and how they work? Harvard University's Jonathan Zittrain answers these questions and more for host Ben Johnson. Click on the audio player above to hear Zittrain's techsplanation of IP addresses, and hear why internet providers don't have exclusive content limited to their networks.
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