Through the eyes of Kevin...
Although there are multiple ways to purchase flight tickets, the most common method is through online websites. Once people solidify their travel dates, they choose to book their flights in advance to ensure that they’ll get to choose from a variety of routes for the most affordable fares.
There are some online flight sites that may be a bit overwhelming and confusing especially to new users. I was once helping my mom buy flight tickets from a travel website. Once we had selected our flight route, seating and completed the purchase, we realized that the price was not in Canadian dollars but U.S. Dollars, meaning the price was a bit more than we had expected.
I found it shocking how unclear this had been on the website. Other travel websites made it clear whether or not you were purchasing in Canadian or U.S. dollars. You can't take a site at face value. Just because it looks user friendly does not mean it's without its flaws.
Having information presented in an organized manner is vital to attracting customers. It has become even more important today as websites offer a wide range of information and resources to attract their target market. For websites to be user friendly, it is important that sections and categories are carefully presented in a way that is simple for customer usage. Since travel websites specifically display a lot of information, it’s important for the developers to think from the perspective of the users.
Through the eyes of Julia....
Have you been itching to get away? Or do you crave some excitement and adventure? Traveling somewhere for a weekend can be time consuming, expensive, and requires a lot of planning. If you find yourself stuck in Toronto for a weekend this summer, this “Staycation” guide is perfect for you!
Here are the rules: try to mimic a vacation set up as much as possible ie. Dedicate the entire weekend to spending time with only your vacation partner, be willing to splurge a little and treat yourself to dinners out as you would when on vacation, unplug from your phone social media etc. and don't go to any of your normal/familiar date places.
Once you are off work, take a few hours to unwind, get in the vacation mindset and prepare for your weekend. Based on the itinerary, locate what you'll want and need for the weekend, similar to packing for a get away.
Head up to Mezzetta at Bathurst and St Clair for a light dinner of Tapas. Their bests include swordfish skewers with lemon juice and dill, Beef Sambousak (minced beef wrapped in puff pastry), tabouleh and falafel.
When you are done dinner, head to Downsview Park for a 7pm drop in Trapezing Class at the Toronto Circus School.
After all that fearless flying through the air, drinks will be well deserved. Since it is only Friday and you have a jam packed weekend ahead of you, head to Snakes and Lagers at Bathurst and College for a low key but fun evening. The bar boast craft beers and ciders from over 20 breweries and has and impressive collection of 100s of boardgames.
If you don't indulge in the delicious snack menu at Snakes and Lagers, late night sushi at Generation Sushi around Bay and Bloor is a great option, and it's open until 2am!
Be sure to head home and get your rest, you'll need it for the two busy days ahead of you!
After a nice relaxing sleep in, go for brunch on the roof top patio at Le Papillion on the Park. Rated one of the most romantic patios in Toronto, this restraunt has some of the best French Food I have ever had. I highly recommend the P'Tit Poulet Crepe.
Next stop on the staycation; Bluffers Beach to catch some sun, go roller blading or biking along the paths, and admire the scenic Scarborough Bluffs.
When you are ready to leave the beach, head over to the Archery District to channel your inner Katniss in a game of archery tag thatcombines elements from paintball, dodgeball, and archery, making it a uniquely thrilling experience.
After your busy day, you'll want to head home and clean up before a night of dinner and dancing at Lula's. Get ready to tear up the dance floor with salsa lessons in between dinner courses and live music at this Dundas West gem.
When you Are ready to get out of bed, head to Mildred's Temple Kitchen in Liberty Village for their renowned biscuits, and blueberry buttermilk pancakes.
If its a nice day, walk, roller blade or bike through the romantic trails in nearby High Park. Be sure to visit the gardens, waterfront and animals at the complimentary Zoo!
If the weather isn't great, skip High Park and instead take a tour of Steam Whistle Brewery at the round house down town.
To wrap up your vacation, treat yourselves to a romantic dinner at Terroni. The restaurant has various locations, but I recommend the Adelaide location inside the beautiful and historic 1852 Adelaide court house. If you're a seafood fan, the Spaghetti in Canna a Mare is fabulous, loaded with succulent shrimp, mussels, clams, and scallops.
Through the eyes of an intern....
As Toronto waits to welcome tourists from around the world during the Pan Am Games, you should be putting together a list of places to visit while you're in Toronto. Here are a few of the must-see attractions around the city:
Ripley’s Aquarium: The gigantic aquarium is home to more than 13,500 marine species. A visit there will surely get you up close and personal with diverse sea life; from corals to cuttlefish and sand tiger sharks to sea turtles. The aquarium focuses on conservation issues and provides an interactive educational experience.
The Royal Ontario Museum: The ROM is among the world’s leading museums of natural history and world cultures. It offers a wide-range of collections that draws in people from all over the world.Trust me, the ROM won't disappoint.
The Aga Khan Museum and Ismaili Centre: The centre houses, preserves, and displays over 1,000 artistic, cultural, and historical artifacts from a millennium’s worth of Islamic history. It aims to expand visitors’ understanding of Muslim and non-Muslim communities through exhibitions, libraries, cultural, and educational events.
CN Tower: Stretching over half a kilometer into the sky, the CN Tower is Toronto’s tallest and most defining landmark. Take the chance to see a breath-taking aerial view of one of the world's most beautiful cities.
Kensington Market: This market is a distinctive multicultural neighbourhood in Downtown, Toronto. It's an old neighbourhood and one of the city's most well-known. Should you need a souvenir from your trip to Toronto, then make sure you visit Kensington Market.
Harbourfront Centre: This is where the world comes together in one place throughout the year. The centre features concerts, dance performances, readings, films, and kids’ shows every weekend and many week nights throughout the year. It emphasizes culturally diverse acts, and the corporate community’s involvement enables an incredible draw of international talent.
This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. There area ton of other attractions throughout the GTA.
Through the eyes of Julia....
With the summer social season upon us, we are sure to find ourselves wondering what we should bring to the neighbourhood party, the office BBQ, or family potluck dinner. Below are the four easy recipes that will solve any culinary need you may have this summer.
1. An Easy Appetizer:
Prep Time: 15 mins
This Mexican inspired dip is always the first appetizer to go at picnics and parties. You can customize the layers if you wish, but the secret to success is serving the dip in a shallow dish to ensure each layer is thin for dippers to experience all the flavours in every bite.
Starting from the bottom in half inch layers:
1-2 diced tomatoes
Guacamole (make ahead tip: add the guac as the top layer the day of serving to prevent browning)
Optional Layers: black olives, diced red onion, and jalapeño peppers (for the truly brave!)
Tortilla chips for dipping
Zucchini Loaf With Streusel Topping
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 60-70 mins
This sweet and savory loaf amazes me with its ease of preparation and flawless results every time. The sour cream in the recipe is a healthier option than butter or lard adding moisture and density, while the cinnamon-brown sugar streusel topping makes a second piece irresistible.
2 cups flour
1 cup wholewheat flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups grated zucchini
1/2 cup sour cream
Optional: 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tablespoons melted butter
Mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately before combining
Divide mixture between 2 greased loaf pans
Combine the topping ingredients and sprinkle over each loaf
Bake at 350 for 60-70 min
3. A Light and Healthy Meal:
Zucchini Noodles With Creamy Avocado & Cucumber Sauce
Prep Time: 15
Cook Time: 5
This light and refreshing recipe is perfect as a side dish, or main course. Making zucchini noodles requires a spiralizer or a steady hand to slice the zucchini into long thin strips.
2 tbs cooking oil
5 cherry tomatoes
1 tbs pesto
¼ large cucumber
1 tbs milk
1 tbs olive oil
In a large sauce pan at medium heat, combine noodles, cooking oil and ½ cup of water
Cover and let simmer until tender (4-5 mins)
Slice the cherry tomatoes and set aside
Combine all other ingredients, blending until smooth
Top noodles with the sauce and tomatoes
Blueberry Pie with Sour Cream and Brown Sugar (adapted from Canadian Living)
Prep Time: 35 mins
Total Time: 2 hours 35 mins
This twist on a crowd pleasing classic will have people raving about your cooking skills. This pie is consistently sweet due to its unique streusel topping, and brown sugar and sour cream filling. Creating a delicious pie requires you take the time to chill the dough. Refrigeration allows the gluten in the flour to relax, which creates the perfect light and flaky crust.
1 cup sour cream
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups fresh blueberries
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
1/4 cup ice water
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
Whisk together dry pastry ingredients, cut in butter using pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs
Drizzle in just enough ice water, tossing with a fork, to form ragged dough
Wrap in plastic and refrigerate 1-2 hours.
Soften pastry at room temperature (5 mins) after chilling. Roll out dough to fit your pie plate. Chill in pie plate (30 mins)
In bowl, whisk together filling ingredients, stirring in blueberries last. Scrape into pie shell. Bake at 425 (15 minutes)
Mix streusel topping together using fingers, sprinkle evenly over pie.
Bake at 350, covering crust with foil if browning too quickly (40 mins)
These four recipes have been tested to perfection and are a great addition to any party. Bon appetit!
First impressions are often wrong, yet they are very important. A single action that wows a customer, especially a new customer, may go a long way to influence a favourable opinion about the business. A single mistake by a customer service associate can also completely turn-off a new customer. Perhaps nothing is more important in customer service than getting it right at the first attempt.
It's common to see customers rate the same customer service associate differently, from 'very good' to 'very poor'. From my experience as a customer service associate, I know how much first impression counts. It can either win you friends or earn you enemies. I've had some customers asking for a feedback form to compliment or criticize my service quality. Occasionally I go out of my way to go the extra mile to meet customers' needs, probably because there's not a high traffic of customers waiting to be served.
There are also times, especially when the shift is understaffed, where I am unable to pay adequate attention to some customers because of pressure from other customers waiting, getting impatient, and physically agitated. When faced with attending to customers who have been waiting for a considerable time, what will you do? There's this customer before you, they need your help with something that demands you being out of your desk for some time to attend to his need. Then there's this long line of other customers before you and they are eagerly waiting to be attended to. You know you're doing your best, but you're overwhelmed.
Much has been said about seizing the moment of opportunity to wow customers and leaving lasting impressions with them. But when you are so pressured to the point that you are no longer in a position to deliver and your integrity is about to be compromised, how do you handle that? Quitting is not an option here. You love the job, you have a passion for it, you want to acquire the necessary experience and grow, but the environment isn't giving you the opportunity. What are the solutions?
Through the eyes of Kevin....
The fast food industry is continuing to grow and expand in North America. As individual fast food restaurants, such as McDonald's and Burger King, receive hundreds or thousands of customers daily they have a way of keeping track of each customers' orders using a customer numerical system. Whenever a customer walks into the restaurant and makes an order, they are given a receipt with their order number on it. This is a system that most major fast food chains use in order to ensure that they are giving the orders to the correct customer.
This numerical system involves the restaurant cashiers verbally calling out the order number on the receipt when the meal is ready. I believe that this way of delivering an order to a customer is not particularly effective since most customers don’t really look at their order number. Some other fast food restaurants call out the specific food order that the customer ordered. This method could be confusing since different customers may order the same or similar meals.
A relatively new and popular way of keeping track of customers' orders that some restaurants are using is writing down the name of the customer on the receipt or on the meal order. For example, Starbucks writes the name of the customer on the cups to ensure that each order is given to the correct customer. This is a great way to keep track of a customer’s order because it's personalized. Also, a customer is more likely to hear and recognize their name than their order number.
Do you have any recommendations for how major fast food restaurants should handle customers' orders?
With Father's Day just around the corner, it is time to find the perfect gift for the man who spent far too much time and money raising you. Financially you may never be able to pay him back, but here are a couple gift ideas to show your dad you appreciate all he's done for you:
I. Personalized Wine
Pick up a bottle of your dad's favourite wine and replace the label with a personalized label. Have some fun with it, come up with a witty name. Even if the label doesn't come out how you wanted it to, it'll be the thought—and the wine—that counts.
II. The Right Tone
Unique art prints of all tones and styles are readily available to order online. Find a unique piece of art that really captures your dad's interests and personality. Finding the right tone might just brighten your dad's day.
III. The Pre-Paid Myth
There's a faction of the gift-giving world who still consider giving pre-paid cards to be thoughtless and uncreative, but there is a way around this. With a pre-paid music card, you can download the music beforehand and create a personalized playlist for your dad.
IV. Homemade Soap
Help your dad smell like his favourite scent. Whether it's the fresh outdoors, vanilla, or even coffee, you can either make the scented-soap yourself, or custom-order it online.
V. The Sweet Tooth
Nothing will hit your dad's sweet spot like a jar of personalized candy. Head down to Bulk Barn and pick out a variety of your dad's favourite sweets and then put them in a jar with a personalized message. Your affection will never have tasted so good.
VI. The Classic Tie
There's a reason the tie is seen as a classic gift. Whether it has a humorous or standard print, subtly personalize the tie by getting it in your dad's favourite colour. This little touch will make all the difference.