Keep Them Coming…Customer Loyalty Programs

There’s a big difference between a loyal customer, and a happy customer, and that difference is satisfaction.  Loyalty programs spread from airlines to grocery stores to retail venues to food service because they have redeeming qualities, and offer incentives for your customer to return. The right loyalty program not only rewards your customers, but also your bottom line, while also utilizing cutting-edge technology to do so.

The results you want from a loyalty program are: an increase in the frequency of visits from regular customers, an increase in your average transaction price, an incentive for new customers to choose your business, and engagement with your customers that makes them want to tell their network. Engagement with customers is key, and it is why you should stop using punch cards, and start utilizing more sophisticated technology that can gather the essential data that you need to learn more about your customer.

Customer loyalty is the most powerful sales and marketing tool that a restaurant can own, and you can leverage it to produce a loyal customer base that keeps coming back for more.  According to a Deloitte retail survey, companies with a customer loyalty program are 88% more profitable than their competitors.  So, we thought you’d like to be let in on some secrets to creating a profitable loyalty program.

STAND OUT

There are so many loyalty programs out there today, that you need to make sure that your’s is one of a kind.  Make sure your customer loyalty program is unique, and aligns with your brand identity and culture.  Get creative, and keep your customers interested with fun ways to earn and spend points.

SPECIAL ATTENTION

This strategy requires a bit more time and leg work from you, but it will definitely get your loyal customers to return (while maintaining your costs down).  Your POS system tracks and monitors sales and inventory, but did you know that it can also monitor what customers are buying?   You can take this data about what your customers are buying, and mark that information within their profile in your POS.  Why is this important? Let’s say you have a customer who purchases the exact same wine every time she comes. Now you can offer a reduction on that wine to her. Even if she wasn’t going to have it this time, now she will.  It’s all in the details, and everyone loves feeling special.

INCENTIVIZE

Give your customers a reason to sign up by offering a free or discounted meal immediately. If you simply believe  that the “build it and they will come” approach will work, you’re merely mistaken.

 CLIMB THE LADDER

Make sure that you meet customer needs and reward big spenders with your loyalty scheme. Create different levels to your membership club with new members starting off on the bottom tier, having to perform certain actions to reach the next tier and move up. Each tier has a different reward, and you should offer accelerated rewards for customers who reach the higher tiers, urging them to return more often and spend more to earn these rewards. In addition, the exclusive status higher tiers offer will make your customers feel valued.

JOIN THE 20th CENTURY

Punch cards are old news. Don’t expect your customers to carry them around. You’re supposed to be making their lives easier, not more complicated. The best way of doing this is to create a cardless loyalty program that links to a mobile device and your POS.

 CUSTOMER SERVICE

While most people agree that they would alter how and where they spend their money to reach enough points to get rewards, you need to ensure that your establishment offers excellent service and has the right equipment, such as a point of sale solution, that helps increase efficiency to ensure customers want to return.  Point of sale systems are easy to use and will help streamline both front of house and back of house processes, so you can focus on building your customer loyalty.

Hopefully your loyalty program will utilize the available technology to enhance your customers’ experience and keep them coming back for more.

Like our stories or want to hear more? Drop us a line @ Blogpointos@gmail.com.

See you next week!

Your devoted hostess,

Brittany

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Get your POS in the Cloud

The digital world we now live in means that things are constantly changing, and what was the newest technology is not anymore.  However, there is one thing that is here to stay, and that is the cloud.  The idea that all your data is secured off-site, with access 24/7 from anywhere, seals the deal for a lot of business owners transitioning from hosting their own servers to keeping everything in the cloud.

Recently, cloud technology has moved into point of sale systems, and many small businesses are opting in for the mobility and simplicity of a cloud based POS system over a traditional Windows based POS system for the following reasons:

Mobility

Using a cloud based POS system gives you more mobility and flexibility. The whole system can be installed and run using a smart device like an iPhone or iPad. Your wait staff can take orders and credit card payments right at the table, and simply email the receipt or send it to the customer’s mobile phone instantly.  Mobility also allows you to manage your business from anywhere in the world with 24/7 access to all system reports.

Safekeeping

In a cloud POS system, your businesses can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that their information will always be secure. Information is stored and synced electronically and can be easily restored. Since all your data is stored in the cloud, you don’t have to worry about running out of storage space, theft, accidents, or mishaps ever again. There is no need to worry about backing up data or losing it in the event of a power outage, or even about a hardware malfunction. Another big benefit of cloud-based systems is that they allow for advanced security measures, such as encryption, to protect data from viruses and breaches.

Work from Home

As all data is saved instantaneously in the cloud, managers can track sales as they happen, update prices, and place orders from wherever they may be. All they need is an internet connection. This is a great perk if you are the type of person who cannot stop working even while on holiday, or relaxing at home.

Business as Usual

No internet? While being online is the bread and butter of any cloud based point of sale system, with the very best systems, you can continue to work while the internet is down. Offline capabilities enable you to carry on working, while also allowing the system to sync data when you’re up and running online again.

Stay Updated

Many businesses experience errors and slowdowns because of outdated technology. In the cloud, it is up to your vendor to manage and update the infrastructure, so you can stay on top of new technology and security requirements with minimum effort. You don’t even need to worry about remembering to install the software updates.

Plays Nicely with Others

Because it’s cloud based, you can easily integrate accounting software, gift cards, loyalty programs, rewards and other add-ons seamlessly. No other POS system is as friendly as a cloud based system. Integration has never been easier.

Now that you’ve heard the benefits, will you be joining “the cloud”?

Like our stories or want to hear more? Drop us a line @ Blogpointos@gmail.com.

See you next week!

Your devoted hostess,

Brittany

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Get control of your inventory with a POS

Managing a restaurant offers several challenges. One of the most important is how to keep track of the restaurant’s inventory.  However, the management of produce, products and suppliers is not the most popular of tasks. Managing the quick turnover of food, finding the most cost-effective and efficient suppliers, and minimizing waste can be very boring and time-consuming. However tedious it might seem, inventory management is crucial to control food costs and maintain the profitability of any restaurant. There are many downsides to not having a proper inventory management system in place; the most important being that it can negatively affect ROI.  Allow the data captured by a POS do the work for you.

When choosing the right software for your business, make sure that your POS can manage your inventory properly. So don’t cut on the budget here, and be sure to invest in a point of sale (POS) solution that tracks the movement of products throughout the establishment. Using a spreadsheet or manually capturing data is very old school, and also allows for human error, so get with the times and switch to a system that has intuitive capabilities.

Check out these reasons for how a POS can take your inventory management into the 20th century:

RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW

  • Measuring inventory in real time as it moves is a critical aspect of lowering food costs.  Remember, the more money your restaurants have tied up in inventory, the harder it is to get a handle on lowering food costs. A lower inventory means lower waste, less spoilage, less theft, lower food costs and most importantly higher profits.

ALL OVER THE SHOW?

  • Multiple storage locations? No problem. You can link all your systems with consolidated tracking from procurement to consumption. You can view your inventory by storage location, or across all store locations, and move your inventory around as needed.

 EASY BREEZY

  • Time is money, so save money by saving time. You can simplify your ordering with system-generated suggested ordering based on average levels, historical consumption patterns, sales forecasts, and on-hand inventory levels.

CONTROL FREAK

  • Not at the location or simply forgot to place an order? Well just log on and manage your inventory remotely from where ever you may be with a cloud-based POS system.

CHATTERBOX

  • Tired of all the admin with ordering and invoicing? Integrate with your vendors and let the system generate purchase orders and receive invoices from suppliers.

Remember, the most critical piece of the inventory puzzle is consistency.  So get started with a POS that’s right for your business, and take control of your inventory!

Like our stories or want to hear more? Drop us a line @ Blogpointos@gmail.com.

See you next week!

Your devoted hostess,

Brittany

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POS DATA: How to choose you’re A-Team

As many restaurant merchants are already aware, your point-of-sale system is definitely more than just a way to place your customer’s orders. Sure, they take payments, send orders to the kitchen, and manage food inventory. But what if I told you that you could use your useful point of sale to plump up your bottom line by having the right staff on the schedule?

Almost every POS requires that employees use a unique sign in to process a sale. Point-of-sale solutions like PointOS can help merchants manage multiple staff accounts. You can track the number of sales each employee makes, as well as what products they’re successful at selling. But, most restaurants don’t utilize this feature. I worked in restaurants for most of my 20’s and management always gave all the top shifts to the ‘veterans’, without even seeing if they were producing.

Now how can that data help you put the right people on the schedule?

POS can measure your server performance in many ways, so let us tell you how:

  1. Reports can be run analyzing sales by employee and by their shifts. Obviously, someone working on a busy weekend day will sell more than someone on a slow weekday, no matter how good they are.
  2.  Now you have the data telling you sales, but how can we see who performs better in their designated shifts? You can break it down by the following reports:
    1. Compare up sells: You can check in modifiers as who is trying to sell your customers something extra.
    2. Compare gratuities: Out of these sales, what is their average gratuity. Nice tips = happy customers. You always want to have someone who is smiley and putting that extra bit in to make the customer happy.
    3. Table Turnover: See how long your wait staff is letting their                  customers sit at the table. Time is money.
  3. Punch in and punch out time can also be tracked. A dog ate their bus pass. A pipe burst. Comcast was late. Once or twice, you can let that slide, but repeated tardiness is cause for concern. Employees clock in and out directly at the register when they start their shift — which means you can see exactly when they got to work and when they left.

Remember, with PointOS employee management, you can quickly get a sense of how your employees are doing. These reports let you break down sales by employee for each day or month and you can also see their sales per hour worked. This can help you identify any issues — or see who’s knocking it out of the park.

Like our stories or want to hear more? Drop us a line @ Blogpointos@gmail.com.

See you next week!

Your devoted hostess,

Brittany

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The health food trend, are you in?

Every generation inspires changes in society, and in recent years, it has been the millennials’ turn, who are currently ages 20-36. This chunk of humans makes up the bulk of the working class. It’s no surprise that businesses want to attract the masses, and these days, that’s the millennials.

What does this influential group want?  Well, 70% of those adults, according to the National Restaurant Association , are trying to eat healthier than they did two years ago. They want good, healthy food with nutritional value.  They strive to eat healthier, more eco-friendly foods like cage-free eggs , and they pushed for the labeling of GMO’s on foods.  The millennials have also inspired the farm-to-table restaurant trend, as well as the fresh pre-packaged meal companies that send customers nutritious, fresh ingredients that they can quickly make into a cooked meal.

Restauranteurs are taking notice of this health movement, and are experimenting with adding healthier options. Customers are hard to please these days, so the offerings for both carnivores and herbivores need to be more diverse.  “We are definitely seeing a health movement, not a fad,” says Bonnie Riggs, restaurant industry analyst at the research firm The NPD Group. “Consumers report healthy as the No. 1 characteristic they want to see more of on restaurant menus, and what they mean by that is they’re looking for food that’s real.”

We came up with some quick fix inspirations for succeeding with those healthy food ideas:

No Alcohol, No Problems

If you’re not familiar with the concept, a Mocktail is basically all the fun flavors of a mixed drink without the alcohol. And, believe it or not, less is more; the demand for these mocktails has been steadily increasing.  Come up with some tasty drinks to keep your customers from going parched.

Bowls, Bowls and More Bowls

First there was the acai bowl. Then, there was the poke bowl. But let’s not forget about the power bowl.  These combinations of whole grains, veggies and protein look as good as they taste, all while giving you a strong mix of vitamins, fiber, and nutrients.  Don’t be fooled with adding additives – that’s how the salad got messed up by making them upwards of 1000 calories per serving.

Butcher me this

Who says only eating veggie means eating healthy?  Meat options can be just as healthy, but make sure you pay attention to where your meat is coming from. Today our consumer wants to know how that animal has been living, and what it has been eating.   Try your take on farm-to-table with the “butcher-to-table” trend, which allows customers to be in awe of the preparation of everything from grilled steak to charcuterie.

Like our stories or want to hear more? Drop us a line @ Blogpointos@gmail.com.

See you next week!

Your devoted hostess,

Brittany

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Should your restaurant stay open on Thanksgiving?

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, you have some tough decision making to do.  Do you close, and give your staff the time off, or do you stay open?  Thanksgiving is a holiday that centers around food, and if Thanksgiving dinner fits into your brand then it’s a perfect opportunity to capitalize on.  I mean, food is your specialty, isn’t it? So, take advantage and be one of the few places in your area that stays open and caters to those that either don’t have the time to cook or just don’t want to. Trust me, there are so many people that could think of better ways to spend their day then cooking.  If you play your cards right, your restaurant could become that special place for these people to spend their Thanksgivings year after year.

Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock.com

There are some important things you will need to check on before making your decision.

  • Don’t forget to ask your staff beforehand, and offer them an incentive to work.  You don’t want people to be miserable because they are working on a holiday, that will translate into their service.  Make the day easy and special.
  • Make sure that if you’re not planning on being there yourself, you have someone there you can trust.
  • Check on what your competitors are doing.
  • Pre-market to your regulars and see if any interest generates.

We’ve got some tips on having a successful Thanksgiving dinner.

  • Offer a pre-fixed or limited menu
  • All-you-can-eat family style
  • Encourage customers to make reservations
  • Charge a set price
  • Make sure to include all of the yummy traditional sides
  • Offer take-away or to-go options
  • Don’t forget to advertise your holiday days and hours in advance, most people won’t assume you’ll be open, but won’t they be happy!

The decision to open or close this Thanksgiving is up to you . While both sides have their own benefits, the choice should depend on your personal opinion and your clientele. Whether you’ll be sharing your festive recipes with customers or carving turkey for your family, we wish you a happy holiday from all of us here at PointOS.

All this talk about food has me hungry!

Like our stories or want to hear more? Drop us a line @ Blogpointos@gmail.com.

See you next week!

Your devoted hostess,

Brittany

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Be Instagrammable

For years now, Instagram has sat at the center of style in food and beverages. So why is being Instagrammable a new trend? Businesses are recognizing that it’s not just the presentation of their food and drinks that attracts a new breed of customer, but their entire layout and ambiance too.  So, when it comes to interior design, restaurants are courting a new breed of customer; The Instagrammer.  Social media is putting pressure on owners and designers to think more about the surroundings of their space, focusing on what’s visually appealing and stimulating so it can appear on countless numbers of Instagram feeds.  Everything from food presentations to locations and views; smaller features like wall hangings and floorboards to disposable cups; wallpaper to lighting fixtures. There is no detail is too small. Social media content is an extension of the business’s physical space.  People can get a feel for what your restaurant is like from seeing your posts, and also from your customers’ posts about your place.

So we’ve put together some ideas on how you can make your restaurant Instagrammable, with hopes of inspiring the maximum number of photo exposure.

First, you need to make sure your space is attractive.  Before the era of social media, design would be focused on the spaces effect on its occupants, and how it looked in photos was possibly a secondary concern.  These days, that secondary concern should be the main focus. Put time and effort into making your space look like somewhere special, unique and most importantly, photo-worthy.  This LA restaurant, Herringbone, doesn’t lack on detail, and has a rustic greenhouse feel. Remember: people will come visit because they will want to have that photo for their Instagram.

You must design your space around share-ability, so don’t forget the exterior! Murals are big, bold and can become a key focal point and social media identifier of your space. Take a look how this hot new Mexican restaurant in LA, Tintorera, utilizes their exterior wall to focus on their hashtag #itsamexicanthing, which has more than 16,000 posts.

Lastly, presentation is everything. Lots of restaurants these days have unique items that have customers whipping out their phones to take a pic and share it with their friends. The most Instagrammable restaurant in America at the moment is Sugar Factory in New York City.  Sugar Factory takes the cake when it comes to Instagrammable food and drinks, with a broad range of colorful, and visually stunning items to choose from on its menu.  This real-life Candy Land restaurant uses the “wow” factor to draw in its clientele from all over the world, which includes celebrities like Katy Perry, Orlando Bloom and Pharrell Williams, to name a few.

Social media is the way forward in marketing, but whilst designing or re-designing, do not forget to remain cohesive in your brand identity.  Make sure you align with the aesthetic of your brand and don’t give a misleading image of your restaurant.

Now get going and make your restaurant more Instagrammable!

Like our stories or want to hear more? Drop us a line @ Blogpointos@gmail.com.

See you next week!

Your devoted hostess,

Brittany

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HOW TO KEEP YOUR COMPANY CULTURE STRONG

The key to a successful business stems from the core.  From big to small, your company growth relies heavily on developing a strong company culture that will attract customers, engage with employees and ultimately enable better decision-making.  Having a strong brand culture with a unique, distinctive ethos will set you apart from the competition.  The building blocks from which your company stems its strategy and operations relies on this culture, and helps turn your dream into a reality.  Not to mention, when you do that something extra special, you are sure to attract attention and draw in more customers.

Look at respected brands like Zappos, Disney, Virgin & Google. They have become well known because of their distinctive cultures.  These companies are all respected for their thriving and sought-after corporate cultures – cultures that customers and employees are falling in love with, which helps to drive business success.

We are going to let you in on a little secret. Here are 5 tips to help you on creating a winning culture.

1.  Learn from the past.

Everyone has a past, and with that past comes good and bad experiences that have taught you lessons.  As a first-time business owner, make sure to examine the corporate cultures of organizations you previously worked for. What worked for you in those cultures? What didn’t? If you’re an experienced entrepreneur, think about the cultures you have already created successfully at previous business. What fostered the success of these?  How can you implement them in your new business?

2.  Aligning your values

Congratulations business owner – you’ve just been put in the driver’s seat, and everyone drives differently.  No one way is better than the other.  So most importantly, you need to marry who you are with what you do. Otherwise, it won’t work.  You are going to be eating, sleeping and breathing your business, so make sure you’re on the same page with it.  Think of being in a relationship with someone who has different values – it doesn’t work.  What makes you, you, and what are your core values?  Are you structured and precise? Are you free and creative? Do you prefer a work hard, play hard mentality? Or are you relaxed and trustworthy, but expect the best from people?   You need to create an environment that suits you, and then cultivate that behavior in your company and promote the people who embody it.  Take time to reflect on who you are, the vibe you want to release, and ultimately, the kind of culture that fits both you and your brand.

3.  Get to know your employees

It is important to engage your culture with your employees.  Making yourself personally accessible to your employees will help keep your company culture strong. Ask them about their lives with genuine interest and active listening. Socialize with them and you’ll have an open, respectful and positive company culture.  In an industry with such high employee turnover rates, restaurants need to do all they can to retain and motivate their staffs. A strong culture is more effective than just free food and other common perks. In many cases it is even more effective than higher pay rates and better benefits. That’s because leaders can use the company culture to connect employees to a higher purpose, and to each other.

4.  Communicate

We get it, being a manager isn’t for everyone.  They can’t and probably shouldn’t be transparent about everything with their employees.   Overall, it benefits managers more if they openly discuss strategies, whether they involve single departments or the whole company. In addition, managers should meet regularly with their employees to discuss their progress, ambitions and talk about how they can improve. This helps employees feel like they’re an important part of organization’s success.  They know what they are doing well, and what they can improve on.

5.  Think outside the box

Did you know that employees at Google can collect “massage credits” which can be cashed in for free massages? It’s definitely financially out of the league for most businesses to offer these types of benefits, but these are the ideas we are talking about. Get creative!

It’s imperative that companies take time to evaluate their workplace cultures and make changes, and, when necessary, to allow those cultures to breath and scale as the company does.  Ever hear the saying “Happy wife happy life?” Well it definitely transfers over to Happy employees, happy business, and happy customers.  Company culture should be a priority focus for restaurateurs. It’s the most effective way to offset the costs and complexities that are constantly increasing in every part of a business—and it’s a powerful way to build a brand.

Like our tips or want to hear more? Drop us a line @ Blogpointos@gmail.com.

See you next week!

Your devoted hostess,

Brittany

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Save Time and Money Now!

Keep your sanity, and your money.  We know your bottom line is important to you.   Point of Sale systems were built to save you time and money.  It provides restaurateurs with all of the organizational needs to account for their daily sales transactions; however, most businesses forget to use them to their full potential.  Therefore, we’ve taken the time to remind you of 5 money saving tips to help fatten your pockets.

1. Save on Staff

You need your staff just as much as they need you, and labor costs are an unavoidable operational expense.  What would you say if I told you that you could actually use a POS as a way to save $$$$ on your employees?

POS systems can prevent employees from clocking-in early or clocking-out late. You set privileges, and manage them with your employees, by using a code system depending on whether they are servers, bartenders, cooks etc. Once your business has been up and running for some time the POS can help manage your daily operations, including your employee scheduling, by making sure you’re not over-staffing.

2. Go Green

Saving trees will save you money.  Besides the obvious of cutting back on paper usage, a good POS system will allow you to email receipts, and guess what? That means you’re collecting your customers’ e-mail addresses, and you will be able to keep in touch with them when they need you the most.

 

 

 

 

 

3. Be Buddies

Excellent customer service is imperative for growing your business.  Building your repeat clientele, gaining new customers, and up-selling to these customers helps put money in your pocket.  The worst experience is getting your food when you’re out to eat and it’s wrong.  Choosing a handheld option that links to your system allows your wait staff to place orders directly from your customer’s mouth.  Think that’s it? You’re wrong. Your wait-staff will also be forced to ask the customers if they want an up-sell based on their order.  More money spent by your customers puts more money in your pocket.

 

 

 

 

 

4. Inventory Domination

Luckily for you, the brains of a POS know what’s in stock at the both the start and end of the day, week, month, and year, all with the push of some buttons. Whether food costs are high, or ordering is off, you want to keep track of what you have so you can track down the problem and avoid losing money.

Thievery: Not everyone is as honest as you, and sometimes people steal. Watch out if your food losses aren’t matching up with what you have left behind.

More accurate ordering:  Falling short every month?  Then you’re not making as much money as you could. Too many left-overs? Then stop spending so much money!  Keep track either way by using a POS to keep a steady cash flow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Adios Accountant

Who likes accounting season? Not me. Admin and reconciling are my least favorite things to do as a business owner. Especially since Uncle Sam wants to take as much money from you as he can.  A POS system can help streamline this process.  All of your spending and income has been tracked throughout the year on your POS system.  It has also clearly made the difference between sales tax and other non-income fees on your total sales.  Now, instead of you being consumed by paperwork, do me a favor and ask your POS system to print this out for you in a consolidated report.  The magic of pressing a button hard at work again.

Like our tips or want to hear more? Drop us a line @ Blogpointos@gmail.com.

See you next week!

Your devoted hostess,

Brittany

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Why you should stay tuned to PointOS Blogspot

Welcome to PointOS Blogspot, my name is Brittany, and I’ll be your hostess.  Like most teenage girls, my first job was in a restaurant, however it was as a short order cook at a small café called Magnolias. It’s where my love for cooking good food, and my stuffed mushroom recipe came from.  Then I graduated to a hostess, and then a waitress, and then a manager and then back to a waitress since money was on my mind.  Now, I’m a business owner, a writer, and a world traveller and I’m here because I’m passionate about what I do.

So, you’re probably wondering why is PointOS starting a blog? Well because we always have you on our mind.  We want to keep you up to date on what’s happening in the restaurant sphere, and share our experiences with you. We will cover interesting topics like; How To’s, What to Do’s, Interviews, Trends, Tips,  Events, Behind the Scenes, Inspirations, Guides, Personal Experiences, New Openings , Marketing, Business & Tech just to name a few. So, you better make sure to check in on us for your weekly dose, we’re watching you.

Remember we are writing this blog for YOU, and you matter to us. We know as a business owner you are wearing many hats, and often have no time to breathe.  You’re busy we get it, but you can’t be outdated in the world today. This blog is made to be a simple easy way for you to stay up to date on what matters in your industry.  Your success is our success, so let’s embark on this journey together.

Your opinion matters to us. Are you happy with the topics we are going to discuss? What would you like to see on our blog? Do you have something interesting to say, and want to be a guest speaker? Let me hear your thoughts and comments below or e-mail me @ Blogpointos@gmail.com.

See you next week!

Your devoted hostess,

Brittany

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