April 14, 2020

Last week, we looked at how dairy and egg suppliers that primarily work with restaurants are struggling to adapt to a radically changed business environment. And while food companies that service supermarkets are better equipped to deal with the current crisis, many suppliers are now facing labor shortages as an increasing number of employees fall ill with coronavirus. Experts predict that the nation’s food supply chains will be disrupted in the coming weeks, potentially resulting in local shortages of certain Continue reading

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April 10, 2020

Over the last few weeks, shoppers at supermarkets across the country have stocked up on versatile staples like milk, bread, and eggs that are well-suited for hunkering at home. But as many meat and dairy producers ramp up production to satisfy this increasing demand, food companies that serve clients like restaurants and schools are drastically scaling back. With many eating establishments now closed or take-out only due to coronavirus containment, food suppliers have seen demand for their services plummet. As Continue reading

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April 7, 2020

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has caused countless restaurants and stores across the country to alter their services or close entirely, some for as long as a month so far. This stretch of downtime has been devastating for many small businesses that usually get by on week-to-week sales. At Old Town Pizza & Brewing in Portland, Oregon, owner Adam Milne had to lay off two-thirds of his staff as the brewpub transitioned into carry-out only service. In the process he racked Continue reading

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April 3, 2020

Earlier this year, we looked at how the fitness startup ClassPass grew into a $1 billion company thanks to an innovative business model that allows members to easily find exercise classes in their area. Flash forward just a few months later, however, and ClassPass finds itself in a completely different position due to widespread shutdowns caused by coronavirus containment. As gyms and fitness centers closed across the world in March, ClassPass watched as 95 percent of its revenue disappeared within Continue reading

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March 24, 2020

Although countless businesses have either altered their hours or closed up entirely, supermarkets around the country remain very busy as people gather supplies for their extended stays at home. Along with items like soap, hand sanitizer and toilet paper, Americans are also stocking up on foods with long shelf lives. As a result, sales of dry goods like beans are skyrocketing. “In one sense, this is like my best dream,” said Tim McGreevy, the leader of a trade group for Continue reading

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March 20, 2020

With many businesses altering their day-to-day operations, millions of Americans working in restaurants, bars, hotels, or for gig companies like Uber have seen their hours and pay cut drastically. This video looks at how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting regular people working in the San Francisco Bay Area and the solutions that they are asking for to relieve this crisis. 

Questions:

  1. Why do small businesses like restaurants and bars face so much uncertainty during the current coronavirus pandemic?
  2. Do Continue reading
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March 19, 2020

With millions of people across the country staying home and practicing social distancing, it’s no surprise that many are doing their shopping online through Amazon. As a result, the e-commerce giant has seen demand for household items and medical supplies increase dramatically over the last couple of weeks. In order to ensure that no essential products go out of stock, this week Amazon announced that its U.S. and European warehouses will now only hold “vital supplies.” This includes baby products, Continue reading

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March 10, 2020

Last week we looked at how fears over coronavirus have caused major events to cancel and governments to restrict travel. Since then, organizers of South By Southwest have called off the festival while Italy has expanded emergency measures for the entire country. That means no public gatherings will be allowed in the Mediterranean nation along with a general ban on travel for all citizens unless they receive special permission. This global escalation of tensions surrounding the Covid-19 virus has Continue reading

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December 6, 2019

This week, multiple news outlets reported about a poor potato crop in Canada and the U.S. that could potentially affect the nation’s French fry supply. With winter weather arriving early throughout North America, potato growers lost thousands of acres of crops due to freezing temperatures. As a result, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that American spud production will drop by six percent this year. And since potatoes used for French fries tend to be harvested later in the season, Continue reading

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November 21, 2019

Analysts estimate that last year consumers spent more than $50 billion on virtual items in video games like Counter-Strike and World of Warcraft. This lengthy but highly informative video explains why the market for virtual items has grown bigger than global box office returns for the movie industry. 

Questions:

  1. How are in-game economies similar to real-world economic systems?
  2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of online marketplaces that sell virtual goods?
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