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A McDonald's restaurant's drive-thru sign is pictured in Los Angeles April 4, 2011. Though fast food chains continue to extend operating hours, night hawks and early birds simply aren’t flocking (let alone spending) as predicted, leaving franchisees in a tough position (MARIO ANZUONI/REUTERS)
A McDonald's restaurant's drive-thru sign is pictured in Los Angeles April 4, 2011. Though fast food chains continue to extend operating hours, night hawks and early birds simply aren’t flocking (let alone spending) as predicted, leaving franchisees in a tough position (MARIO ANZUONI/REUTERS)

Small Business Briefing

Fast food chains continue to extend hours, but is the payoff worth it? Add to ...

The latest news and information for entrepreneurs from across the web universe, brought to you by the Report on Small Business team. Follow us on Twitter @GlobeSmallBiz .

Fast food chains + longer hours = more sales, right?

The logic is clear: the longer a fast food chain stays open, the more people come through the door or drive-in. The reality, however, is much murkier. Though fast food chains like McDonald’s Corp. and Burger King Corp. continue to extend operating hours, night hawks and early birds simply aren’t flocking (let alone spending) as predicted, leaving franchisees in a tough position, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Here are some reasons why the all-hours concept might not pay off:

  • Fixed costs may not rise for franchisees, but added expenses will include higher utility bills and extra pay for workers;
  • Finding employees to work the graveyard shift is always difficult;
  • Not all markets have enough off-hour types to make extending hours worthwhile;
  • Boosts in off-hour sales can be pitiful, as traditional hours, including noon to 1 p.m., continue to be the most lucrative.

But it's not all bad news for franchisees. In fact, if executed strategically, implementing longer hours can give a nice bump to your bottom line. Experts offer these tips on how to make extended hours work for you:

  • Patrol the neighbourhood during the period you’re thinking of opening and see what the competition’s like;
  • Ask existing customers about their interest in coming in during hours when the restaurant’s normally closed;
  • Have patience and learn the anomalies of each stores.

Race plays a role in small business funding

In the U.S., minority entrepreneurs not only start their businesses with less money than their white counterparts, but they’re less likely to apply for bank loans for fear of getting turned down, which may explain why they’re also more likely to rely on personal wealth – rather than lenders or investors – to fund their businesses. When they do apply for credit, black and Hispanic business owners are less likely to be approved than whites, according to a new research paper commissioned by the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy .

The data was collected from the Kauffman Firm Survey which followed about 5,000 companies started in 2004 over several years. For more insight into the study, check out this article from Businessweek .

Google Glass: where enthusiasm meets skepticism

As reviews start coming out for Google Glass (GG), the buzziest new gadget to come out of Silicon Valley, TechCrunch asks six veteran tech investors to weigh in. Here’s a summary of their responses:

  • GG won’t get mass adoption for the simple reason that people don’t like wearing glasses. It’s more likely that niche markets will spring up, and will derive tremendous value from its applications;
  • Universal, affordable, non-intrusive technology is the future, and GG is a part of this, but speech recognition is the true innovation that has the potential to disrupt entire industries;
  • Wearable technology has been around for a long time, but for the first time ever, it’s a lot smarter and – arguably – a little less nerdy. GG will be long term and ubiquitous, but its real adoption will come from commercial applications (i.e. police, fire, EMs, etc.) and even construction, maintenance and inspection;
  • Three things need to happen for GG to take off: 1) it must be intuitive and function seamlessly with everyday activities, 2) have a high-quality API that lets developers create software and 3) Google must make sure the best apps are discovered by users;
  • What’s most interesting is the behavioural change that could arise from GG adoption: it opens a new arena for apps, it could become the hub for multiple devices, etc.

EVENTS AND KEY DATES

TechCrunch Disrupt

The Hackathon has come and gone, and it’s time for the main event. TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2013 starts today, with a slate of startups influential speakers, guests, and more in New York. For a live feed of the event, click here.

C100-NE to host Atlantic Venture Forum in June

C100-NE, a Boston-based group dedicated to helping Canadian tech and biotech companies navigate the New England startup community, will be hosting a forum in Halifax this June. The Atlantic Venture Forum will be a chance for Maritime startups to learn from entrepreneurs invested in the Northeastern U.S.’s thriving startup community. The event will take place June 19 and 20 at the Westin Nova Scotian in Halifax. Register on the event website.

EDITOR’S PICKS FROM REPORT ON SMALL BUSINESS

Where are all the women founders and investors?

Fewer role models for young women and lost economic opportunity: why the dearth of female entrepreneurs is detrimental to the country’s future

FROM THE ROSB ARCHIVES Culture shock:

Adjusting to a move from a large firm to a small one

Boutique market research company Fresh Intelligence has hired away many of its employees from big companies, some of whom don’t adapt well Got a tip on news, events or other timely information related to the small-business community? E-mail us at smallbusiness@globeandmail.com .

Join The Globe’s Small Business LinkedIn group to network with other entrepreneurs and to discuss topical issues: http://linkd.in/jWWdzT .

Our free weekly newsletter is now available. Every Friday a team of editors selects the top picks from our blog posts, features, multimedia and columnists, and delivers them to your inbox. If you have registered for The Globe’s website, you can sign up here . Click on the Small Business Briefing checkbox and hit ‘save changes.’ If you need to register for the site, click here .

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