Friday, May 17, 2013

Business English and The Great Cupcake Crash of 2013

Today's business English lesson may make you hungry! In the United States over the past 10 years,
The great cupcake craze might be over ... but I'd still like
to take a big bite out of this one!
cupcakes have had a huge rise in popularity. They went from being a favorite at kid's birthday parties to being a popular treat for adults too. They got fancier and fancier and of course, more expensive. Cupcake shops sprang up all over the USA. Many cupcakes sold for a pretty penny (a lot of money) -- some for $4.50 each. Like any great craze, this one is now crashing. Maybe Americans just ate too many cupcakes. Maybe the cookie is back in vogue. Whatever the reason, cupcake shops are now struggling. Let's read a piece of an article from the Wall Street Journal entitled "Forget Gold, the Gourmet-Cupcake Market is Crashing. The words and expressions we'll explore are highlighted:

The icing is coming off America's cupcake craze. The dessert became a cultural and economic phenomenon over the last decade, with gourmet cupcake shops proliferating across the country, selling increasingly elaborate and expensive concoctions.
The craze hit a high mark in June 2011, when Crumbs Bake Shop Inc. a New York-based chain, debuted on the Nasdaq Stock Market  under the ticker symbol CRMB. Its creations—4" tall, with fillings such as vanilla custard, caps of butter cream cheese, and decorative flourishes like a whole cookie—can cost $4.50 each.
After trading at more than $13 a share in mid-2011, Crumbs has sunk to $1.70. It dropped 34% last Friday, in the wake of Crumbs saying that sales for the full year would be down by 22% from earlier projections, and the stock slipped further this week.
Crumbs in part blamed store closures from Hurricane Sandy, but others say the chain is suffering from a larger problem: gourmet-cupcake burnout.
"The novelty has worn off," says Kevin Burke, managing partner of Trinity Capital LLC, a Los Angeles investment banking firm that often works in the restaurant industry.

Now let's look at the words and expressions in bold: 

(to) proliferate – to grow or expand quickly; to spread
concoction – food or drink made by combining different ingredients (often many different ingredients in an unusual way)

in the wake of – following; as a result ofburnout – having had so much of something that one no longer wants it (note: also, often describes what happens when people work too hard and get too stressed out -- they suffer from burnout)

The novelty has worn off – something that was once new and popular, but no longer is; something that people have lost interest in (note: novelty means something new)

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