An annual survey of restaurant industry chains suggest that the burger is losing ground to the fast-casual coffee shop concept,. The “Chain Industry Restaurant Review” from GE Capital Franchise Finance shows that consumer dining habits have shifted dramatically as competition, technological challenges and rising costs for labor and commodities have taken hold. The report notes that burger and sandwich chains generated 63.5 percent of sales 25 years ago, but currently represent 54.5 percent of sales among the top 25 largest chains.

As part of a tech-fair last week, Microsoft demonstrated a farm data dashboard that may someday make it easier for people to use USDA data. The Farm Data Dashboard was designed to provide a simple interface for an overview of the complex datasets that the Agriculture Department has on farms and crops. A Microsoft researcher said the farm data project is part of a formal commitment Microsoft has made to President Barack Obama’s climate data initiative to open up important data sets and empower the public to address and cope with climate change.

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