Thursday, April 28, 2011

Everything all at once

I am standing inside the bakery. Sysco should be delivering our food today at 1pm but suddenly they wanted to come earlier. Like now. Now is coincidentally also the time I wanted to be preparing material for training this afternoon, fixing our pos system, picking up uniforms, and studying for my test today. I have two classes I can't miss today that I might miss. I have training to do that isn't ready. And I am here to receive a delivery that isn't delivered. Rough morning.

Monday, April 25, 2011

One week!

I have completed my 256 hours of internship! Boerne Stage Bakery is set to open next Saturday, April 30. Lots of work is going into preparing for the opening. The highlights of my week were: 1) placing the order for our first (estimated) week’s delivery of food with Sysco, 2) attending the Ben E Keith trade show (I even got a VIP pass!), and 3) training on the POS system, Focus.

In addition, we had our first meeting with (almost) all the employees of the bakery, where we were able to introduce ourselves, see the bakery’s state of completion, and discuss schedules for this next week and the opening. It was a good orientation and I think it was necessary for the employees to see firsthand what Tom and Laura are dealing with on their end, which sheds some light as to why we may not get the immediate communication on deadlines and schedules that we were hoping for. It’s just too soon to say, beyond “here’s what we’re looking at now. We’re going to be flexible to change.” Fortunately, everyone had a great attitude and seemed very willing to bear with the growing pains. Also a good sign: during our 1.5 hour meeting at the bakery, no fewer than 5 people stopped by and tried to enter the bakery, thinking we were already open. Hurray potential customers!

As for the other highlights, I was very pleased with my performance overall. Placing the order with Amy from Sysco was very satisfying; I had everything ready to go and she was very cooperative in person. I am really happy that even though I led that meeting, Tom was there to observe and learn. He is really determined to be knowledgeable about every element of his bakery, which makes me respect him a lot. I can tell that he is relaxing and gaining confidence in his decision to hire me as manager the more he sees me in action. It feels great.

The Ben E Keith trade show was a riot. It was in the convention center, and everything from seafood to sorbet, paper goods to pastry, cooking demos to coolers was there. I could have spent hours sampling goodies if I had been left up to my own devices. Fortunately, I was greeted and then shown around by Henry McCrary, a very friendly and helpful Ben E Keith rep; after I got my bearings, he then turned me loose to gather information and literature on products relevant to the bakery, such as Tupperware/bins, gloves, eco-friendly flatware and to-go boxes, and various food things that we didn’t have settled with Sysco such as ham and chorizo. It was a lot of fun to wander with a purpose, and I look forward to sharing my findings with the owners.

Finally, we began training on Focus, our point-of-sales system. I love this system for the most part; it is very intuitive, does not present too many or too few options, and generally seems very reliable. It was easy for me to understand how to run reports and what those reports would tell us, which is good because that will be a significant part of my job. I took the POS system home and updated the menu options and graphics so it reads in what to me is the most logical and correct way. I trained Marnie on using it and got her ID set up as well, so I feel fairly confident in my ability to train the remaining employees.

Lots to be done yet this week. Wednesday we get our delivery of food, which I will receive and inspect. Wednesday is also when we will all come and clean the equipment and front of house until it's shiny and fabulous. And then Thursday and Friday will be training and a "family & friends" tasting before our grand opening on Saturday!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Fun with food

The opening has been delayed.

Dunno until when. I'm really quite relieved; we drove by there today and I stopped and pressed my face against the glass. It's still a wasteland as far as I could tell; no sign, paint isn't quite done, tile isn't installed, no equipment in the front of house at all. It would take some kind of Christmas miracle to get that place ready for the "friends and family tasting" that was due to happen in 6 days. And really, I want us to be better hired and better trained than would be possible in a week and a half. So overall right now my overwhelming feeling is relief.

Regardless, it was a super fun weekend of playing with food!

Marnie and I tackled the remaining menu items enthusiastically. We have a great quiche made with a Sysco biscuit dough, San Manuel chorizo, and Rotel tomatoes and green chiles. We want to find a pan with Texas-shaped mini loaves and make them Texas quiches. So cute. They taste fantastic! And we have a zesty quiche with Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage, cheddar cheese and jalapenos on a really yummy sweet yeast kolache dough. So our breakfasts are set, costed-out, procedured-out and fabulous.

We also took on a couple of our "signature breads." We have one with chopped black olives and feta, which was just beautiful and the little pockets of flavor were wonderful. We have another with rosemary and parmigiano cheese--the most fragrant by far! Exquisite. And we have a sweet honey and oat loaf. We may only start with these three as our "specialty" breads and I'm okay if we do; these are three that I can stand behind 100% and I'm not even really a bread person.

(But oh! if I have to try another carrot cake muffin in the next 5 years, I am going to give up baked goods forever. We have tried 5 carrot cake recipes in search of one that will meet Tom's very precise mental picture of The Ideal Carrot Muffin. We are pretty sure we nailed it. But I really loathe carrot cake at the moment. I could never work as a taste tester.)