Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tomorrow never comes

Just kidding, it'll be here at its regularly scheduled time.

So many delays. We passed all our inspections except for our plumbing inspection on Tuesday. Thanks, union plumbers. It's fixed now and we have our C of O! I participated in my first health inspection, which I guess in my mind was more of a rite of passage than it actually ended up being. So we are cleared for opening tomorrow! It's going to be a short-staffed weekend; lots of changes to employee schedules, mine included thanks to graduation. Messing with the schedule is giving me quite the headache--I thought we were in the clear but there are days that we don't have an evening manager and that's bad mmmkay?


I was up about 4:15am today due to monkeymind, good training for tomorrow. I have so many things I am still confused about. They are 99% to do with the cash register procedures. Today I am also going to finish the OMR handbook (FINALLY), buy ice cream scoops and brown sugar (the package Sysco sent was busted and covered up with labels), call Sysco about said package (as well as a destroyed tub of chocolate icing), call Johnson Bros, and be at the bakery by 3pm to knock out a whole mess of prep work for the week with the baking crew. I feel mostly great. Wishing this weren't all happening at the same time as graduation and having my family in town, because I want 100% of my undivided attention to each of these great events but instead I can only commit so much to everything.

All right, let's lighten the mood! Marnie opened Pandora's Box the other day. She and Jennifer, our other morning baker, were cleaning up the bakery when a friend of the owners came in to inquire about when we were opening and what we would be selling. Marnie went through the menu. When she came to the cake pops, the customer was confused, which is sort of understandable--even though they are trendy and have been popular on the internet and in other cities for quite some time, San Antonio is really behind on trends. We are making two cake pops currently: both round, traditional cake balls, one confetti cake and one peanut butter/chocolate cake. Very tasty, simple, attractive.

So Marnie, bless her heart, says "oh! You should look at, they have lots of cake pops. That's sort of what we're doing."

The customer goes and looks at (and you should too, they're fabulous) and instantly goes, "Great! I want 30 Hello Kitty cake pops by this Friday!"

For reference, what the customer wants:

Darn it all, Marnie.

So this is what happens when you take these bakers:

And have them make Hello Kitty cake pops. I call it "Ohno Kitty."

Be sure to note the expressive, intensely worried eyes....the slightly perplexing placement of facial features....the bullet wound in the side of the head. Masterpieces.

(We had a really hilarious and wonderful time practicing, I have to say.)

It's just our luck to have two jokers in the bakery, huh? Tough break for us. Fortunately, we have other employees, more mature, respectable, GROWN UP employees like our manager Lizzie who can keep these clowns in lin---

Oh dear.

Maybe tomorrow SHOULD never come.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A sample "to do" list for a manager

*Email our rep from Ben E Keith again since he didn't respond to the one I sent last week. We need to set up an account so we don't have to shop at Sam's Club and HEB to get through the week!

*Message the remaining two employees about what time they should come in tonight for training (they missed it Saturday because they were doing their Gala dinner at St Philip's. Awww memories). This involves figuring out what they need to learn and how long that will take. Also how late I really want to be out there if I have to wake up at 4am tomorrow morning. (Did I mention how, in freak Texas tradition, it is supposed to be in the 40s tomorrow morning? ARGH.)

*Send out this week's schedule. I wanted to send out the schedule I drew up for the rest of the month but Tom and Laura need to OK it first.

*Get Tom or Laura to complete the credit card authorization form for Restaurant Depot, a restaurants-only warehouse in town where we will be purchasing our boxes to package up our food in. Go buy said boxes x 200 each as well as a couple other items.

*Finish fixing Focus (our POS system) to the best of my abilities. Mark, our rep, will be at the bakery this afternoon to install and answer any other questions but I want to be as ready as possible before then.

*Get Rodney (our evening baker/manager) to tell me his chef coat size and then call H&M Uniforms to order it.

*Be at the bakery at 11am to give a check for the remainder of the Blue Bell purchase to their rep.

*Be back at the bakery at 1pm to finish setting up and training. I don't know who else is going to be there at that time and I'll be irritated if I'm the only one, what with everything else up there ^^^. Maybe I'll hold off on fixing Focus until I'm on site, that will pass the time. (ETA: After talking with Tom I have a nice list of cleaning to accomplish as well as the times everyone else will be there. Problem solved!)

*Tonight we need to train the remaining two on Focus, opening/closing procedures, the employee handbook and the recipe book/sidework. We also need to train on ice cream scoop procedures which I don't know and I haven't seen any of the equipment yet so that's a big ol' blind spot there. We will also test the proofer/ovens on some products and make test batches and some bags of dry ingredients to expedite opening tomorrow morning. We don't have every ingredient yet; some things are on their way and some things we just won't start with. But for the most part we will be ready to rock and/or roll tomorrow!

*Oh and somewhere in there gosh darn it I wanted to finish the Original Mexican Restaurant handbook. It's so close, it just needs a bit more time. Which I'm out of. Hmph.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Catch-up, update, and pics!

The short version since the other day: everything worked out. I made it to both my classes and the goods were received. Needed a new tank of gas after it was all said and done but it was a great and successful day. Huzzah!

We expect to open Tuesday! The delays right now: finishing the plumbing (we are leaking all over), grouting and cleaning the tile floor, installing shelves and IKEA-style boards to hang our tools in the back, setting up the tables and chairs in the front, and getting our last batch of supplies that Sysco did not provide. (There's a few headaches involved in that.)

We trained almost everyone yesterday as well as some hardcore cleaning and rearranging. Miracles abounded. All of our major equipment fits in the back better than Tetris. All of our food purchases fit in the fridge/freezer. Everything works and is holding the right temperatures. Our coworkers are mature, hardworking and get along. Nothing exploded or caught fire. (But our fire extinguisher is installed if something DID catch fire. That's called "preparation!") We are still getting random walk-ins hoping that the bakery is open already. Our neighboring businesses (particularly Willie's Icehouse and a brand new nail salon, called something like Uniquely Heavenly) are thriving and pulling in a lot of traffic to the area. I mean, seriously, we are set up to win!

So I wanted to share some photos of the process. They are generally a progression of how the bakery is slowly but surely getting rearranged, scrubbed within an inch of its life, and reformed into something very chic, trendy, and clean. I couldn't be prouder.

My first shipment of ice cream!

The front room with Coke machine not where it's going to be and the empty dipping stations (where the ice cream goes).

Hurray for ice cream!

The view from behind the counter, earlier in the week. Plumbing and electrical work not completed.

Without storage (or room to install storage with all the construction in the back), we stacked our dry goods off the ground in the front room.

Much improved! This was our status yesterday. With the lovely giant pictures hung, it looks much more complete. (The vagrant Coke machine moved but is still not in its final destination.)

Our ovens are beasts, lasting for decades of use. But they ugly.

A bit of elbow grease fixed them right up!

And our shiny new refrigeration! I am just amazed at how everything fits. It was like we were meant to be here.

Today: shopping at Sam's (yes, Sam's) for our remaining ingredients that we didn't get. We are going to set up with Ben E Keith in hopes of timely, organized and complete service. But for right now, everyone's thoughts are on getting started and getting through the first week. It's happening, people!