Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Birth of a Salesman!
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Today's Book Signing...
P.S. I also bought 2 books today at Wordsmiths. I don't know anything about them, but they came highly recommended by several people: "The Flawless Skin of Ugly People" by Doug Crandell and "The Stupidest Angel (a Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror)" by Christopher Moore (a signed copy). From what the people at the bookstore told me, Moore is the funniest writer EVER! I'll let you know!
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Hotel Indigo Event
I catered another wedding party today at the Hotel Indigo in Midtown. This is my favorite place to cater an event. The staff is so friendly and helpful. I trusted my assistant Alex to pack all of the dry good for the event-- what a mistake. he did pretty good on most items, but he left off a few of the essentials. Luckily the staff of the Indigo had everything I needed to fulfill the order. They even treated me to a mimosa when the party was over.
If you've never been to the Hotel Indigo, I highly recommend it. It's right across the street from the Fox. They have a really cool Mediterranean style lobby and an outside patio overlooking Peachtree St. And like I said before, the staff is incredible. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the hotel allows pets. As long as they don't make noise and the fit in the room, they are welcomed. You could even bring a horse to stay in your room, as long as it didn't make too much noise! The next time you're going to a play at the Fox, make sure that you allow enough time to have a drink on the patio at the Hotel Indigo. You'll thank me for the advice!
My brother Joel came along with me and helped me on this event. This is the second catering job that he's helped me with this month. He was a huge help and I couldn't have done it without him. At one point I had to leave the party to go back for extra food. I would've never done this in the past, but I felt safe that Joel would be able to hold things down while I was gone. And he did.
Everyone commented how much they enjoyed the brunch, and the hosts even gave each of us a huge tip, even though they had already paid us a pretty hefty attendance fee.
Thanks to Joel and the staff of the Hotel Indigo for helping me pull off yet another miracle job!
Sunday @ Wordsmiths
Wordsmiths Books Presents:
Sunday, October 28 at 2:00 p.m.
Wordsmiths Books 141 E. Trinity Place Decatur 404-378-7166
The Flying Biscuit Cafe Cookbook
The Flying Biscuit Cafe Cookbook is the long awaited second cookbook from Atlanta's immensely popular Flying Biscuit Cafe, consistently hailed as one of Atlanta's top ten restaurants since it opened its doors in 1993. Brimming with one of a kind recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and of course -"flying biscuits"- it's the only cookbook you need to get to the heart of authentic Southern comfort food. Wordsmiths Books is proud to present author Delia Champion for a launch party brunch and book signing. Free food will be provided by the Flying Biscuit Cafe.
Motivational Tapes Available Online...
I've never been a big "goal setter". I've never said "I vow to do so-and-so by (fill in the date)". I've always admired people that had dreams and goals, but I've always been the type to be satisfied with just surviving day to day .
So, it was with a lot of fear that I answered a question that was posed to me back in January concerning Catering Sales. Delia asked me to tell her what my goal for the year would be. Given the fact that I was on a catering high after just beating 2005 sales by 200%, I said I'd like to do the same in 2007-- beat last year's sales by 200%. I dreaded that statement for several months. How could I take over a department that brought in $36,000 in 2005 and have any hope of quadrupling that number in 2007? I would have to sell $144,000 to reach that goal!
But, guess what. As of today, Catering has brought in a little over $130,000 this year and it's only October! I have 2 months to reach the impossible goal that I set for myself, and I'm thinking that it may not be so impossible after all!
If I pull it off, I'll be able to add a great stat to my resume: Increased Catering Sales by 400% . Who wouldn't hire me given that info?
My only worry now is what will I say next January when Delia asks me to set a goal for 2008? Dare I try to double the sales again and strive for $288,000? That sounds like an impossible goal, but $144K seemed impossible earlier this year!
Friday, October 26, 2007
- The first Act was interesting, but hurried. There should have been more character development amongst the cast. The message seemed to be that life was great and no stone was left unturned by the main character.
- The following Acts contained an amazing ensemble of players- an ensemble that could rival the cast of "Mary Tyler Moore" or "Friends". The family members and friends of the main character were interesting and the interaction was fun to watch. The main character's views on different situations was thrilling and laughable.
- The Intermission was poorly timed. There should have been more laughs earlier in the show.
- The scenes following the Intermission were mostly soliloquies-- a "one-man-show". Interesting and thought provoking, but how excited can you get over a performance of one person on a stage.
- The fat lady began to warm up her voice soon after the Intermission. The show began to take on the feeling you get when you suddenly discover that you are alone and naked.
- Things picked up in the final scenes. The ensemble cast returned (although many of the players were replaced with new actors). The funny lines returned, but it seemed that the main character was no longer the one with the funny lines-- he was often the straight man.
- Near the end of the show, the curtain began to fall. It moved so slowly that you never knew when it would completely hit the stage floor. It was dramatic and left the audience wondering if the play was really over. The main character didn't seem to realize when it was over either-- he stayed on stage, bowing and waving, long after the audience filed out of the theatre.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Recap: Grand Opening Pics 2007
This first picture is from the Grand Opening of the West Paces Ferry/Northside location in Buckhead. This was the first franchised store. It opened in May 2007. I asked Delia to pose for a picture with me beside my car and the next thing I knew, lots of people were sitting in my back seat! After I looked at all of the pictures I found this one-- Delia and I along with the owners of the first franchised Flying Biscuit. Delia and I wanted this to be a tradition and vowed that we would be at every grand openening party to have this same pose done with newest members of our Biscuit family! One of these days I'll get off my lazy butt and print the pictures in an 8"x10" format, get them framed and hang them in the original Biscuit in Candler Park, along with a little bronze sign saying the date and location of each new store.
This picture is from the Grand Opening of the Marietta store (our 2nd franchise, 4th location). This store opened in late September 2007.
The Right Arm Blues
It's funny that they are both wearing sling/cast on the same arm! I'm so glad Mom doesn't have to wear a lampshade collar, too!
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Grand Opening in Charlotte!
This is the new Biscuit in Charlotte, NC. It's a very cool space and hopefully the biscuits will be flying there! Last night was the VIP/Media Party and they officially opened for business today! (Exterior/interior shots)
Below are the traditional pics of me, Delia and Molly with the new franchise owners & managers in the Biscuit Mobile! We waited a little too late for these pics, and they came out a little dark.
Below is a pictures of the training team-- a stealth group of my friends and coworkers from the Candler Park and Midtown stores. The managers and owners of the new stores all come to the Candler Park store and train with us for 8 weeks, and then the training team spend three weeks at the new stores to assist with "on the job" training with the new waitstaff and linecooks. They've all seen the pictures of the owner/managers in my car and wanted to have a picture for themselves! (If you look close, you'll notice that at some point during the party, I changed shirts~~ I started off with a green FB shirt, but ended up changing into my tan suede shirt so that the new GM would have a logo'd shirt to wear. Lucious-- I better get that shirt back!!!)
More Catering Woes...
Friday, October 19, 2007
Double the Fun!
Thursday, October 18, 2007
What a Trooper!
The Twilight Zone...
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
A Day in the Life of a Caterer...
- Tuesday, 1:00pm: I received a call from "Pam". Pam was in a panic because she was hosting a breakfast at 9:00am the following day for 200 people (including the Mayor of Atlanta) and her caterer had cancelled on her at the last minute. Anyway I could pull it off with such short notice? YES!!!!!!!
- Tuesday, 2:30pm: Pam called back to say that she was mistaken-- she needed breakfast for 20 people, plus enough drinks for 200 people.
- Tuesday, 3:45pm: Pam called and said that there would be an additional 20 people in another building needing breakfast at the same time. OK-- now there are 3 venues: 2 breakfasts for 20, and a roaming 200 people that needed drinks.
- Tuesday, 4:00pm: Pam isn't sure about the delivery time-- it could be anywhere from 5:00am to 11:00am. She said she'll finish her conference call and let me know if she wants to confirm the order.
- Tuesday, 5:15pm: Pam called back to request that all beverages must be Coke products. She specifically wanted 100 cokes, 100 diet cokes and 200 Dasani waters. I revised the invoice and also let her know that I only had 150 Dasani waters in stock, but I could fill in the order with Sprite. That's fine, she said. She also said that she would send me a confirmation email soon, finalizing the delivery times and number of people.
- Tuesday, 6:00pm: Pam called -- she still has no idea what time the food/drinks should be delivered, but she just realized that she needs table clothes. I told her that I didn't have table clothes and she suggested that I go buy some. Keep in mind, this order is not confirmed yet, and the delivery time is less than 12 hours away, possibly. I made a run to Linen's & Things and bought six 8' white table clothes, just in case. I came home and sent Pam an email telling her that the table clothes were purchased and I was still waiting for her confirmation.
- Tuesday, 7:00pm: Pam is ready to confirm, but she's rethinking the number of drinks she needs. She now decides that 150 bottled waters won't be enough. Let's make it 250. I explained that I only had 150 in stock and it was too late to order water to have it delivered in time for the 6:00am delivery. "Can't you go back to wherever you got the table clothes and get some more water?", she asked. At this point, I'm getting tired of this game. No wonder the previous caterer backed out. Anyway, I got in my car and drove to 3 different stores before I found Dasani water for sale by the case. I bought 6 cases, came home and sent Pam an email telling her that I had all of the water.
- Tuesday, 8:15pm: Pam calls and says that she has re-thought the drink situation again. Let's just go with 150 bottled waters. At this point I had 144 extra bottles of water in my trunk that were no longer needed, but I kindly sent her an updated invoice.
- Tuesday, 9:00pm: Pam calls to tell me that the invoice looks fine, and she's ready to give me her credit card number.... but, she doesn't want white table clothes-- she'd prefer beige. At this point the stores were closed--- I told her that I would see what I could do, and she faxed me the confirmation along with her credit card number, along with a request for 5 fruit platters.
- Wednesday, 1:00am: I wake up and go to Kroger's to buy enough fruit to prepare 5 platters. When I got to work, the night crew was just leaving. I prepped the muffins and biscuits, and cut up enough fruit to fill the order. I searched the basement and found some beige table clothes. They weren't clean so I had to wash, dry and iron them while the food was in the oven.
- Wednesday, 5:00am: I arrived on site and delivered everything that was ordered. Pam said "Hmmm... I think we need more water". Luckily, I still had 144 water bottles in my trunk (back at the Biscuit), so I went back to retrieve them. When I got back to the location I started setting up the tables. I put the beige table clothes on the tables, and filled each table with the fruit platters, continental breakfast trays, 200 water bottles and 200 soft drinks.
- Wednesday, 5:45am: Everything is set up and I'm ready for Pam to sign the credit card receipt. Only one problem-- sometime between 9pm last night and 5am this morning, Pam has found some orange table clothes that she preferred. I had to remove all of the food and 400 drinks so that she could remove the table clothes that I had ironed this morning and replace my table clothes with her new-found favorite color of orange.
- Wednesday, 6:00am: After everything was set up (again) I presented the check to Pam. At this point, she advised me that she wouldn't be able to tip me, but if I gave her my address she'd send me a cool T-shirt from her company. I can't believe this-- She's had me working for her nonstop for 15 hours--because of her, I've worked two full days with only 3 hours sleep. And all she has to offer me is T-shirt? I saved her ass-- she's hosting a breakfast for the Mayor of Atlanta and it wouldn't have all come together if I hadn't stepped in at the last minute and been willing to jump through the many hoops to pull it off. And for that, I might get a T-shirt?
- Wednesday, 6:15am: I returned to the delivery van to find that one of my tires was flat. I got prepared to change the tire, and then realized that the spare tire was missing. I called a tow truck and spent the next three hours in the Goodyear waiting room.
- Wednesday, 10:30am: I received a phone call "Hi this is Lisa... I don't know if you can do this or not, but I have a last minute breakfast order for tomorrow for 100 people.....".
And the cycle repeats daily. As unbelievable as this sounds, I swear it's all true. This is my life.........
Oh well, all of the "Best Of" issues are over and done with, and my little catering operation didn't get any plaques or trophies. I won't cry. I get my own validation each night when I come home and enter the day's sales in the "Sales Tracker" program that I created. Last week was a huge week for me-- I did $6041 in sales. That's a new record in the Biscuit's catering history! My goal for the year is still $144,000 (double the 2006 sales), and so far I'm just over $122,000! And I still have 10 weeks to go! I had my doubts earlier in the year, but now I'm thinking that I really might reach my goal!
So what if Atlanta Magazine, Creative Loafing and InSite Magazine's readers don't think I'm the best caterer-- I think I've done a pretty good job. Sales are up 250% over last year, and 450% over 2005. That tells me that I'm doing something right, even if I don't have a stinkin' plaque!
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
End of the Cliffhanger!
Lady had another "altertaction" with Joel's dog, Lucy this weekend. Lucy ended up with a broken leg and a cast that she'll need to wear for the next 4 weeks. This isn't the first time that Lady has injured Lucy. Lady isn't a viscious dog, but she does "go off" on stangers and small dogs. Mom & Martha have done all they could for the past 3 years to try to train her... they even sent her to boot camp and did follow up visits every weekend for over a year. They tried their best, but nothing seemed to stop Lady from being overly protective of her food and treats. Mom and Martha feared that her aggressive behavior would get worse and she might attack another small dog or possibly a child, they decided that they had to give up the idea of keeping Lady. It broke both of their hearts and they've each called me in tears since Lady left their house. I know they love her, and after three years it's hard to admit that all of your hardwork didn't pay off.
Things are different for Lady now. She now lives with a pack of dogs and she's taken her place at the bottom of the pack. She is submisive and calm now. I think most of her problem was that she didn't get enough exercise. She had too much pent up energy and she spent 99% of her time in the apartment. Because of this, she became overly protective of her space. Now she has a yard to play in and interaction with other dogs that are bigger than her. It's interesting to watch the transformation- last week she had the Alpha Dog attitude; now she seems just as happy to not be the leader of the pack.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Candler Park Fallfest Pictorial
The Flying Biscuit balloons and frizbees were a big hit with the kids this weekend! I pulled two long shifts adding up to 40 hours worked in a 48 hour time period, but I never felt tired. I had a great helper in the booth this year, my brother Joel! He's a real trooper and never complained once about the long hours.
Once again, we were in the space beside the "Corner Tavern". It was fun spending time (a lot of time) with the Tavern crew. I was shocked when I saw Patrick, the former manager of the original Tavern! He spent the day hovering between the Tavern's booth and mine. For those that don't know, Patrick and I dated a few years ago, and I was pretty upset when he moved to Florida. We lost touch then and this was the first time we've spoken since his going away party.
He's in town til Tuesday, and hopefully we can make plans and try to get together before he leaves town again.
Among other surprises this weekend were: Leslie and her children/grandchildren. I saw them at the Fallfest last year for a few minutes, but this year they were all working the children's play area and we got to see each other often. Leslie used to work with me at Rosenbluth and we've always been close. It's funny how we lost touch for years, but now it's an annual thing that we'll meet at Fallfest and catch up.
I also ran into Michael Malone-- he was the manager at the first travel agency at worked at. He was there to see one of his friends perform, and just happened to show up at the Biscuit booth. We share a common birthdate and of course we both made note that that date is exactly 2 months from today. Sagitarrians all think alike!
I also ran into Helen (Beverly's friend and former coworker)... it wasn't a big shock to see her on a Sunday in Candler Park-- her church is across the street from the Fallfest. But-- it was great to see her, even though I had to do some back-sliding to try to explain why she wasn't invited to Bev's surprise b'day party last month. All I could honestly say was that I wasn't involved in the planning this year, and I didn't have her phone number (all true). I do have her phone number now and she will be invited to the next party! It's always great to see Helen and I don't know how she was left off of the guest list this time.