One of the more fun things I am doing at the co-op is attempting to slowly develop a catering program. I really love catering. On the staff side of things, it is an opportunity for the deli workers to step out from behind the counter and serve people in a more personal way, and it is a great opportunity for the cooks to work with recipes and personalize them as necessary.
The most challenging thing about developing the catering program is that I am attempting to do it slowly. Before I arrived on the scene, the delis did catering, but there was no process in place to really efficiently and accurately handle it. I have created one with the thought in mind that as demand grows, we can fix the problems and the inefficiencies that arise before it gets too big.
This last week we did Dining with Directors, or, as we lovingly refer to it behind the scenes, The DWD. I figured it would be a great practice run for the Annual Member Party (The AMP) in March. With just a couple of minor glitches, we pulled it off in fine fashion, which made me feel like the party in March will be no problem.
One tiny thing though, something that James, the catering manager at the Downtown store said to me, that kept ringing in my ears throughout the function and on into the night, is a bit troubling.
He told me that by this summer, we will most likely have to hire staff to handle the catering demand. He told me that as it is, the downtown store is much busier with catering than it used to be, and that this winter, they were “summer busy” with catering requests.
Too busy? Not a horrible problem to have. Unless you are in the midst of drastically changing production methods, moving the bakery to a new location, and shifting food production from one location to another.
The good news is that I think we can handle it. The deli staff is up for the challenge and excited to enter this new phase of development. What would be really awesome, if I could ask, is if you, our great customers, could give me as much feedback as possible about our service and food quality. I welcome any and all comments, so if you could leave them below or on the coop website, I would sincerely and truly appreciate it.
It takes a village, people. And I am going to need more than clever puns and diligent task management to get the job done. So thank you ahead of time for your feedback.