Well, where did I leave off. Refrigerators breaking and my body fat percentage increasing. Things seem to be going better this week so far. Business has picked up on the catering side and unfortunately I had to turn down some business because we were slammed a few days.
Many people ask me what our typical day is like and most think we work nonstop, which we don’t. Most of the time we have it made. Once every few weeks I might work a day from 6:00 in the morning until 6:00 or 7:00 at night, but I would guess on average I work from 7:00 in the morning until 5:00 in the afternoon, which isn’t really too bad. We could definitely work more hours and make more money, but I’ve been there in the past and have come to the conclusion that family and free time is much more important that money.
So how does my average day play out? It’s not glamorous but it pays the bills. I always get to the restaurant by 7:00, the moment we open the doors. Megan gets there much earlier to get the place up and running, make the coffee, make the days soup, bake off scones and breads, etc. Next comes Lisa our sandwich maker and prep cook at 7:30, not long after Joannie our baker and Nancy come in. At 9:00 our counter person, Cassie, comes in unless it’s Wednesday in which case Sarah is our counter person.
Most of my mornings, from 7:00 to 11:30 I spend working on the caterings (making salads, putting together platters, cutting bread, etc.) along with dealing with the customers who come in the door. There are days when I don’t have time to think from the moment I walk in until the moment I leave to deliver catering orders. Other days I might spend time talking to the regulars, though I rarely spend more than a few minutes with any one customer.
From 11:30 to 12:30 I’m oftentimes out making lunch catering deliveries. Half of our revenue comes from catering orders so I really think at this stage of our business, it’s important to go out and make deliveries and see the clients and the offices. It gives me important contact with my customers and also lets me see their response to the food. Honestly it’s also nice to get out of the restaurant before the craziness of lunch starts.
By the time I get back to the restaurant the lunch rush is usually going in full swing and I then spend the next two hours working the counter, taking orders, bringing food out to tables, refilling drinks, handing out napkins and everything front of the house. If we are really busy and we get backlogged then I will head back to the kitchen and start washing dishes. Basically I do anything that needs to be done with the exception of making the sandwiches. If it’s slow I take pictures…
After we close at 2:30 I usually will do the drawer, count the money, pay out the tips and reconcile the numbers. Then many things have to be done depending on the day. I might spend a few hours on the phone working with customers on their orders or just selling new catering gigs. Other days Nancy and I have to brainstorm on new marketing ideas or talk about how to handle specific situations with customers, respond to bids or talk about how to handle situations with our employees (fortunately this part is rare). Some days I end up going to Costco, Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s to pick up food we don’t get from our normal suppliers. Once in awhile I just leave and go home!
Most of the time the day ends here, but once per week I spend an hour or two working on Quickbooks. To save us money I do all of the books for the business…I took two years of accounting in college so I know a bit of what I’m doing.
Lastly if something big is going on I should be spending another 5 to 10 hours per week working on projects. Currently we are getting ready to build the business plan for the new location and we need to figure out what our retail marketing plan is for the holidays in short order. All of this work has to happen outside of the normal day unfortunately, but most of the time it’s a blast!
So this last Monday I had one of those days that didn’t end too quick and I needed to make something fast that would taste good. I looked through my book of ripped out recipes from the magazines I read and found one for Chicken Shawarma from Cooking Light.
The picture doesn’t do it justice. I really need to start experiment with some other backgrounds and purchase some different plates. The meal was great and both Randy and Jacob went back more than once to fill another pita.
Here is the definition of Shawarma from Wikipedia – Middle Eastern-style sandwich usually composed of shaved lamb, goat, or chicken. Less commonly, it contains turkey, beef, or a mixture of meats. Shawarma is a popular dish and fast-food staple across the Middle East, it has also become popular world-wide.
Chicken Shawarma (serves 4 to 6)
- 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into strips
- 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt – I used Fage
- 4 tablespoons tahini
- 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 8 pitas
- 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
- 16 tomato slices
Combine the ingredients up to the chicken in a large bowl. Add the chicken, toss to coat and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.
To make the sauce combine the yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, salt and garlic, combining with a whisk or a fork.
Heat grill pan on stove with medium-high heat. Alternately you can grill the chicken outside on your gas grill. Place all of the chicken on the grill pan and cook for five minutes, turn and cook for another five minutes or until internal temperature is 160 degrees.
If using a outdoor grill, place pita on rack and grill for one minutes on each side or until lightly toasted.
Assemble pita by topping with lettuce, tomato slices, chicken pieces and sauce to your liking! Devour!!