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Friday, June 22, 2007

Fridays are a thrill.

Fridays are a thrill. We do a volume of business second only to Thursday, but in a 7 or 8 hour day vs. a typical 12 hour day. It starts immediately, with people often waiting for the doors to open to buy their challahs. Our bakery staff have been up all night baking our batch of challahs. Fishman's challahs have definitely made it big. We have a tremendous following that has been growing every year. We now sell challahs to the pre-schools at Adath, Beth El and the JCC. We started making cinnamon and chocolate challahs about a year ago and that is now catching on. We even have a customer who for three straight months has had six plain challahs and two cinnamon challahs shipped FedEx overnight to Tuscon, Arizona. The shipping is about $90. That's a testimonial.


Oh, I forgot to say that our challahs went to Hawaii not too long ago.

Fridays are a thrill. Every Friday, Rabbis J.B. Borenstein and Moshe Koval do a "Lunch and Learn" here. Between 8 and 18 people show up for lunch and stay to learn Torah. Everybody buys lunch, so it gets busy from noon to 1:00pm. The group is very eclectic and draws people from all Jewish backgrounds- men and women. The Rabbis keep them captivated. On top of that business we continue to have a lot of deli and last minute grocery business. I have been the only counter person pretty much from the beginning. I have occasionally hired a person to help on Fridays, but it never seems to last. My last guy was Matt, who is our butcher. He opted to work Friday instead of Sunday and the spot that I had for him was at the deli. That worked until Angel, our other butcher, was let go and we needed Matt in the meat department. Yesterday, I hired a summer employee. His mother had mentioned him to me, so I was prepared when he walked in. I had him fill out an application. His email noted Stanford University. I asked if he was a student there and he said yes. I decided very quickly that he was teachable and that I could use the help in the deli. I barely asked him a question and hired him on the spot. I have been so used to mostly little educated or seeming untrainable employees that I signed him up right away. So far, after two days, I think it will work out nicely. I still have not decided what to do about our evening mashgiach slot. At least, Jeff, our new employee will ease that transition when it comes.

Fridays are a thrill.

Besides the busy restaurant and deli counter, we often have a catering events on Friday nights or Shabbos day meal or kiddush. That puts additional strain on our already tight staffing. They say that volume cures all ills in this business, but I have not seen it yet. We are getting better, however, on pricing profitably. We recently added catering prices that include time consuming activities such as Signing and Sealing product going out the door for off premise consumption. We also started adding in fees for equipment wear and tear, and additional delivery and staffing costs. Hopefully, this will continue to provide the revenue we need to grow and higher skilled staff.

Fridays are a thrill. When the day ends at 3:00 pm (winter) or 4:00 pm (summer) I feel like I worked a half day. The day is so compacted that it feels wonderful to close the doors while there is still daylight outside, and then sit at the computer to do odds and ends, like write in this blog. Have a good Shabbos.

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