the gracious gift of hospitality

6 05 2011

As the 5th of May comes to a close, I reflect back to this morning when I woke up dreaming, thinking about and remembering my mom.  She was a phenomenal cook and an amazing host and she would have been 78 today.  I miss her terribly, but I also find tremendous comfort knowing that she is always with me.

It was my mom who contributed her gracious gift of hospitality to my DNA, and I am so completely and totally grateful.  As the owner of a catering business for 20 plus years, and now in my fifth year as a business consultant to the catering and restaurant industry, I can honestly say that this is a gift that keeps on giving.  Thank goodness.

Whether I am dining or cooking with friends and associates, visiting a gazillion restaurant websites in the name of “research”, or consulting with my clients, she is with me.  Channeling that gracious gift of hospitality in everything I do.  It makes me nicer, it keeps me humble, it helps me to help others and surrounds me with a comfortable and approachable aura.

I treasure the gracious part of this gift, it’s something I try to carry with me every day.  The warp speed change and advancement of technologies that has proven to make our lives better, more convenient, more efficient and yes, breathless … challenges our graciousness.

Thanks mom, for this lovely gift.  Happy Birthday and Happy Mother’s Day always and forever.


Spring Surge

26 03 2011

My brain hurts.  It happens every year at the first whiff of spring.  I start thinking about all the marketing ideas I had at the start of the new year and all the best laid plans which for one reason or another … I have yet to put into place.

Where does the time go?  I know the inordinate amount of time I devote to answering and instigating emails for all sorts of reasons definitely impacts the hours spent in any one day.  Time with clients, reading and staying current on trends and opportunities within the industry takes up another huge chunk of the day.  Executing all of the tasks I have undertaken on behalf of my clients is a huge and satisfying part of each and every day.  Educating myself via webinars, the internet, networking events and the like pretty much wraps up the rest of my waking hours, and then at night while I should be sleeping, my “board of directors” takes up residence in my head where there is never a “short” meeting.

So how shall I wrestle with this stranglehold of information and activity? 

I will have what I like to refer to as a “spring surge”.  While others may be vacationing or taking some time off,  I am devoting this weekend and next week to finishing all the projects I began at the turn of the new year.  I am going to finally update and optimize my website, create an email marketing campaign for my own company, and make sure my facebook posts, linkedin page and tweets are all as informative and engaging as they should be.

By the end of next week I’ll be ready for a vacation.  Margaritaville anyone?

As if it were my own.

17 02 2011

I am thrilled to begin working with a new client on a Fast Casual Restaurant concept.  We are going to have a look at a couple of locations today, and it’s got me thinking about the old adage … location, location, location!

However, while pondering the importance of location and the ga-zillion other details of this project, I have noticed a strong feeling in my gut.  It comes down to this … the best that I can do for my clients, is to always think of their projects as if they were my own. 

Taking virtual ownership is important to me, and I want my clients to be successful in their endeavors.   I know how important it is to make good decisions, and I know how hard we all work for the bottom line.  As we move forward, I will be thinking about every aspect of this project as if it was my own investment.

Gratitude in Consulting

3 02 2011

As I watched the world from my windows today, I was reminded of a time when I was not so centered, not so calm.  I watched and waited as 20″ of fresh show fell on Chicago between yesterday and today and now it’s over.  Leaving in it’s wake mountains of snow and a wind chill of 25 degrees below zero tonight.  Mother Nature has indeed spoken and I ponder her message.

I think she is telling me to slow it down and be grateful for who I am, and where I am in the world.  I remember my 24 years as a catering business owner and I am beyond grateful that I no longer have to be responsible for a team of professionals getting everything, everywhere is was supposed to be … come rain or shine or “thundersnow”.  I was grateful to sleep last night knowing I didn’t have to worry about a power outtage at the kitchen which could have blown out the compressors on the walk-ins, leading to the spoilage of all of our prep food for a weekend’s worth of events … or shoveling out the vans or staff who wouldn’t be able to make it in to work … how would it all get done?  The worry, the planning, the back-up plans … oh my.

Breathe.  It feels good.  I am so grateful to be working on my own, helping others through many of the same things I have experienced myself.  This time I am better educated and more prepared through my life’s experience … the good, the bad and the ugly.  I’m strong, I’m ready … bring it!

Catering for Restaurants

29 01 2011

Looking for new sectors in 2011?  If you have not yet created a catering menu for your restaurant, now is the time to think about catering and bringing more profit to your bottom line.

Catering packages are easy to put together, you can use par stock items and use the afternoon down time for prep.

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