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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I dream of orders.

I am officially wrapped up in the chocolate business. Last night, I took a chocolate order in my sleep. I don't mean that someone called at 2 a.m. and I answered the phone (although I do hope to inspire that level of chocolate addicted-ness). No, I took a chocolate order in my dream.

I find myself constantly considering marketing angles, trying to find new ways to put us in the black. I suppose that's why it filters over in my dreams. Too bad, really, I much prefer dreaming about romantic encounters. If I'm going to dream about chocolate, I wish I'd have some sort of grand revelation between the hours of midnight and eight, instead of just taking an order.

In other, much more interesting and exciting news, the new kitchen is now framed. I'm waiting to hear back from the plumbers, and we'll be on our way. I can't say enough good things about restaurant auctions when it comes to outfitting a kitchen on a budget. Certainly I've been to some auctions where people forget their senses and pay stupid prices for used equipment. But, if you find yourself at one of those glorious auctions where there is no reserve, and no-one wants to pay for anything, the deals are yours for the taking.

I was at such an auction a few months ago. I felt really bad for the restaurant owner - he'd lost his lease and had to be out, so everything had to go. I saw a $7000 crystal chandelier go for $600. My fellow buyers were mostly men, and mostly older, I stuck out like a zebra in a stockyard. The small wares were listed before the big equipment, so I had about a two hour wait of auctioning before I was even ready to consider bidding. That did nothing to lower my profile, either. At one point, I stood next to an older Indian man. He started up a little conversation, asking me where my business was, and so on. I answered a few questions and excused myself to go sit in another area of the restaurant. Less than five minutes later, here he came, making a beeline for my booth. He was joined by his business partner; together, they looked like they came from central casting. The first man who spoke to me was chubby and had a happy expression. His parter was tall, thin and shifty. He sat down and immediately started asking me questions - where was I located, what did I do, did I have a phone number? I told him that we didn't have a business number yet (a lie) and excused myself to go check out some of the equipment I would be bidding on. As I was looking in a back room, I heard them behind me! What was their deal? I'll never know if this was just some cultural miscommunication, or if they were trying to kidnap me, because about that time, the auction finally started moving back to the large equipment in the kitchen. In about thirty minutes, I was the new owner of a commercial microwave ($50), several sheet pans ($2 each), a double sink with drain boards ($25!!), and the big fish: an eight foot refrigerated work top ($350!). Needless to say, I was ecstatic.

So, as soon as I have plumbing, electricity, and some drywall, I'll have the perfect place to put all of my new stuff.

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