i wake up starving on saturdays and sundays after long nights of kitchen stress. i don’t often have the energy to cook more, but then there are times when i’m just to interested in a killer breakfast and know that no restaurant in town will live up to my high breakfast standard. what could be better than this spread right here, bacon, eggs, cheese grits, homemade biscuit and a glass of florida OJ? oh, and there’s the sweetwater coffee too. what could be better? hmmm. i’ll have to get back to you on that one.
the weekend was busy and also the first weekend that our new system actually worked. in the new ticket system in house orders get bumped more than ever before, and call in to-go orders get somewhat shafted. if you want a pie on the weekend, you need to call us 2 hours in advance because we are doing less to-go pies, giving longer times between to-go pies, so we can get food to the folks who have been waiting for a table. if you come in and get a to-go pie, we call it to-go waiting pies (generally folks who will eat out back and watch the band), you’ll wait a bit longer too now, as we are giving even more priority to in house orders. you see, when folks have to wait between one and two hours for a table, they should get their food in 45 minutes or less. once we started seeing in house orders taking an hour or more, i realized that something had to give, and the pizzas going in boxes are the ones that gave. the system actually worked brilliantly this past weekend for the first time, and in house food got to the tables quicker than ever. every day poses new challenges for us and this is the latest hurdle we have sprinted over. it’s good news for all you die hard fans who come in and wait for a table. we’re doing everything we can first and foremost for you people. if you’re at home on the computer or in front of the tube, better think ahead and bear with us, you’ve been up there waiting before, you know it can be a struggle. i’m not gonna lie and tell you that from now on all the food is going to be fast and no one will suffer, i’ll leave that to the politicians. no, i’m telling it like it is. if you get it in a box, it’s going to take longer, sorry.
and now for the what could be worse section of the blog. how bout them gators? because the games often get played on saturday nights, i rarely get to see them. but when the occasional 12:30 game happens, i am on it. so, there i was, excited as could be… and then to have a close game, that’s always more exciting… and then it was down to the last play… and there’s my wife, who NEVER watches football but has decided to watch with me and root for the rebels because, well, she’s a rebel i guess… and then the choke… what could be worse? … like i said before, you can’t win them all.
i tell you what could even be worse than that, how about this $700 billion bailout of wall street… how about this war… how about all the bad news going on…??
but i don;t want to bring you down so i’ll try to leave you on a happy note… scroll back up to that photo and take a gander at my dream breakfast… think about it, those cheese grits are perfect.
Archive for September 2008
this is a picture of me trying to look like a robot.
seriously though, what is going on in america?
all the talk about financial turmoil, in conjunction with the high gas and food prices, and the uneasy feeling people are getting about electing a new president, has tables at satchel’s sitting empty. i mean, we still are making lots of pies, and making some really good crispy ones, but business is falling well below expectations and benchmarks. sure, we’ve had a couple busy weekends, and sure if you come at 7:30 you may still have to wait even on a wednesday night, but we have had some slow times lately and this last weekend was probably the slowest we’ve seen all year. i’m not upset about it, i just thought you should know. we’ve poured our earnings into paying off our property for years, we weren’t gambling it all on more and more and more stuff, we didn’t open 15 satchel’s and stretch our credit out… no, we put principle on the payments every month and decided to get our debt down, and hopefully lots of folks are thinking it’s a good time to lay off spending frenzies. live within your means. don’t borrow more than you can repay. now i’m a financial advisor too? no no, i’m just rambling on for the heck of it. you know if you can afford a satchel’s pizza this week…
the upside of business slowing some is that i get more time off. for over 5 years i have been frantically trying to keep up with the pace, hire people, train people, watch the food and service, stress and freak out every 15 minutes, and with business on a slowing trend, i can stay home, read another chapter to my son, play dolls a little longer with my daughter, and maybe, just maybe, even empty out the dishwasher once in a while. i feel good knowing that the staff is well paid and capable, and the holidays may have us slammed again and i’ll be up there bussing tables and answering the phones and all that again soon enough. the wave has finally crested, and now i can surf for a bit…
i’m excited that gator season is upon us. i’ve just finished the newest bumper sticker that says simply, “please vote.” although i have ideas for 15 or so new t-shirts, i am going to sit back and wait for some of the ones we have to sell. the ones i was telling you about a couple weeks ago are in, “satchel’s by the sea, st. augustine.” i would tell you about the new st. augustine location but i don’t want to spoil the
truth fun. we have vegan cheese now and i told my dear readers about it but i don’t think we have any vegan blog readers as it has not taken off yet. today ken and i painted, or stained rather, the LSE lounge floor, an interesting shade of orange. what is the deal with orange anyway? well, if you don’t know, it’s my favorite color. but don’t try to break into my email account and use it because it is not one of the secret questions. the rain barrels are pumping rain water to the greenhouse and 2 beds of plants now. did i tell you that the lounge floor is orange?
i gotta go. i’m probably driving you crazy.
well, saturday was quite crazy. it started off with the obama rama and there must have been 300 people that came to that event. LSE is crowded with 50 people so it was a mad house as you can imagine, or maybe you were there. the organizers really worked their hearts out for that event and it was inspiring to see so many people come out. saturday night we never went on a wait because of the gator game but that is normal. for those who do not follow gator football (all 7 of you) during the gator games is a great time to come to satchel’s and get a table without waiting.
what else? oh, the owners of the lot to the east of satchel’s (behind finishmaster) have decided to hire a local towing company and enforce roam towing there. i rarely see customers park over there but it’s good info to know. i’ve had a long battle trying to figure out parking issues over the last 6 months, and this new policy behind finishmaster is one sad result of my failed labors. but one thing is for sure in this day and age: money is king. if i really want to spend some bucks i can rent that lot after hours. since no one uses it anyway, i chose to let it go to the towing companies and save my money to afford raises for employees. after all, satchels is for lovers.
well, i sent 2 employees to a pizza show in orlando and each is in a contest. OT (the original tim pictured here) won second place in the best pizza competition. these pizza shows happen a couple times a year and this one was in orlando. sometimes they are in new york or vegas. anyway, we’ve never been and jake wanted to go and try out largest dough stretch competition and he suggested we try out best pizza thing too. so i signed up tim and sent them down there for a bit of fun and didn’t really expect to win at all. the folks who win these things go to all of the events and go to great lengths to come up with all sorts of crazy pies (truffle oil, sauteed toppings, blue cheese drizzles..) and we just went with a basic sausage, red onion, basil and carrot pie. and i’m pretty impressed with 2nd place, as it’s a national competition.
tomorrow jake does his dough stretch and i’ll let you know what happens.
tonight at work was pretty tough. we had so many to-go pies and were packed in house as well. it was a difficult night. i realized i need to turn away more to-go food by giving more realistic to-go times. you’d think an hour or an hour and a half were realistic, but i really needed to be giving 2 hour times as i had so many in house pies to make… and once i’m behind it is like a domino effect. and there was the table that sent back there pie saying it was burnt and it wasn’t, and the table asking about their pie only 30 minutes after the order was turned in and wanting something for free then because of the long wait. they had somewhere else to go… well satchel’s is not the place to go if you have to be somewhere else. i can tell you that for sure. those two things really upset me tonight, because the people who sent the pie back never even took 1 bite and the pie was cooked perfectly with just a hint of burn on the edge of one piece. that is totally acceptable when you make pies for real like we do. anyway, fortunately i did not have the extra 5 minutes i would have liked to go out and speak to them about it. fortunately because i would have explained to them that it was a close to perfect pie and they should eat it. it was not burnt on the bottom at all. they didn’t give it a chance. and then the other table wanting a free salad because the food was going to take 50 minutes to arrive. it says right on the menu that the food may take 50 minutes when we are busy and boy were we ever slammed. i know i know, you cannot please all the people. i should talk instead about all the inspiring customers tonight, like the guy who stuck his head in the kitchen to tell us we were awesome. or the customer who was so excited about his deep dish and when i asked how long he had to wait he said it didn’t matter, or table z who said it was perfect pizza and they didn’t care about the wait, or the guy i passed in the hallway who said the pizza was fantastic. i shouldn’t dwell on the 2 tables who had a bad time. i should be stoked that we won second place in that pizza contest in orlando.
we sold our first 2 vegan cheese pies tonight. i worked a loooong day getting up at 5:30 this morning and here i am writing a blog at almost 1am the next day. tomorrow i gotta be in early to help out with the big obama-rama event. i guess it’s time to get going…
yes folks, that’s sonny, of sonny’s bar-b-q, started right around the corner from us at that waldo road location. sonny was eating at satchel’s tonight so i got this photo op. i look crazy as a barn monkey but heck, i’m making dinner for sonny, so i’m pretty excited. sonny has sold the franchise and only owns one sonny’s now, in alachua, but sonny knows where to get his pizza.
the vegan cheese is in and tastes pretty good. tell your vegan friends to come try the new vegan cheese called “teese.” sonny wasn’t trying out the vegan cheese or bar-b-q tempeh, but he did get some sweet tea. i meant to ask him if it was alright.
the don’t speed in waldo shirts are in stock again, and we have some surprise t-shirts coming out next week.
the kids carnival obama rama is saturday so don;t miss that if you have kids or want to get involved in the obama campaign. i gotta run now though, i want to catch mccain’s speech. i saw leiberman, some of fred thompson, sarah palin, of course… more on that later.
pictured are the rainbow peppers we’re growing out back. this past weekend we added them to the toppings list. a few folks tried them out. they are hot but not as hot as jalapenos. they are sure pretty though, eh?
also noteworthy is the fact that a customer tipped us off to a company that makes a vegan cheese. that should start getting delivered late this week and hopefully the vegans will love it. i’m excited because i always feel bad for those cheese-less dry vegan pies we send out. i know they taste good but the vegan cheese will give a better pizza experience.
friday night was a killer. the folks who ordered at 7:30 had to wait an hour for the pie. we were just too busy and the oven can only hold so much. i hate to see it happen but the friday night before a home game is always a killer. then there were the many big to-go orders. there were several 3 and 4 large pizza orders around the same time. we gave them long waits but eventually we just had to fit them in and make them. saturday night was busy too but not as busy as friday night. it wipes me out i tell you, a week of satchel’s. i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again, if it weren’t for the two days off every week, i think i would just lose my mind and forget about the restaurant business. it’s just so intense and hectic.
this week i plan to start a small website promotional campaign to see if we can increase traffic. lightnin’ salvage gets less than 10 hits a day and i spend about half my life trying to get that website tricked out. why check out the new pine cone contest page by clicking here.
you can see info about the fountain-o-junk if you search. there are pictures of the t-shirts… i could go on but it’s all there. i have this simple idea to promote the sites and i hope to launch it tomorrow.