Bummer! Closed again.

Well, that went quickly! We opened to a wildly successful Friday and Saturday at the Bathtub Races. Much acclaim, many crêpes and galettes sold!

Then the fridge broke, and refuses to reach a safe operating temperature.  We knew it was on its last legs, but we really really thought it would last more than THREE DAYS after its last very expensive service!  Admittedly, they did warn us, and that if it failed again that we should just give the cooler last rites and replace it. I just didn’t expect it to happen that soon!

So we’re closed until we can replace the cooler. With a NEW one that won’t cost as much in service fees over as half the price of a new one would have cost if I’d just up and replaced it last year in the first place!

Lesson learned, I guess.

Bathtub Weekend – maybe

It’s going to be touch and go whether I can make it to Bathtub Races this weekend. We’ve been accepted as a food vendor, and paid the exorbitant entry fees, but we still might not make it.

We will NOT be setting up on Thursday morning, although we were invited to do so. We might be setting up Friday morning if we can get all the issues sorted out. From licensing to refrigeration to me buying the wrong type of glue for the plumbing, it’s been another litany of issues to get going this year. Once we get going we’ll be active year-round, but it’s been a struggle so far, and it looks like it will continue to be a struggle for another few days at least.

Hopefully lessons will have been learned this year, and I’ll be able to avoid them in the future. But only time will tell. Learning from experience can be a very trying time when you’re still in the learning phase, and not in the “no shit, there I was” phase. Lessons are definitely being learned. I’m not sure class isn’t still in session though.

Coombs, day 2

Well, that was “interesting”. Seems that folks attending a western style rodeo aren’t actually all that interested in Breton galettes and crêpes if there are any alternatives.  As soon as an alternative of pulled pork poutine, fries, and fish tacos was available that’s where they flocked, leaving us pretty much high and dry on day 2. Another possibility is that we made too many people wait too long on Saturday, so they went where they could get faster service. I really don’t know what happened there.

Heartfelt congrats to Unplugged Foodie (if it was them in the purple truck), we heard a lot of complements about your food from folks who thought it came from us.  As for us, it was pretty dead. Overall, another event where we yet again didn’t quite cover our expenses over the weekend. Lots to learn, obviously. Just need to make sure we’re learning the right lessons, which I’m not sure of any more.  But learn we will!

Oh, and Yoshie came up with a wonderful idea on how to speed up making the “something different” galette (spinach and goat cheese). A system we might be able to also implement for the “almost complete” (ham and swiss). Which means I’ll probably be able to add a 3rd billig to the lineup as soon as I get the dratted thing working again!  It won’t solve all my production problems, far from it, but it will help a little.

Coombs, first day lesson

“Standing room only” seems to be the order of the day. I got to sit down once the entire day, and I had to schedule it and close up shop for 30 minutes to do it in order to catch up!!  Hammered them out as fast I could make them on two billig, and it was fairly quick. Could do better, but I think not much better.  This event was the perfect stress test for what I’m able to do so far. Learned a LOT! Fantastic weekend so far from a technical standpoint! Couldn’t be happier about it.

Unfortunately, the main lesson so far is fairly bad news.  We still sold under 90 crêpes and galettes in total, even though we sold as many as we could produce and had a lineup most of the time. This is very much a problem, as we’re still not covering the costs of such an event.  I either need to be able to at least double (at least) my production, or double my prices. And I’m not sure that a galette saucisse or ham-and-swiss can realistically be sold for $10.  I’m not sure I’d buy it, and I LOVE the stuff!!  So if I can’t learn to somehow dramatically increase production capacity then this business might be dead before it even gets off the ground.  Or maybe I need to talk to someone who understands business and marketing and find out what I’m missing. Maybe I really AM way under-priced?  I really, honestly, do not know where to go next. Going to have to find out.

We’ll be there tomorrow as well. It’s still tons of fun dishing out great food to appreciative people though. Can’t beat that!

Second lesson re-learned.

I’ve been here before. Not enough experience to have an intimate, detailed knowledge of all that can go wrong in a project, but still making predictions and promises. I guess the change of subject confused me enough that I forgot that lesson. That stops now.

No more promises. No more predictions. I’ll be ready when I’m ready. I’ll be open when I’m open. I’m no longer going to try to guess when that’s going to happen. All I can say is that it WILL happen. Tune in here for an announcement when it happens.

As you can guess, more delays because I didn’t know the questions to ask, and thus got blindsided by the answers.

First lesson learned!

So there’s this event I’ve promised to attend this weekend. I’m helping someone else, so it’s not just me affected. We’re supposed to take the trailer down there on Thursday. Except that due to delay after delay, the gas and other fittings are now scheduled for completion end of day Wednesday. Which means we had to book the inspection for 9 am Thursday morning. If I pass, all is good, and we should get down there on time for setup. But if I don’t get that approval that doesn’t leave much room to fix things!! Very stressful situation, and there’s little I can do about it any more.

Solution: pass the inspection. Which means I’ll have to pick up the trailer on Wednesday and work on it during the night in order to get it ready, since the work being done on it isn’t everything it needs.

I expect to make a lot of mistakes as a rookie in this industry. I learn fast, but one of the ways to learn is to make mistakes. Many mistakes means lots of learning, and hopefully I don’t repeat the same errors. Which brings us to the first lesson.

First lesson: when you buy a trailer or food truck that is already approved, don’t change anything. Create sanitation and food plans that match the equipment you already have, then get that approved.  Once you’re approved, then you can change and amend things without losing that all important health board approval, which means you can make money and meet commitments while you’re changing things.  My mistake was trying to “get it right” from the start. Don’t do that. Just get it DONE, then get it right.