Monday, March 13, 2006

Fixed, Toxic Employees, and Food 

The computer is now fixed, and we are re-installing software and recovering recipes and such. 99.9% of our data were backed up on both hard copies and floppies. We had to install WordPerfect instead of Word, and not all the backed-up files on floppies are converting nicely. The hard copies, of course, have to be re-entered by hand. So, now that hardware issues are resolved, we can once again pursue on-line our path towards opening the Cracked Cauldron.

The camera has been repaired, so we have one less expense by not having to purchase a new one. And we discovered Blogger has a new way of embedding pictures, so we have to learn that, too. Not that that will be hard - software is by far the easiest thing to fix and learn on computers (at least for me).

Manager completed her studies with one company for budget adjustments and payroll, and is now working with a different company to gain experience in billing, collections, and management - she is being trained to head a department and then will train her replacement so she gets both management and training experience.

She's already learned a few things about toxic employees and how one such employee can almost destroy a small business. I won't name names because I don't know them, but there was an employee at the small business where she's interning who was so toxic the company suddenly started experiencing a very high turn-over rate in employees, so much so that they were losing business. When this employee quit in a snit fit, the owner learned just how she'd manipulated other employees into leaving, and how she managed to lose them some accounts. Those accounts are returning now that the toxic employee is gone. It was a pretty graphic lesson in paying attention to sudden changes in employee behavior.

I'm glad it's one she learned at some one else's expense - and doubly glad that the business she's mentoring with has also learned its lesson and is stronger for it.

Of course, mentoring there also means a new group of guinea pigs and a new demographic for the established recipes we have.

She's doing this in Edmond, and we've had people ask about us opening the Cracked Cauldron up there. We've been hesitant because conducting the research and taste testing there would have been beyond us financially if we didn't have a paying reason to drive that far every day. Since she now has a paying reason to go to Edmond every day, she can conduct the research during lunch and after work before heading home.

We'll see how the demographics and research play out. We did our market research for that section of Oklahoma City for almost 2 years before we even decided it might be a worthwhile venture - changing venues isn't going to be much faster. We take risks, but they are well considered ones and ones which have a better than average ability to succeed.

Just consider us prudent risk-takers.

With a warm winter, we haven't done as much with the winter soups as we'd intended. However, there's a Indian Taco Competition that I have entered. I make an exceptionally good fry bread, and the topping is made from tepary beans and corn, densely seasoned with buffalo and goat meats and wild herbs, then garnished with lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese.

I'll post the recipe whether it wins or not, but not until after the competition.

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