Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How To Cook For The Guest

I read the same book twice this summer. Danny Meyer’s, “Setting the Table, The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business” (an autographed copy no less) was a gift from the manager of Gramercy Tavern  as Sevy and I left one evening. We didn't know him, he didn't know who we were, we had only mentioned how hospitable we thought all the Meyer clan of restaurants were.  At the time I didn’t realize the core truth of the gift was what was enclosed within the covers. It’s a clearly stated vision of how empowering your organization with the key concepts of hospitality creates "excellence, success, good will and soul" for all stakeholders in a business - and he’s not just talking restaurants and hotels here.

Many of us in the restaurant industry are well familiar with the tenets of hospitality, it’s easy to think that we already know all the how’s and the why’s. But which of us cannot refine how we operate each day within our organization - especially in today's business climate? I’m just saying that this book provided a wealth of ideas for Sevy and I to apply to our own business, in our own manner - reading the book empowered us to do this. A week after returning from NYC we ordered 4 more copies of the book from for our managers to read.

The definition of hospitality, a noun, is: 1. the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers. 2. the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way. Mr. Meyer’s definition of empowered hospitality turns this in to a verb. It is actions or behaviors towards your staff, guests, community, suppliers and investors in a warm, friendly, generous way - it goes beyond welcoming the guest at the door, serving the food they order and presenting a check. But like most policies that succeed, it has to start at the top.

There is a Dallas link in this book, Mr. Meyer recounts a dinner with Stanley Marcus who gave him some excellent advice. I could share this, and more, since I’ve read the thing (did I mention, twice?).  But truly, Mr. Meyer deserves every penny of royalties he gets off of this business guide. So I’m not going to give away his secrets, I’m only going to recommend that if you own a business - any kind of business at all - there’s something in here that will help you see how to improve.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

An A & W Without Root Beer Is Kind Of Like A KFC Without Chicken

The Freakonomics economists discussed this on Marketplace on KERA this morning.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Eat Pancakes For Hillcrest High School

This has become such a fun community event for parents, teachers, alumni and students, we are very excited to announce the
6th Annual Panther Pancake Breakfast at Sevy's Grill on Sunday, October 24th.  

100% of all income goes to fund Hillcrest High School programs.  This years beneficiaries are HHS Theater and HHS Panader Booster clubs.

Anyhow, here's the deets:  Everyone is welcome, but tickets are by reservation only due to limited seating, cost is (still only) $10 per person for a fixed-menu:  fresh fruit cup, pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon and choice of coffee, tea, milk or juice.  We will be serving breakfast from 9:00 am until Noon, to make your reservation contact (Amy Severson) with the TIME you want to come and the NUMBER of peeps in your party.  I will save you a spot.

It's a great kickoff for homecoming week, especially since I'm not working on the PTSA Parade-gang this year (moved to fund raising, yum).   Last year we had a very large alumni group from the 1960's spread over 4 tables in the front.  They had so much fun we didn't think they were going to leave. 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Cattle Baron's Report: More Success, Less Hangover

Jeff Barker and Richard
Last years Cattle Baron's Ball will go down in infamy, not for it's title, "Honor of Cowboys", but for the flood of rain that moved everyone into leaking tents, including the bands.   But at this weekends Ball, all was laughs and fun recountings, the mildewed odor of ruined leather blown away by the incredible event hosted by this years Committee.   "Need a ride home?", Taylor Allday asked the chefs, referring to the ride he gave Richard Chamberlain last year, leaving the rest of us to dig a limo out of the mud until 3 am.  Thanks Taylor, this year we all drove separately - and drank a lot less.

This years "The Great State Fair" was a brilliantly crafted showcase of all things amusing - State Fair-wise - carny games, cotton candy and an actual ferris wheel.  Mother Nature gave us a beautiful light show early in the evening with a stunning cloudless sunset, and after dark a fireworks display lit up the sky (word has it the fireworks were purchased as a gift from a husband to a wife on the Committee, but this is unconfirmed at this writing).   With the lights and the beautiful evening you could really believe you were, well, maybe not at THE State Fair, but at a small county fair, somewhere in Texas.   A small county fair with Jack Ingram and Allan Jackson providing the live music, that is.

It seemed as if the live auction bidding started out a little slow, it may have been because attendees were having too much FUN and enjoying too much FOOD (brisket, enchiladas,
Jim "Sevy" Severson, Kevin Garvin,
Richard Chamberlain
corny dogs, hush puppies, tacos) to wander over to the stage.  But by the time the annual Chefs Package came up, bidding was heating up.   This year "The BBQ Boys" as they were listed (Richard Chamberlain, Kevin Garvin, David Holben, Kent Rathbun and Jim Severson) added former Dallas-ite Kevin Rathbun, the band Collective Soul and Kosta Browne Winery to their private barbecue party for 30 people. 

And the bidding was steep, their package auctioned for $50,000, twice, adding a cool $100,000 to the over $1.5 million the Chefs package has raised to date over the last 20 years.  At the end of the Live Auction, everyone refilled their drinks before the bars closed down and meandered over to their tables in front of Allan Jackson's performance stage.   Sevy and I (not being huge country music fans) decided to beat the end-of-party rush.   Perhaps a vestige memory of last years conclusion in the back of our minds, we collected our gift bags, put the top down on the convertible and enjoyed a nicely uneventful drive home from Plano.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Alee Burger New To Northwest Dallas

Everyone in the restaurant business knows where Acemart is, even a few folks not in the industry shop there.  It's a restaurant supply store at Forest and Webbs Chapel where you can buy anything from aprons to a cotton candy machine.   On my way in I noticed a "Grand Opening" sign hanging over the store next door, Alee Burger, who claims to make the "Best Burger In Town" and "We Don't Make Until You Order".

I didn't have a chance to check that claim being short on time so I'll leave that verification to a local reviewer who's the "expert" on burger food.  But the salesgirl at Acemart said the burger she had was great.  So there's that.  They have 13 different styles, plus a Turkey Cheeseburger and a Vegetable Cheeseburger, and 10 different sandwiches, nachos, salads and Kid's Baskets.

At $4.25 for 1/2 lb. burger, it seems like a great deal. 

Get Your Pie Baking

Tomorrow, Saturday October 9th is North Haven Garden's annual pie contest.  While I've previously recommended a pie recipe, or two, this is one of the NHG contests I know I should stay away from, these are some seriously talented bakers.  Besides, with Sevy's Grill being a contest co-sponsor, for me, what's to win?  A meal cooked by my husband, while wonderful, is pretty common in our house.

There is NO pre-entry required, rules are here.  So if you have a great pie recipe and want to prove it, get busy baking.  OR, if you're not a baker, stop by for their free classes being held tomorrow on growing fruit trees, canning and pickling or how to make a no-fuss pie crust.  And then stay to sample the contestants pies.