Author Topic: slice of NJ in Ohio  (Read 950 times)

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Offline waltertore

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slice of NJ in Ohio
« on: November 15, 2013, 03:44:34 PM »
Our pies came out good today.  I got a call today to provide pizzas every friday for a local Montessori School.  They told me they heard about us from one of their board members who is a regular customer.  Word of mouth is starting to break down the immense obstacles we face - inside a locked high school, no direct phone, only open during school hours, no delivery, 1 size only (18"), only with cheese or pepperoni toppings, and are now having people order at least a day in advance because we are getting so busy.  My doctor came in today to pick up his pies for the Friday night poker game with the boys.  One of them is a NJ native and he has been coming in once a week since trying the pies at the Dr.'s house.  Walter
« Last Edit: November 15, 2013, 04:22:11 PM by waltertore »


Offline wahoo88

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Re: slice of NJ in Ohio
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2013, 05:48:15 PM »
As always, those pies look awesome, and I marvel at the level of consistency you are able to maintain, especially considering all of the craziness that must be happening while they're being made. I am at school in Virginia and haven't found a respectable NY slice here yet, and those pictures just drive me insane :drool: While Maryland (where I live) isn't a great place for pizza, you can find a very good NY slice if you know where to look (most often my oven).

I think that the...um... difficult circumstances under which you operate your business have created a certain aura around your pizza  :-D Doesn't it seem like many of the restaurants with cult followings have certain quirks that a customer must deal with? In terms of lack of advertising, I believe that you have succeeded in doing what Scott once described as vital:

Quote
You need to make a pizza that will blow people's minds- that will have them leaving your pizzeria and shouting your name to the rooftops.  You know the bible story of Saul transforming into Paul on the road to Damascus?  That's the kind of transformation your customers should be experiencing. When they bite into your pizza, they should be struck down by a blinding white light. They should walk into your place blind and leave with their sight restored  ;D

Dan


scott123

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Re: slice of NJ in Ohio
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2013, 06:54:20 PM »
I think that the...um... difficult circumstances under which you operate your business have created a certain aura around your pizza  :-D Doesn't it seem like many of the restaurants with cult followings have certain quirks that a customer must deal with?

Walter might correct me on this, but I don't think most of his customers know who's making his pies- nor do I think they really care.  He's not selling 'great pizza made by special needs students,' he's selling 'great pizza' (that just happens to be made by special needs students).

Walter, that's great news about Montessori. Any chance for any job placements there for your students in the future?  Btw, if you sell more pizza/baked goods, do either you/your department see any of that money?
« Last Edit: November 15, 2013, 06:56:50 PM by scott123 »

Offline waltertore

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Re: slice of NJ in Ohio
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2013, 06:59:04 PM »
As always, those pies look awesome, and I marvel at the level of consistency you are able to maintain, especially considering all of the craziness that must be happening while they're being made. I am at school in Virginia and haven't found a respectable NY slice here yet, and those pictures just drive me insane :drool: While Maryland (where I live) isn't a great place for pizza, you can find a very good NY slice if you know where to look (most often my oven).

I think that the...um... difficult circumstances under which you operate your business have created a certain aura around your pizza  :-D Doesn't it seem like many of the restaurants with cult followings have certain quirks that a customer must deal with? In terms of lack of advertising, I believe that you have succeeded in doing what Scott once described as vital:

Dan

Dan: thanks for those kind words.   You are right.  The best pizza in most cases is found at ones home oven.  The days of great NY style pies has seen its peak and IMO is in rapid decline.   There will always be great shops but the numbers are dwindiling.  Today was another crazy day.   I am getting too old for it so it feels like tonight :)  I love working with the kids but culture of a school with its rules, bells, required educational obligations/hoops I have to jump get to me often.  But I have to remind myself I am in charge of my bakery/pizzeria and can do as much or as little as I choose.   When I first started it I made a wide array of baked goods and breads.  No one bought them.  That was a gift because I realize I can't pull all that variety off with the skill level of my students.  Life has a wonderful way of putting things in perfect order if we just listen.  Our big contracts are for bagels and cookies.  I have streamlined the process to make it a not so hard thing to do.  My struggle is I take on too much.  A guy wanted an apple pie so we made a dozen today. Another guy wanted soft pretzels so we made 4 dozen yesterday, overnight fermented them (sweetened with malt syrup) and boiled/baked them on the oven stones/bagel boards today.   Then there was the extra cookie order last minute.  Then my main student Paige, who has been fighting a nasty cold for a week, ran out of gas.  Then my 2 other top students were out sick.   So it was basically me making 20 pizzas, 200 bagels, a dozen pies, 4 dozen pretzels, 6 dozen chocolate chip cookies (the size of a cd), and managing my students making 1,000 school wellness law approved choc chip cookies/freezing them, bagging them, slicing the bagels/bagging/freezing them.  Clean up the room, do laundry, deal with some administrative BS and deal with about 50 walk in customers for slices- I had to stop, reheat, continue making fresh pies, make change, wash my hands again..........   


I  have always been driven, to the point most people who know me say I am very abnormal, and this is my challenge- to slow down.  I talked at length with Anthony, the owner or Una PIzza, about this disorder.  I am getting better at it and now have a clear plan.  We will make the bagels and cookies everyday for our contract customers (schools/university) and pizzas everyday.  That is going to be about it.  This I can manage. Today was another reminder that I am almost 60 and the pace I had to keep today is not good for me.

Thanks on the cult following!   I had the same thing with my music.  My pizzeria/bakery is the same thing just music has been swapped for food.  I never made a dime with music.  Money never has held my interest more than long enough to get by.  The school gig is a good one for me.  I make 60k a year and don't have anything to do with my paycheck. It is all union stuff and direct deposit which my wife handles.  After every one left today my doctor came in to pick up his pizza order.  We  had a good talk.  He left and I put on a Sinatra cd, and finished up some odds and ends so we would be ready for monday.  As the music was playing I really relaxed and had a vision of me runnning my own shop someday.  A small one, with just 1 special needs employee for prep and clean up.  My wife was running th register and I was just making pies at a nice easy pace.   My dreams have all come true and the process, which I have gotten to know pretty well by now, follows this pattern of spontaneous visions.  Eventually it comes to pass just as The Smiling WIth Hope Bakery has.  I am learning a lot here about running a business, my limits, and getting paid steady dough whether I succeed or fail.   The universe is a beautiful thing.   Excuse any typos.  I don't see-one of my disabilities- but I am sure you will :)  Walter

Offline waltertore

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Re: slice of NJ in Ohio
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2013, 07:10:51 PM »
Walter might correct me on this, but I don't think most of his customers know who's making his pies- nor do I think they really care.  He's not selling 'great pizza made by special needs students,' he's selling 'great pizza' (that just happens to be made by special needs students).

Walter, that's great news about Montessori. Any chance for any job placements there for your students in the future?  Btw, if you sell more pizza/baked goods, do either you/your department see any of that money?

Hi Scott:  Our room is one big kitchen so everything is in plain view.  People come in either the front or back to it so they do see who is making the products.  It started with a few staff members buying from us and today I had 2 in that never have bought from us.  I asked what brought them in and they said the raves and others  had shared a piece of pizza with them. The same sort of thing is happening with the district bus drivers (about 60 of them), and the community.  It is swelling at a nice pace and I realize the pizzas, cookies, and bagels will be our thing.  I miss making good bread, muffins, and other stuff you find in a bakery,  but that will have to be a fill in thing when we have lulls. 

The montessori school, welsch hills school, in granville, is small.  They would only want 12-15 pies on fridays.  That is a perfect # because we do about 20 on fridays now.  That would be about 40 pies on the high side over a 2-3 hour period.  That pace I can do with the kids I have.  I explained to them that if I am sick the place is shut and the kids watch movies.  T hey asked if we delivered and I said  no.  I also told them we only do 2 kinds of pies (cheese or pep) and one size.  Plus we may not be on the same school calendar schedule.  I sent the email off to their inquiry this afternoon.  If it works great, if not, no big deal.  As far as work for my kids I have no idea.  But if it does work with us I am sure they will be open to it if there is something they could do.  Thanks for the support!  Walter
« Last Edit: November 15, 2013, 07:16:20 PM by waltertore »

scott123

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Re: slice of NJ in Ohio
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2013, 07:31:45 PM »
It's time to hire an assistant, Walter- probably a bit past time.  The numbers are only going to increase from here on out.  You need a minimum wage worker that can handle some of the drudgery work that you were saddled with today.  I have no doubt that the money you're pulling in could support another person- even if it's just part time (perhaps someone just for Thursday and Friday even, since those are shaping up to be pretty hectic).

You've got two things going on here- the beginnings of a very successful business and a successful learning environment for special need students. You could probably make more product if you spent a little less time teaching, but that wouldn't be fair to your students. On the other hand, if you have demand for product that you're not keeping up with, that's lost revenue for the school.

As long as the demand is there (and it sounds like it will be), then dialing back production will end up losing the school more money than if they just hired someone to help out.

I know you're swimming in a sea of bureaucracy, and what I'm proposing is highly unlikely, but I would speak to the powers that be- and keep speaking to them, over and over again. They need to completely understand the money that's at stake- as well as fully understand what you and your students can and can't do.  You shouldn't be afraid to tell the powers that be something along the lines of "well, we had a big pie order today, but I had to turn it down. If we had an extra person... that money wouldn't be lost."

Framing it from a perspective of lost revenue could be an effective way of cutting through the bureaucracy.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2013, 07:34:23 PM by scott123 »

Offline waltertore

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Re: slice of NJ in Ohio
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2013, 07:48:22 PM »
Scott:  I am right with you.  You make perfect sense.  I ran my own band/record label for 20 years and that approach gets me nowhere but in trouble in schools.  It is all about be a good soldier and follow orders regardless if they make sense or not.  I am not wired to live like that and somehow have managed to survive this system for almost 20 years doing it my way but my days are always numbered. I left TX and CA because my program got unplugged.  Here it is working but there are lots of things on the perimeter that are threatening it all the time.  It is just a matter of time before I get shut down again due to the ever increasing push to do pure abstract in your seat academics with all kids, even mine, many of whom can't hardly write their names and are 18-21 years old.   Another problem is my program has no history in the school systems so they have no rule in their rule book about it so they tend to say no first and then I have to prove that yes will work.  The administrators and superintendent tell me as long as we make a profit we can stay open but when I say I need help they all do like the characters in the Sinatra movie - the manchurian candidate-  when they are asked about Raymond- "he is the kindest, warmest, best friend/person I have ever known".  The brainwashed response I get each time is - "Walter this is all union stuff.  You will never be able to hire an assistant even if you have a million dollars in your account because it would be taking work from a union employee."  I did have a full time adult assistant but  her skills were so low she was singlehandidly going to sink the program via her ruining about 60% of whatever I put her on.  I went through proper channels to move her to no avail so one day I did a NJ Italian mobster rage on her.  She left the room crying and they put her in another room.  The room they put her in filled a position for a woman that just retired.  The district decided to  eliminate my aide positition and I asked if we could create a new union posititon.  The response I got was no money spent outside of kids or equipment.   I believe again I asked a question not in the rule book and no one in power is willing to put in the time to make it happen.   Even if I could get one through the district it would be the employees choice to apply.  I can not choose a person.  That is the union rule.  The money we make stays in my account and doesn't go back to the schools general fund.  So they are not gaining or losing anything with my business.  I have tried and will continue to try to find outside funding for an assistant.  Volunteers from the Dension student body are a help but they cancel about 60% of the time for studying and such.  So, I am basically stuck with me, myself, and I.  This is what is nudging me towards doing my own thing at some point when the time is right.  Until then I will have to back off.  I have turned down dozens of orders including standing daily orders for 300 bagels a day.   Schools are a mess of mismanagement.  I hope they fail and a new model emerges because as it stands now all I have to do is show up everyday and I pull the same check if I sleep at my desk or do what I do now.  Once in the system it is near impossible to be fired.  Taxpayers would freak out if they saw how bad things are.   It is the system.  It is seeped in ways that don't work and nobody is changing it.   I am compelled to work with the disabled and will continue as long as I can.  I figure when that day hits my pizzeria will be ready to open so I do dread it and I try not to dwell on it happening and just enjoy working with some wonderful human beings that society feels are worthless.  Walter
« Last Edit: November 15, 2013, 08:02:49 PM by waltertore »

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: slice of NJ in Ohio
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2013, 08:02:28 PM »
Walter, if you ever know in advance that you might need a little extra help, let me know. I may not have had the motivation yet to drive all the way to Newark just to observe and hang out, but if you could use some help, that might give me a lot of motivation.

Offline waltertore

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Re: slice of NJ in Ohio
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2013, 08:14:18 PM »
Walter, if you ever know in advance that you might need a little extra help, let me know. I may not have had the motivation yet to drive all the way to Newark just to observe and hang out, but if you could use some help, that might give me a lot of motivation.

Ryan: That sure is kind of you.  We need help most everyday especially from 7am-noon.  Afternoons are slow - typical food industry thing-wham bam and then slow.  With the bagels and cookies the mornings are the critical time due the time needed for the bagels to rise, be boiled, baked, and cooled so they can be sliced and frozen by 2pm.  Same with the cookies.  They have to put 54 to at try, frozen, and then bagged/labeled and put in freezer by 2 so we will have space the next day.  It is all very fine tuned time wise.  The bagels are mixed and staggered with various temps of water so as to make their rise not to over run our boiling capacity.  We do plain first thing, then  cinnamon raisin, and blueberry last.  The cinn raisin take a bit longer to rise due to the raisins and the blueberries are frozen so the dough is cold.  We proof them in a 20 rack rolling rack that is covered with a zip plastic cover.  On the bottom shelf is a a full sheet pan with a big pot of hot water on it.  We park it next to the pizza ovens to help with the rise.  A matter of 10 minutes off with each type of bagel rise time results in overproofed.  Anyway, the mornings are the time I really need  help and also at my students lunch time.  I am in the room alone and it can get nuts trying to make pizzas, reheat slices, make change.   Too bad we don't live closer.   Walter

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: slice of NJ in Ohio
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2013, 08:28:32 PM »
Yeah, mornings would be tough. I think it's like an hour drive from here to Newark. But this thread has already given me a lot more motivation than I had an hour ago to head out there sometime soon. If I end up moving to the place we've been looking at (off Olentangy River Road, between Bethel and Henderson), that would cut nearly half an hour off the drive to Newark. I'll be thinking about this stuff.


Offline wahoo88

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Re: slice of NJ in Ohio
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2013, 08:34:18 PM »
Walter might correct me on this, but I don't think most of his customers know who's making his pies- nor do I think they really care.  He's not selling 'great pizza made by special needs students,' he's selling 'great pizza' (that just happens to be made by special needs students).

Scott, I was half-joking about the cult following and the aura, but if it is true to some level, I don't think that an aura must specifically surround a person.  I know that many of the great pizzerias are known for their pizzaiolo, perhaps most notably Dom Demarco at di Fara, but I think that a cult following can arise from a way of doing business as well.  The people who buy from Walter probably do not care who is making their pies, but they do know that they buy it from some guy running a weird operation out of a public school who has a NJ accent. The customers, especially those who hail from NY/NJ, may find the secretive (not really, but you get my point) and sketchy (again, not really) way that they but the pizza as a sign of it being legitimate NY pizza.  Personally, given the choice between two pizza joints serving identical pizza, I'd rather go to the less frequented and less talked-about one.  This is not to say that Walter's pizza isn't great enough to stand alone - hence the quotation from you.

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: slice of NJ in Ohio
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2013, 08:52:00 PM »
The people who buy from Walter probably do not care who is making their pies, but they do know that they buy it from some guy running a weird operation out of a public school who has a NJ accent.

Nah, he talks just like us. (At least those of us who aren't rednecks.)

Offline waltertore

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Re: slice of NJ in Ohio
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2013, 09:01:54 PM »
Ryan:  I am glad this got you motivated.   It has gotten me inspired too.  I am lucky to be learning about setting limits for myself and learning tunnel vision is not always a good thing. 

Dan:  I have been labeled an odd duck all my life. The cult thing was all over and still is all over my music but I have gone so underground that I now pretty much only record in my studio on the tune of about a cd worth of songs a day and have pretty much fallen off the chart in the music world.  The technology of today has things coming and going so fast that being out of the scene for about 15 years makes me beyond ancient. Plus most of my friends that were somebodys are dead.  Many music friends ask me why I record so much. I say I have to.  It keeps me sane and feeling hopeful about life.  I learned early on when I left home as a teenager to play music around the country that the NJ accent didn't serve me well outside the NJ/NYC metro area.  I actually worked on losing my accent. In the south it could be down right dangerous and I spent a lot of time playing music down there.  When I hit CA I said - man these people have no accent and studied it. When I go home it comes back pretty quick though.  Walter
« Last Edit: November 15, 2013, 09:03:33 PM by waltertore »

scott123

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Re: slice of NJ in Ohio
« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2013, 09:48:47 PM »
Three ideas, Walter.

If the song your supervisors keep singing is "kids and equipment," why not splurge on equipment?  Are you scaling dough or using a divider? A divider could definitely trim some labor.  Also, I haven't had a chance to use one personally, but dough ballers seem to mimic the action that one normally does with one's hands and, as far as I can tell, don't involved any compromise in product quality.  A divider is a no brainer- especially if your dough ball sizes are pretty static. I obviously wouldn't go as far as recommending a sheeter, as those definitely involve a compromised product, but a divider and baller could help cut your labor.

Is there a machine that can form bagels as well as hand forming can achieve?  I would think the technology must be pretty close to achieving that. Obviously, again, if there's a compromise, then it's out of the question, but, it might be worth looking into.

There's also mixers that have hydraulics that can lift the dough and dispense it onto a table.  It's not a huge savings in labor, but every little bit helps. What about automated peels?

There's equipment out there that can save you work and still maintain your high quality of product.  None of it's cheap, but, if the money is just sitting in an account, why not spend it?

Idea number two.  How closely are your food purchases monitored?  Could you pay someone with food?  Put an ad on Craigslist along the lines of 'will you work for food?' and give them the equivalent of $10 an hour in food- cuts of meat, cold cuts, pizza (of course) and anything else you can order.  As far as the school is concerned, they're just volunteers- you're allowed to feed your volunteers, right?  If someone asks about a volunteer going home with a bag of food, just say "oh, I bought too and it was going to spoil."

Even if you are limited to only the ingredients you can use for baking, you could still offer people a pizza if they volunteer an hour.  Again, a Craigslist ad "Like Pizza?- volunteer an hour, get a pizza." Obviously, you'd screen any candidates and make sure they're bringing some skills to the table, but you might be able to find someone that's trainable. You said that unemployment is high, right? How about an ad on a supermarket bulletin board?

Idea number three.  I'm not sure how much surplus you have to work with, but if it's a considerable amount, you might want to talk to the head of the teachers union and inform them of your situation.  If they're aware of the need for a new position, as well as being aware that there's already money that can pay for it, they might be able to exert some pressure from their end.

Offline wahoo88

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Re: slice of NJ in Ohio
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2013, 10:16:48 PM »
Idea number two.  How closely are your food purchases monitored?  Could you pay someone with food?  Put an ad on Craigslist along the lines of 'will you work for food?' and give them the equivalent of $10 an hour in food- cuts of meat, cold cuts, pizza (of course) and anything else you can order.

If only I lived in Ohio... Talk about a dream job!

Offline waltertore

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Re: slice of NJ in Ohio
« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2013, 08:25:41 AM »
Dan:  It would be a dream employee for me!

Scott:  Again great ideas.  We do everything by hand except mixing the bagel and pizza dough.  Yes is the answer to all your questions with spending and giving away food.  My students eat a lot of pizza everyday and never get tired of it :). .  I am allowed to spend on any amount of equipment or supplies.  This thread has really given me a lot to reflect.  Yes I could buy mechanized equipment and greatly up our output.  But then I would need more space for the equipment.  Our room is almost too tight now- about 700sqft.  Our pantry area is full with supplies.  What I am realizing is if we were to increase production we would need a bigger space.  Mixers would be a big issue.  Now we get by with 2-20 qt and 1 - 10qt.  I could move up to 30qts and still be on a standard plug but the 20qt is the perfect bagel batch size to stagger our rise times with the amount of workers/space we have and can do 25 dough balls per batch.  That works good with the amount of refrigerator space as well.  The 60 qts and larger run on 220/240 volts.  That would mean new wiring (looked into this with the building engineer).  the building is cinderblock so it would mean a lot of messy work and expense.  Then I would need a walk in cooler. I had a guy wanting to donate one to us but we have no space for it.  I have to keep enough seating for my students and use two large tables. 

So I guess I am at the crossroads many businesses hit - expand or not.  There is no larger commercial site in our district we could occupy so we would have to go off campus.  This is not exciting because I would have no support at all- school nurse, administrators to deal with behavioral issues, and would be setting myself up for liability issues being alone all day off campus with kids.  Plus all my students go to another class(es) throughout the day and they would have to be transported which would be impossible. 

Conclusion- I need to scale back and only take on new work if it will seamlessly fit into our existing product schedules. A bigger site is not feasible, bigger equipment on our site is not feasible due to lack of space, and hiring a paid employee is not happening as of now.  Volunteers are great but unreliable and then I get stuck doing their share of the work.  I need to drop all but our cookies, bagels, pizzas, and one kind of bread from the menu and follow a strict production schedule that will build up an inventory of frozen products that will carry us through days of wierd testings schedules, vacation days, days when lots of kids are sick, etc.  Our school is a struggling one and thus kids are tested all the time to evaluate progress.  That is nuts because it takes them out of a teaching/learning situation and causes our bell schedule (5 different ones we have) to change at least every 3 weeks. This means my kids may not come in until 10 am for a week (2 weeks ago) and we fall way behind the 8 ball.  Then there is the late arrival day (2 hours) once a month where I have to sit through meaningless staff development.  Then you have lockdown drills once a month where we have to hide in the pantry for 10 minutes, the monthly fire drill that takes at least 20 minutes, the seasonal tornado drills, another 2o minutes, and the  real lockdowns that take place fairly regularly.  Last year a rolling Meth lab in a van was stopped in front of our school.  That took the bomb squad or something like it to safely deal with it- 2hours on lockdown.  Then the regular fugitive with a gun in the area can take another hour or more........ 

So, I realize I work with a very nutty puzzle to fit a working business into it.   So to add more via equipment, workers, space, is a no go and I now realize I have a pretty good groove if I stick to it and not allow myself to get talked into doing a bunch of other stuff for people.  For instance we make bagels M,T, W, full tilt.  To add more to this would not work due to mix/rise/bake/cool/slice/bag/time limits of our day. So taking on new bagel accounts is out.  Bread has a slight opening if it stays with what we do now.  Thursdays we make a sourdough starter(with yeast added on mixing to speed up process due to not being on campus long enough to make a pure sourdough) based white sandwich bread and white cinnamon raisin sandwich bread for a local restaraunt.  Both use the same dough.  We could double that easily but no takers at this time. Friday may be full with the Montessori pizza contract but if not that is a day with some openings for another of our products if ordered in large enough quantities.  M-F we make our famous, to this area, Jessie's chocolate chip cookies.  They are the size of a cd and made with pure vanilla, usalted butter, semi sweet chocolate, hand cracked eggs (becoming extinct in commercial settings).  We have lots of orders for them every week as well as sell them everyday to staff and students.  M-F is also production of the federal school wellness approved choc. chip cookie I created. It had to fit certain levels of fat, sugar, protein, etc.  It is not very good compared to Jessie's cookies (old school choc chip) but kids eat it.  It is low in butter/eggs, uses unsweetened applesauce,  no salt, 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 AP flour.  We make about 4-6,000 of these a week and are a hit with school districts because the GFS/Sysco offerings are more expensive and taste terrible.  Our cookies are frozen raw and then either sold in bulk raw (216 to a bag) or we bake/bag.  We have room in this production to take on another thousand a week. 

I am concluding that I will slow down bagel production a bit M,T,W, and add some to Th,F.  This will allow us to get prepared for pizzas at lunch a lot easier and give our 2 little home stove top ovens a rest. I figure we will fry them sooner than later seeing we have 4 big pots of boiling water on them for 3 hours a day. Opps forgot the dog biscuit production.  This we do 2-4 days a week but there is no stress on getting things done. The good news is the district kitchen that prepares all the cafeteria meals is next to us.  We can use their walkin freezer to store stuff.  Also they are on a huge generator system in case of power outages. This is my first time living rural and had no idea power regularly can go out for 2-14 days with storms/snow.  I have thrown out a lot of stuff so far due to this.  I continue to wish for a great volunteer to come in and I am sure they will when the time is right. I will follow my heart with this and do whatever it says.  The problem is volunteers have to go through a backround check so I like to get to know them before trying to get them in.   In my heart I am a small space operator.  Going bigger would bring more kids into the mix but more headaches as well.  The special education population can be quite difficult to train and manage.  Their behaviors can be uncontrollable and shut down a whole operation.  My heart tells me, if we expanded, the kids that would be coming in would be the emotionally disturbed population.  That is one group I do not like to work with.  They are often violent, thieves, liars, and sociopaths.  I worked with that group briefly when I was first starting my teaching career and it is not my calling.  Anyway, I have wonderful set up and just have to learn to manage things a bit better.  I am learning a ton with this operation and it will serve me well when I retire and open my own shop-with Sinatra playing all day :) .  I never have run a bakery/pizzeria.  I have been a worker and the management side is all new to me.  Good stuff.  I enjoy learning new things. I just have to learn I am not superman.  Thanks for all the feedback and support Ryan/Scott/Dan.  It is helping me find a way to make this work and not kill me in the process :)  Walter

here are a couple pictures to show how tight our space is.  We have 2 true refrigerators(a 1 door and a 2 door), a 1 door true freezer and a chest freezer and a video from our beginning made by the student news channel.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2013, 03:07:30 PM by waltertore »