Thank you so much for your reply and invaluable insights!
I so much understand everything that you wrote!
Well, I don't know where to start .... Let me start with the catering, first. As I wrote previously, I managed to get the catering business up. When I say "up", I mean is way better then it was with the previous owner, who for some reason, ruined it! I was lucky enough to get all his past accounts, granted that some of the clients where unhappy the last year!
I got over his business in January this year, but as I said before, as a novice!
I have a huge date base. Problem is that some of his clients were unhappy and still are because of mediocre food/service. Some of them, like you said never came back in years! This company has been around since 1996, and just changed owners, until I took over. In order to get them back I need either a tasting, or like Chefdeb suggested, go to a Farmer's Market. At this time I do not have the money, and my mind is rolling on how to get the store at least to support itself; but I will get there!
When I took over, I had two events; both of them a disaster. I was at one of the events, and my partner (my husband's cousin) at the other. I did not coordinate the event, I did not cook the food for it, and I had no experience what so ever with catering. Everything was coordinated by the former owner, who wanted me to give him all the money from the contract as a payment toward buying the catering business.
The event was at a private house. When I got there, about 1 1/2 hours from my store, I was missing one of the meals (beef teriyaki) and the glassware. I did not have a cook, and the lady in charge of serving, told me that she is a floor manager, and she does not serve, or cook! BTW she was hired along with two other young boys by the former owner! She actually was so surprised to learn that I am the new owner, that she called the former owner! Long story!
As for the glasses, I found out that the former owner told the guy who loaded the truck to put plastic glasses, instead of real ones, although he was managing this client for at least 7 years! Of course the client was flabbergasting! The "floor manager" goes and complains to the client, that I am the new owner that she did not know about! The client almost screams at me and tells me that he does not care what I am going to do, but he needs his glasses! He was right! I called my husband and told him, get the kids in the car, go to the store, and get the glasses!
Well, I did everything I could to make the client happy ... I made the salad in the garage, and warmed up all the sauces, and everything needed for the buffet; and let the lady to be the floor manager!
I served, talked to the guests, and invite them to taste from the trays. I cleaned up and load the truck. The funny thing is that the two boys that were serving approach me asking me if they can work with me on another catering! LOL!
At the end the client comes to me and says: "I have to admit that you did keep your posture! Despite everything my guests where content!"
At this moments, the "floor lady", who actually worked for the client for the last 7 years, wants to be friendly and wants to teach me that this catering business is not for everyone! It is hard work! I did not say anything, just listened, said good-bye, and went to the car where my husband was waiting! I crushed in the chair and starting crying and told him: I am frustrated, I feel like I failed but I am not going to give up no matter what! I am going to learn about it, and I will get better"!
Which I did, but then I made a second mistake! I hired the same cook that the previous owner had for another big account. For some reason, I did not trust myself cooking for large crowds. Well, I learnt another lesson, and discovered that actually I can cook for large crowds quite well! Practice and learning is what I missed! And I still have so much to learn....
As for the store, that it is another long story. Allow me Lentil to tell you about it tomorrow, as I just have few hours to sleep. My daughter is waking up at 5:30 every morning!
Well, good night to you and everybody here!
I am glad that you are here for me, and maybe I can help someone at least with one thing: Never give up, if you truly believe in what are you doing!