What’s My Job?

My colleague and friend Richard Radbil wrote this article. He founded and operated the largest catering company in Wisconsin for more than two decades. Please read and pay close attention…

When I opened my first fast food restaurant, I was the cook and my wife took customer orders. I touched every sandwich, and quality control was totally in my hands. As we grew, it became necessary to teach others how to cook, but when I was at our restaurant, I looked at as many orders as possible to make sure things were done right.

Catering Came Quickly

We opened during a cold Wisconsin December, but as summer began to arrive, a few customers started to ask about catering. Could we bring food to their house while they watched a game? Could we grill at their company picnic? Since I had a restaurateur’s mentality, I never turned down business, and soon we also became part-time caterers. Many years later, business conditions, twists and turns, and a general desire to be more in control of our work lives led us to jettison our restaurant and become full-time caterers.

Couldn’t Help It

At the beginning of our transition to catering, I was again both the cold food and hot food cook. I also delivered food and performed all of the other jobs I’m sure you are familiar with. I was hands-on and could really never get hands-off until I sold my business years later.

Thinking

As we climbed past the $750,000 mark on our way to $1.2 million, I began to think about my job description. What was I? A cook, a driver, the HR director, operations manager, an accountant, a repairman, an order taker–all of those things, or what? I began to think that our business was perpetually stuck in the ma and pa phase, and friends did ask “who is minding the store?” when they found me away from my business. I saw new Starbucks stores opening everywhere and tried to figure out how Howard Schultz could even open five additional units, much less a total of more than 10,000.

It’s What You Want it to Be

Of course there is no real answer to “what’s my job?” Those who are successful realize that their business will tell them what it needs, and what it needs them to do. There are days when you may have to be the prep cook, chef, delivery person and phone answerer. Other days, you can delegate some of these tasks to others. If you want to deliver 10 orders a day and have your hand in every order, you probably want to stay smaller and more easily manageable. If you can make enough money doing that, it’s fine. If you want to successfully deliver 35 orders a day, you’ll need to let go, refine systems and put more trust in others.

Either Way

As I have mentioned before, bigger is not always better, and if you are happy being totally in control and not having to delegate a lot of things to others, don’t let anyone tell you that is wrong. On the other hand, if you do want to scale quickly, there are many important things to be done, and we’ll be happy to help you get there. Either way, feel free to call or email The Corporate Caterer, as we are here to help you cater better – no matter the size of your business.

Published by Michael Rosman

Michael Rosman has spent more than three decades in the food industry. He built a $1.8 million a year corporate drop-off catering operation from the ground up in suburban Boston. Throughout his company’s steady growth he kept detailed records of the process. His membership website is a compilation of tips, tools, templates and behind-the-scene trade secrets that he and his team have created over the years.