On A Learning Curve...
Just one week ago, I was embarking on my first overnighter at PJP. And while it seems that we have barely recovered from Thanksgiving week, the lessons learned from our first major holiday are burned into my brain. So. Thanksgiving.
Well, it was OVERWHELMING to say the very least. I am convinced that I have some sort of post-traumatic stress disorder from all the anxiety that occurred at PJP Buttonwood in the 48 hours prior to Thanksgiving Thursday. After some careful thought, here are some changes we plan to make for the Christmas ordering process to avoid a repeat of the stressful Tuesday/Wednesday pick-up process...
- The line out the door and down the sidewalk was something we all struggled with on Wednesday. If you were waiting in it, you didn't enjoy it. And if you were working in our baking space, a mere glance to the never-ending line likely made you want to go huff into a brown paper bag. In the future, we will have a person whose only job is to assist the line with any questions, offer free coffee, pie cracker snacks, and keep it all moving in an orderly fashion. I've already figured out the perfect person for the job (hint...it isn't me, because crying when overwhelmed is a less-than-desirable quality in crowd control).
- We will add an additional Square reader check-out station so that we can check out two people at the same time, rather than one. This should help move people through the line more quickly.
- We accepted a number of orders for baby pies and jelly jar pies for pickup on Tuesday and Wednesday. Those small orders significantly slowed down our efficiency. Effectively immediately, baby pies and jelly jar pies will not be available for pickup during holiday weeks. And let me tell you, it PAINS ME to make that rule. I am a pleaser, by my very nature. I want you to be happy with your PJP order...I just learned the important lesson that I can say yes to multiple baby pies and jelly jar pies or I can say yes to having 200 pumpkin pies ready for pickup on-time. It was a tough lesson. That said, the last day for baby pie and jelly jar pie orders prior to Christmas will be Saturday, December 20th.
- I spent most of my time on Wednesday afternoon making French Silk pie on demand,answering the phone, and crying. Therefore, I'm hiring a person who will be solely responsible for answering the phone. A kind customer and fellow business owner rescued me from phone duties late on Wednesday afternoon and it relieved 84,024 pounds of stress off of me. Also, she was delightful with our customers on the phone and didn't hyperventilate when people asked her how she was. I'm offering her the compensation package of "free pie for life" if she will come back on December 23rd and 24th and answer "Peggy Jean's Pies!" in her kind voice each time the phone rings.
- This one may sound weird, but I'm also going to get a person to serve as an official Oven Master (Oven Expediter? Director of Ovens? VP of Ovens?). This person will stand by the oven and monitor what goes in and what goes out. Even simple things like telling the difference between Pecan Pie and Chocolate Bourbon Pie became difficult under pressure and in a hurry when you are baking.
- Finally, I'm going to figure out a way for either Jeanne or I to oversee the baking and pick-up process instead of being completely distracted by baking. In retrospect, there are things I could have done to lessen the anxiety we all felt on Wednesday but I couldn't even think straight because I was baking as fast as possible and answering the phone and checking people out and answering questions and monitoring the oven and having a small nervous breakdown.
Look for these changes to come to PJP Buttonwood in time for the Christmas pie rush.