Time flies when you are having fun. It’s been a year and a half, but it feels like yesterday. Although I call it my second gig, in reality Prost Brewing was my first. As those of you who have followed my story will remember from my post last week, the Alzheimer’s walk was forgettable. Needless to say, I will never forget to lock my fridge. my memory is forever scarred with the vision of Mac’n scattered about the truck floor.
Prost Brewing is a German style brewery with locations in both Denver and Fort Collins. The owner is a swell guy by the name of Kevin. Kevin allowed me to host my “friends and family” night, which in reality is just a fancy way to say “live test run with people who hopefully will not critique you too hard.” During friends and family night you expect to struggle, because you know that you have not worked out all the kinks in the process. You are very aware that there will be unforeseen struggles and that it will not be your best night, no matter how prepared you are.
In the days and hours leading up to Prost, I remember feeling nervous, yet excited. My stomach cycled between butterflies and nausea. Finally though, the time had come. It was Tuesday, May 24, 2016 and we began promptly at 4 p.m. Knowing it would be difficult, I tried to keep the menu easy. We served only four different flavors: Classic, Buffalo Chicken, Bacon Cheeseburger and Veggie. That was it. Despite having fryers available, I decided not to have any side options (let me tell you though, the fryers are worthy of a post—if not more—on their own). I knew that we would be busy, regardless of how many people showed up.
Our friends and family came out, slowly but surely. The line in front of the truck began to quickly grow. After just 10 orders, we began to bottleneck. As the orders continued to pile up, my former boss Brian walked to the front of the line. In the typical Brian way, he sought to push me over-the-top and ordered something like seven Macn’s. I laughed and told him 15 minutes, but if only that would have been true. Today, a year and a half later, seven Macn’s would not be a problem. I would serve it easily. On day one though, we immediately went to a 40 minute wait. It’s not comfortable knowing that people are waiting on you, but at the same time, it was exactly what I needed to learn. These types of learning experiences are what have have kept me in business. Every day is two steps forward and one step back. (I have come to learn that these proverbs I learned growing up come from truisms.)
Speaking of learning, it did not take long for me to realize certain errors in my planning. For one, the sandwich prep table was opposite the cooking equipment. This meant that we had to run across the truck every time a new Mac’n was ordered. We served 67 fine customers that day. As you can imagine, that’s a lot of trips across the truck! Additionally, I quickly realized that our serving equipment did not help our efficiency. The bowls were shaped narrowly, which meant pouring would be messy. Further, I learned quickly that the truck did not have great airflow. I believe it reached 120 degrees in the truck, and with all the running back and forth in the truck, that took its toll.
As the day came to a close, I began to have a sense of satisfaction mixed with a hint of fear. On one hand, it was hard to not be happy that the truck was up and running. My dream of being a restaurateur was officially in motion. On the other hand, the day also demonstrated my enormous ignorance. There was so much to improve on that I simply was not prepared for. However, I made mental notes and then pulled out a notebook when I got home that night. As I sat at the kitchen table, I began to plan out how I could fix the inefficiencies and other problems. In doing so, many things have changed since that day. Yet one thing still remains: each day that I hop in the truck, I desire to serve the highest quality of product possible and bring a smile to the face of each and every customer. I mean, if all you care about is the almighty dollar and you never care about the people you are serving, then what the hell is the point?
Up next we take a backwards glance. Stay tuned for: “Then vs. Now.”
This picture below was taken that night at Prost Brewing. It was one of the first photos on our Instagram account.