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Tabatha Takes Over by BB
Tabatha is at Café Treats in Sherman Oaks, CA this week. The business is $150,000 in debt. Veronica, the owner, has two other successful businesses, a clothing store and a full service salon. Veronica is only in her café two to three hours a day, but she has no background in the food service industry. She doesn’t have a manager in the café. Her café loses about $7,000 a month and she is taking from her other businesses to pay the bills. Tabatha asks Veronica if she’s ever thought about closing the café because it’s losing so much money. Veronica says she wants her dream to come true and be successful like she sees so many establishments doing.
Secret camera footage reveals that this Mexican restaurant is serving other types of food, like Italian. The menu is a little scattered. Veronica ended up adding everything the customers asked for. Her most popular item is the fish taco. One of the customers takes his stale bagel back to one of the servers, Astrid. Veronica tells Tabatha the bagels were from the day before, not fresh that day. Tabatha tells Veronica she’s lost a customer because he won’t come back to Café Treats when he wants a fresh bagel.
Next we see Veronica yelling at her sister in law, Christina, the cook. Veronica says Christina has a big ass mouth and she’s been fired once and quit once. Veronica feels bad because her brother has five kids and she gave Christina another chance. Tabatha points out that Veronica threw the tortilla at Christina and Veronica tells Tabatha that Christina doesn’t care. Tabatha says throwing something at someone isn’t going to get them to care.
Next Veronica is arguing with Astrid about when they get their paychecks and she draws another employee, Diana, into the conversation because Veronica tells Tabatha she can’t communicate with Astrid. Tabatha tells Veronica she’s the boss and she needs to learn how to communicate with her employees in a respectful way to earn her their respect. Veronica tells Tabatha she had a dream and now she’s in a big mess. Tabatha says it sounds like she’s in over her head, but she’s going to have to take some of the responsibility for it. The customers pay her bills and she needs the customers to be happy and to want to come back. She’s endangering her other two businesses as well. Tabatha gets the keys from Veronica.
Tabatha tells the staff she’s taking over, and they will be going by her rules. Tabatha looks at the menu and sees that it has way too many items. Tabatha takes a tour of the café and notices that it has Moroccan décor, not Mexican. She gets a bagel from the “display” tray that Astrid has been taking bagels from, not knowing they were only for display. It’s hard as a rock. Veronica didn’t know they were display only either. There is also a popcorn machine and soft serve ice cream machine. Café treats isn’t filthy, it’s confused. It’s Moroccan/Mexican/Circus. Tabatha doesn’t know what it is.
Tabatha meets with staff only the next day. She asks them how much time Veronica spends in the café. A little over an hour a day unless they are swamped. When she comes in, she causes stress with her high energy management style. They don’t think Veronica treats them as well as her other staffs because Veronica faults them for the restaurant not doing well. They lack proper training and rules. To Veronica, everything is common sense and the staff doesn’t know how to please her. Astrid doesn’t think Veronica deserves respect because she has disrespected her so much in the past. The menu is very confusing and Christina can do Hispanic food, but is not that good with the other things on the menu. They need to extend their hours and the staff would be willing to work in the evenings. They could do a good business in the evenings. Tabatha tells them they seem checked out when Veronica approaches them. They feel attacked by Veronica and close down when they deal with her. Diana cares about the business and wants it to succeed because she works there and has been there for a while.
Tabatha takes Veronica and her staff to the Border Grill, owned by famous chef, Susan Finnegar, so they can see how a successful restaurant is run. Susan is famous for her Mexican food. Susan’s management style is to care about her staff so they will care about the customer so the customer will come back. Tabatha had given Susan a Café Treat menu ahead of time to get her opinion. Susan tells them it’s hard to do a big huge menu well and they shouldn’t do too many things. They always have to try to keep the guests knowing why they are coming into the restaurant. She also tells them that only being open for breakfast and lunch limits their chances for success. Dinner can be a stronger market. More people eat out for dinner than breakfast or lunch. Even the name of the restaurant doesn’t really speak Mexican. She gives them tips for their menu and tells them to narrow it down. Do a few things really great and pare down the inventory. Veronica is very impressed and taking in all of Susan’s advice.
Astrid and Diana meet Alex, one of the servers at the Border Grill. Alex is going to show them how to do customer service. Christina and Veronica follow Susan into the kitchen. Tabatha asks Christina to show Susan how she makes the fish tacos. She is scared, but makes it. Susan says it’s pretty good, but it needs more seasoning and gives her some tips of how she can season the ingredients while making the taco. Susan makes them one of her tacos and Christina thinks it tastes like heaven.
Tabatha sits down with Veronica to go over what she found out at that morning’s staff meeting. Tabatha calls BS when Veronica says working with women is very hard. She tells Veronica she’s taking out her frustration and failure on her staff. Tabatha asks Veronica why she has rules in her other businesses but not at the Café. Veronica has no answer and realizes she needs to work with her staff as a team just like she does with her other businesses. She feels bad because she appreciates them, but hasn’t told them so.
The next day, Tabatha takes all of them to a car wash. Veronica started out working at a car wash when she first came to the U.S. 22 years ago. She worked from 5 a.m. and earned $50 bucks a day. Her staff is inspired by Veronica’s story. Tabatha tells them they will all be cleaning up a mobile taco food truck. Veronica says it looks like a poopy caca truck. Veronica guides them through the cleanup of the truck. She is encouraging and treats them with respect. After they clean up the truck, Tabatha tells them they will be selling tacos from the truck. She has stocked the food truck with everything they will need and they are to market the café by giving samples from the truck. Veronica leads them through the preparation of the food while Astrid is standing outside the truck getting customers to sample the food. The customers love the tacos. Tabatha tells them she has a few more things in store for them and they head back to the café.
When they get back to the café, they brainstorm the huge menu. They get rid of all the breakfast items. They add Mexican items instead of the bagels and waffles and such. Veronica wants to pare down her food inventory to save money. Tabatha sends them home so she can change the décor and make it what it should be, a Mexican café. When the staff returns, it’s a whole new place. It looks so fresh and new. The staff feels like kids in a candy shop. It definitely has a Mexican feel. The new menu has been simplified. They start prepping for when the customers come in. Astrid is working the front of the restaurant. One of the couples is upset they were there first and they are being ignored. Tabatha tells Astrid to check on them because they’ve been waiting a long time. Astrid is a little nervous. Veronica goes over to the couple and apologizes and they appreciate it.
Veronica and Christina are communicating much better than they did in the past. When the ignored couple gets their food, they rave about it. So do the other customers. The food is a hit. Teamwork was the theme of the day and Tabatha sits down with Veronica with her final recommendations.
Tabatha recommends regular staff meetings and that Veronica spend more time in the café to show she cares about the business and the staff. Tabatha also thinks she should extend her hours into dinner. Veronica agrees. Tabatha also recommends that the name is changed to reflect Mexican cuisine because Café Treats really doesn’t do that. Veronica asks the staff for their input about a possible name change.
Six weeks later, Tabatha shows up to the newly-named Café de Mexico. They have also added some festive Mexican décor. They have expanded their hours. Astrid left a few days after Tabatha left and Diana also moved away because of a divorce. The new staff is doing well and Christina and Veronica are getting along much better. Veronica loves being there now. Another business saved by Tabatha.