They did it: The staff of Bay Laurel Catering moved into their new space while simultaneously continuing to fill orders. How was that possible?
First, a little background. Bay Laurel’s facilities had been located on the ground floor of Haggett. With the redevelopment of housing and dining for North Campus, catering had the opportunity to modernize by creating a new site tucked under Willow Hall. When the time came for the move, planning was essential.
“One of the key components to sustained success in catering is our ability to cultivate our relationships with our partners and clients,” said Dan Faires, Administrator for Bay Laurel Catering. With that concept in mind, Dan knew a break in service could lead to lost clients.
Six days were needed to move the kitchen from Haggett to Willow. The first window was Friday, July 13 through July 15 for the Central Production Kitchen (CPK), which generates foods (sandwiches, salads) both for campus markets and for catering orders. The actual Bay Laurel move was scheduled for July 20 through July 22.
Executive Chef Jacob Moyer created a list of needs and the amount of move time required. Catering Sales Manager Andrea Davis established a set of factors for the type of catering events they could complete during this time of limited service. “She found every opportunity for us to generate revenue within those parameters,” said Dan.
Service in motion
As Dan noted, “Once that last event was fired [fulfilled] in the Haggett Kitchen on Friday, July 20, we prepped all of our equipment in Willow to make sure the breakfast that was to be fired in Willow Saturday morning was up and running.” In other words, no gap in service.
In addition to new equipment already in place, existing items were moved through the weekend, including a tilt skillet, a standing mixer, coffee brewer, fryers and a large amount of shelving. “There was a gigantic amount of shelf-stable food items, small kitchen equipment, as well as linen, chaffers, carts, and glassware,” added Dan.
During the week of the move, Banquet Manager Jennifer Johnson and the Service Team developed a strategy of turning each scheduled event into a small move. When an event was completed, rather than returning materials to Haggett, the team took the opportunity to bring the items to the new location. On Saturday, staff gathered up whatever was left in the old location. Sunday was for organizing so that by Monday morning, Bay Laurel was fully operational out of the new facility.
The new space is more than just, well, a new space. With the addition of new equipment and a modern space, Bay Laurel is positioned to take on more business and as Dan says, “to deliver on our promise to exceed the guests’ expectations.”
Also included in the location is a tasting room, a key component in Bay Laurel’s ability to deliver an exceptional experience, a way to establish a deeper customer relationship and set the tone for the service that will follow.
Pulling back to a larger perspective, Dan brings a philosophical note to the big change. It’s more than just about a new facility. “I believe in my teammates and their unwavering commitment to the guest relationship and the fundamental impact that it has on our business. Without them and their support of our mission, we would never have been as successful as we were.”