Monday, March 14, 2011

Game Time!

“Your belief determines your action and your action determines your results, but first you have to believe.” -- Mark Victor Hansen

Its 3:30 on Thursday February 3rd, 30 mins before our scheduled ‘soft-opening’ for Zaffron and we’re frantically working away to tick through all the last minute details. Unbeknownst to most, including my better half Artina, I’m a nervous wreck. I take five minutes to peel off the line to gather myself. I’m feeling anxious and terrified. Till this point…Zaffron remained a dream and in those dreams Zaffron was a success. In those dreams Zaffron achieves greatness and goes on to “change the world one kabob at a time…

However, now as the clock starts to tick closer and closer to 4pm Zaffron will no longer remain an elusive dream, but rather reality will sink in. For the first time in this endeavor the harsh idea of failure begins to creep into my mind. However, much like any momentous decision in life – buying a house, getting married, etc… you realize that being scared is a natural part of the experience. I summon my courage and head back into the store.

The clock reads 3:58 pm and we bring the team together for one last hurrah. Artina puts me on the spot to make a speech to fire-up the troops. For one who’s seldom at loss for words, I was speechless. I managed to utter some gibberish while struggling to hold back tears. It’s now 4 o’clock – showtime. We’ve ticked through all our checklists…we’re ready for what lies ahead…we think…crap we realize we don’t have any cash in our register to make loose change – how could we have missed that! However, we manage through and finally open the door for business…Zaffron is born.

During the soft opening we were overwhelmed by the support of friends, in particular all the Wharton MBA students that Nick convinced to help us out. During those first couple of days we fumbled, screwed up orders, and worked out many of the kinks in our system to ensure we were prepared to fully open our doors to actual and less forgiving customers.

During the soft start we got tremendous feedback. Within a short period of time we made a number of changes to our product, from modifying the bread in our wraps to ensuring appropriate portion sizes. Above all, the experience provided much needed repetition and experience for our staff on how to handle orders, engage customers, and keep the process seamless.

Finally, on Monday February 7th we fully opened our doors for business to the regular lunch crowd at the Shops at Liberty. The initial response has been very encouraging but more on that to come soon!