Journal 1 – 18/03/2016
A few days ago, I had volunteered to join a group of my friends to run our own food stall in school, on a weekend (which turns out to be tomorrow!) and during a school event. Today, a meeting was arranged in a classroom by our CAS coordinator to decide what system we are going to implement to manage our food stall, to finalize the list of food items we are going to sell, and to negotiate the roles and tasks each one of us have to carry out tomorrow.
Firstly, we listed out all the food items we were going to sell tomorrow, and the people in charge of bringing them. Some of the food items, such as coffee, tea, French fries, popcorn, puffs, chips, ice cream, soft drinks and cutlets are going to be provided by our school tomorrow, for which we will have to pay (obviously, duh.) after we get our revenue. The rest of the items such as brownies, lemonade, cookies, sandwiches, candy, nachos and condiments are going to be brought by some of us who are going to invest their own money for buying or making them.
Then, we wanted to decide how we are going to run our business tomorrow. At first we thought we could set up the money and food distribution counter as one, to take the customers’ orders and to give them their food at the same counter, just like in fast food restaurants such as McDonalds. However after a heated argument and long discussion between ourselves, we decided that it would be an inefficient system as people would not stand in queues and would crowd around the counters, hence it will take more time to clear the customers.
At last, we decided to have a token system, where there would be two counters taking down customers’ orders, collecting the money and giving them their tokens, and one counter where the customers give their tokens in order to receive their food. The prices of the food items would match with the colour of the tokens, for e.g. a customer ordering a lemonade sold at Rs.20 would be given a blue token at the token counter, and then the customer would have to give his token back at the food counter in order to receive his lemonade. As a few other items would also be sold at Rs.20, the customer would have to tell the server while giving the blue token the item they want for Rs.20. Though the system may sound complex, it is probably a more efficient method to run the food stall as it will help disperse the crowd during rush hours more easily.
After that, all that was left was to decide on our each of our roles tomorrow. As I didn’t contribute any food item for the stall, I took up the responsibility of doing our stall’s menu, so that we can stick them up around the school and attract more customers. Other than that, I also volunteered to be the supervisor of the stall tomorrow! A few of us volunteered to make the lemonade fresh tomorrow in the morning, and the others were split into their respective counters, serving food and in charge of handling the money and tokens. Some of my seniors from IB-DP Year 2 batch were included as they have previously done a food stall in school, and they volunteered to help us.
Now once everything was put into place, we had a bit of time left to go down and stick up a banner we had made as the name of our stall: DA HOOD. All this had taken up almost half the day, and now I still have to do the menu for the stall. For all our hard work and investment put into this stall, I hope it turns out to be good tomorrow…
Journal 2 – 19/03/2016
To my surprise, today the stall turned out to be much better than I had expected! A colossal crowd of customers thronged our stall during peak times, and we managed to sell almost all the food that we had, only a box of puffs provided by the school was leftover. We toiled from morning till night serving customers and taking down orders, and we were all entirely occupied with our own tasks and jobs to do.
I arrived to school at about 8:30 am, and had my breakfast. By around 9:00 pm, all of us had arrived, and we were setting up our stall. Soft drinks were being stacked into the refrigerator, the menus were being stuck on the walls, and tokens were sorted according to their colour. The rest of the food items were also being placed on the tables, and by 9:30, the stall was open for sale. We didn’t expect many customers to come in the morning, hence we only had a few food items for sale, and we were right. Initially, it was a stroll in the park for us to handle the customers, so some of us decided to go to the school’s kitchen and start preparing lemonade for the afternoon/evening stall.
I was in charge of counting the tokens every 30 minutes, and mainly I was working in the token counter, giving the customers their change. Meanwhile, our photographer Hari went around taking pictures of us carrying out our duties. As we had a bit of time to relax, we bought our own food and drinks whenever possible. Time passed by rather quickly, and before I knew it, it was already 12:30 pm and we closed the stall to break for lunch.
A revenue of about Rs 13 k was made till then, which was a decent amount considering the fact that there were not many customers in the morning. We had scrumptious sandwiches ordered for lunch from a food retailer outside, and it was the same retailer who supplied us sandwiches for sale for our evening stall. After having lunch, we took some time off chilling out with friends, before getting back to work.
At about 3:15 or 3:30 am, most of the food items to be sold had arrived, and we were organizing them as we had a longer menu list in the evening. The popcorn machine was set up, the soft drinks and chips were restocked, and many other food items such as nachos, ice cream, candies, cookies, brownies were being brought into the stall. By about 3:45 pm, we were ready to reopen our stall for the evening session.
As the school sports fest (cricket) was about to start, a flock of customers started coming to buy food before the match starts. As the supervisor, I had to check whether all the counters were running efficiently, and I had to count all the 500 Rs and 1000 Rs notes every one hour, before reporting the exact amount and handing over the money to our CAS coordinator. However, later on as the stall got even busier, in order to clear off the customers faster I joined the token counter once more with the DP Year 2 seniors, and my role was to give the customers their change and tokens.
At around 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm, the stall was in a frenzy mode. Customers arrived in successive waves of every 15 minutes or so. We felt the heat, as things started to get serious, and most of us in the accounting sector became quite tensed. Those in the serving sector were able to cope up with the pace quickly, but it was more difficult for us to handle the customers. We had to record down each order, receive the customers’ money, give them their change, and also not forgetting to give them their respective tokens for the food they had bought.
But as minutes ticked by, I could feel myself carrying out calculations faster, and handling the money more efficiently. Whenever we finished serving a batch of customers, I sorted out all the notes in the money box according to their value, so that it becomes easier and faster to give out the change for the next batch. To further increase our sales, we quickly came up with an idea that a few of us should go to the viewing gallery, where the parents were watching their children participate in the sports fest, to sell cookies and soft drinks. The idea worked out pretty well, and they returned in a few minutes after selling all the food items they had taken with them.
Back at the token counter of the food stall, we had to communicate with the serving section often, as slowly the food items started to run out and we had to strike them off the menu. Moreover, we also had to communicate with them whenever our counter was running out of tokens, so that they can give us back the tokens collected at the serving counter. Even the photographer (Hari) had stopped taking pictures to give us an extra hand in order to serve the customers. All this work made me completely exhausted and after the rush hours, I asked one of my friends to replace me for a while.
At about 9:30 pm, the final wave of customers had left. Almost all of the food items were taken off the menu by then, with only chips and puffs left. Even then, a few customers came and had bought the last few packets of chips. At about 10:00 pm, we finally closed down our stall, and it was time for us to go home. Today, I feel proud that all of us worked together as a team without any disputes among us, even during the most difficult times, and I’m delighted that our food stall was such a success!
Journal 3 – 28/03/2016
Today, my friend Hari and I presented a video of our “Da Hood” food stall which we had done a week ago, in school during DP assembly. A few days back, we decided to make an “after movie” using the photographs that were taken as we were running the food stall. We wanted to create this video to show our batch mates and seniors how we organised the food stall, and the food we had available for sale. So, it took us about 3 hours to finish creating the video using Windows Movie Maker, although the entire video was only 5 minutes! A few challenges that we faced were to find good BGM (background music), to create the intro and ending credits, and to edit the duration of the pictures to suit the BGM.
Here is the YouTube link to the after-movie: Click Here