No more Soul Daddy

I was very disappointed this morning to hear that all 3 locations of the new restaurant Soul Daddy had been closed down. I’m not surprised but I feel bad for the owner Jamawn White. 

For those of you who do not watch reality TV, Soul Daddy was a restaurant that was featured on the NBC Television show “America’s  Next Great Restaurant.”  The winner of the show (Jamawn) was promised three restaurants across the country and the backing of 4 investors who are very experienced in the food business arena (see below). The show wasn’t great but I did watch each episode because for some reason I’m obsessed with the restaurant business.

INVESTOR BIOS

I’m sure that Jamawn knows the restaurant business is a crap shoot but he had to believe that he would succeed with so many powerful and experienced people behind backing him up. That wasn’t the case as all 3 locations have now been shuttered.

Two of the locations were closed on June 14, just over a month after they opened. A published letter stated:

“The realities of running a restaurant are very difficult, more so with multiple locations in multiple cities. After a careful review of the business model and the performance of the restaurants, we have decided that our best opportunity for Soul Daddy’s success is to focus our efforts on establishing a solid footing in one location, building the brand, and developing the operations from there. We have decided to close our restaurants at Hollywood and Highland in Los Angeles and the South Street Seaport in New York, effective June 14, and focus on developing the best restaurant we can at the Mall of America restaurant in Bloomington, Minnesota. While it has certainly been a difficult decision, we believe this is the best approach as we work towards ongoing success for Soul Daddy.”

Jamawn was not notified of the closure and was surprised  to hear about it “This is the first I’ve heard of it. It’s put a real damper on the day,” he told the Star-Tribune, which reports he is moving to Minneapolis for “his year-long management training.”

What is Jamawn supposed to do now that they’ve closed down the third and final store in Minnesota just 2 months after opening?  Did he already move his whole to Minnesota for training?  Are the invesstors going to continue with the training or just cut him loose? I’m sure Jamawn has a bunch of other questions, as well.

Was the whole thing just a ratings grab by the network with no thought or consideration about what happens after the show airs? I have heard from a reliable source associated with another very popular reality show that it’s not uncommon for producers to care less about the participants.  In fact, if they could figure out a way to run the show without them, they would.  Really, WTH?

What went wrong and can be learned from this:

Some Thoughts: 

1. What credentials do “experts” in any field have and what will be their long term commitments when the dog and pony show is over? Do your homework.

2. Think twice before joining any TV reality show.

3. Stand your ground and don’t let the so called experts impact your vision for the product or service.

4. If the name of your restaurant is “Soul Daddy” don’t even try to make the food healthy. Make sure it tastes great, deliver a unique concept, and offer great service.

5. Do not open three locations at the same time for a product that has not yet been established.

6. Location, location, location. If you open a brick and mortar shop it must be in an area that caters to your target market.

7. Make sure you understand the small print in any contracts you sign and ask tough questions up front.

8. Make sure that the channels of communication are established (preferably in writing) and stay in the loop on everything.

9. Always have a contingency plan.

These are simple ideas, but many times great concepts fail because we forget to do the simple things.

What recommendations do you have for Jamawn?  What do you think about the investors?

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Gay of the Day – Douglas Quint – June 29

Gay of the Day is a daily blog post that features gay people who are living a Fierce Life.  This post will feature both celebrities and ordinary folks that I admire for their contribution to the human and or animal kingdom.

Today’s Gay of the Day is Douglas Quint

Brief Bio:

Doug is originally from the state of  Main and now lives with his partner Bryan Petroff in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City, NY.  He has lived in NYC for a little over 20 years and though he loves it he’s had his fair share of gross NY moments.

Prior to becoming an entrepreneur he was a musician and his favorite instrument is the bassoon. Brian still tries to dedicate time to his music but I have a feeling that he can’t play as much as he’d like to right now.

Doug is a classically trained bassoonist and holds degrees from Julliard and The Manhattan School of Music. He has performed with many orchestras including Boston Pops,  the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and the Chamber Music Society of the Lincoln Center. He has also travelled the world working with Bryan Adams, Bono, and Quincy Jones.

He was almost an instant hit when he started his business “The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck” in June 2009. It took off quickly thanks to twitter and a lot of innovation on Doug’s part.

Fierceness:

Gobbler

Before he started driving the truck around the city of New York, he had absolutely no clue about the food business.  He got the idea to start an ice cream truck from a friend who had done it for a  few years and he was a bit jealous.  He decided that he would own the fact that he was a middle aged gay guy driving an ice cream truck so he came up with the idea of “The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck.”   He took to twitter to let people know where he’d be every day and very quickly gained a large following.

In the short time that he has been delivering Ice Cream in Gotham City, he has really made a name for himself.  He has been featured in articles in Food and Wine Magazine, Vogue Living, The Huffington Post, and the New York Times among others.  He has been recognized as a top food truck by Serious Eats NY, Klout, Men’s Health and Gourmet Magazine. He is a Fierce Force to be reckoned with in The Big Apple.

His menu features such items as “The Salty Pimp,” “The Bea Arthur,” “The Mermaid,” and “The Monday Sundae.” How does he come up with these flavors? He’s not above stealing ideas from others and his other half has a great knack for flavors and remembering things. He has a wide array of toppings that include Nutella, Cardemom, Cayenne Pepper, and Wasabi Pea Dust.

Doug has done so well with the business that he is opening “The Big Gay Ice Cream Store” on East 7th St.  There is no firm date to open yet but it will probably be in mid July, just in time to really beat the heat.  My only problem with Doug is that he doesn’t have a store in Los Angeles.

Links:

Great Interview in The Gothamist

Store Opening Info

Big Gay Ice Cream Website    Follow Doug on twitter @biggayicecream

What’s up With Bill? – Week 2

My most popular blog post to date was 5 reasons to listen to the Bill Carroll Show.  It was so popular that I decided to come up with a weekly format that I think you will enjoy.  I promise it will be SFW (Safe for work) and entertaining enough that you’ll want to check in every week to find out What’s up Bill.

Let me know what you think. I’d love to hear your comments and any suggestions you have to make this even better.

One Great Segment (each week I select one segment that I think was great, or at least pretty darn good)

Brian Stow

Today Bill had a great segment where he interviewed Matt Lee. Matt is a friend of Brian Stow and was with Brian when he was beaten at the opening night of the Dodgers/ Giants game.  A few interesting things came out of the interview and some questions I had were answered.

1. Matt agreed that Brian did make a comment about Dodger Dogs and that he’d rather eat feces while they were in the stands at the game.  The statement was made by Brian to his friends and he was not disparaging the Dodgers or the fans. The Dodger fan in the video overheard the comment and confronted Brian as he was seated. This confrontation was captured on video (click here to see it).

2. Matt confirmed that all of the events of the evening leading up to the beating were discussed with the police including the confrontation in the stands. Matt stated that the person who confronted Brian in the stands was definitely not the same person who was involved in the beating in the parking lot after the game.

3. Bill asked Matt to describe what happened in the parking lot.  Matt said that as they were leaving the game, the three of them were about 10 feet apart from each other and he was a little bit ahead of Brian when they were ambushed from behind.  The confrontation with Brian lasted about 10 seconds.  There were two people involved and both Matt and Brian were attacked by the same person.  Matt did get a good look at the guy and believes he could identify him again. He had to be very careful about what he said during the interview with Bill because the investigation is still underway and he doesn’t want to do anything to jeopardize the case.

4. Matt also got a good look at the second suspect and believes he can identify him as well.  He did not see the woman believed to be driving the getaway car.

Caption This

Caption This - Week of June 27

Each week I’ll post a picture from the Bill Carroll Page on the KFI am 640 website.  Go to Bill’s Page and check it out if you want a little more background.  Then dig deep into your right brain, create a hilarious caption, and jot it down in the comment section with a reference to the photo. I’ll include the best captions in next weeks post.

Bill Said What? (Some good stuff that comes out of Bill’s mouth)

I refuse to believe the world is coming to this.  Have you seen the “Reborn Dolls” that can cost as much as $12,000? This is a cry for help by these women.  My mother collects dolls, which I find creepy but she doesn’t carry them around.  That’s for the Llasso Apso.

They even come with one of a kind birthmarks.  They put each eyelash in one at a time.  Some are made to look like Premies and are delivered with an incubator and an IV.  Who needs a doll like that? Get a hobby.

They’ll even recreate one that resembles what your daughter looked like.  You can take your breast out in a restaurant and pretend to breastfeed it!!

Brian chimed in that he has a neighbor who dresses their cats up and walks them in a stroller.  He tries to be nice to the neighbor but he and his partner can’t help but run back in the house and heave a big sigh when they see her.

Can we commit these people to the looney bin, please???

Noone is going to call and say this is ok.  800-520-1KFI.  The crazy people are out there they are just not listening to this program.

A lot of this stuff is happening in the virtual world. In Japan they have a lot of this. Here is an article where a woman is charged in Japan for killing off her husbands virtual girlfriend. You can go on 2nd life.com. Kids can adopt virtual pets on clubpenguin.com.   I find it hard to believe that women actually do this.  You have crossed the line when you go to the grocery store and take your fake baby.

Other than I’m totally confused about the state of the world right now, I’m ok.  A caller worked at a restaurant where a couple would come in with 2 teddy bears dressed up differently every time.  They ordered a table for 4 and dinner for the bears.  They would even put the food up to their mouths before eating it themselves.

Shout Out

In each post  I will select one person who commented previously and feature that person in this weeks post (I’ll contact you via email) and give you or your business a brief bio.

Gay of The Day – June 28 – Tabatha Coffey

Gay of the day is a daily blog post that features gay people who are living a Fierce Life.  This post will feature both celebrities and ordinary folks that I admire for their contribution to the human and or animal kingdom.

Today’s Gay of the Day is Tabatha Coffey

Tabatha Coffey Logo's "NewNowNext Awards" 2011 - Backstage And Audience

Brief Bio:

Tabatha was born in Queensland, Australia and began doing hair at the age of 14.  She was raised around drag queens and that is where she got her inspiration to be a hairstylist. Upon completing a 4 year apprenticeship in Australia she left for London and gained invaluable experience working for Vidal Sassoon.  Tabatha first came on the scene in the USA as a contestant on the TV show Shear Genius in 2007. She has since completed 3 seasons of Tabatha’s Salon Takeover and will begin a fourth soon.

Fierceness:

Tabatha is Fierce but she is NOT a Diva.  She is a no-nonsense businesswoman who is well known for her strong work ethic and her passion for doing hair.  On her TV show she knows exactly what the Salon Owners must do in order to turn their business around and she does not tolerate incompetence. If the employees are slacking off she lets them know exactly what they need to do to get with the program.  If they refuse, don’t have the passion or don’t have the ability to do what it takes to get the job done she recommends that they educate themselves or leave and seek a different type of work.

Tabatha has written a book called “It’s Not Really About the Hair: The Honest Truth About Life, Love, and the Business of Beauty” She was on the Red Carpet for the Oscars in 2011 and has kept busy with appearances on “Make me a Supermodel,” “The Tyra Banks Show,” and “The Biggest Loser.”  She does not consider herself to be a celebrity, she just thinks she has been very lucky and very blessed to have been given a platform where she can write a book and educate people in a way that will empower them.

For a Fierce interview with Tabatha check this out Live Chat

Links:

Click Here for Tabatha’s Website:  follow Tabatha on Twitter @tabathacoffey

Click Here for Bravo TV

Update on a Homophobic Rant by a Manager at a Starbucks

Inaction and Broken Promises:

About two weeks ago Missy had an experience that changed her life.  As she was sitting in a Starbucks in Long Island , New York waiting for her partner to get her haircut she was shocked and appalled to witness a homophobic rant by a Starbucks manager toward an employee (Jeffrey). She felt really bad so she decided to do her part to make a difference and bring this incident to light. She wrote a letter to Starbucks describing what she had seen.  To give the whole thing visibility, her partner Dana posted the letter on her blog and her facebook wall.  Within a couple of days the post went viral and it made front page news on the Huffington Post resulting in over 250,000 hits to their blog site and many media requests for interviews.

As a result of all of the publicity Missy fully expected Starbucks to investigate the incident and make things right with Jeffrey.  That hasn’t been the case. Instead Starbucks conducted a brief investigation with the store manager involved and did not interview Missy or Jeffrey to get their side of the story.  They did take a statement from Missy shortly after the incident, however, there was never a follow up and no contact at all with Jeffrey. Starbucks addressed the issue by posting a statement on their website declaring their commitment to diversity.

I get it that they are in business to make a profit and they must take appropriate action to protect their reputation when it’s threatened. Did they do the right thing?  I think not. I believe they went into the investigation with a closed mind and their only agenda was to protect the company from litigation.  Their legal team and upper management just wanted to make this thing go away so they wouldn’t have to deal with negative publicity and any potential customer backlash.

That’s unfortunate because this has the potential to blow up in their face.  Jeffrey has hired a lawyer and has threatened a lawsuit. Missy feels like they broke their promise to her to conduct a thorough investigation and keep her informed as to their progress.  She’s not happy about their inaction and has made her feeling known in her latest blog.

A few thoughts:

1. Missy did not make this whole thing up.  There has been no denial from Starbucks that an incident occurred. She did not know Jeffrey before and certainly didn’t know he was gay until it was made clear to her by comments made by the Starbucks Manager and two other employees who were involved in the altercation. She was not seeking publicity, either.  She had no idea that posting the letter to the blog and facebook wall would result in it going viral and make national news.

2. It is never appropriate for a manager to rebuke an employee in public under these circumstances.  Starbucks has released a statement that there were some inaccuracies in Missy’s story and that what she observed was an employee review and not a manager disciplining an employee. They did not state what the inaccuracies were. I don’t think it makes a difference. The review was loud enough that Missy was able to overhear the entire conversation and she captured the main points. The discussion with Jeffrey obviously upset him since he had to leave during the middle of the discussion to compose himself.

3. Missy describes the tone of the manager (and two other employees) as sharp and condescending. The managers also made reference to Jeffrey’s personal life and political views and how they felt it was inappropriate for him to make them public. It was clear to Missy that they were intolerant of his lifestyle and the discussion with him had nothing to do with his performance. They told Jeffrey that he was not fired, but Missy felt like they pressured him to resign so they didn’t have to fire him.

4. Was this bullying?  Nobully.org says that bullying is when someone keeps doing or saying things to have power over someone.  I believe the managers were bullying Jeffrey and they displayed homophobic and irresponsible behavior. Of course managers are supposed to look out for the best interest of the company they work for. They are equally responsible for creating a healthy work environment and must do their best to make sure an employee never feels threatened. Missy’s description of the incident shows clear discrimination. Based on Jeffrey’s reaction and statements he made during the altercation with the supervisor, she has allowed (probably created) a hostile work environment in her store.

5. What was the proper way for Starbucks to handle this incident? In my opinion they should have done a thorough investigation including follow up with Missy, an interview with Jeffrey, and an attempt to contact other customers who were in the store at the time. They should have disciplined the managers involved and retrained them on Starbucks policy on diversity.  I also think they should have offered Jeffrey a position in another store. He now has a black mark on his employee record that would have made advancement within the Starbucks Organization impossible had he stayed. As a result of the publicity from this incident he may be labeled as a troublemaker and he will likely have problems seeking employment elsewhere.

6. What should concerned Starbucks Customers do now?  Should there be a call to boycott Starbucks? I’m not a big fan of boycotts but I think Missy has done the right thing.  She contacted The Trevor Project and is asking people to avoid one Starbucks visit and instead make a small donation to the Trevor project. Brilliant Idea Missy!! You can donate any amount of money to the Trevor Project here or use your cellphone to text TREVOR to 85944 to send a $5 donation. Let’s blend up some great tasting lemonade out of these lemons Starbucks handed us.

7.  Please understand that you can make a difference. It’s actually not all that difficult to put pressure on Starbucks so they don’t allow this to happen again. . Obviously Starbucks has not done an adequate job of hiring good managers and training them to respect diversity. I’m not asking for a boycott. Instead, put pressure on them by blogging, tweeting, facebooking, protesting, and talking about this with your friends. And don’t forget to make a donation to the Trevor Project.

Thank you Missy and Dana for keeping this alive and doing the right thing.  Keep up the good work!

Gay of the Day

Gay of the day is a daily blog post that features gay people who are living a Fierce Life.  This post will feature both celebrities and ordinary folks that I admire for their contribution to the human and or animal kingdom.

Today’s Gay of the Day is Ross Matthews

Brief Bio:

Ross is probably best known for being “the intern” on the tonight show, starting in 2001.  He still works with the tonight show as a correspondent and creative consultant.  You can see him weekly on the Chelsea Handler show where he brings his unique sense of humor and is always the best dressed panel member. Ross lives in Los Angeles with his partner Salvador Camarena.

Fierceness:  Ross has lost 40 lb and counting as spokesperson for Jenny Craig.  He is writing a book titled Man Up and speaking on college campuses about his experiences and his take on pop culture. Oh and he just produced and co-starred in a pilot show for Chelsea Handler’s production company that hopefully will air soon on E!

Check out Ross Talky Blog. It’s definitely Fierce.

Links:

Ross Website , follow Ross on twitter @helloross

Salvador Website, follow Salvador on twitter @fsalvation

What’s up Bill Carroll – Special Edition – John and Ken Charity Drive for Congressman Gatto

John And Ken Show

My most popular blog post to date was 5 reasons to listen to the Bill Carroll Show.  It was so popular that I decided to come up with a weekly format that I think you will enjoy.  I promise it will be SFW (Safe for work) and entertaining enough that you’ll want to check in every week to find out What’s up Bill.

This is a special edition post   Let me know what you think. I have to pre-empt the regularly scheduled blog for breaking news.  The John and Ken show took to the streets of Burbank to collect non-perishable goods to give to congressman Mike Gatto so he and his family wouldn’t starve as a result of the California State budget impass.

One Great Segment (each week I select one segment that I think was great, or at least pretty darn good)

Yesterday members of the California Assembly took to the airwaves, twitter, blogs and press releases to voice their displeasure with State Controller John Chang.  What did Mr Chang do that sent them all atwitter?  He followed the requirements in Prop 25 and Prop 58 that says the legislature must pass a balanced budget by June 15 or they will not receive paid until the budget is balanced.  I also, just learned that the legislatures will not receive back pay once the budget is resolved. That’s great news.

So I was in the car listening to Bill Carroll and at the end of his show he handed off to John and Ken, but they were on the phone, not in the studio. What the heck is going on here?  John came on the line and announced that they were in a top secret location and they could now divulge where they were.  They were camped out at 3rd St and Magnolia in Burbank, across the street from the office of Mike Gatto.  They asked their listeners to stop by and drop off canned food that they would collect for a couple hours and than they would hand it all over to Gatto or his staffers at the end of the segment (see pics of the event below).

For the first hour and half they stood and talked to listeners who stopped by to make donations.  Ken even made a donation of some things he was able to find in his cabinet at home, white kidney beans and low fat condensed milk.  One listener brought a bottle of flip flop wine.  Another listener that was leaving the state brought a can of dog food and a pooper scooper that the congressman could use to shovel all the B.S. he was throwing around.  Other items that were donated included a can of spam, canned weiners, toilet paper, ravioli, various types of soup, some baby wipes and I think there were even some toys and food for their 1 year old daughter.

Starting around 4:30 pm John and Ken tried to get inside the building to deliver the donated goods.  Unfortunately, there were two security guards who would not let either one of them get into the building.  John tried to convince one of them that tax paying constituents had a constitutional right to meet with their assemblymen. No luck.  They tried to get a volunteer who was passing by to get into the building and deliver the goods but no luck there either.  At one point they had a small crowd and started singing God Bless America but still no luck.  As they were about to end the segment a lady who had corresponded previously with Congressman Gatto came by and asked if she could deliver some materials to him and still no luck.

As the segment ended and the show was turned over to Obama for his “We’re Leaving Afghanistan” speech John promised that they would continue to collect donations and make a way to get them delivered.

I love it when they do stuff like this. It points out the hypocrisy of our elected officials.  Almost all of the democrats and probably a handful of the republicans supported Prop 25 when it was on the ballot last year.  Now that they have to live up to the requirements, some are screaming bloody murder.  It’s easy for them to take money from all of us but when it hits them in the gut, they can’t take it.  I’d be happy to see this budget thing draw out for months so they can see how the rest of the world lives.

Caption This

Each week I’ll post a picture from the Bill Carroll Page on the KFI am 640 website.  Go to Bill’s Page and check it out if you want a little more background.  Then dig deep into your right brain, create a hilarious caption, and jot it down in the comment section with a reference to the photo. I’ll include the best captions in next weeks post. Note this picture is from John and Ken’s website. 

Caption This

Bill Said What? (Some good stuff that Bill says)

Sitting in for Bill Carroll for this blog post are a few brilliant words from the John and Ken show. In talking to the security guard John said I’m a uniter not a divider.  He convinced the crowd to sing God Bless America to show that Americans have a right to enter public property to make a donation for their representative.

Later in the show John called Mike Gatto an arrogant petulant little kid who should make good use of the baby wipes that were donated by listeners.  There were so many gems that came out of John’s mouth during this whole event that it’s too bad I can’t remember more.

Shout Out

In each post  I will select one person who commented previously and feature that person in this weeks post (I’ll contact you via email) and give you or your business a brief bio.