Margaret-Grace Brost of The Good Food Club, praising the WHOLE ENCHILADA

Margaret of The Good Food Club was a last-minute signup for the Whole Enchilada in summer 2022. She and her partner are farmer-first, organic caterers who make amazing cuisine – with a flare for flavor and localized food systems (see for yourself)! As of this writing they’re about to launch their takeout window – very exciting times!

When we met The Good Food Club had a lot of good structure, including an excellent feeder system set up through a great local venue. They had some work to do with regards to acclimating prospective clients and reducing the amount of pre-contract (unpaid) work they were doing. Margaret’s excellent admin skills were a huge asset to reorganizing their business, and she was a delight to have in class!

I sat down with Margaret last week to talk about where she was at, and how she felt after taking the course.

Kelly
Good afternoon. How are you?

Margaret
Alright, are you?

Kelly
I’m great. And I want to thank you so much for even taking a half hour because it’s really helpful for me. So thank you.

Margaret
Yeah, of course, no problem.

Kelly
How goes the build-out?

Margaret
Of our website or the [takeout window] space?

Kelly
The take-out space!

Margaret
The space is great. It’s going really well. We have submitted all of our paperwork to the county, and we’re just kind of waiting for them to set up a time to come check us off. So that’s happening! We prepped in there all last week for a retreat that we were catering. It was nice to get to use the space for a couple of days and kind of feel into it.

Kelly
That is nice. So everything went smoothly or …?

Margaret
It was like definitely a trial! We were like: “Oh, we need another one of these -” like that. We’re working with bare bones. But we just wanted to make sure the sinks didn’t leak and everything was working.

Kelly
You sound and look relaxed about it – which is amazing to me, because that’s a huge project.

Margaret
Yeah! I think at this point, I’m just kind of – I’m not really rushed that to hear back from the health department, because as soon as we do, then it’s going to be go time! We have a couple more big weddings to get through. And then after that, hopefully we will be open to the public.

Kelly
And I bet the public is – if you were here in Aberdeen, I would be counting down days. Because it’s pretty exciting to get a new food place in a small town.

Margaret
The other day it was hot so the door was kind of cracked open, and people kept poking their heads in and asking what’s up!

Kelly
Yeah – they’re hungry! [laugh] Okay, well, I’m gonna keep this super short. I’m just gonna ask you a couple of questions.

So first of all, when we met, right before you took the course, what do you feel like you were worried about? What were you stressed about – or what were you wanting to develop further?

Margaret
I think I was worried about mostly – I needed some confidence in how to better communicate with clients. I wanted to feel comfortable about stating my No’s and my boundaries and kind – figuring out where those boundaries were. I felt like, “It’s business, we have to take it al!” So that was definitely something that I had heard from Sabel and Hudson that I you would be able to help me with that. That was definitely like one of my bigger things I wanted to learn from you.

Kelly
And where do you feel you’re at with that today?

Margaret
I feel like I definitely learned a lot more skill sets – in the way to respond to folks. And also how to present ourselves as a business to the world. I definitely feel a lot more confident than I did.

I also feel like I have a lot of more work to do in order to get that information out the way I want it to! Like a website and stuff like that. But I know that I have the foundation now to build it. It’s just making the time to do it.

Kelly
That’s so funny, because I have the same issue with my business. I’ll sit there and – I’m very busy, right? And I’ll think, you know what, I need to spend two hours a day for three days to get my website to where the right information is there. I have this huge funnel of people that might come in. And I want them to start to see my prices or my policies. Because – if I don’t discipline that group of people, then I’m going to be answering all these DMs. Do you know what I mean?

Margaret
Absolutely!

Kelly
It’s hard to make that time. Maybe because – it’s not that exciting to build a website? I don’t know about you, but I don’t love building my website. Like I don’t like going back in there. I just added something the other day and it only took a half hour but I was so annoyed. Yeah, it’s not the sexiest part of running a business for sure.

Margaret
Definitely. And we’ve had two or three inquiries in just the last couple of weeks for next season and I’m like, wait! I don’t want to start this process with these people how we’ve been doing it. I want to revamp this process [like I learned in the course], but I also have to answer these people who want to give us their business.

Kelly
Yeah but – you know that if there are three people right now who want you for next season, that that means business is probably going to come in. And so you can afford to [put them off].

I think the trick is like, “I’m not ready to take you let me take your name down!” But then it’s like, “Shit, I better go fix my website now. Because now there’s more people waiting!” – right?

Margaret
Yeah, yeah. definitely.

Kelly
Well, okay, so you had said you wanted to know where to place boundaries and how to communicate them. Do you feel like the course helped you with that?

Margaret
Yes, definitely.

Kelly
Awesome.

Margaret
Yeah.

Kelly
Was there anything unexpected that you learned that you weren’t planning to learn that you got out of the course?

Margaret
Oh – a lot! [laughs]

Definitely, like the cash flow forecast, and kind of just a little more of the financial side of things. I guess I was surprised at how simple it could be. And not too complicated. I think I was definitely really turned off by trying to create one on my own when I was reading online. “How to make a business plan” and stuff like that. I was like, “I have no idea where to start with something like this!” And so I was surprised to – once I learned how to manipulate the numbers and play with the spreadsheet, it was like, “Oh, this is actually really fun!”

Kelly
Yes, and by the way, your plan was one of the best I’ve read because you have so much licensure, and so many deadlines that some of the others didn’t have, and you had that really tight. If you presented that plan to a lender, I think they’d be pretty impressed. I don’t know if you’ve ever got a loan from a bank, but they always crawl up your ass and they want lots of other things as well. But your business plan is super strong. And it was a delight to read it!

Margaret
Awesome, thank you. Yeah, we actually just got approached a couple days ago around submitting a proposal to buy to be able to buy a building in town. [Originally] this was like, our five year goal. I thought, “Wow, okay, like I definitely could, we could do this if we tried to” – if that’s what we really want. So we’re spending a week or so just thinking about it. But it was really interesting: “If you build it, it’ll come”. It’s happening a lot faster than we thought.

Kelly
Yeah. And – we talked about this in the course a little. It’s not quite like The Secret or manifestation. I don’t believe in that. But that said, when we do all this groundwork and then an opportunity comes up I feel like we can be more clear. Maybe we think, “Oh, we want to jump on that soon!” Or, “You know what, we need to get four months of [something else] done first instead”. Before you have a plan, if you hear of an opportunity you’re scrambling to think about it. It’s confusing and overwhelming. With a plan you don’t have to scramble as much. At least that’s my hope with the business plan and the cash forecast.

Okay!

Well, what do you feel like could be improved about the course? Because it’s hard for me to know how it feels for a new person to take the course. That’s why I like to ask.

Margaret
Hm.

I really… I really liked the getting to have like a one-on-one with everyone in the cohort. But I think it would be a little bit more productive if there was a tad bit of guidelines for [the one-on-ones with other students]. Because essentially what happened with me was – most of most of my check-ins it was very much getting to know the person, talking about the course. And it was sweet to have a little bit more of emotional investment into the people that I’ve been spending so much time with. But I think if there was even just like one or two, like prompted questions –

Kelly
Okay, awesome.

Margaret
– that could maybe guide the one-on-ones. Because some of the conversations flowed pretty easily but then some of them didn’t as much. It’s like an awkward first date with somebody. [laughs]

Kelly
Yeah!

Margaret
So just having a little bit of – some guided questions.

Kelly
Okay. That sounds like a great suggestion. Thank you for that. That’s awesome.

Kelly
Okay, well – I guess I just want to tell you, Margaret, it was really cool to work with you. First of all, your business is amazing. I’m very envious of people that get to roll up to your takeout window. Maybe someday. It’s not Point Reyes – remind me, it’s the Mendocino Coast right?

Margaret
Point Arena.

Kelly
That’s right.

Margaret
A little closer to you than Point Reyes.

Kelly
Right! California is a big state. When you fly from Washington to California, you fly over Washington and Oregon in about twenty minutes. And then for an hour, it’s just California.

I guess one of the things I really liked – I like your style, I like the combination of high-end cuisine with that renegade visual marketing branding. So cool!

And I feel like … I didn’t get to talk to your partner very much. But he seems a little bit – like not hermitty or curmudgeony, but kind of gruff. And I’m hoping that as you get confident with admin and customer handling, that he can feel more relaxed too! I don’t know him, of course, but it’s just the impression I got.

Margaret
Yeah – and I know, even that last call with you when you did get to meet him, I think he walked away feeling a lot more confident. Like, “Oh, we’re doing a good job!” and he felt really reassured. I think he was also able to see all the work that I had been working on and was like, “Wow, this is incredible!”

Kelly
You two seem to complement each other really well. And my partner and I do as well, we have complementary skill sets.

And the other thing, I don’t know if this relates to your partner or not, but … sometimes the people who criticize or have an implied criticism, I will sit there and occupy myself with their issues.

But – those aren’t the people I should build my business for. Right? You know what I mean?

The people who are like, “Oh, I would have liked this more if it was this way or that way.” And then I’ll sit there and obsess on that issue. Not to say that’s a bad thing, to consider criticisms. But I try to remember the people I build the business for are the people who love my work and trust my work. They they might ask me for something, but they aren’t gonna just roll in with like, “Can you move something four pixels to the left?” Or, “Can you be open longer on Tuesdays?” It’s like, no, because I want to have a life.

So you know, hopefully, you and Chris both learn to – not fully discredit the critics, just don’t build your business to them. I don’t know if that makes sense. But that is something I struggle with, because I’ll sit there and I’ll think and think of them – then think, why am I bothering myself with that one clown that said that one thing?

Margaret
Totally.

Kelly
Awesome. Well, I will be watching your Instagram and your website and I just want to thank you so much. You joined last minute and it often seems like the last minute joiners, usually are very driven. You both seem very driven and you’re doing amazing things.

Margaret
Thank you so much.

Kelly
Good luck!

Margaret
Thanks so much. [laughs] I’ll keep you posted.

Kelly
Please do! You know – Hudson sends me an email about every three months and I always really like hearing from people. Some of my alumni hang out in Discord and I see them all the time but but people like you and Hudson – you guys are working. You get right back to work! So yeah. Thank you and say hi to your partner for me as well.

Margaret
Thank you! Bye!

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