Does this represent a long way up…..long way down…..or simply just a challenge to be overcome, like any other day? My life is a series of challenges. Some wins, some losses, some just lessons learned along the way. So far, it has been very colorful, filled with crazy experiences and lots of love. I am a lucky woman!
For me, the Corona Lock Down was filled with sadness because my children and I were separated by a big ocean, unable to come together. There was nothing that could be done about that. So after allowing for the grieving, I saw this as a chance to actually freeze time. To have the time needed to decide what is next, what is important, and what can I do that would make a big impact during this time.
This year was supposed to be about starting my oldest son on his way to college preparation, getting the park project finished, hitting the right numbers for the Soul Food Eatery to make it thrive, and finding some time to ride again after spending so much time on the business these last few years.
Corona cancelled the college/future planning trip for my sons and I. After over a year of organizing, this was a big disappointment for all of us. Not only could we not go, we could not even see each other. He was still able to apply for the chance at a Washington DC internship, but all of the other things we were going to do were all postponed or cancelled. When I talk about it, I am still filled with sadness at the missed chances.
The Soul Food Eatery
The Soul Food Eatery Restaurant was ordered to shut down May 20. We had private parties, MotoSoul events, and great early season weather creating what looked to be the best year ever from the very start. Suddenly my project and our future was uncertain and I had no control over it.
The Park Project
We had already begun the park project and wanted to start the Schloss this year after the B Plan was finished. Hmmmmmm What to do?
What do we do now?
I started by seeing the possibilities that we did have – our strengths.
- Space – We have 6 hectares!
- Special Place – We have a very unique property. The Schloss, the Park and the other places draw people in.
- Loyal Customers – MotoSoul and the Soul Food Eatery have created many supportive fans. We knew we could get them to come.
- Amazingly good food – while trying to come up with our “reinvented business” I tried many other take out services and foods. I tried a big burger delivery service franchise and could not believe how bad it was! 30€ for 2 burgers that tasted not even as good as Burger King, and they were delivered cold!
- MotoSoul Brand – people know it and like us. They want to help us succeed!
Then I looked at how we could do what we do best under the Corona environment and restrictions. We needed to use our space! I got to work on preparing the terraces for picnics and eventually for use as a beer garden – something really lacking for the rider community in the Grimma region. I spent 5 weeks during Corona lock down working in the Park and Garden. Many people helped – the Mutzschen community and Verein were absolutely great! Every wood pile in Mutzschen is loaded with enough firewood for the next 2 winters!
Next – the Soul Team and I put together a Take-Out concept plan and decided to test drive it May 9 and 10. Shortly after announcing this and completely re-tooling the restaurant, Sachsen decided to allow restaurants to open again May 15. We were so far into it already, we decided to keep going.
Soul Food To Go Test Drive
On Saturday and Sunday we did it! Our guests arrived to a completely new restaurant. A walk-up window for ordering with a 2 meter spaced line up area complete with an entertaining way to wait in line if needed. The pick-up window was also safe and secure. All food was provided in disposable packaging and we succeeded in keeping people separated and not congregating as required during these challenging times.
Our customers were so happy to be back at MotoSoul, to see the progress in the Park, and to taste our delicious food again after weeks of eating their own cooking – Ha Ha!! They greeted each other from a distance, walked in the park in the sunshine and took their Soul Food wherever they wanted to enjoy it! My sense was that everyone was so happy to be out again and doing something that seemed normal, albeit quite a bit different then what they did in the past.
For us, serving you food and filling your bellies with yumminess was great! Not being able to hug you, high five you, or sit and chat while we settled the bill up was hard. We like you. We like to serve you. We like to hear about what you have been doing and where you are going. We will do whatever it takes to try to keep everyone safe, of course, and we now know that we can offer Take Out if it is the only way for us to serve you, but that is not what makes MotoSoul and the Soul Food Eatery special.
We are excited to be able to go back to serving you. To giving you a fass beer in a glass. To providing a real steak knife for your steak and a spoon that you can actually eat with! We generated 10 gelbe sacks of plastic waste in 2 days. This did not feel good. We want and like to be sustainable, this is the wrong direction!
So, what I want to say is this. Thank you. Thank you for coming. Thank you for caring. Thank you for supporting us and thank you for understanding that this was a test. We have to know how we stay in business if this becomes the new normal. We have to know how we can keep the community that we are creating together. How we can do what we do and how we can change the world!!! One step at a time, this Red Staircase will be climbed and we will be on top. We want all of you with us!
11 May 2020
Blog post by Deb Hey