April, 2012 Bus Tour Magazine Online

Your Ultimate Group Experience Awaits in Corpus Christi, Texas

Beauty and the Bistro Caters is a unique catering company that delivers delightful cuisine and culinary convenience to bus groups. Planners can place orders in advance and then pull into the bus drive-thru lane. Staff will deliver directly to the undercarriages or come aboard and distribute directly to your passengers. Just like that, lunch is served and you are on your way. Groups of 10 or more can be served from prices ranging $7.95 to $9.95. These customized lunches offer gourmet sandwiches, pasta, or even diabetic choices. Advance orders are required with preferred 72 hours notice. Phone (361) 881-8500 or visit www.beautyandthebistro.com for more information. Read the whole article HERE

Issue Date: Texas Meetings and Events
Fall 07

Eating Inside the Box
Joanne S. Liu

When clients are busy at work, appetites have a tendency to languish. To turn the tables on expectations, add attractive meals and mouth-watering tastes with boxed lunches and casual catering.
Debbie Farnum, CMP, president of Texas Association of School Boards, recommends Emily’s Catering in Austin. “We have received rave reviews for their boxed lunches, including their vegetarian options,” she says. “And they always include homemade cookies, which are fresh and yummy.” Lunches arrive in clear plastic compartments so clients may feast with their eyes first. Hinged snap lids make for easy handling around paperwork and conference tables. Farnum adores the vegetarian options, which include avocado-cream cheese sandwiches or grilled pita with hummus.

She also recommends Apple Annies Marketplace in Austin for its “different than usual fare.” Boxed lunches and salads arrive in clear or white deli boxes. The Boardroom Box, packaged in a clear box, shows off a seasonal salad, fudge brownie and fruit garnish. “The spinach salad is so good that even our board members who weren’t crazy about salad cleaned their bowls,” says Farnum. Freshly baked cookies, such as the chocolate toffee shortbread and oatmeal raisin, provide a tasty end to the meal.

When Robin Daniels, president of Sonus, an event management company, plans a casual lunch, her priority is taste. “I look for high quality food—for something unique— because people will comment on taste,” she says. Cindy Burch’s Dove’s Nest Restaurant in Waxahachie offers a wide variety of outstanding foods, especially those with an Asian influence, says Daniels. “Everything I’ve ever had from Cindy has been phenomenal.”

In Fort Worth, Lanny’s Alta Cocina Mexicana, haute cuisine with a Mexican twist, gets Daniels excited. “He once served a jalapeno sausage combined with a lobster tail on a skewer. The richness combined with that hot sausage was just wonderful.” Andrew Ormsby Catering in Dallas is also high on her list of “wow” foods. In addition to boxed lunches and sandwich platters, Ormsby presents food in chafing dishes and on flat, wide trays to protect food during delivery.

Kay Burke, CMP, CMM at JC Penney, says Blue Mesa Grill in the Dallas/Fort Worth area always excels at presentation. And Lisa Hopkins, CMP, director of catering at the Houstonian Hotel, says business lunches at her venue are made to order. Clients arriving in the morning check off their preferences on a special “chef’s picks” menu so that, come lunch-time, their customized meals are ready to provide energy to last through the afternoon.

Michelle Roddel of Beauty & the Bistro in Corpus Christi keeps her meals’ various tastes neatly separated in a three-compartment box with a black bottom and frosted top. The special dividers keep food from toppling over and the containers are stackable, making for easy transport in a compact space. Because her containers are deep, she can pack tall foods such as club sandwiches and lasagna, without compromising presentation. The container lids, when removed and flipped over, function as plates.

Bill Walters, owner of Billadelphia’s Authentic Philly Food in Bedford and Arlington, offers Philly cheesesteaks and hoagies. Walters recommends presentation on platters so that guests can build their own sandwiches. “For authenticity, we let people build sandwiches themselves, so that the juice from tomatoes and lettuce won’t make the hoagie soggy.” The native Philadelphian imports his food—the cold cuts, Herr’s potato chips, Amoroso bread and Tastykakes—from his hometown.

In Touch:
ANDREW ORMSBY CATERING // 214.841.1917 / www.ormsbycatering.com
APPLE ANNIES MARKETPLACE // 512.472.1884 ext. 2 / www.appleanniescatering.com

BEAUTY & THE BISTRO // 361.881.8500 / www.beautyandthebistro.com
817.275.2699 – Arlington
817.684.8607 – Bedford
214.378.8686 – Dallas
972.934.0165 – Addison
214.387.4407 – Plano
817.332.6372 – Fort Worth
817.416.0055 – Southlake
THE DOVE’S NEST RESTAURANT // 972.938.3683 / www.thedovesnestrestaurant.com/catering.htm
EMILY’S CATERING // 512.389.0740 / www.emilyscatering.com
THE HOUSTONIAN HOTEL // 713.680.2626 / www.houstonian.com
LANNY’S ALTA COCINA MEXICANA // 817.850.9996 / www.lannyskitchen.com


April 27, 2006
Beauty and the Bistro is in the news again at the Corpus Christi Caller Times

As published on www.corpusbeat.com

February 17, 2005 Edition

Overcoming Financial Challenges, Women Own 25% of U.S. Businesses
By: Zuzana Zambrano

What motivates women to start their own business? Being their own boss, setting their own hours around family needs and doing something they truly enjoy are just a few reasons why there are 9.1 million women-owned businesses in America. Growing at twice the rate of all other U.S. businesses, these shops, services, manufacturers and professional firms (to name a few) generate $819 billion in revenues annually. Texas has third largest pool of women-owned businesses and over five thousand of those are in Corpus Christi.

Michelle Roddel owns Corpus Christi’s Beauty & the Bistro restaurant in the One Shoreline Plaza high-rise office complex. She took advantage of all the help she could get before opening her full-service salon, café and catering company.

“My original dream was to open a bed & breakfast inn, but after looking at the business plan and financial projections that the counselor at the Del Mar College Small Business Development Center helped me put together, I realized I needed to scale down my plans and concentrate on what I really wanted to do. My counselor foresaw my project (would) take four years from start to finish, up until I opened my doors for the first time. And that is exactly how long it took me!”

The Small Business Development Center, a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration is a non-profit that offers free help for start-up and existing businesses. Its services cover business counseling, training programs, business plans, loan request packaging and technical assistance with management.

“Thirty-five percent of our clients were women owned businesses in fiscal year 2000, and we have seen a five percent increase in 2004. Also, half of our training seminar attendees were women,” said Ann Fierova, Director of the Del Mar College SBDC.

The SBA also sets guidelines and administers loan programs for the banks and lending institutions that actually make the loans. “We back these loans with a guarantee that will eliminate some of the risk to the lending partners,” says Debbie Fernandez, Economic Development Specialist with the SBA.

Wendy Freeman, owner of The Woodhouse Day Spa in Corpus Christi, received an SBA guaranteed small business loan from ValueBank. “A friend of mine, whom I went to college with in Victoria, Texas, opened The Woodhouse Day Spa there and two years later franchised it.

“I was having a hard time finding a job at the time in my field [accounting] in Corpus Christi and this seemed like the perfect opportunity,” remembers Freeman. Today her business is doing so well that she is working on opening another franchise in Round Rock, Texas. She is working with SBA again, hoping to lock in another guaranteed loan.

“As a woman business owner, you have to be even more persistent, determined, resilient, and committed, especially in male dominated industries where women face more obstacles getting into business. You have to be a little bit tougher than a male in order to break that glass ceiling and make it in business, “ says Fernandez. “Women had to prove themselves in the past, and those same perceptions may still be there today. But hopefully, I think, times are changing.”

Roddel experiences this often in her café and catering business. “I have to be strong willed almost to a fault and I have to have thick skin when dealing with some customers and employees who would prefer to do business and work with a man.”

“I have to stand my ground as far as my policies go, and I have to be strong so people don’t push me over. Organization skills and communication skills are a necessity in my business, but the most important is great customer service. I don’t want my customers to leave unhappy because for every one customer ten people hear about their experience and I want that experience to be a pleasant one,” says Freeman.

Both Roddel and Freeman agree that the hardest part of opening their small business was getting financed. Roddel started with hardly any working capital and that is still her company’s weakness today. “I was denied by bank after bank, until finally with the SBDC’s help I was approved for an ACCION Texas loan,” recalls Roddel.

ACCION Texas loans to low- and moderate-income small business owners who do not have access to commercial bank loans. Freeman was luckier and was able to obtain her SBA loan in about four months.

For Freeman, the easiest part of opening her business was to have the inventory ready and counted in. Roddel also had an easy time with inventory, because during her preparation phase, she was slowly buying items for her business. She also found the leasing, renovating and grand opening phase easy.

In contrast, Freeman did not. “Meeting the grand opening date and having everything ready to go on time was one of the hardest parts of opening my business,” she said.

“(One) of the misconceptions about starting a small business is that the owner will get rich and will have lots of money,” said Fierova. “Women business owners also think they will have plenty of time to spend with their kids, which is not true at the beginning when they are still trying to get the business off the ground working seventy hours per week. It is true later on, when the business is doing better, and they can afford to hire help.”

According to Fernandez, the biggest misconception she encountered is that there is free money available. Many believe that there are government grants for start-up small businesses, or that the SBA lends money that doesn’t need to be paid back. “People think opening a small business is a simple process. They think they just need to apply, no business plan or projections needed, just a simple application form,” says Fernandez.

Fernandez’s advice for someone who wants to go into business for themselves is to “...plan, plan, plan.”
“The key foundation is proper planning,” agrees Fierova. The entrepreneur should research the trade and industry, do a self-evaluation, develop relationships with bankers and others in the business community, use free services of local agencies like the SBDC and SBA, and most importantly he or she should be 100% committed.

“Make sure you have working capital, fully research your industry and market, and network in your business community before starting up; this will give you instant customers you wouldn’t have had otherwise,” Roddel advises.

“It’s a lot of work, but if you are an overachiever and you like a challenge and constant change in your environment, owning a small business is the right thing for you,” says Freeman.