From the "Stone age" to the "Millennium age"

Dreamer: Amy Strouth

Business: Prairie Queen Bakery & Restaurant

Location: Sheldon, IA

Industry Contest: Hospitality/Restaurants

Voting Ends: March 1, 2015 11:59 PM

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Bringing our business into the Millennium age incorporating technology and getting rid of the mountains of paperwork and pencil pushing trying to figure out the bottom line. Making our business more competitive, efficient and profitable.
Business Description:
We are a family owned and operated business. I purchased the bakery almost 11 years ago. Weathered many obstacles with economic challenges and commodity spikes that were out of control. We relocated from an old building to a modern facility almost doubling our space. We take pride in the fact that we make all our food whether it is our breads, buns, cakes, pastries to our soups, sandwiches and many other homemade dishes all from scratch with little to no extra preservatives. This is unique to our industry because businesses like mine are closing more and more everyday due to the competition with the Walmarts, the Superstores and many others that include the one stop features. What people don't realize is most of those items are brought in frozen, thawed and put out for sale. They have a lot of preservatives so they can be put on the shelf and last for a week or two. My products will mold in 5 to 7 days. They are healthier due to the fact that we make them from scratch.
By modernizing and adding technology we can reach the younger generation and teach them about us and how we stand out above the rest of the cookie cutter superstores. However, if we do not add technology and continue to try to run our business like the old "Mom and Pop" businesses we to will be closing our doors because we cannot stay on top on what is selling and what is not. What our labor costs are doing on a daily basis not a monthly basis when it is too late to make adjustments. We need to be able to communicate with the young future buyers and the only way to get their attention is through technology. My passion is to be able to provide a service to the community and surrounding communities that is "just like mom or grandma" use to make. Have healthier choices of the good old fashioned goodies. Growing up I watch my mother and grandmother bake, can, cook and make healthy food. They were my inspiration and the reason I want my business to succeed. My mother baked special cakes for each of us growing up and the feeling of having that special cake and party was so special. I want to do the same for the busy mothers of today. We just took it a few steps further by going from just a small bakery to a full line bakery, restaurant and catering service. We want people to know that we will stand out from the rest because our product is not being dumped out of a box and mixed and served.
Reason for Entering:
We need to get rid of the "stone age idea" and modernize. Adding a Point of Sale system to track everything from sales, to labor, to cost of goods. Then to modernize or menu with digital signage. Having the ability to go on a computer and make changes instead of spending $500.00 every time I need to reprint our menu boards. We need to add a security system to keep the employees honest. We have had a lot of inventory discrepancies but without some sort of device installed their is not way to prove whether it is being stolen. We also need to be able to use social media to promote our business and attract the youth of today. I recently learned that you can create an app to attract new and keep existing customers coming back. To be able to communicate the specials of the week. Adding a bar coding system to make checking out a customer go more efficiently instead of having pages and pages of price lists.