Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

"How to find free business advice"/ "Delivery service takes aim at office-food fatigue"

Feb. 15, 2016 "How to find free business advice": I cut out this article by Roger Pierce in 24 News on Sept. 19, 2011. 

"When the workday is sweet, ask why": I cut out this article by Lakshmi Gandhi in the Metro on Jul. 30, 2014.  Cinnabon president Kat Cole used to work at Hooters and then she worked her way up to the company's top executive.  In a NY Times interview she says:

"I've learned to question success a lot more than failure.  I'll ask more questions when sales are up than I do when they're down.

I ask more questions when things seem to be moving smoothly, because I'm thinking: 'There's got to be some I don't know.  There's always something.'

I made mistakes over the years that taught me to ask those questions.

I learned to make sure I take full authority of my role.  When I haven't, I knew it immediately.  And so I keep a keen eye out for whether my young leaders are forgoing an opportunity to lead."

"The makings of a masterful mogul: are you built to be a business owner?": I cut out this article by Lauren Marinigh in the Metro on Oct. 22, 2014.

Passion: They live, breathe, and eat their business idea.

Open-mindedness: You have to have critiques from customers, entrepreneurs, and mentors.

Time management: You will have a full-time or part-time job with this small business going so you have to know how to prioritize.

Leadership: After awhile, you may have to hire people so you have to set expectations and goals for your team.

Self-starter: You need determination and commitment and to accomplish things on your own.

 "C is for corporate, that wasn't good enough for her": I cut out this article by Lakshmi Gandi in the Metro on Sept. 10, 2014:

Carla Hall was working as an accountant and saw another accountant carefully folding receipts and she thought that this can't be her at 40.  This is how she became a co-host for the show The Chew.

Making the jump: She was modeling in college days and then networked with a wife of a former colleague and then went to France.

Figure out what you really want: She went to France and loved the food.

Teach yourself the skills you don't have: She taught herself to cook by reading cookbooks.  She start her own business as a fluke.  She delivered lunch to her friend at work and the office liked the food that they wanted more lunch from her everyday.  She sold sandwiches door-to-door for 5 yrs before going to culinary school.

There is no such thing as perfect timing: "If you try to plan, you'll never do it.  The timing will never be right.  You really have to take a leap of faith."

Stick with it if you really want it: "I didn't know how to wrap my sandwiches.  I worked 7 days a week.  You have to prepare yourself mentally, because it is a free fall."

"Delivery service takes aim at office-food fatigue": I cut out this article by Adrian Brubassi in the Globe and Mail on Mar. 11, 2015.  The picture of a fox mascot head on a man's body was eye- catching and cute and funny.  I put that up on my Facebook:

Each week, we seek expert advice to help a small or medium-sized business overcome a key issue.

Ryan Spong spent many years working as an investment banker. The experience led him to lament the poor quality of food available to corporate employees, who often are stationed at their desks for long hours.

“There are a lot of office workers who are tired of all the bad quality food,” he said, referring to corporate catering services with limited options, and fast-food operations found in downtown food courts.

So he launched a delivery service to cater to their needs when he became chief executive officer of the Vancouver-based startup Foodee in 2013.

“When they come to Foodee they see that they can have dishes from some of the better restaurants in the city right at their desk,” says Mr. Spong.

He sees significant potential in Web-based restaurant services. The industry is valued at $9-billion annually in North America, and since expanding to Toronto last fall, Foodee has witnessed strong growth in revenue, he says.

Foodee receives a 10-per-cent discount from the restaurants while charging its delivery customers a 10-per-cent premium on the menu price of the food. Its restaurants include popular spots that do not usually deliver. In Toronto, options include Barque Smokehouse, Parts & Labour and Brassaii. Among Vancouver favourites are Meat & Bread, Bestie and Tacofino, a restaurant Mr. Spong co-owns. Foodee, which employs 20 people, is bringing in about $200,000 a month in gross revenue, he says.

Mr. Spong’s obstacle, though, has been in reaching the people who most often make the decisions when it comes to feeding the office – administrative assistants.
“The office administrators in many ways are the gatekeepers for a company’s staff. I know that myself from working in that kind of environment. They’re in charge of keeping solicitors out and away from staff.

“So our challenge has been: How do you grab their attention?” Mr. Spong says.

Foodee has offered free meals for the executive assistant, who usually doesn’t partake in the dining experience despite placing the food order. In February, the company launched a contest that offers a round-trip vacation to St. John’s, Nfld., to dine at Raymonds, considered one of the top restaurants in Canada.

Homing in on executive assistants in the financial industry is crucial to continued growth, he believes.

“It’s likely there are less than 10,000 people working in this capacity in offices in Toronto, and an even smaller number than that in Vancouver,” Mr. Spong says.

The Challenge: How can Foodee best connect with the office-dining decision-makers in Vancouver and Toronto?

Kal Suurkask, chief executive officer of Big Birch Capital Corp. and managing director of the sales and marketing firm Elevation Direct, Victoria

If the economics make sense, I’d arrange an office tasting session. Let the office assistant know that you’ll be providing complimentary lunch samples for the staff on a certain date. Why would he or she say no? I’d ask Foodee’s restaurant partners to pitch in.

Let the office assistant know that, in return, you’d like to promote your lunch service to the staff. If the lunch is good, Foodee gets a shoe in the door, the restaurant partners get brand recognition and the office assistant will look like a hero.

Also, Foodee should give out coupons for their brand or even for the restaurants they have partnered with. This is a good way of tracking the effectiveness of these comp lunches.

Barry O’Neill, managing partner, Zed Financial Partners, Toronto

Getting into a company and onto its list for catering or food orders can be difficult. Getting to the right person and then persuading them to change caterers can also be difficult. It is a very competitive market and hard to replace existing relationships. Here are two suggestions:

(a) Have the restaurants advertise Foodee services – with pamphlets or a posting on their websites – to let their customers know their food can now be delivered. This is good for both the restaurants and Foodee.

(b) Have a cocktail party and invite the executive assistants to come for a food tasting so they can see the value and quality Foodee offers. These people do not usually get invited to functions and would appreciate the opportunity.

Stuart Hailes, co-owner, Tropical Images Plant Interiors, an office plant-maintenance service, Vancouver

Basically, how we grew our company was by cold calling. Then, once we got our foot in the door, we sent the office manager pictures of what we do to improve the look and quality of the plants and plant design in their office. If they had existing plants we would show them what we could do to enhance their look.

It’s hard to break in initially, but for office food suppliers it’s important to get in front of people – that’s especially so with food, because people want to see it. If you get it in front of them, they should see the value.

Probably their best strategy is samples. Send the potential client an initial taste of what they can do. We have used samples with flowers and plants. That way it breaks the ice and people are much more receptive.


Stage events

Hold a private event for executive assistants catered by their restaurant partners.

Offer coupons

Use coupons to gain business and track the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.

Show, rather than tell

Bring food samples to the offices of potential clients.

Feb. 24, 2016 "The right way to sell your idea": I read this article by Jonathan Lister in the Globe and Mail today. 

It mentioned how Kanye West asking for money from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on Twitter is not good. 

Jun. 14, 2016 Meetup: I found this: This bank is for entrepreneurs.  I read an ad in the Edmonton Journal:


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