We Mean Business: Katie’s Corner – Outback Catering

Our final assignment was Outback Catering. As soon as I walked in, I thought I was in a bad scene from Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Doug (owner of Outback Catering) had interesting choice décor – life-size stuffed people dressed in western clothing greeting the main entrance, wagon wheels and numerous other Axe Murder Hollow props. But, that was just the start of it. Let’s talk tech.

Doug was running his entire business off DOS-an old school Operating System. He might as well be running it off of Mrs. Pac Man. Actually, no. That’s giving DOS way too much credit. Doug liked doing things the old fashioned way and appeared to be afraid of change. More than comps- the phone systems resembled the old hand crank models. And in terms of computers, there was no mobility, no real file sharing or networking, and no back- up system. Also, Doug could only print his photos, menus, and flyers in flat black and white which was not visually appealing- to outsource would cost a fortune. Sidebar – I loved how he was still using the holed paper that requires you to tear off the edges – I didn’t even know it still existed. Then again, maybe you can’t purchase it and it’s just another item he hoarded from the 80’s. I guess nothing is more exciting than pack-ratting lbs. of paper. I digress.

We had some serious work to do, and Doug didn’t seem to agree. He did not want anything changed, thrown out or moved. As a matter of fact, he was so frustrated at one point, he pulled a Beebe rifle on Peter. No joke. Fortunately, his daughter Jamie was on my side. She agreed the business needed an overhaul well before she was even born.

The goal was to update and modernize the company so it would run more efficiently and be better protected. The install list was extensive:

· Two desktop systems featuring Intel Technology; one for the owner and the other for the bookkeeper

· PowerEdge Server, powered by Intel Quad-Core Technology for network storage and a backup system

· Dell VoIP phone system from Fonality – allowing efficiency and capability to access voice automation system- to route calls and also integrate with computer systems so a customer’s data would be available before they pick up a call

· Two Dell notebooks providing portability

· Additionally, we hooked him up with a wireless card in each notebook – great for working in remote locations.

· Two 30-inch LCD’s to showcase photos from events to potential clients

· Multi-function printer so that marketing materials and menus can now be printed in-house in an efficient and colorful manner. Food is so much more appealing in color.

As our last episode wraps up, I wanted to thank everyone for tuning in! It has been a wonderful journey. And while it’s hard to showcase everything that really went on behind the scenes in a quick 22 minute show, (from installs to technology recommendations) I’m glad you had the opportunity to experience a snapshot of it with us!

From a tech perspective, I noticed common reoccurring themes- no data back-up, lack of portability, poor websites and frustratingly enough, the ‘just ask the IT guy’ answer to many of the tech questions I had from owners. First off, – girls can talk tech, too! More importantly, we encouraged each business owner to get a better grasp of their own technology at least on a fundamental level. All-in-all, after extensive installs and consultations we hope the owners take the initiative to move forward with all of our suggestions. And of course, we wish them all the success in the world!
Until next time, stay tuned…

*Note from Kara: We Mean Business will air reruns of the episodes starting tomorrow with Berry Elegance. Check out A&E for more details. Also, Katie was recently interviewed by Anita Campbell on Small Business Trends about the experiences of the show.

About the Author: Katie Linendoll