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Goner Message Board / Memphis / Needed: Feedback on Square Foods
Posted: Oct 12, 2007 2:37 am
Hi, Everyone.

I'm Jeanice and I own Square Foods. I keep hearing we've gone out of business or are about to go out of business. We're still here and running strong. Yet it distresses me when I'm manning my booth at the Memphis Farmers Market and have people, as they make their purchases, say that they had heard we had closed. That is not good.

What I need from you Memphians is some help here. Our inventory has never been better. Our commitment to "92% organic by 2008" is well underway. We even got two Number One place picks in the Flyer recently.

I need some feedback. Where can we improve? What do we not have that you want? What pisses you off about us? What do you like that we do?

I have tough skin...thanks if you take the time to give me some input.

Love, Jeanice
Posted: Oct 12, 2007 2:40 am
Bigger portions. I enjoyed the food the couple of times I've eaten there (all sunday brunch I believe) but if I leave still hungry I'm a little put off. Petra is perhaps the most guilty though.
Posted: Oct 12, 2007 2:52 am
No one should leave still hungry! Thanks conner sewer. I think it's probably a Southern sin for anyone to leave a Sunday breakfast not feeling completely stuffed.
Posted: Oct 12, 2007 4:08 am
Only been there once.
Bought some spanish cheese, recommended from this board to go with fruit.
It was super tasty, and the wife (tomorrow, married 11 years, together 16) thought it extravagant.
I'd come down there more often, but I barely make it to goner these days to buy records.
Money is more expensive these days. But that ain't gonna help y'all.
Don't know what to tell you, other than "shit's tight lately". Things will change, and when I got the dough, I'll head on down.
Things are tough all over in the last three months. Economy, fuck you.

P.S., MLGW is planning to raise the rates on gas and water. Great.
Posted: Oct 12, 2007 4:22 am
Please stay open! My husband and I will definitely need you once we come back next June.
Posted: Oct 12, 2007 4:40 am
that lady, uele, mentioned starting a co-op next door to y'all. that would surely be an added draw, i think.
i always like going to square foods and have no complaints at all.
Posted: Oct 12, 2007 5:53 am
I'm glad to have somewhere to get oatburgers again.
Now if I could just get 'em free like when I'd "accidentally" make one wrong at Squash Blossom.
Just kidding, Jimmy Lewis! I would never have done that.
Posted: Oct 12, 2007 6:49 am
I keep hearing we've gone out of business or are about to go out of business.

I think that most of that misconception is based on the fact that the old empty store on Madison is still more visible than the new store on cooper.
Posted: Oct 12, 2007 10:27 am
Money is more expensive these days. But that ain't gonna help y'all.
Don't know what to tell you, other than "shit's tight lately". Things will change, and when I got the dough, I'll head on down.
Things are tough all over in the last three months. Economy, fuck you.

This is the most fucked-up part.

I had an idiot for an economics (macro) prof. years ago in college who said something to the effect of, "America is the only country that is so rich, even the homeless are fat." Of course this got a big laugh until I chimed in with, "Well, if you diet consisted of $.99 Ho-Hos and Cheese puffs, like yours, presumably, then one's weight gets a tad hard to manage."

I hate that, most of the time, I can't AFFORD to eat healthy. The best stuff for you is always the most expensive.

As for suggestions, maybe a $1 menu like Wendy's McBurger Bell?

Subsidies anyone? I'm lovin' it!
Posted: Oct 12, 2007 4:51 pm
Hemant, you're right. And the fact that the space next door is covered in For Lease signs it could lead people to believe our side is for lease, too.
Lunch business and grab and go is fine. Since we can't sell wine or beer, I think that slows nighttime down a bit. Let it be known that you can BYOB. Eat our food and drink your own booze (it's way cheaper)!
Posted: Oct 12, 2007 6:13 pm
Well, since you asked...

My wife and I used to eat at Square Foods about once every couple of weeks, but since the move to the Cooper-Young location the service went way, way downhill. After waiting for 45 minutes for a couple of sandwiches and then being told you were out of chips, we stopped coming and haven't been back since. I don't hold deli-style places to the same standards as a sit-down restaurant with servers, but if you can't get me a sandwich in 45 minutes, you lose my business. And we had been semi-regulars since Square Foods opened.
Posted: Oct 12, 2007 6:32 pm
I've eaten a half dozen or so times there- my gripes- the ice in the cooler is all ways non existent, and i really would like just a few more chips or carrots or whatever on the side. other than that. not bad. My fellow vegetarians that i take from out of town rave about the place. (prob now that i think about it they are mostly vegans- maybe that's why.)

the biggest thing is, when i'm down that way i can get a fatty portobella burger at the deli, for around the same price.
Posted: Oct 12, 2007 9:34 pm
you need to install an oxygen bar...and play more christian rock .
Posted: Oct 13, 2007 12:15 am
Hi Jeanice. I use to eat at the Madison store at least 2 times a week. I've only been to the new store 3 times cause the taste/quality of the food seemed to have changed for the worse. Did new cooks/recipes come with the new location? Also bring back the TNT!
Posted: Oct 13, 2007 2:26 am
Jack--We've actually cut out the cheese section. When we were on Madison it sold like crazy...not so much in CY. It is amazing that what was super popular in OS isn't here. And what moved slowly in OS is popular here.

Col Bat Guano--45 minutes is a ridiculous amount of time to have to wait for a sandwich...or a steak for that matter. Only during the CY fest should anything like that happen, and even then I'm embarassed if it does.

dag--Since we don't have room for an ice machine we tried relying on using "homemade ice" from ice cube tray like you have in your home freezer. Bad move. The nice folks at the deli now let us fill our cooler with ice from their machine. Neighbors are great. We smoke our own portobellos and you're right. Our old smoker caused a lot of shrinkage in the cap. Luckily, our smoker was stolen and we smoke them a new way, leaving a larger, meatier shroom. And we slice them up so the pesto can better marinate into them. Come in and I'll buy you one so you can see how you like the new way.

Buck--Hi. When we first moved over, the head chef wanted to try for a new approach. Things were disjointed and there were too many inconsistencies with tried and true recipes that were being altered. Things have since changed back to the old school days. We still have the TNT, just without the second T. It's called the Toasted Sesame Stir Fry with Tofu. I will gladly reintroduce the second T (tempeh). We had discontinued it in OS because few ordered it. Perhaps in CY it will be the hit it once was.

I want to thank you all for giving me feedback. Being caught up in the fray of it all, I sometimes can't take the opportunity to see everything from the eyes of others. Over the course of the summer a few changes have been made. Shawn Y, my main man of 14 years from the old Squash days has taken over the kitchen and is bringing back the days of old. Everyone now has been trained in all aspects of SF. Everyone can cook, make sandwiches and smoothies, and run the register. That alone has helped with efficiency in getting orders ready for you.

From what you have said, portions are also a big area for improvement. That has been my fault entirely. Our ingredients cost a quite a bit more than other places use, being "organic" and "wild" and homegrown. Like a nimrod, I put out the mandate to only use so much of this and so much of that. It was only this summer, when I actually threw myself into the shifts of making the sandwiches and making the stir frys and making the specials, that I realized, hey, this isn't enough to fill someone up. 20 years in the business and I'm still learning.

Thanks again for the feedback. I love what I do and can't stand it when I'm not doing it well. Anymore comments and suggestions are not only wanted, but need.

Love, Jeanice
Posted: Oct 13, 2007 3:31 am
Is it possible to get the signage on the old location painted over or altered to let people know (from a distance, while driving) that you've moved?
Posted: Oct 13, 2007 3:44 am
I hadn't realized that the abandoned building would be such a problem. Good idea, Wire. I think I know what I'll be doing after the Farmers Market tomorrow...
Posted: Oct 13, 2007 4:04 am
jeanice, as usual, T Money was right about the "signage"

also, for all you peeps, "Shawn Y" is Shawn Youngblood one of best cook/friend/dude/creative ambassador this town ever saw. I swear he is made of gold.
Posted: Oct 13, 2007 5:14 am
I wish the smoothies were more like back in the old Squash days - fro-yo or frutari, juice, protein powder, banana. I'm not so much of a "juicy" smoothie fan.

I did have a tasty tofu sammich a while back, but yeah, portion size was a problem for the money. Maybe more options for sides?
Posted: Oct 15, 2007 1:14 am
I prefer the more shake-like smoothies, too. Thanks for the reminder...we'll add it to the mix.

As far as options for sides, what do you think about a choice of chips and carrots, beans and rice, or small soup with the sandwiches?
Posted: Oct 15, 2007 1:48 am
I would buy Arizona Green Tea twice a day if it was available. Larger portions. More full meals available in the grab 'n' go section. If you do pizza as a special, I'd like to see a focus on more standard versions, like straight-up organic cheese pizza, not cheese pizza piled high with veggies cuz the cheese pizza has an identity problem due to its placement on a health food menu.
Posted: Oct 15, 2007 7:33 am
I love going to Square Foods when I'm in town. I got some HUGE bowl of stir fry when I was at Goner Fest this year and could barely finish it. It was GREAT! I wish there was something like that here in Williamsburg Brooklyn. I'd be there everyday. Compared to the Korean style health food deli's up here, you guys are cheap! Can't wait to come back.
Posted: Oct 15, 2007 2:08 pm
I really dug the vegi burger when we were over during April, I wolfed it in bout 3-mins FLAT! And felt better about doing the same to a Huey burger a coupla days before!
Posted: Oct 15, 2007 9:03 pm
You guys should make nachos for like, 4 bucks. Chips, black beans, cheese, sour cream, chopped jalapenos. Thats all ya need. You guys would sell out!
Posted: Oct 15, 2007 9:09 pm
Agreed. The similar store here in St. Petersburg sells these massive nachos with blue and yellow chips, chili (I'd prefer just black beans), cheese, fresh salsa, half an avocado and sliced jalapenos for $5.99...two people can barely finish.
Posted: Oct 15, 2007 9:29 pm
As far as options for sides, what do you think about a choice of chips and carrots, beans and rice, or small soup with the sandwiches?

Side options for sandwiches at those prices could definitely be improved. I would like to see the sandwiches come with a small side salad.
Posted: Oct 15, 2007 10:10 pm | Edited by: Will
You guys should make nachos for like, 4 bucks. Chips, black beans, cheese, sour cream, chopped jalapenos. Thats all ya need. You guys would sell out!

yeah do a "Margarita Mondays" thing. You know, freshly squeezed organic lemon and lime for the sour mix... I could bartend which would solve my second job dilemma. Then everyone gets wrecked, gets hungry and loads up on nachos.
Posted: Oct 15, 2007 10:52 pm
dont worry cooper young fest will bring in folks...just a couple more weeks til it starts
Posted: Oct 16, 2007 7:59 pm
small portions of mediocre food is probably not the best way to bring the folks in. The baked goods suck now, limited selection of pre made food, lots of things keep me from going in there.
Posted: Oct 18, 2007 1:45 am
dtrain and bigkeg, thanks, I'm glad we took care of you when you were in town. Mr. Earles, I've brought Arizona tea back. Some customers had balked because I had drinks with high fructose corn syrup in them. But hey, anything for you! It's back! Sorry, Will, but we can't serve liquor. Anyone is welcome to BYOB, however. Psycho...CY fest was last month. We did do well, but next year....more staff! Vinyl Ritchie, mediocrity is not my goal. I guess why that is why I've been asking for everyone's input. By the way, VR, our baker is back! She had a brief affair with the new place across the street, but returned to her roots with us. Now the counter is once again filled with all the cookies, bars, cobblers, quick breads, and cakes we had before!

Keep it coming folks, this is a big help to me and SF.

love, Jeanice
Posted: Oct 18, 2007 1:51 am
I was talking to a friend today about where to get the Greek yoghurt, and mentioned Square Foods. She said, "I wouldn't go there, or I'd make sure to call before. They don't have much, and they don't have much of it."
If this helps...

Also this sounds really weird but the last time I was in there buying something for lunch I couldn't buy a bottle of water. I was taking it with, so I didn't want the water from the cooler. I ended up buying an expensive little bottle of some fancy stuff which I didn't really want.
Don't know if that was just that day or what, as I haven't been back since.
Posted: Oct 18, 2007 2:50 am
i was taking it with me.

Posted: Oct 18, 2007 3:26 am
jeanice..i would love to volunteer in your store..i am looking for an internship... i know how to make caramel popcorn
Posted: Oct 18, 2007 3:32 am
i was taking it with me.

Okay, I was taking it with me.
(My kids hate "taking it with" too. Dumb affectation picked up years and years ago.)
Posted: Oct 19, 2007 2:21 am
Psycho, caramel popcorn might just be the thing. See you bright and early Friday.
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