Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Book Review: The Food Explorer by Daniel Stone


The Food ExplorerEarlier this year I stopped in for a book signing in Davis, CA at the Avid Reader bookstore.  Daniel Stone was talking about his new book, The Food Explorer:  The True Adventures of the Globe-Trotting Botanist Who Transformed What America Eats.  It was quite insightful to see Daniel Stone in Davis, returning to the town he spent his youth in.  His friends as well as his former farm employer were in attendance.  It was evident from the audience and his subject matter that his exposure to farming had a profound effect on him.  Writing a book about the man who significantly changed United States agriculture was a natural for Daniel.   
The Food Explorer is the story of David Fairchild, the botanist who brought new plants to the US for commercial propagation.  These introduced plants number over 200,000 and include the Meyer lemon, avocados, mangos, hops, vinifera grapes and many types of melons.  Additionally, some of our most cherished plants were introduced by Mr. Fairchild.  The flowering cherry trees that are celebrated in our nation's capital were a treasured, and politically charged, find of this botanist.   He also helped build and improve many of our commercial crops such as cotton, bringing improved strains of it from Egypt.  
This book does a great job of chronicling how David Fairchild became the nation's most important food explorer.  Daniel Stone tells how Fairchild stumbled into plant collection, found his footing in discovering plants, rooted new plants on our soil, and became a pillar of agriculture in Washington DC.  The story includes Fairchild's lucky meeting of a San Francisco bon vivant, Barbour Lathrop.  Mr. Lathrop took Fairchild under his wing and along on his worldwide explorations, all while financing Fairchild's work.  
Daniel Stone also tells about the inner workings of agricultural government agencies and the real problems the farmers of the late 1800's and early 1900's faced.  When Fairchild began his explorations, the US Department of Agriculture was a small agency.  While Fairchild's discoveries were growing, so was the size of the Dept of Ag, with the staff and offices exploding over the course of just a few years.  Farmers had been struggling with scant profits on their crops.  As Fairchild's discoveries took root here, so did isolationist views, and fears of introduced disease and pests.  This book puts that in great perspective, through the view of a plant scientist.  
Many areas of the US have been directly changed by David Fairchild's plant discoveries and propagation.  Florida and California were perfect climates to grow tropical and warm-weather plants that would have withered anywhere else.  His introduction of new varieties of grapes led to the success of the wine industry and the acres of beautiful vineyards we have today.  With his introductions, and successful farming, whole populations of American have been established in new US regions.  
Through his travels and success in plant introduction, David Fairchild was recognized as the most traveled man in the United States.  This gave him a great measure of celebrity.  He was invited to speak to influential groups and to publish his stories in National Geographic and other publications. He met President Theodore Roosevelt, married Alexander Graham Bell's daughter, and was friends with Orville Wright, to mention a few.  
Going to the book signing in Davis was fun for me.  When I attended UC Davis, I was one of the last graduates with a degree in botany.  Now botany has been renamed plant biology.  The average person doesn't know the impact botanists have had on the world around us.  Historically, botanists were included on explorations, asked to settle new colonies and worked to strengthen local environments with plants and their produce.  Having traveled around the world, I have always stopped in the botanical gardens to find out the discoveries and important plants in any country.  So, to read about the exploits and struggles that an early American botanist faced really brought all of my education and experience into perspective.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

WineTalent Classifieds: Vice President of Finance - Destinations and Services

WineTalent is working with our client, Long Meadow Ranch, to find a Vice President of Finance for the award winning restaurant Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch and the company's hospitality destinations.

Long Meadow Ranch is a family-owned agricultural enterprise producing grapes and wine, olives and olive oil, grass-fed beef and lamb, fruits, vegetables, and eggs in the Napa Valley, Anderson Valley and Marin County. The Long Meadow Ranch operations also include an acclaimed farm-to-table restaurant, a general store and wine tasting bar in the historic Logan-Ives House, an outdoor cafe, a farmer's market, a working garden and a variety of unique event spaces all located at Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch.

The Vice President of Finance is a key participant in all major business decisions regarding the LMR (the Company) portfolio of entities engaged in multi-faceted hospitality, shared services and farming activities. Hospitality operations encompass multiple outlets which include restaurant, hotel, private events, café and retail activities. Shared Services include shared finance, marketing, facility, IT and HR activities for multiple related entities. Farming operations include organic fruit and vegetable, poultry, beef and lamb activities which produce product for internal culinary and retail operations.

Reporting to the Executive Vice President & COO, the Vice President of Finance serves in a core leadership role and is responsible for driving both long-term strategic planning & business structure and hands-on execution of financial planning, reporting & accounting, managerial reporting & analysis, partnerships & contracts.

Strategic Planning & Business Structure
  • Develop the multi-year business plan
  • Identify short-term and long-term financing requirements
  • Establish and oversee construction budgets
  • Develop pro forma post-construction start-up and operational budgets
  • Identify and install required managerial operating systems

Financial Planning, Reporting & Accounting
  • Direct all accounting, budgeting, forecasting, finance, and cash management functions of the Company
  • Establish and implement next generation financial accounting systems, controls, and measurement systems to assure fiscal integrity as well as accurate and timely financial and management reporting
  • Formalize and document accounting and finance standard operating processes (SOPs) to ensure accurate and timely data synthesis
  • Manage the annual budget and strategic business planning processes, working closely with the President & CEO, Executive Vice President & COO, and key operating managers
  • Manage accounting firm for assigned business units; oversee and direct all income tax-related activities
  • Assure compliance with state, federal, and general accounting and regulatory guidelines
  • Manage all sales, use, property and other tax reporting
  • Maintain solid banking relationships
  • Direct ongoing analysis of Company’s capital requirements to ensure appropriate capitalization and availability of funds
  • Manage entity reporting for Company investors including K1
  • Maintain all Company financing and capitalization documents, including details related to stock ownership rights, limited partnership interests, warrants and options

Managerial Reporting & Analysis
  • Develop and deliver timely, accurate, and effective analysis and reporting of financial and operational performance to the key operating managers, EVP & COO, President & CEO
  • Track and measure performance relative to budgets, schedules, milestones, and performance targets, providing timely feedback to the key operating managers, EVP & COO, and President & CEO
  • Develop and manage budget, periodic financial forecasts, short and long term financial projections, Company cash positions, current risks and probabilities
  • Prepare timely financial report packages for review by the key operating managers, EVP & COO, and President & CEO
  • Ensure compliance and accurate reporting with regard to all regulatory matters
  • Perform operationally focused financial analysis and intelligence gathering to support strategic and business development initiatives
  • Provide guidance and advice on proposed capital expenditures
  • Recommend opportunities for profit improvement, productivity enhancement and cost reduction

Team Management & Development
  • Maintain organizational structure of shared services finance and accounting team and refine or make changes where required to achieve strategy and goals
  • Contribute and continue to drive a culture of collaboration
  • Provide training and opportunities for growth as needed for direct reports
  • Become a go-to resource by continuing to develop and foster a strong team which is sought out and respected by the entire organization for the quality of information and insight provided
  • Encourage innovative approaches to employee communications and continuous improvement, recognition, and celebration in order to attract, reward and retain the highest quality staff

Partnerships, Contracts & Compliance
  • Assist the President & CEO, EVP & COO, and key operating managers in financial analysis and negotiation of partnerships, licensing and contracts
  • Manage preparation, negotiation, review, and acceptance of all contractual documents
  • Advise management of contractual rights and obligations and provide interpretation of terms and conditions
  • Ensure the Company is compliant with all federal, state and local regulations and that internal agreements as well as client contracts and SLA’s are properly documented and followed

Shared Services
  • Manage expenses, allocations, and financial reporting and analysis of all shared services, including Human Resources, Marketing, IT, and General Admin
  • Manage preparation, negotiation, review, and acceptance of all insurance policies; oversee claims
  • Consistently review and improve respective policies and procedures to ensure compliance with regulatory environment
  • Emphasize cross-departmental collaboration to ensure efficient and effective communication and support provided company wide


Education, Experience and Requirements
  • Bachelor’s degree in Finance, Accounting or Business
  • Certified Public Accountants preferred
  • Distinctive finance and accounting experience of 5 years or more within restaurant and/or hospitality organizations
  • Proven understanding of finance and accounting issues related to restaurant and hotel businesses highly desirable
  • Experience with NetSuite desirable
  • Experience with DOMO and KPI analytics dashboard tools desirable
  • Extensive experience with Quickbooks required
  • Prior experience implementing new accounting software systems and/or ERP required
  • Able to work in a team environment as well as operate independently
  • Able to lift 40+ lbs.
  • Valid driver’s license and maintain a safe driving record
  • A pre-employment background check is required

Compensation and Benefits
  • This is a full-time salaried position
  • Competitive compensation depending on experience plus benefits including medical/dental insurance, paid vacation and 401(k)


All Inquiries will be kept strictly confidential

WineTalent:  The Right People for the Job

Thursday, July 5, 2018

WineTalent Classifieds: Restaurant Manager in St. Helena, CA

WineTalent is working with our client, Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch on a Restaurant Manager position. 

Long Meadow Ranch is a family-owned and operated producer and purveyor of world-class wine and food that is economically successful and socially responsible using diversified, sustainable, and organic farming methods.

Long Meadow Ranch’s restaurant at Farmstead showcases the seasonal, ingredient-driven American farmhouse cooking of executive chef Stephen Barber. Housed in a former nursery barn, our 110-seat restaurant features an authentic farm-to-table menu. The ingredients are foraged from local sources and feature Long Meadow Ranch’s award-winning wines, handcrafted extra virgin olive oils, grass-fed beef, eggs, and heirloom fruits and vegetables.

Long Meadow Ranch has an exciting opportunity for a Restaurant Service Manager to manage the delivery of a consistent, customer focused experience. Under the direction of the General Manager, the Restaurant Manager will provide staff training and coaching to reach operational excellence. Actively involved on the restaurant floor, the Restaurant Manager will provide oversight of the staff and will address customer service issues. This role will also manage the day-to-day operations of the restaurant including ordering product and optimizing profits.

Responsibilities
  • Actively engage in service for the majority of working hours. Directly perform hands-on work on an ongoing basis to manage employee performance, provide feedback and coaching, and otherwise role model appropriate behaviors in the restaurant. Lead by example and maintain a strong floor presence. Support staff throughout the day- get your hands dirty.
  • Maintain procedures and standards for team service. Correct and coach employees as needed.
  • Ensure positive guest experience in all areas. Respond promptly to complaints and take action to resolve guest issues. Maintain guest satisfaction by monitoring and auditing food, beverage and service offerings.
  • Build relationships with preferred patrons, recognize special occasions and PX guests.
  • Ensure that all food safety, food quality standards, workplace safety standards, customer service standards and company policies are met. Comply with all Department of Environmental Health food safety regulations.
  • Maintain a facility that is safe, secure and healthy as well as consistently “inspection ready” in all areas including front of house and back of house. Following systems established by the General Manager, maintain facilities as needed including mechanical systems, equipment, operation of lights, music and decor.
  • Maintain standard operating procedures as established by the General Manager.
  • Under the supervision of the General Manager, manage the recruitment, selection, training, counseling and discipline of front of house staff. Maintain written documentation of discipline on company templates.
  • Lead daily pre-shift meetings and communicate menu features, service points and beverage training. Develop weekly focus topics for service points.
  • Open and close the restaurant as needed. Support the management team when someone on the team is out on leave or sick.
  • Keep the General Manager fully informed of all issues and take prompt corrective action when necessary or suggest alternate courses of action.
  • Maintain a favorable working relationship with all company employees to foster and promote a cooperative, positive and respectful workplace culture.
  • Collaborate with the General Manager to develop an effective plan for training including food & wine education, one-on-one training, communication of company standards & policies and Long Meadow Ranch brand training.
  • Conduct regular staff performance reviews and provide growth opportunities.
  • Meet restaurant financial objectives by helping to analyze variances; initiate corrective actions; develop and implement strategies to increase average meal checks.
  • Order restaurant supplies as needed including coffee, tea, guest supplies, menu paper. Approve and code invoices per company standards and policies.
  • Be responsible for all cash handling, banking and accounting procedures including end of day reconciliation and tip cash out systems.
  • Follow up on credit card charge inquiries.


Qualifications and Requirements
  • At least 5 years of management experience in a fast paced restaurant. 
  • Proven experience managing and coaching service staff in a fast paced restaurant setting.
  • Strong organizational and communication skills to manage staff, interact with management and resolve customer service issues.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Valid driver’s license and maintain a safe driving record.
  • A pre-employment background check is required.
  • Able to lift 40+ lbs.


Compensation and Benefits
  • This is a full-time, salaried position. 
  • Competitive compensation depending on experience plus benefits including medical/dental insurance, paid vacation and 401(k).

 Apply online
All inquiries will be kept strictly confidential
WineTalent:  The Right People for the Job

Thursday, June 14, 2018

WineTalent Classifieds: General Store and Tasting Room Manager

WineTalent is working with our client, Long Meadow Ranch, to find a manager for the General Store and Tasting Room.

Long Meadow Ranch is seeking a dynamic and sales driven person to join our team as the Tasting Room Manager.

Long Meadow Ranch is a family-owned agricultural enterprise producing grapes and wine, olives and olive oil, grass-fed beef and lamb, fruits, vegetables, and eggs in the Napa Valley, Anderson Valley and Marin County. The many-faceted operation includes the 650-acre LMR Mayacamas Estate home ranch located in the Mayacamas Mountains above Rutherford and the 90-acre LMR Rutherford Estate, located on the Rutherford Bench, and, in Mendocino County, the 145-acre LMR Anderson Valley Estate. The Long Meadow Ranch operations also include an acclaimed farm-to-table restaurant, a general store and wine tasting bar in the historic Logan-Ives House, an outdoor cafe, a farmer's market, working garden and a variety of unique event spaces all located at Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch. 

The Tasting Room Manager will be an integral member of our team, providing the highest level of professionalism, customer service and brand ambassadorship for Long Meadow Ranch's business.  The manager will be responsible for overseeing the operations of the General Store and providing leadership and support to the staff. The goal is to create a unique experience for our guests that includes wine & olive oil tasting, retail and culinary offerings including the LMR Chef’s Table food & wine experiences.
Responsibilities:
Oversee Daily Operations
  • Spend majority of time on the floor in contact with staff and customers
  • Recruit, train, supervise and appraise staff
  • Build and maintain a culture that emphasizes maximizing sales opportunities
  • Motivate and establish a reward system to the team to increase sales and efficiencies
  • Hold daily pre-shift meetings for staff to communicate changes, motivate staff, hold sales contests and educate on new offerings
  • Train staff on LMR products including wine, olive oil, packaged foods
  • Educate staff on Winery offerings including Wine Club and tours
  • Provide training, coaching and counseling to staff to attain the highest level of customer service
  • Maintain financial and inventory records and ensure proper execution of retail procedures, cash management and financial accountability
  • Ensure opening and closing procedures are being followed by staff
  • Maintain stocking levels to ensure that shelves and merchandiser are always full
  • Achieve goals for sales and profitability
  • Provide retail displays for on-site Farmers Markets
  • Resolve customer service issues and complaints
  • Create strong relationships with key consumers and industry leaders
  • Ensure compliance with health and safety legislation
Administrative and General
  • Manage products including ordering, merchandising, inventory control and pricing
  • Organize and maintain inventory
  • Place weekly intercompany orders for wine and other LMR products
  • Scheduling of staff in accordance to traffic projections
  • Attend weekly management meetings to promote General Store offerings
  • Maintain, print and order collateral and menus as needed
Education, Experience and Required Skills
  • Five years of sales experience in a tasting room, restaurant or retail sales environment
  • 2+ years experience in tasting room management
  • Bachelor’s degree in Retail, Marketing, Sales or Hospitality, preferred
  • Must have knowledge of wines, varietals and winemaking process, wine certification a plus
  • Strong management history in the service and/or hospitality industry, preferably in a wine industry
  • Knowledge of inventory and cost of goods management
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Outgoing, well spoken, professional and polite
  • Collaboration skills
  • Ethical Conduct
  • Attention to detail and thoroughness 
  • Must be able to work rapidly and accurately, performing multiple tasks simultaneously
  • Must have a valid California Driver’s License and maintain a safe driving record
  • Ability to lift up to 50lbs.
  • Ability to stand for long periods of time
  • Ability to work in an outside environment at times, cold and hot weather
  • A pre-employment investigative consumer report is required
Compensation and Benefits:
  • This is a full-time, salaried position
  • Competitive compensation depending on experience plus benefits including medical/dental insurance, paid vacation and 401(k)
Apply online
HTTP://WWW.LONGMEADOWRANCH.COM/CAREERS

WineTalent:  The Right People for the Job

WineTalent Classifieds: Cafe Manager in St. Helena, CA

WineTalent is working with our client, Long Meadow Ranch, on a Cafe Manager search to manage the operations of the cafe on the grounds of Farmstead, a top Napa Valley destination for food and wine.

Long Meadow Ranch is seeking a dynamic person to join our team as Cafe Manager.

Long Meadow Ranch is a family-owned agricultural enterprise producing grapes and wine, olives and olive oil, grass-fed beef and lamb, fruits, vegetables, and eggs in the Napa Valley, Anderson Valley and Marin County. The many-faceted operation includes the 650-acre LMR Mayacamas Estate home ranch located in the Mayacamas Mountains above Rutherford and the 90-acre LMR Rutherford Estate, located on the Rutherford Bench, and, in Mendocino County, the 145-acre LMR Anderson Valley Estate. The Long Meadow Ranch operations also include an acclaimed farm-to-table restaurant, a general store and wine tasting bar in the historic Logan-Ives House, an outdoor cafe, a farmer's market, working garden and a variety of unique event spaces all located at Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch.

Our charming outdoor café is nestled under a picturesque blue spruce tree at the north end of Farmstead and serves customers from 7am to 4pm.  The Cafe offers coffee drinks, pastries, panini, beer and wine and other small bites.The Café Manager is responsible for the success of the café and manages all aspects of the café including staffing, operations, inventory, customer service, and customer satisfaction. 
Responsibilities:
Oversee Daily Operations
  • Maintain a clean well-merchandised cafe, following standards for visual presentation plans and standards
  • Model behavior that best represents the Cafe with warm service, prompt execution of orders, taking initiative and communicating effectively
  • Communicate all product changes, promotions, operational changes to the staff
  • Monitor inventory levels and assist in rotation of product and follow standards to minimize waste
  • Hold daily pre-shift meetings for staff to communicate changes, motivate staff, hold sales contests and educate on new offerings
  • Train staff on LMR products including wine, olive oil, packaged foods
  • Ensure all drink recipes and food preparation guidelines are being followed
  • Provide coaching and counseling to staff to attain the highest level of customer service.
  • Maintain financial and inventory records and ensure proper execution of retail procedures, 
  • Order as needed all Cafe supplies including dairy, paper, food ingredients.
  • Ensure opening and closing procedures are being followed by staff
  • Maintain high standards for cleaning, side-work and regular deep cleaning
  • Achieve goals for sales and profitability.  Follow company policies on interdepartmental product transfers
  • Manage and perform all POS duties, opening and closing procedures
  • Resolve customer service issues and complaints
  • Build relationships with preferred patrons and PX guests
  • Promote and practice safe work habits, identifying and resolving potential safety hazards and customer incidents
  • Ensure compliance with health and safety legislation
  • Maintain a favorable working relationship with all company employees to foster and promote a cooperative, positive and respectful workplace culture
Administrative and General
  • Manage products including ordering, merchandising, inventory control and pricing
  • Organize and maintain inventory
  • Place weekly product orders
  • Schedule staff in accordance to traffic projections
  • Attend weekly management meetings to promote new offerings
  • Maintain, print and order collateral and menus as needed 
Experience, Education and Required Skills
  • Two years of sales experience in a cafe, restaurant or retail sales environment
  • Experience in food preparation for a cafe, bakery or related business
  • Ability to effectively communicate in a welcoming and professional manner
  • Experience with POS systems
  • Ability to work independently and with a team
  • Ability to work in a fast paced environment
  • Ability to lift up to 50 lbs. and stand for long periods of time
  • Ability to work early morning shift
  • Ability to work weekends and holidays, flexibility in schedule is desired
Compensation and Benefits:
  • This is a full-time, salaried position.
  • Competitive compensation depending on experience plus benefits including medical/dental insurance, paid vacation and 401(k)
To apply, click here 

WineTalent:  The Right People for the Job