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    Kicking it In Columbus:  AJ Zambetti's KSM 2019 Journal Pt. 2

    Last 3 Days in Columbus.. Oy Vey

    Most of us retired to the hotel around Midnight knowing we had an early day since I set a meeting time in the lobby of the hotel at 7:45am. After a nice hotel breakfast we headed out for DAY 2.

    AJ journal

    Let the real work begin. The JCC did a fantastic job preparing for the install. They spent several weeks clearing out the kitchen into a adjoining banquet room, reworking some plumbing & electrical and setting totally up shop at another location to continue to prepare food for events. We could have never done this with out them.

     

    This leads me to another point of the makeover. It provided the JCC the opportunity to purge, clean, question everything. Something mostly all kitchen can’t do as they are always under the gun, open for business or just plain understaffed.

     

    So here we are beginning to set up product in locations around the kitchens. Remember, while we do this we still have team on the stage building products. We started in the rear part of the kitchen near the dish area, as well as the dry storage area (still waiting for the cove base and the paint to dry) as not to get in the way as we start bring in and setting up.

    The Shelf building crew

    Dish area? Before, this area was the worst… all the storage of pots, pans, utensils and more converged here… keeping red (meat) and blue (dairy) marked item on opposite sides mind you. We fixed this with MetroMax Drying Racks & SmartWall. The racks provide perfect storage and safe drying (NO WET-NESTING)

     

    Around the corner meet dry storage. This was a challenge. Lauren Norika used her trusty tape measure flawlessly. This room was what we call the “triangle Room”. Haha… try optimizing that space with rectangles. Amazingly enough the plan worked. We were able to get all the shelving and a last minute can rack to fit with still plenty of room to drop a shipment or two. Later on in the install we will begin to stock shelves to see if it actually works.

     

    Next, on to the Prep areas for both meat & dairy on the left and the right of the kitchen. We are working with existing sinks and worksurfaces. This area contains the most common oversight in space optimization… what do you think it is???… that’s right the wall space. Now we need to get to work installing SmartWall.

     

    BUT WAIT… Let’s make it more challenging. At this time our friends at the JCC told us about a thing they do… yea right in the middle of the makeover. Now any other time I’d be like “awesome”. You ready? They shut off the lights and the AC most of the day into the evening to save electricity. We had team members assembling with the lights on their phones. The camera guy Joe looked like he was about to die from the heat.

     

    He’s ok now…Back to SmartWall. This can be a bit tricky based on not knowing what’s behind the walls... they need to be secure. Wall #1 was in tile. And, the Metro team did not only install, but repaired the tile wall replacing about 20 tiles (Thanks to the other guy on the team named AJ for repairing… I knew we took him along for a reason). Wall #2 was in cinderblock. A bit of grit and a hammer drill later and we were up and running. This was an amazing change in usable space from the prior set-up. (See Pics)

     

    If you are still reading this I’m sorry… its getting quite long. Ill speed it up a bit. We knocked out the Top-Track storage area, the Coffee Station, the awesome Smartlever area with PrepMate tucked under, three new cabinets (Blue, Red, Gray… Kosher. Get it), new worktables on the main line… oh and also the Catering Area over the next 10 hours calling it a day just around 7pm. See you tomorrow for cleaning and re-stocking.

    MetroStrgMakeOver_022-

    Day 3.. Why is everything so Sticky?

    Who knows… years of use? No, poor storage and overcrowding. If you can’t get to it you can’t properly clean it… right? Well not anymore. Before we re-stocked we cleaned the floors, the stainless, the containers, the walls, under the walls 😊… every inch. Then as we began to re-stock we adjusted the shelves for specific items. Setting the shelf heights for maximum density. Added label and label holders, dividers, ledges. We threw all we had at it… blue markers for dairy… red markers for meat. In the middle of the day we had a special visitor. Brad Wasserstrom dropped in with a few of his teammates to speak with us and get a look at progress. (See the interview here) 12 hours later… After we cleared this crazy banquet room we’ve had enough. It looked amazing. Check out the images and video showcasing this bit of Metro awesomeness. Time for a cocktail.

    Final Day… the Reveal, the Photoshoot, the Magazine (FE&S), the drive home.

    We came in for final touches and what did we decide? To paint the giant hood. Well, I actually decided because I’m insane. I went into the bowels of the JCC and selected a paint from the paint graveyard and went to work. They looked at me like I was nuts. But it paid off. We added final touches, did some video walk-thrus with the JCC and our Rockstar Lauren and said our good byes. Packed up the vehicles and headed for a 7 hour drive back to HQ.

     

    What better way to end it than with a 4 hour drive to the beach the next day for my family vacation. Thank god I needed a rest… wait I have kids.

    About the author

    AJ is an extremely valuable asset to the Metro team. He is currently the brand manager here at Metro, but his experience goes much further. For over 25 years, AJ has been a team manager in marketing content creation, and at Metro, he oversees the creative operations of every market. It is a lot to handle, but with his leadership skills, AJ has taken Metro’s marketing strategy to new heights. He is the best source of all things Metro insider so if you want the inside scoop on our contests and products, check out AJ’s author page for more content.
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