In 2021, my husband, Jason, and I realized our dream of opening up a kosher style restaurant in San Antonio. Getting to that point involved a number of career shifts, but the most important one of all was coming to work for Delegate, which allows me to use some of my Salesforce skills for my own marketing operations while still working as an admin for clients.
The view from 30,000 feet
My first career was in the airline industry, working for Virgin America to get the business ready for launch and then as a flight attendant for a few years. I then decided I wanted more stability at work and so became a travel agent for American Express Travel in 2011, specializing in skiing getaways and travel to Australia and New Zealand.
It’s true that travel agents have nearly disappeared now due how the industry has evolved over the past decade. The service we provided wasn’t for standard flights and hotel stays but for travel options that were more difficult to find the best possible deals for individuals 10 years ago – like cruises.
The other type of customer we served was the one who wanted a really complex trip – like a family vacation for eight in New Zealand that lasted for two weeks and came to $200,000. I still repay the favor of the bonus earned for that trip by making a point of buying the wine made by one of the people on that trip.
Transitioning into tech
When American Express closed that travel office in late 2013, I was out of a job. Though I returned to airline work, I realized it was time to find a new career track based on tech. My father served as a role model for me. He was a plumber who learned programming after hurting his back.
I moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles when my husband got a job there working for Virgin Atlantic. Capitalizing on the months of experience I had working in an Apple store, I began working in IT for Surf Air, the private membership airline.
When Surf Air acquired another airline, my job grew to helping manage the tech migration and build out a large system. I was also using Salesforce for the airline when it needed someone to step in to manage that part of the business.
To get up to speed on Salesforce, the company had the consultant it had used to coach me. I ended up going to work for her as a Salesforce consultant when I made another major move.
Coming home to Texas and Delegate
While we were living in LA, Jason started working for Delta. When COVID struck, the airline took a major hit and laid off many, including my husband. As I was working remotely, then, we had nothing tying us to California.
It was time for a new adventure. As Jason has family in Texas, we decided to move to San Antonio. About a year later, April 2021, I started working for Delegate.
The Salesforce consulting gig I had before that involved too much micromanaging for my taste. My boss wanted things done exactly her way and wouldn’t allow any deviation from that standard.
In contrast, at Delegate, we’re encouraged to think outside the box and find new ways to do things and make the best use out of all the Salesforce tools. It also allows me a great deal of flexibility in scheduling my workload, which turned out to be very important for what I did next.
A deli grows in San Antonio
Despite a decent-sized Jewish population, there was no source of kosher style food in San Antonio. There was nowhere to buy smoked fish, chopped liver, or proper pastrami on rye. So with much encouragement from friends and family, we decided to open a deli in May 2021.
Jason had some expertise in that area, having spent over a decade living in New York before the move to LA. He also knew how to prepare delicious chopped liver using his bubby’s special recipe. Baking bread was my area, and my challah always draws rave reviews.
We decided to give it a shot. That’s how Bubby’s Jewish Soul Food was born.
Even though I had to move my desk to the kitchen, I wasn’t leaving coding. I love working with Salesforce and my job at Delegate. It just meant I had to make good use of the flexible model to continue working while also getting the deli established.
Entering the food business is not as simple as setting up a storefront and making your favorite recipes. It takes industry-specific knowledge.
That’s why bagel boot camp is a thing. Jason and I traveled to Fair Lawn for a week to be there and learn the ins and outs of equipment like bagel-forming machines and industrial ovens, adapting home recipes to commercial-sized recipes, and which suppliers to use.
We put our hard-won knowledge to use in creating real, authentic bagels in a variety of flavors in a part of Texas where none had been available. We also are keeping up our airline connection in flying our fresh whitefish, sable, and lox in from Brooklyn every week on Delta cargo service.
But running the deli is not just about the food on offer; it’s also about setting up marketing campaigns. That’s where my knowledge of Salesforce proved especially useful.
I used a lot of the skills I learned while working for Delegate to build up communication with potential customers. I now get to use email campaigns, send out engagement surveys to gather feedback on flavor preferences, and make use of other Pardot capabilities.
Serving bagels and the community
This kind of outreach is particularly important because we’re not just providing food but aiming to serve as a resource for the community to come together. For example, I’m planning a Hanukkah event with a menorah lighting ceremony, sufganiyot, and a dreidel tournament to bring people together on the holiday, which starts on Sunday night, December 18th.
Making people aware of our holiday events is just one of the ways in which we are reaching out to the community. We also plan to experiment with different ways of selling our products through monthly bagel subscriptions and special seasonal offerings.
We really see the food as an occasion for conversation with different types of customers. We have the ones who grew up with this kind of food in other parts of the country and who were missing it. Then we have the ones who have never seen a bialy before.
We’re happy to talk to them about both the food and the culture and encourage visitors to try new things by offering samples in the store. But we also are willing to try new adaptations of old recipes like the San Antonio variety of bagel that incorporates roasted corn, poblano peppers, and cotija cheese in honor of the town’s heritage or square-shaped sufganiyot (as pictured below).
It’s the fusion of old and new, traditional flavors and modern methods, that add up to a recipe for success. I’d say Salesforce and smoked salmon pair well together, though you may also want a bagel to go with it.
Bubby’s Hanukkah Sufganiyot
(Allow 2 hours for preparation, dough proofing, frying, and filliing)
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon instant yeast or 3 tablespoons fresh yeast
3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup powdered sugar (plus more for dusting)
¾ teaspoon salt
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (plus more for frying)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Jelly for filling (about 1 jar)
Dissolve yeast in warm water and let sit for 5 minutes until frothy.
In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.
Whisk together egg yolks, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, and yeast mixture.
Combine wet ingredients and dry ingredients either in a stand mixer or by hand. Be sure not to overwork the dough.
The dough will be pretty sticky at this point.
Cover with plastic wrap and let proof for 1 to 1 ½ hours.
While the dough is proofing, bring oil to 350 degrees in either a deep fryer or Dutch oven.
Once it’s proofed, roll out dough on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin to a ¼ inch thickness.
Use a pizza wheel or sharp knife to divide the dough into 2 inch squares.
Fry the dough in the oil for 1 ½ minutes on each side.
Remove from the fryer and let cool slightly until it is able to be handled.
Pierce with a small knife and use a squeeze bottle or piping bag to fill with the jam.
Dust with more powdered sugar and serve warm.
To read more about the not-so-secret lives of Salesforce admins and learn about trends in the industry, subscribe to the Delegate blog.