Friday, November 16, 2012

'Tis the season

I gave Korey a lot of power when I let him reorganize True Thai, and then I took a week off. So I was a little surprised that when I stopped in today it was already Christmas at True Thai.

You may think that Thai people do not celebrate Christmas, but you did not grow up just a couple of blocks from the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (อาสนวิหารพระนางมารีอาปฏิสนธินิรมล), the largest church in Thailand. Originally the site of a chapel built in 1711, it has been rebuilt and expanded many times.

Thailand is very Buddhist, but Buddhists are very tolerant of other faiths and I was never ever discriminated against because I was Catholic. Of course I lived in a Catholic neighborhood and went to a Catholic school, so I spent most of my time with other Catholics. But our neighborhood was not a ghetto because there are no laws about where Thai Catholics can live or work.

So yes, some people will try to say Christmas is not a Thai holiday, and is not True Thai. The people who live in the Archdiocese of Chanthaburi would disagree with you. Respecting the beliefs of others is very, very True Thai.

Another reason why True Thai likes Christmas? Ped would have been 40 years old this Christmas. For me, Christmas is now about remembering the past and old friends. At True Thai, we like Christmas a lot.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thinking about your health?

Since I am a public health nurse, I think about health a lot. I exercise, I watch what I eat and I pay attention to what my doctors tell me. But I also know that even all this isn't always enough. It seems like every day we learn something new about our bodies, something that sometimes changes everything.

A new study from the University of Texas Health Science Center reveals shocking new findings about diet colas. They may be bad for your kidneys, they can mess up your metabolism and — you are not going to believe this — diet sodas can make you obese!
The more diet sodas a person drank, the greater their risk of becoming overweight. Downing just two or more cans a day increased waistlines by 500%. Why? Artificial sweeteners can disrupt the body's natural ability to regulate calorie intake based on the sweetness of foods, suggested an animal study from Purdue University. That means people who consume diet foods might be more likely to overeat, because your body is being tricked into thinking it's eating sugar, and you crave more.
Wow. Even more wow, if you mix diet soda with alcohol you will get "drunker, faster." Diet soda can rot your teeth and can impact your reproductive system. Read the article because it is kind of scary.

I cannot believe I'm saying this, but sugar would be better for you. True Thai sells both regular and diet pop but I am telling you the truth when I say you should drink more water. We stopped automatically bringing water to customers' tables (we ask if you want water) because it's not good to waste water, but water you drink is not wasted. The water you drink is good for you. The other beverages True Thai serves? They are not as good for you.

Yes, I am a lousy business woman. I would rather give you free water than sell you beverages loaded with sugars and chemicals. But I am also a lousy public health nurse and will sell you all the sugar and chemicals you want if that's what you like.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

What True Thai has in common with you

Like just about everyone else, True Thai is short on cash. This may surprise you. "Anna, how can you be short on cash when True Thai is always busy?!" That question is actually very easy to answer.

Like most people in this country, True Thai lives on a budget. So long as we stick to our budget, we do OK. We were doing OK right up until January of this year. That is when a clause in our lease with Seward Redesign that we had not noticed kicked in and suddenly our rent doubled to almost $16,000 a month. Divided by 189 (our seating capacity), that's $84 a month per chair.

I guess that does not sound like much if you're a landlord, but that is a lot of rent to pay. So much so we were having trouble paying it. By summer, Seward Redesign had a choice: evict us, or lower the rent. They chose to lower the rent a little, but we are still paying a lot of rent and that's why we're tightening our belts and trying to be more efficient. We even had to raise our prices, but that didn't really cover much more than the increase in food costs we've experienced.

So if you were wondering why Anna couldn't buy a food truck without a payment arrangement, now you know. Maybe I am sharing too much, but I think regular customers like to know what is going on with their favorite restaurant.