Jinnie’s Story – Book Six, Chapter Thirteen

Penny and Dan go home

WorthingGooner, Going Postal

In the car park outside the KFC site, Freeholders Lawyers, Jinnie said, “I think that went well, let’s go and talk to the staff at KFC.” “Right oh,” said Brian, “While you drive, I want to give Belinda a heads up about starting the work upstairs ASAP. As she is with Keith, she might want to bring him down for a look-see.” Arriving at the KFC restaurant Brian and Michael waited outside while Jinnie popped into Aunty JoJo’s to brief a very anxious Patricia. Jinnie quickly updated Patricia who beamed with delight and said to Jinnie, “I just can’t believe how quickly things are moving. I like the idea of taking on the ex-KFC staff, it will save money on advertising and we can begin training in a week and everyone will be ready when we move in and when we open Rockley. When do you think we should tell the staff we are moving over the road?” “I think once we sign the lease, hopefully on Friday, we can tell them,” Jinnie replied.

The KFC manager, John Marshall, took the two Trattoria Trevi directors upstairs into a large unoccupied office. He told them he used it as a meeting room, giving Jinnie and Brian their first opportunity to see the unused upper floor. There were numerous tables and chairs and wide shelf-like spaces with bar stools. There were also several tray collection points. Jinnie quietly said to Brian, “This was designed for people to buy food at the takeaway counter and bring it up here to consume, I didn’t expect that. I wonder if it would work for Aunty JoJo’s, should we consider converting it to waiter service with some sort of dumb waiter for the food?” “Let’s talk about it later,” answered Brian.

Jinnie explained to John that they were directors of Trattoria Trevi (Barbados) and they had just agreed to lease the restaurant for a takeaway/eat-in venture. She was very careful not to even hint they had any connection with Aunty JoJo’s but took a leaf out of Brian’s book and talked to him about the U.K. sandwich chain. She had just finished telling John that they had been given the freeholders verbal permission to immediately start redecoration and other preparatory work in the unused upstairs space when a knock came on the door and one of the waitresses showed Belinda and Keith in.

Jinnie introduced Belinda as their construction director and Keith as their construction contractor then continued telling John of their plans. She explained that they already had some trained employees who would be moving in to set up the new business, but they would need additional staff and a manager. She asked John if he would like to apply for the position of manager of the new venture. When he said he would be delighted to, Jinnie explained that they were looking also looking for a manager for a second venture which they would be opening shortly in Rockley. John asked if they intended to develop a chain and Jinnie said yes.

Jinnie explained that the Rockley branch would be a couple of weeks behind this central Bridgetown one as there was more work to do but the plan was to have both up and running within three weeks or a month. “Gosh,” said John, “Since being made redundant I have been looking for catering management jobs and no one has been hiring anyone other than the occasional waitress. you have kept this one under the radar.” “Deliberately so,” continued Jinnie, “Now if I were to employ you as manager here and ask you about your current front-of-house and kitchen brigade, is there anyone you would want to keep on?”

“Well,” said John, “I have a good team here. Our problem has been competition, we just can’t compete with Aunty JoJo’s over the road. The franchisee opened in the wrong place and with a much too big restaurant and high prices, we never stood a chance with their product. Our fried chicken is good, but it often stands in the hot cabinet for too long while over the road it is sold the moment it comes out of the fryer. I could make a case for keeping on everyone.” “That’s good to hear,” said Jinnie, “but we only want half a dozen waiters or waitresses and counter staff for this branch, however at Rockley we will want waiters, waitresses, counter staff and short order cooks so perhaps we could hire them all.”

“Now,” said Jinnie, “do you have an under manager? In your opinion would they be capable of managing the Rockley branch?” “Absolutely,” answered John, “I have been worried that Monica was going to leave as she is too good to be under manager. But she only lives around the corner from here which is what has kept her here. That has given me an idea. I live near Rockley, what would you think if I suggested she was interviewed for the job here I was interviewed for the job there?”

Jinnie, Brian and Belinda put their heads together for a few a few minutes before Jinnie said, “OK, we are offering you the job of manager at Rockley on the same wages and conditions as you have now, if it emerges that the new staff here are on a better wage structure and conditions, we will increase yours to match. I understand you are all redundant at close of business on Friday so your employment with our new subsidiary company starts on Monday, you will be training in our methods and practices and helping set up the new restaurant until it opens. We have agreed to talk to Monica about the position here and we would like a list of all employees, including you and Monica, and their position, an indication of current salary and any bonuses, and who you recommend working here or Rockley. If you would like to do that now perhaps you could ask Monica to come up for a chat with us.”

While they waited for Monica, Jinnie discussed a dumb waiter with Belinda and Keith, who both agreed that it was the way to go if they wanted waiter service upstairs. Keith suggested a continuous lift where small compartments brought the food up from the kitchen and then went back down on a continuous belt. He said he had installed one on a previous job and it worked well. When Monica arrived, Belinda and Keith went off to work out what was to be painted, what lighting needed changing and where a continuous lift could go.

Monica turned out to be a very attractive and smart girl in her mid-twenties. Jinnie was immediately impressed and the off the cuff interview went well. Jinnie could see she wasn’t buying the sandwich shop cover story and decided to let her in on what was happening, but not before swearing her to secrecy. As she explained Monica’s smile got broader and broader. When Jinnie had finished Monica said, “This all sounds wonderful. JoJo’s have a fabulous product and sandwiches would never work here. But isn’t Patricia the manager?”

“No,” replied Jinnie, “she was the owner, now she is managing director of the joint venture and you and John will be reporting to her.” “And you really are going to open a chain of Aunty JoJo’s?” Monica asked. Jinnie replied, “Yes, we think we could have perhaps half a dozen or more on the island before starting on other islands, I can also see it working in England.” Wow,” said Monica, “I’d love to be involved in that.” Jinnie looked at Brian who indicated ‘yes’ with an almost imperceptible nod of his head. So Jinnie offered her the Job and Monica accepted without the slightest hesitation. Jinnie asked her if she could shut the restaurant for 15 minutes while they had a staff meeting. Monica said ‘yes’ but it might be a few minutes before those eating in could be induced to leave.

Once Monica had gone downstairs, Brian said, “I like John and reckon he is a good manager, but she is really sharp, I like to think we have potential there.” “Absolutely,” replied Jinnie, “I pride myself on being able to spot talent at an interview, at DKL I found Ro and our wonderful receptionists and then Brooke who has made fine management material. I think with a bit of nurturing we have an area manager at least when we have enough branches.” “I’m certain you are right,” said Brian. Belinda put her head around the meeting room door and said, “Keith’s done, he’s confident he can install a continuous food lift, and we have agreed a price for all the other work and it’s so reasonable I have accepted it. It’s mainly redecoration and his painters aren’t needed at the Continental yet, so they are starting on Monday. How did you get on with Monica?” Brian chucked and said, “That’s another one I would have hired at the drop of a hat. She’s our new manager.”

John introduced Jinnie, Brian and Belinda as the new owners and said they would like a few words with everyone. Jinnie gave her speech about Trattoria Trevi for the second time and told them that their new business was moving in the following weekend. The place would be shut for a couple of weeks while it was redecorated in the new corporate colours and corporate signage put up. She explained they had just hired Monica as the branch manager and John would be the manager of a sister establishment in Rockley. Finally, to many smiles and sighs of relief she told them that there would be jobs for everyone, most at Rockley but half a dozen or so here. Someone asked when they would know who was being offered jobs at Rockley and who was staying Brian answered saying that it would be finalised in the next 30 minutes, but he could say now that almost all the kitchen staff would be moving.

Jinnie explained that they were still redundant and entitled to any pay-off agreed as it was with the old employer, and they weren’t taking over an existing business but starting a new one. But their new contracts would commence on the Monday following their redundancy on the coming Friday and they would be employed on the same wages as they were currently earning. Brian said new employment contracts were being drawn up and he would be back in a day or two to get them signed. There were no more questions, and the staff went back to work happy.


Belinda said she would drive Brian back to their hotel after they had updated Patricia, so Jinnie drove herself back to the villa reflecting on how well the morning had gone. Looking at her watch she realised she still had time to get a bit of sunbathing in before lunch at Anderson’s. As she walked to the beach past Anderson’s, on the spur of the moment she booked the family in for a meal that evening, it was of course Penny and Dan’s last evening as they were booked to fly home the following evening. The twins were delighted to see their mother and wanted her to join them paddling, which she did for a while until she remembered she wanted to phone Brooke.

It was only when she had dialled and was waiting for her to answer that she realised that it was Saturday. Brooke said, “Hello Jinnie how are things going?” “Brilliant thanks,” answered Jinnie, “I have a tale to tell you and a question. First, we have acquired the KFC building across the road from Auntie JoJo’s and will be moving them over the road in a couple of weeks. As you know it’s bigger and more modern but what we didn’t know was there is a huge 1st floor all fitted out with tables and seating but not in use.” “Gosh,” said Brooke, “I would never have guessed.” “Well, it was closing down, and all the staff have been made redundant. So, we hired the lot and will use some there and the majority in the Rockley Beach branch. Oh, and we have got a super young manager, she seems really good, I reckon she will one day make an area manager. But that’s not really what I wanted to chat about. When we went to sign for the Continental the owner, you remember David Braithwaite, gave us the most superb hot roast beef rolls for lunch. A soft bap with about an inch of thin-cut roast beef and a slice of melted cheese on top. It was delicious I wonder if we should think of adding it to our sandwich menu, would you like to think about it.”

“OK, but can you give me a few answers,” said Brooke, “How big was the bap, was it floury, sesame or poppy seeds, was it toasted, was it buttered? Was the beef rare, was it really thin and piled up, was the cheese put under a grill, was there mustard on it, how about horseradish? That just off the top of my head, I’m sure I will have more to ask.” Jinnie said, “How good is your memory? The bun was similar to a 1/4-pound burger, soft and plain, nothing on the outside. It wasn’t toasted just plain, I think it was spread with mayo, definitely not butter. There were three trays of really thin meat to choose from; medium rare, medium, and medium well. It was all kept hot over a spirit burner so when the cheese slice was put on top it semi-melted. There were bowls of English mustard, American mustard and horseradish to add. Oh, and some people had no cheese, others had double meat and double cheese.”

“I’ll try some rolls out on the staff and get some views, you’re back in a week, we can talk about it then.” “Thanks,” said Jinnie, “I need a holiday to get over this one!” Jinnie was about to put her phone in her pocket when she realised, there was someone else she needed to phone. Hoping he was available, she rang Nigel’s number. She was about to hang up when he answered. “Hi Jinnie,” said Nigel, “I thought you were still in Barbados.” “I am,” she replied, “but I have been doing a bit of business. We are looking at starting two six kitchen dark kitchens with a central call centre and head office off-site, we need a copy of our software. Can you get out here as soon as possible, there are daily direct flights by BA and Virgin from Heathrow. I know it’s Saturday but try to get hold of Ro, she will organise tickets. Tell her I have authorised BA First Class or Virgin Upper Class.”

“OK boss I will get on it immediately,” replied Nigel, “What about accommodation?” “You know Brian and Belinda are out here,” said Jinnie, “Ring Brian and tell him to book you into their hotel, it’s quite nice and not too expensive. You will also need a car; Ro can sort it out for you.” “I’ve been thinking boss,” said Nigel, “Can I downgrade to Virgin Premium Economy, that’s their Business Class, and bring Camilla, she is owed holidays and would love to see you all.” “Of course, you can bring her, but still book Upper Class, I will approve it,” said Jinnie, “She can go to the beach with the twins when you’re working, they would love to see her.”

“Oh, and another thing,” said Jinnie, “Although I know it’s not your job, but you’re familiar with the booking software we use at the Trattoria Trevi, can you talk to Alberto and get a copy we have a need for it for a Trattoria Trevi job. Finally, I just realised we also need a copy of the sandwich shop software, Brooke can organise that for you from the supplier who wrote it for us. If you are going to be doing things for Trattoria Trevi while you are here the least I can do is get Camilla out too”.


Penny and Dan’s return flight didn’t take off until after 22:00 on Sunday evening, so the family spent most of the morning on the beach and after lunch around the villa’s pool. The twins were happy to stay by the pool as Izzy didn’t really like them swimming in the sea because of some undertows. Jinnie was happy to laze on the patio and have a day without worrying about work or terrorists. Around seven in the evening Paolo drove a loaded people carrier to the airport. Only Izzy was missing, who took the opportunity to have a couple of hours off duty. At the Premium Economy check-in, this time Penny was not surprised when she and Dan were led over to the Upper Class desk and upgraded. After their luggage disappeared down the conveyor belt, Penny and Dan came over to say goodbye to everyone, and kissed the twins, before heading into the departures area.

The drive back to the villa was much more peaceful as the twins dropped off to sleep in their car seats. Jinnie and Paolo carried the sleeping pair to their beds where for once they escaped a pre-bed bath. Jinnie suddenly realised that that in less than a week they would be on the BA overnight flight back to Heathrow and she still had work to do finishing off acquiring the Rockley branch, finalising the purchase of the two kitchen sites and getting Nigel to sort out the IT systems.


Jinnie woke up on Monday morning to a message from Nigel, somehow he and Camilla had got seats on that lunchtime Virgin flight from Heathrow and would be arriving at Grantley Adams airport at about 17:30. A car was booked with Hertz but only when the car had been confirmed did Hertz tell them that the pick-up point was too far to walk and they should get a taxi and the fare would be reimbursed. Jinnie had never heard of such an odd thing and suggested to Paolo that she should drive to the airport in the people carrier, pick them up and take them to the Hertz office.

Over breakfast Belinda rang to say she was onsite at the Continental and that Keith’s crew had been waiting for her to let them in at 07:30 when she arrived with the keys. She said Keith had arrived a few minutes later and he and his foreman obviously knew what they were going, and the strip out was well underway. Keith had handed over a quote for the continuous lift and Jinnie had told him to get it on order as it had to be flown in from Miami and was expected to take a week. Keith’s painters were ready to start at the KFC but it didn’t open until 09:30 so they were giving a hand with the strip out. Jinnie said, “Well that’s going to change when it becomes Aunty JoJo’s. Patricia opens at 07:00 for the breakfast trade and she always has a queue waiting outside for her fish cakes in salt bread and conkies with fish cakes or eggs, but I understand it’s the ham cutters that are the breakfast biggest seller.”

“I suppose you have been talking to Nigel and have booked his accommodation,” said Jinnie. “Yes,” said Belinda, “they have the room next to us for six days, he thinks he should be able to get everything done in that time and is booked on the Saturday Virgin flight back to Heathrow. But it hardly matters if he has to stay a bit longer, as you know it’s low season and the hotel is only half full and his airline ticket is fully flexible.” “If Nigel says he can have it sorted by Saturday,” Jinnie replied, “it will be done.”

Belinda continued “I’ve got two of the three tenders for the dark kitchens in and the third is promised for midday. I also have all three for Rockley and Brian and I spent all yesterday afternoon checking them out and comparing them. One was way more expensive than the other two which are very close. However, I think we should go with Keith as he has impressed me with his knowledge and flexibility. Oh, and at the moment he has the cheapest price in of the two for the kitchens. I’m beginning to wonder if we should make an offer to buy his company and make it our Caribbean construction division.”

“Do you think he’d be willing to sell?” Asked Jinnie. “I really don’t know,” replied Belinda, “his company isn’t the biggest on the island and he tells me he has missed out on several lucrative contracts to branches of British companies with more financial clout. If he joined with us, we could offer that.” “Of course, it would be a DKL purchase, do you think the board will be happy?” “Brian says he thinks so as it makes a lot of sense, but if you say do it, it will be so.” said Belinda. “But there is no rush to do it quickly, I want to see how the Continental and Rockley turn out first. Like when you brought me in-house it will save money and allow Keith to bid for bigger projects.” “You know I’m going home on Saturday,” said Jinnie, “I intend to make a quick trip back for the grand opening, which is currently pencilled in for two weeks tomorrow, let’s talk about it then. Aunty JoJo’s should be about to move, and Rockley should be either open or nearly ready to open. We can talk about it then.”


Jinnie, Paolo, Izzy and the twins were in their usual position on the beach, the three adults in the dappled shade of a tree at the edge of the beach and the twins messing about on the water’s edge. ‘This is idyllic,’ thought Jinnie, ‘what a pity I’ve lost so much of this holiday through work.’ Turning to Paolo she said, “Darling, do you remember Penny saying she and Dan had booked to fly out on a Christmas and New Year cruise? Well, I think we should join them and bring mum and dad. Surely two weeks on a cruise ship can’t be as mad as this holiday has been. I think I will talk to the travel agent as soon as we get home.”

“Too late,” said Paolo. “While you’ve been busy with work things, Izzy and I have also been busy. We are all on the same trip as Penny and Dan, although I’m not sure we will be on the same plane. We are on the P&O Arvia and fly out on their charter flight from Gatwick two days before Christmas. We have Premium Class upgrade seats on the plane but there are two planes that morning and we think Penny and Dan are on the other one. You and I and the twins have got a big suite, with your mum and dad in a slightly smaller one while Izzy is in a double balcony cabin for one. We are quite near Penny and Dan’s suite. We have Christmas Day and New Year’s Day on board and fly back a few days into the new year.”

In Chapter 14 – Jinnie flies home

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