Lynda Stone began cooking and baking with her two daughters Kristi and Ali when they were young girls. Little did they all know their passion would become a very successful business. Lynda later started selling homemade bread and rolls to area businesses and restaurants. Today the family operates the very successful Puffy Muffin located in Brentwood, Tenn.
Puffy Muffin specializes in custom cakes and baked goods, along with a full-service restaurant with catering and delivery service. Customers have the opportunity to watch their Cake Artists at work. These amazing ladies create totally custom designs for weddings, birthdays and celebratory events. See some of their incredible cakes here.
Their #1 menu item by far is their Chicken Salad! It goes on many of their most popular plates, and when people think of them, chicken salad is one of their first thoughts. Quiche, Boston Cream Pie, Mocha Crinkles and Ginger Tea are also very popular.
Core Values – The Heart & Soul of Their Business
Ali Burns, Lynda’s daughter and Vice-President and Co-Marketing Director says, “Our core values model the heart of who we are. When we train our employees, they must memorize all of them. We look for people and during interviews ask questions that help us to see if they will fit into our value system.
“Anytime we have a question about what to do, we look at the core values to see if it fits into our beliefs and encourage the staff to also. We believe that by following these values, we will give the guest and our employees the best of who we are each day.”
Lynda and Puffy Muffin won the highly esteemed Torch Award for “Market Place Ethics” given by the Williamson County Better Business Bureau.
Investing in Their Employees
What makes Puffy Muffin special and different from other food service businesses is how they invest in their employees. Over the years, Lynda has wanted to honor and reward them. So she gives them goals. One reward in 1999 was a cruise to the Bahamas and Key West for all her employees. In 2010, she closed the restaurant for 10 days and took everyone on an Alaskan cruise!
“It never has been about putting money into our pockets,” explains Ali. “It has always been about everyone as a whole. When employees know you are invested in them and they know that they contribute and make a difference, it is amazing what can happen. We desired them to know what could happen when we all put our minds toward the same goal. It took a year to reach the goal for Alaska, but we did it.”
Ali’s tips for success:
#1 Focus on the Goal.
#2 Invest in Your Employees.
#3 Surround Yourself with People Who Know More Than You.
A Family Affair
Lynda met her husband Jack Stone in 1968 at Lipscomb University in Nashville. Jack, a successful businessman and preacher, serves as Senior Vice President for Puffy Muffin. Their daughters Kristi and Ali both graduated from Lipscomb also and share roles as Vice President and Marketing Director. In addition, Ali is a graduate of the Chicago French Pastry School and manages all the cake designs. Ali’s husband Jason is the COO, and Kristi’s husband John is on the Board of Directors. Together they are raising the 5 grandchildren, so the little business that started long ago in their kitchen (Lynda with Kristi & Ali above) has truly become a family affair.
“We’ve been told that coming to Puffy Muffin is like coming home,” says Lynda. “Our guests have become part of our family as my kitchen has changed and become a bit larger throughout the years. But one thing remains the same: our heart and passion to serve others will always continue.”
To download a pdf of Puffy Muffin’s core values, click here.