By Michelle Bir, The Sanford Herald
SANFORD - Every morning, accounting and business student Katie Bowles is up before the sun, working dough and greasing pans at the Landmark Restaurant.
Bowles, a 22 year-old, lifelong Harnett County resident, arrives at work around 3:30 a.m., fills her bowl and works the dough, producing nearly 20 pans. She can complete a pan in about a minute and a half, which holds 16 biscuits. On average, she makes 35 to 40 pans a day, but her record is 55.
"I love this place," said Bowles. "I love making the biscuits."
Before coming to work at the Landmark Restaurant two years ago, she worked as a waitress at Bubba's Subs and Pizza. For a time she held both jobs, starting at the Landmark at 5 a.m. and heading over to Bubba's at 9 p.m.
"I work really hard," said Bowles. "I'm very big on values like work ethic."
Through some negative experiences in her past, Bowles feels like she learned how to be a hard worker. She also attributes the trait to her father and grandfather who own a welding business.
Bowles began as a waitress at Landmark and through her desire to learn more about the restaurant became a prep cook, line cook and worked her way to biscuit making. Through this journey she realized that she hopes to one day open her own restaurant.
"It's my dream, I want to know every single thing there is to know about it," said Bowles.
Bowles enrolled in an associate's program at Central Carolina Community College and focused on accounting and business to learn more about the business aspect of owning a restaurant. She takes online classes, in which she watches videos for hours after her shift ends at 1 p.m., and has straight A's.
"I have to teach myself, which is complicated, but I'm doing really good," said Bowles. "I figured that would further my career, I want to learn both sides of it."
Bowles enjoys the customer service aspect of the restaurant business and believes it is a big part of running a successful restaurant.
"They are like a second family, this place is like my second home," said Bowles. "I enjoy dealing with the customers a lot, they are fun, they are loyal and we have regulars that come in every single day."
Despite biscuit making being the main objective of her job, she often visits tables when customers need something and everyone else is busy. She enjoys multi-tasking and working as a team with her co-workers.
"If I see somebody looking around while I'm at my biscuit table, I stop what I am doing to see if they need anything," said Bowles. "They usually do, so I go get it myself if I can."
Her hard work does not go unnoticed and customers are appreciative and complimentary. Some customers tell her that her biscuits are the best they have ever had.
"When customers compliment me, it makes me really proud," said Bowles. "I know I'm doing a good job and that feels good."
Photo by Michelle Bir, The Sanford Herald. Katie Bowles makes fresh homemade biscuits every day at the Landmark Restaurant.