Chef Fran Mosley and The HM Dessert Lounge

by Terry Watson | September 18th, 2017
Patrice Mosely

Patrice Mosely

There is nothing typical or ordinary about HM Dessert Lounge, Dessert and Novelty Restaurant of Memphis, TN. Everything they do is over the top. While chicken and waffles may be their niche, their menu offers many more tasteful, delicious items that’s suitable to satisfy most food addicts.

Owned and managed by Patrice and Champ Mosley, HM Dessert Lounge original business concept was to offer desserts only. However, by natural progression and customer demand, they expanded their menu. From the beginning, they were all in, both mentally and financially. The couple decided to use all of their savings to get the business started. “There was no cushion waiting for us in the event of a slow flow of business or mistakes. There were times when we prayed for customers to walk through the door. That was in the very beginning and was the most challenging time in business for us,” she says. All they had was faith. They knew it would happen but not exactly when.

HM Dessert Lounge began in December 2011, as Haute Monde Sweet & Savory Catering. It was derived from a Thanksgiving Eve competition between Chef Fran and her husband, Chef Champ. She would always say to him “I will stay off of your grill if you stay off of my stove and out of my oven” In 2007, Casscius challenged her to a competition to make a Peach Cobbler, that would compete with her “families favorite” Apple Crunch Cobbler. They invited family over at midnight on Thanksgiving to taste and judge. “My brother brought a friend with a guitar and it turned into a party to which we affectionately named “Sweet Café”. The next year family and friends called asking if we’d be having Sweet Café again! That year we had more friends and family than we could hold in our house. The following year in 2009 we rented a venue for the event and we maxed it out. At that point, we decided this could be a business. We started looking at next steps for opening a restaurant to showcase our culinary talent but also provide a platform for local artist and designers to display their crafts.”

A challenge they’ve faced in business was attrition and hiring and keeping good employees. Patrice shares, “We both came from corporate backgrounds where employees were there for years. Our expectation was that we would hire good people and they would stay for years. We didn’t understand that the restaurant business has a large attrition.” Finding nice people that will come to work every day was also a challenge for them. “We sweetened the deal by stepping out of industry standard and implemented tip share and payroll incentives. From there we never had to talk about being at work on time daily.”

“My Dad taught me at an early age “If you love me, you will cook for me”. I have carried that with me all of my life,” she said. Now, she is passing those same nuggets along to her children. “I want them to know they can use their gifts and talents and create a viable business. They can build a legacy or take what we have built for them and make it more innovative. I live for the light bulb moments in children’s faces when I say I am Chef Fran and they want to know all about the business of cooking. I cherish the priceless laughs and giggles they share when I show them how food is science and how learning science and math is important to being a great cook.”

The future looks bright for the HM Dessert Lounge. If you are in Memphis, be sure to stop by and enjoy their sweet goodness. Chef Champ and Chef Patrice promises that you will not be disappointed.

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