Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Absence (kind of) Explained

Today easily makes the top five list of the worst days I have had working in restaurants.

Things aren't going that great at the new place. Part of the reason I haven't written in a while is two fold. I don't want to admit that I may have committed career suicide. And I don't want to bad mouth someplace that I work. I want people to want to come there to eat, someday. I don't want the people who know me IRL to shy away because of the stories I tell.

It's bad. Financially speaking, the restaurant is run like nothing I have ever seen. Precise is an understatement. They know where every single dime goes. Every single dime. It is perfection and I have a lot of respect for the work they put in to get it there. While they have been perfecting the books, they have completely ignored everything else. The food is subpar. In some cases terrible. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is done by my friend, the general manager. I am not even sure she is a necessary part of the operation because I have never seen her contribute a single thing to the restaurant. She literally walks around and talks to guests (to the point of annoying them) and hinders all progress everyone else tries to make. I have taken to just making decisions without her and telling her later. I don't even tell her sometimes, I just do it. Because she will just get this authoritative tone in her voice and tell me why I should or shouldn't make that decision. Most of what I have done she hasn't even noticed.

I have changed recipes, menu items. I place orders and change products. I pretty much do whatever the fuck I want and she has no idea. She is worthless. I like her, I do. She is a lot of fun. She is not a good person to work with, so for the sake of my career, I am simply going around her.

Yesterday I walked into the restaurant and saw a cockroach. Then I saw several more. I called the general manager, who didn't answer. I left her a message simply stating that I was going to call an exterminator and set up a monthly service. Somehow or another this had lapsed over time and nobody was treating them. Let me tell you one thing about restaurants...every single one gets a cockroach now and then. If anyone tells you different, they are lying. They come in on the trucks that bring food. They walk in the back door from dumpsters. It is impossible to keep them out of the restaurant if it is not getting treated regularly. EVERYONE KNOWS THIS. Yet, they had no treatment plan set up.

This morning I met the exterminator at the restaurant at 9 am. He walked around the restaurant spraying and at one point said to me, "Ma'am I really don't understand why you called me. I haven't seen a single cockroa.....oh, shit, found 'em!" And it was like someone opened the flood gates. They were EVERYWHERE. I am not sure if I have ever shared this here (ha!), but I am TERRIFIED of bugs. The top of that list is spiders. A close second is cockroaches. I FLIPPED THE FUCK OUT. I screamed and hid in the office. He said it was a very minor case (!!!) and that he only did a light spray because he didn't want them to scatter while we were open.

Cut to 11 am and we are killing cockroaches running up the walls. (I screamed EVERY SINGLE TIME I saw one.) I made the decision to close the restaurant. It is a small town, it would ruin us. I called in the staff and we cleaned the mother fucking shit out of that restaurant. 

General Manager? Went to lunch and got drunk. Other manager? Had the day off but had plans and couldn't come in. So I did what had to be done. We now have a monthly account with exterminators and far fewer cockroaches (as an idea of what is considered a "minor" infestation...I swept up about 200 dead cockroaches after he sprayed. We killed probably 100 more. There is no joking around with these fuckers.)

The restaurant is sparkling and there is now a new cleaning schedule that I will enforce. To the point that I am willing to fire people for not following it. I ABSOLUTELY WILL NOT let something like this happen again. And the staff is 100% behind me. The management? Not so much. Didn't seem to care. 

The boy said to me that this worried him about the new restaurant and my name being associated with it. To which I responded, why? I will be there and it will be my rules and my kitchen. Something like this will absolutely never happen again. Ever. The food will be perfection and the kitchen will be impeccable. I will settle for nothing less.

After all of this happened, I had to prep a hot breakfast for 120 people. Including drive time, it was a 12 1/2 hour day. 

I called the boy as I was pulling into the garage and we did a hazmat home entry where I pretty much undressed on our back patio. All of my clothes went DIRECTLY into the washing machine, shoes bleached and scrubbed and I went directly to a very hot, very welcoming, very soul cleansing shower.

All of the staff was grateful to me that this was finally getting taken care of. I found out today that the staff had known it was a problem for months. Several of them told me things were so much better since I started working there. 

I will fix this. I will make the current restaurant the best that I can and I will make the new restaurant phenomenal. I just have to hope that the long list of people who don't care stay out of my way. Because if taking this job was career suicide...I am not going down without a mother fucking fight.

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