Lookin' Good at 57

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Earliest Shift I Ever Worked

Five years ago I worked what you could say was the earliest breakfast shift you could work as a waiter. I got a job at Fionn Maccools at Toronto International airport at Terminal 3.

I lived just over an hour away. The shift began either at 5:30 or 6:00am and ended 8 1/2 hours later so you also did the lunch rush as well. In fact it was never slow. No one can imagine an airport terminal being slow. People lining up then sitting at tables yet to be reset. Our sections were pretty big ranging from 8-10 tables.

On the average I guess I would do 70 covers. One shift I worked from 12:30-9pm and served 106 covers.

But to work breakfast I would shower the night before then set the alarm to wake me up at 4am. Then go downstairs and eat a banana, some yogurt, and grab a juice.

Walk out at 4:20 then take the 55 minutes to get to work. Park in the employee parking lot then take the train shuttle to the terminal. Wait for security to let me through and then be all chipper to greet that first guest as soon as I arrived.

After a while I got used to it but by 10pm that is was it for me. It was off to bed!

I would never rule out working breakfast again. As I get older I find my body changing. I wake up early no matter what and when I am off I usually am not up much past 10.

I guess that is why I see a lot of older people working breakfast.

By the way that 5:30 shift was not the earliest breakfast at the airport. There was a restaurant that opened at 3:30am!  That would be almost like working a midnight shift.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Service Industry is Taking Over and Employers Will Have to Change

A couple of decades ago the new jobs came from the manufacturing industry and the energy sector. Although there is a lot of jobs still being created in these industries in certain areas of the country they are facing increasing competition from decisions made elsewhere.

Oil prices fall and workers get laid off,  or a manufacturing plant decides to relocate to a country where costs are minimal so jobs are terminated.

This is why the Bank of Canada governor mentioned on the last fiscal update that the service industry is becoming the number one job creator. There is no shortage of restaurants and hotels opening up and they need experienced staff both in front of the house and back of the house.

Perhaps now people will start thinking about the service industry as a career and employers will get back to looking for good employees and giving them the full time hours and benefits they deserve like back in the 80's when I started out.

The only way employers will ever find those loyal employees is to stop treating them like they are not going to stay very long and cultivate an atmosphere so they will never want to leave.

That will be the only way employers will avoid having a revolving door of service employees coming in and leaving on a constant basis.

The service industry is about to be taken seriously again. Some employers already have the right idea but many more do not. The industry looks bright for those who want to climb the ladder quickly.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Revamping My Book

I have been working at revamping my book about all my travels. I will be giving it a title that will peak more interest  and obviously be more acceptable to a person who is interested in travel and bartending etc..

The previous title was too generic on sober second thought so with a new title ( more to the point ) it will give the reader a better idea of what the book is about.

It should be re released in a couple of months.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Happiness Hangout Interview

I was a guest on the Lori Peters podcast last week. Here is a link talking about travel and getting out of your comfort zone.


Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Final Post - It's Over

Well it has been almost two months since I posted and to be honest I have not missed it one bit. After 1368 posts and over 309,000 page views since Fall of 2008 I am through.

We are moving to a new city during the summer and beginning a new chapter in our family's life.

It is sure to be exciting. The blog will stay up but I will not input anything else.

Thank you for reading and be well!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

June 17th Will Be The Last Day to Buy the Book On-Line

It was 2 years ago this coming June that I published my book. On June 17th it is available on line for the last time as I did not renew the world wide distributorship through such retailers as Amazon, Barnes and Noble etc..

Perhaps another time in the future I will do it again through a publisher but right now this chapter has ended. Pardon the pun..

I want to thank everyone who bought a book. I was happy to share my story with you. Your comments on it were amazing. For those of you who want to buy a book you will have to contact me via email or through this blog after June 17th. I currently do not have any books so between now and June 17th if you are interested in buying one check out the links on this home page and they will get you right there.

Once again thank you for your interest!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

There Is A Lot of Youth Out There Lost Especially in the Hospitality Industry

Whether you work for tips or get paid a salary you have to save some money. They say save 10% of what you make. That seems pretty reasonable.

But with some young people today being influenced by other young people in the hospitality industry which is known for alcohol and drugs saving money for the future just doesn't hit home.

The other day someone was collecting for the lotto ticket at my wife's work. The expo they approached to see if he wanted in. He said no he had no money. They asked him why because he probably clears about $350 a week. He lives at home, he lives at home for free paying no room and board, he doesn't have a car, he is fed at home etc.. etc.. In other words he lives free.

So they asked what did he spends his money on. Drugs?

Yes was his reply straight out.

This is not isolated nowadays. This problem is rampant. I am not saying every youth is taking drugs and getting high but someone has to straighten this guy out. His parents or someone.

His whole future ahead of him. I did a radio show way back in September on co-owners of a restaurant who helped people get help who had addictions to drugs or alcohol. The link is here  They started a place people could turn to called "Restaurant Recovery." He lived through the same ordeal himself. It was quite a story this person recounted.

Sometimes people are fighting something and just want to forget things. This of course is not the way to do it. Have a listen to the show and read this below. Try to save and live within your means. Set some goals.

It is the only way.

Monday, April 4, 2016

If You Want to Be a Waiter or Bartender This is the Best Way to Get Started

The one thing I have noticed over the years is a lot of people who do different things for a vocation think that perhaps because they have gone to school and earned a university degree that being a waiter is a simple thing to do.

I mean being a waiter or bartender you definitely do not need a degree or major of any kind. In fact you can get a job in this line of work without any experience at all and the company will train you.

A lot of people still need to make more than what they are making in their regular job so they apply to a waiter position that may be hiring part time a few evenings a week. Some extra cash would go a long way to freeing up some debt.

So they get hired and if the company is smart like a lot of corporate restaurant chains they can train someone who has never done it before and over a good month ease them in and work with others side by side shadowing them to watch and see how it is done. Then when they are ready give a small section to start.

But if a person is applying to a very fine dining restaurant where you need experience this would be a no chance of getting hired situation or a smaller mom and pop restaurant where they need someone to do the job immediately and there is very little training except here is the table numbers and go get em.' This way usually will result in failure because quite simply it is not as easy as it looks.

I know my first job had no training and I failed miserably. There were no giant chain restaurants when I got started so I had to rely on learning on my own and working my way up the ladder usually in a hotel environment.

My suggestion to anyone wanting to break in and get trained and get off to a good start is start applying to corporate restaurants. They have the best training and promotion channels. If you are in your 20's these places offer a good social life so working there can be fun as well. Also these restaurants you can bet they will be open tomorrow and next week as well. They are always busy because of their huge marketing investments. Then when you get experience working a few years you can make the choice to stick with them or branch out and work somewhere else like the fine dining place. Learn all you can about wines and drinks etc.. as well.

The only prerequisite a person needs is to really like serving others and meeting people. If you prefer to text people rather than talk face to face stick to your day job.

One thing is for sure if you embrace this industry you will never be out of a job.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Sometimes in Order for Things to Change We Have to Change

So here I am healing from my hernia operation getting ready to start a week from today. Gives me a lot of time to ponder what has happened the past 8 or so years. Here is a brief run down on the good, the bad, and the ugly.

1. Started to teach a bar tending course at Georgian College here in Orangeville. Started off great with high enrollment until the last few years has been no sign ups at all. Why I don't know. Perhaps young people just are not interested or they get all the information off the internet now. Everywhere is the same at all the campuses.

2. 8 years ago bought the condo townhouse we currently live in.

3. Wrote a book about my younger days traveling around. You Only Live Once

4. Appeared on CBC on the documentary show entitled, The Doc Zone

5. Appeared on numerous television shows promoting the bar tending course and my book. You can see a lot of them on my you tube station

6. Health issues have cropped up. My son Adam almost lost his life because of a ruptured appendix wrapped inside his intestine. Two trips to Sick Kids hospital and now he is hopefully all healed up. My wife got some high blood pressure at this morning job she was working at. Things were going great there until corporate company bought them out and took away the tips. Then she had a hysterectomy.

7. I caught a bad case of pneumonia in 2012 then just now a hernia operation.

8. Another job my wife had promptly called her one day to say they were shutting down. So she was out of work for a while.

9. Things were going good at my job until they started opening up more restaurants in the area which took 1/2 our business away. That promptly made me look at other avenues to earn income so I ended up back to where I worked before.

10. Just last year had a successful Hospitality Industry News Network show going for 13 weeks on Voice America.com. I did it for a couple of reasons. One I would like to get into the broadcast medium one day and the second was hopefully to sell some books as well. Well with our dollar plunging and it being in American dollars I could not afford to keep it up and I think I sold one book during that time. The shows are archived forever though so have a listen to see what kind of outstanding quality the shows were. Here is one about working on a cruise ship. 

11. In 2013 I had to deal with my Mother's dementia. It got so bad she didn't even know how to use a kettle. Ended up leaving the tap running and causing $800 damage to the downstairs apartment. Had to get her in a care facility asap before she did harm to herself or anyone else. That same year my brother had colon cancer and beat it!

Now with the tooth infection at the beginning of the month and now this hernia operation I have lost a bit of weight but I am itching to get back to work. This is our final year in our condo here in Orangeville. We are going to renovate the bathroom and fix up the place and make some money on it. Then we are moving to Ottawa where there is more things to do, utilities are lower, cheaper to live, more jobs, more opportunities for my kids and also for my wife as well. This small town is way overpriced but good it is now cause when we sell we can start all over again.

Maybe something different can occur for me as I head into my 60's. But one thing is for sure we are cutting bait because unless we change nothing else will. It will be the same old struggle.It is time for the big payoff. I am not going to wait any longer. It is not over yet. Life is either a great adventure or nothing at all.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

How About Some Great Radio Shows on the Hospitality Industry

Since I am away from work recovering from a hernia operation I am finding it difficult to write anything right at the present time. So why not listen to some great radio shows on the Hospitality Industry. Read the bios of each show and pick one.

Click on the picture below to get you to the page.

Click here to listen