Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Was It 8:45 Or 9:00 PM?
Okay so here we are the chef and I sitting in the dining room. We have been there for the lunch and now we might have had a table or two early on but it has been empty for the last two hours. Some nights no one would have showed up. It is 8:30 and the owner would sometimes call but most times not. He didn't do anything to bring the guests in and besides that he was plain rude to most especially when it came time to kicking them out to close up when he was around.
The chef was the one to close up and set the alarm. We would sit in a vacant restaurant for that time and wondering what the heck we were doing there. At 8:45 the chef turned the ovens off. We dimmed the lights although the lighting was pretty dim anyway. We sat and waited. Right when that clock struck 9 we were out at 9:01.
It was never the locals that came that late but always a passerby. It did only happen once or twice but you know if the chef wants to get out what is the point of sticking around for an hour after closing time on the only table of the night.
Folks I left this job at the end because when the chef gave his notice the owner had us all believing he had a chef replacing him coming in starting on the Sunday brunch the following day. At 9PM the night before on the Saturday I have 25 reservations for the next day's brunch. I finally had to take him aside and ask him who is the chef coming tomorrow. He says it looks like he is not coming as he was supposed to return his call that night but he never heard from him.
So I said maybe I should start calling these reservations up and telling them something like we will not be open. He says yeah I guess we better. Call them and tell them we have a gas leak in the kitchen and we should reopen on Wednesday. We were closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
He never did reopen or bother hiring a chef and the restaurant stayed closed for 3-4 years. I was unemployed.
You see perhaps we should have let that guest come in at 8:55 that one or two times it did happen because it would have been the right thing to do. Maybe I should have shown more gumption and told the chef that hey we are open till 9 so let's let him in. I am sure maybe some of you might even be disappointed in my behaviour but this place was a corpse being buried as we sat there. No life , no promos , no enthusiasm , no people , and most importantly of all no leadership and direction from the man in charge.
This is just my opinion but no matter how many good people you could have working in one spot , if the owner or manager is not showing an interest in the business , then they will not either. Staff will disperse quickly.
Like the chef did and I had to later on.
Radio talk show host of "The Hospitality Industry News Network" and author of "You Only Live Once" about his early years traveling around and working on ships and foreign countries Steven blogs about his thoughts on the restaurant industry as he sees it today.
Check out his web site at www.stevennicolle.com for more information.