Sunday, January 24, 2010
My Top 5 Restaurants - Number 4
Number 5 just in case you missed it was where I am now. My first foray into a corporate restaurant. I obviously because I am still there cannot mention it.
Number 4 is a family run restaurant. Not by any means an expensive restaurant to dine in but a busy restaurant nonetheless situated in a resort area. It was in 1991 when for about 7 months that year I worked at this Greek restaurant in Jasper Alberta situated in the Canadian Rockies called the Pallisades Restaurant.
Now if any one out there are familar with Greek restaurants the food is healthy , not too expensive and quite easy to prepare. Myself I have never seen an empty Greek restaurant. Greek restaurant owners know how to turn a profit as far as I can tell. In Jasper you wouldn't think somewhere like that you would find a lot of Greeks but there are plenty and a few of them own restaurants in this mountain resort of only 3,000 people. In the summer when there were 25,000 tourists a day coming in and staying at all the hotels we used to do quite a business.
Everyday I would come in at 4 and vacuum. Then the doors would open a half hour later. By the way the Greek would never pay me for that 1/2 hour of vacuuming! The people would start coming in and I would always have a few tables going before the next waiter would arrive. Usually a relative.
There was one cook and a helper when it was really busy. This cook was Chinese and to this day I have never seen anyone as quick as him. You would ring up the order both appys and mains. He would get the mains going and prepare the appys. You wouldn't call pick up for your mains. He would time it. Not me!
So you had to run like hell and get those appys out as soon as they were ready. Ten minutes later your mains would be on the pass ready for pickup.He would be barking at you to pick up your plates on the pass. You had to move.
Then for dessert the Greek had a dessert trolley that you could wheel around to the table. I loved that part because it was always me saying something like , and here weeeee come or look at these delicious desserts. Then you would just empty that trolley cause the Greek knew no one could turn down an eye appealing , mouth watering dessert wheeled right up to you. He knew the concept. Don't forget everyone was on holiday drinking and eating a lot so it was a good time serving every night. The visitors were generous.
I would work my 4:30 shift till about 10:30 then deposit my tips in the bank and leave just enough for a few beers at the bar and breakfast in the morning. Then do it all over again with some trail biking in between.
The owner closed the restaurant from November till March and headed to Greece during that time which tells you what kind of money the restaurant would have made during the busy summer.
One thing I noticed about this restaurant. The key to a successful restaurant is to have a good daily special. An example would be usually a soup or salad to start then a breaded veal cutlet and some spaghetti and tomato sauce for the entree. His markup was good too cause well everyone will spend more for something on their holiday.
Then you want a menu that is not difficult to serve so you can turn the tables over. It had the souvlaki and moussaka of course. Spanokopita as well it had the pizza for the kids. Chicken and burgers and all that. Everyone could find something they like on the menu.
I left Jasper in January of 1992 but I really enjoyed my time there. It was an outdoorsy place with a lot of wild animals around. You would walk around and see elk all over the place munching on grass. Very laid back. When I got up in the morning I would go for some breakfast and have my 3-4 coffees and read the newspaper and just look out at the mountains.
It was a nice time........
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.