Friday, January 7, 2011
It Is Time To Think Differently
We were paying for our groceries and the guy who was taking our money I remember was going to start at a local diner as a waiter part time. Now this guy I don't think ever waited before but I was curious to see if he had started working yet at the diner. He said no and he was going to pass it up to work somewhere else that suited him better.
So I queried him on what his shift was going to be if he had chosen to work at the waiter position. He said it was going to be Saturday and Sunday working breakfast and lunch. Just 16 hours a week. Eight a day. He then added the money was not going to be too bad either. For those two days he was going to pull in about $500. Wait a minute I replied, $500 for two days work!!
Okay now I know this place is hopping on the weekends and everyone in town goes out for breakfast somewhere but come on.....
Which brings me around to what I need to do. Forget about fine dining restaurants that are half empty. Forget about working evenings. If you have to work evenings work the Friday and Saturday night when it is most worth it. Don't travel outside your neighbourhood anymore if you can help it cause the price of gas makes it expensive to work out of town. The price of gas is not going down anymore.
And if you have a 9 and 6 year old who are asking if you work tonight and you want to be home once in a while to see them through their upcoming teenage years choose to work at a spot where you make money during the day.
Listen I am getting older and still have a young family. I don't know how much time I have on the clock left. None of us do. The days of serving bottles of wine valued over a hundred dollars and decanting expensive Bordeaux at the table are over for me. Leave that for the single , stay up all night younger people.
I now want to be home in the evening. I will travel 30 minutes away to work a good lunch and make money with a couple of evenings a week but if I can do the same locally working breakfast and lunch I am staying put.
It is not about status anymore looking at where I work or what I do. I am thankful I did what I did when I was younger. But this is the here and now. I will take your egg order anyway you want with coffee please for $500 a weekend anyday.
Now with my wife leaving her work this starts a new opportunity for me. I will probably be waiting on tables till at least my mid-sixties which is not as far away as one would think. So why not do it in the most enjoyable fashion.
So here are the 3 criteria any new opportunity that comes my way must have...
1. The restaurant must have high volume. Lots of people eating there. Nowadays that is important. You make money on volume. If you want to do a la carte whether it is fine dining or slinging eggs you need people. Unless you do heavy corporate business and you do lots of groups. But that is not what I am looking for cause that is evenings.
2. The kitchen must be fast. If you have a busy restaurant but people have to wait forever for their food forget it. You cannot turn your tables if you have to wait long for people to get their meal. So breakfast makes sense. These places that do breakfast I mean how long does it take to cook a couple of eggs over easy??
3. With the busy restaurant you need a lot of waiters. So that means they are more flexible with their scheduling. Sort of like where I work now. That is important for me especially in the summer when I like the time off.
So there you have it. It may take me some time to find that place but when you start looking for work it is important to know what you are looking for. My prize would be evenings off. That is worth looking and waiting for.
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.