Sunday, March 13, 2016
What Year Did it All Change?
In between this job I worked at a very busy corporate steakhouse beginning in 2008. When I left where I work now 8 years ago the clientele was older and very good with wines etc.. Corporate companies would come at lunch and in the evening come and dine.
Now a co-worker whom I work with were discussing the other day just when did things change. Where did all these people who use to come eat here go all of a sudden. Since I hadn't worked there since 2008 before June of this past year I couldn't answer that question.
But I did talk about where I worked at this corporate steakhouse. When I began there there was a good quality of clientele who use to come and eat quite often. I remember in the early days it was not unusual to have a wait at the door even in mid-week. The dining use to go on till 10-11 o'clock at night.
Then changes began to take place that were out of our control. New restaurants opened up and the crowds diminished. But it wasn't just that. The people started to disappear. The good clientele we use to have disappeared and no longer did we have the wait times at the door. There were many nights people would just stop arriving by 8:30 and by 9:00 the dining room would close and the bar was left open for any stragglers who happened to drop by.
So we start to think that maybe a lot of people have just moved away at least in the fine dining restaurant where I work. Maybe the new crowd doesn't like to dress up or go anywhere formal like they used to.
As for the corporate restaurant perhaps the people who are moving in the area and replacing the people who have moved or decided to go somewhere else are the ones who wear the baseball cap and jeans or the newbies in the country who have not quite figured out our tipping system over here.
We arrived at the year or at least I did of 2011. That is when it started to slide downhill. That is when financially we started to feel the squeeze doing a la carte. This must be noted is where I work and is not for all places. Downtown I am sure there is tons of good clientele and waiters that make great money.
I heard of a steakhouse in Toronto where the server assistant who is probably in early 20's works 40 hours a week at $18 an hour and makes an extra $600 a week in tips. I think after the calculation we figured she was making $1300 a week. The shame of it is that she said to my buddy at work that he should work there because they are looking for old guys like him to work there!
I would go but as I mentioned earlier moving to downtown Toronto with a family and paying $750,000 mortgage is not my cup of tea at my age. The jobs are out there but I cannot get to them.
So rather than go on and beat my head against a brick wall not this summer but next summer we are outta here. Where I am located it is heading downhill. Rather than wait till it is too late we are going to fix up our condo and get a good price for it to move somewhere. We know the spot already but that will come later.
I heard too we are going to start ordering our meat Halal. If that is an indication of what the future holds my tips will drop substantially anyway. No offense but if you get 10% from the people who eat Halal which is pretty good I will not be able to afford to live where I am anyway.
We all have choices to make but the first thing is to do what is best for us. Sometimes it just means instead of hoping things will change and sitting back you have to face life and make that change. I am happy I have done all I could here but it will be time soon to move 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.