Friday, December 21, 2012

401 K

The majority of my staff has some issues. It is well known that people that cook or serve for that matter lead a different life then those that work in offices. The job is hard, hot, fast paced, has weird hours, is loud, and technical. In this environment it is easy to see those that cant hack it. In no way am I saying that you have to be smart though- but it helps, we have a server who is a crack up and has an approach with his customers that I have never seen before and no one else could get away with who has a PHD in mental health (honestly I think he bought it online somewhere). It just takes a certain type of person. I couldn't wait tables. Not a chance. It would take me only a few seconds to absolutely lose it with a customer, and that would be the end of me. The questions, the complaints (I had a woman so mad a few weeks ago because her soup was served too HOT) the assumption of some customers that you are far inferior as a human then themselves, etc would all push me over the edge. For the most part I try to stay out of the dining room. My cooking staff has issues as well though, most of them work two jobs all summer long, some work three. I have one guy who is a fantastic cook that I bet works 90 hours a week through the summer, and if he is late to work I walk out to the parking lot to wake him up as he fell asleep in his car during the ten minute break he gives himself between punching out on job 1 and punching in for job 2. As the summer creeps on, and even as a single grueling day creeps on the fuses can get short.

For the most part they all consume energy drinks, and I absolutely hate it when they walk across the street to the nearest convenience store and load up. Guys disappear for 10 minutes, and I hate it when people are in uniform outside of the restaurant. They are a reflection still of our restaurant, and therefore what they are doing is still my prerogative, but technically they are still on their own time. Whether they are taking a break, having a cigarette (we have far fewer smokers then we used to), talking loudly on their cell phone, or whatever it can reflect poorly on the restaurant. I totally respect their time..... but. Telling a guy who is doing you a favor by pulling a double that he can take ten minutes and then telling him what he can and cant do during that ten minutes is not the best for our employee relations. Since they were closely linked, and I was in awe at the amount of energy drinks a total staff of about 50 people could consume on a daily basis, Will and I acquired a small fridge, got a money bag, and bought $150 dollars worth (personal money) of stuff we have seem them drink. While it started as a bit of a joke and I was convinced our HR people would kill us, it was actually well received. When it was brought under question it was sold to our top brass as a cheaper, more convenient, colder, option for our staff, who never had to leave the building to get it. They ate it up, and our staff bit. We named it 401K enterprises and while we wont retire anytime soon it has been very successful, and fun for our entire staff. Waiting to watch the service staff stress until the perfect moment and then laying on a nice "ice cold red bull", or "man you are dragging, you might need a pick me up" will work almost every time. A server who was treated especially well by a customer may come back to the kitchen and drop $30 bucks on a "round for the cooks". We expanded slightly to even match the needs of our staff, tracking down a few purveyors to get the highly desired Starbucks "double shots" and Monster absolute zero. There is also red bull, sugar free red bull, original monster, rock star, and even orange soda. If we had more room I would love to add a few more items, but space is tight, and the restaurant hasn't exactly billed us for the electricity to keep this stuff cold, or mentioned that Will or I will drop just about any task at any time to make a sale. We wait as the 4pm shift change starts to happen, and hit the leaving people headed to another job, and then capitalize on the people coming in the door as well. It is fun and while the price never changes for anyone, we still love to come up with ways to make it sound like a deal. "two drinks for 5 and a fanta is free for the next hour" is actually 2 bucks a piece for the drinks and a dollar for the fanta, which is the price we charge but I have tricked more then one person on it. "five for ten" is another great one, as is "buy two for six...get one free". The staff enjoys the banter, and the production is up for sure. We are able to talk franchising as well.....just sayin. Thanks for reading.

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