This CAN'T be the norm.
I can understand reducing waste and all but...Whatever happened to doing things right?
I'm not currently in a "big" city. We're in a 30k population ”town” about 60 mi W of LV.
In the past 3 gigs I've had here in the past year I have run into:
The first cafe had about 10 tables and one cafe manager that was also running half of the town as well. (A small privately owned tourist town on the way to Death Valley) Somehow everyone in the kitchen seemed to think the 3 second rule is perfectly fine. On numerous occassions I would observe both the cook that was showing me the specs on the various menu options and servers serve items that they dropped on the floor? I brought up the problem with the manager. You would think they would want to know? Nope, I got 'fired' when I had the stomach flu for a couple of days a few days later. It's too bad too. I understand I was the first person in months that passed the drug test. (yes, I checked but wrongful termination is a pain in the *** to push)
Next. My disfunctional kitchen. There was a HUGE MIL/SIL conflict going on. They both had no restaurant experience. She 'ran' the breakfast and he ran the lunch/dinner. He was the primary renter of the restaurant and didn't want the breakfast fare in the first place and making her life miserable on a family standpoint and mine from leaving the kitchen appliances as dirty as possible. In the meantime I was trying to solve numerous idiotic problems every stinking day...making breakfast fare on inadequate dirty equipment, (It literally was like they were grilling engine blocks on it). I had a small very used electric griddle for about 2 pancakes at a time. Couldn't use the large flat grill because the SIL refused to let me clean it. “It was seasoned”...Uh, no...IT'S DIRTY. It had about a 1/4” layer of crusted mung that was flaking off in many places...so I couldn't make hash browns or pancakes on that either. The prep table didn't hold below 50 degrees, making eggs was a nightmare...scratched pans over the burger grill...complaints that since we started doing breakfast the propane bill doubled and this was my fault? I'm sure you can do the math. 4 hours in the morning using half the equipment compared to 9 hours and it doubled?
One bleeding ulcer and half my hair left from pulling it out she let me go the day before Thanksgiving because she couldn't stand the family conflict any more.
Get this: He didn't want to own a restaurant in the first place (no duh!) and has since gone on to RE.
Now...my third little venture...I started about a week ago. An 8 table establishment with plans to expand in the immediate future and has only been open about a month and a half. THIS time it's a <Jewish> son/mom thing going on. I'm not being stereotypical, my BIL is Jewish and I had a Jewish BF for many years. But they have certain ways of doing things?
“Mom” is a sullen, bitter, bitchy 74yo. Never smiles, hangs in the dining area and <so I've heard> is scaring the customers. Son is actually fairly nice, enthusiastic, knowledgeable but frazzled. He's invested everything into this place. They'd been doing catering for about 15 years (so they say...but it doesn't mean they're good at it). Apparently it's just an understanding with all of the other people that work there, well, my server and the other cook, that she will periodically start screaming at you for pretty much nothing.
I've been yelled at twice so far. Once the first day because I was subbing as a server and she decided I wasn't staring at the door hard enough or something. There wasn't anyone there anyway. That one I smiled politely and sloughed off.
Today I brought my 16 yo daughter as per the Son's request to help do some yard cleaning and whatnot. He wasn't there but we were there about 2 minutes when MOM called me into the little tiny office right next to the front door WITH CUSTOMERS in the dining area and proceeds to loudly start bitching me out for bringing her. I explained the son said to bring her, MOM said, well I just spoke to him and he said not to...(this is after we were there) I emphasized that he said that she was supposed to do some property work, like sprinkling the new gravel in the drive and explained that it would have been nice to know yesterday (but he wasn't there) but she wouldn't stop bitching.
Losing my patience fairly quickly I told her to lose the attitude and that she needed to speak to people with more respect and that I would not tolerate her speaking to me that way.
I fully expected to not have a job by that evening and to be honest if she had even cleared her throat my direction I would have walked out. Of course the other employees there just tell me to speak with the Son when ever I have a question or need something. Can't do that if he's not there.
...and from another 'eyeeeeewwwww' issue:
In addition...the first day as a cook the entire reach in was a huge mess. Raw unwrapped meat on the racks, blood and chicken juice puddles everywhere, unmarked and undated everything, wafty ingredients...plus literally every day I've been there NOTHING is in the same place that it was the day before so there's a lot of wasted time trying to find the unmarked container of coleslaw in the bottom in the back...yeah, it's special.
Anyway, on that particular first day son and MOM get into a huge row about it. Waste, dirty, why aren't they cleaning or...and somehow since I was there SHE was trying to blame me? <as in: well I told HER> I'm thinking uh, no friggin way. I just got here.
So the kicker is...they do the same thing as my first gig. The owners will pick up dropped items, no matter how little the amount is and put them back, will buy WAY expired anything, produce, (just peel the gooey stuff off), pies, cakes, meats. (an ironic note: buying 10 pies for half off <filling up the cooler> and only using 1 then asking if they can re-freeze them <oh, yummy>, or buying a bargain even though it doesn't match anything on the menu?) They used the gray old beef that they found in the bottom of the reach-in for chili, they thaw and re-freeze fish and chicken strips. (thawing defined dropped in one of the dish sinks) Mom made a fish stew that contained every piece of unused fish (yeah some were past due too) and I had to fish out (no pun intended) at least 2 racks of crab claws that were literally nasty gray and a package of claws that she wanted me to put into it smelled like they were rotting pickles. No, they went discretely into the trash.
Mom's friends get almost double portions that regular customers get while there are other customers there. <poor things>
Plus she lurks. The kitchen is tiny and between the grumpy server/disher who keeps trying to intervene in cooking and MOM who is a major road block aimlessly meandering around the middle of the kitchen and blocking traffic from the reach in (seems it's her favorite place to plant herself and the words “Excuse me” tend to not register) it's interfering with my ability to cook. (the server already messed up 2 dishes of mine...turned up the burner under a pan of scampi and torched some chops)
Besides the fact that they have way too much inventory in the first place that doesn't begin to reflect their fairly simple menu or the traffic they have at present. Every jar of spices, (most outdated as well), have a duplicate or triplicate, all with that kind of oily dusty grime on the tops of them like they hadn't been touched forever. I've been trying to determine which ones are stale or not.
Oh, did I mention the two HUGE dogs that they keep in the food storage shed (freezer and dry goods)? <and no they're not housetrained>
I'm sensing food poisoning or worse in the future. ****, I can't even get to the handsink.
Can I pick 'em or not or am I just 'lucky'? <LOL>.
Sorry this is long...just needed to get it off of my chest.
I give this situation about 2 weeks tops. Ah, on to the employment classifieds yet again.
post #1 of 10
1/4/07 at 8:51am