Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Restaurant

I work as a server in a small, local, fairly new restaurant. I really like my job. I try to do my best in spite of minimal or conflicting training. I really want this place to be successful, but it has really had its ups and downs already. I keep being hopeful that it will get better. I think people don’t know about us yet and we are still smoothing out some rough spots. Some days are great, the tables full, the compliments flowing. Some days I sit there without a single customer. Sometimes I disagree with the way things are done or get irritated with my employers or coworkers, but in general I would say I am still in it for the long haul and hoping it works out.

I thought I would use this blog to express some of my thoughts about work (hence the name). But I haven’t decided how secret I need to be yet. I know as soon as I reveal a few details about the restaurant, some Peoria people will know exactly where I work because I have read posts or comments on local blogs about my work place. I guess that is OK, I am just still unsure about how I feel about my fellow coworkers knowing if I post about work.

So even though I haven’t figured out a theme to this post or a purpose for sharing, I think I just want to write about my weekend at work. Maybe through writing I can process my thoughts or feelings, or, if not, maybe start to paint a little picture of my world at work and the beautiful but bizarre restaurant I have an exaggerated sense of commitment to.

Friday, when I arrived at work, I was told by my coworker/ kind of manager, R1, that we are changing uniforms. From now on we are to wear colored dress shirts instead of white ones, without neckties. I expressed my disappointment and took of my tie. He proceeded to tell me that also, from now on, he and I are supposed to be more laid back. (The going without ties thing is supposed to help us with the appearance of being laid back.) I felt confused by this for a couple of reasons. 1. I am already very laid back. Before this job, I don’t think I had even eaten in a fine dining restaurant. I knew nothing about wine. I knew nothing about food. (I still struggle with this because I am vegetarian and don’t know much about cuts of meat, and also, customers seem to want to know if you personally have tried the things you are recommending). Anyway, I always try to make my customers feel super comfortable. We have a lot of people who show up “not knowing how nice it is” and seem to feel out of place because maybe they are wearing jeans or something, and I always try to be very reassuring that they are welcome and we want them to have a great experience. I enjoy being at work and am not ever snobbish or pretentious. I am laid back! 2. A couple of months ago, a server was fired for being too laid back. The actual action that got him fired was standing with his hand on his hip. I was really upset about this at the time because I thought this man was a really good server and willing to learn. If the owner would have said, “Do not stand with your hand on your hip”, I’m sure it would have never happened again. But, at my work, people get fired A LOT.

So, a couple hours after R1 told me about changing uniforms and being laid back, he also thought to mention that our executive chef had gotten fired on Thursday. I think he was our fourth chef we’ve had since opening. Two quit and two got fired. We have also had five managers quit or get fired. And countless employees.

Aha! I have thought of the theme of this post. Consistency (well, lack thereof). I think the restaurant is at a crucial point in which we need to start having some consistency. Our menu is always changing, rules always changing, chefs always changing, even our d├ęcor. I know our owners are trying to tweak things to make them better, and that is probably acceptable for awhile when a business is new. But after the newness is over, the constant changes are unsettling for the employees and the customers.

Now we seem to have a good team of servers, good managers, and if our sous chef is becoming executive chef and stays with us, I am hoping we will finally have some consistency.

I am concerned about the length of this post. I think I will write a shorter post about Saturday as a separate entry. I wonder if people will be interested to hear the stories of a local restaurant.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like an awful lot of turn over and chaos at your restaurant, like the owners are a schizophrenic or something.