Saturday, February 04, 2006

Friday night things went well...

Last night was the first second time under this new wasteful system that I actually had a night on par with what I used to make 3 months ago before this mess started. The unfortunate reality is that you have to get the exact right tables all night long now to make respectable money. I worked nearly 8 hours though to make what I used to make in 5-6 hours. The thing that bailed me out was a $20 tip on my first check. It was a 2 top, and their total bill was only $56, so when I was handed the money by my guest, I thanked him for being so generous. He just graciously said "you're welcome" and walked out the door. Without that single larger than average tip, my night would have been only slightly above our new "average". Unfortunately our new average is CRAP.

I did have very good guests all night long. Few were grumpy because of the long wait. We had a wait in our lobby for nearly 4 hours. 2-3 years ago this was common, but more and more our time with people waiting is not more than 2 hours. This isn't because we're moving people in and out faster (well perhaps that contributes a small amount), it's because fewer are coming in. Our guest counts are down, and Red Lobster's corporate leadership's response was to increase menu costs and increase our labor costs. I was reading the other day how Red Lobster's sales increased this last year, but I noticed how the fact that the menu increased in some markets twice last year was left off that report. Interestingly, Darden stock continues on a strong upward climb. So those at the top (corporate leadership, area and regional management, general managers) are all making some serious gains in their portfolios. So I suppose at least a select (rich) few people are happy with this system. I hope their decisions come back to bite them in the ass the same way it has bitten us in our wallets.

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