Saturday, March 10, 2007

Meltdown


Friday's in Lent are always a mad house, especially when the weather is nice. We're talking as busy as it ever gets, coming in weekly just shy of Mother's Day totals every Friday. We're talking crazy busy.

So today, our lunch was extra busy. This is generally a good thing, except for the fact that it puts the entire store behind for the big game, Friday Dinner. Friday Dinner is show time, it is money time, it is big time. And to start that key shift behind is death. Meltdown came mid-evening. After we moved a bunch of tables that had been camping out, we slammed our kitchen. We instantly went down nearly everything. The first wave of people wiped out what had been prepped, and the prep guys were in over their heads. Our ticket times went from a manageable 22ish minutes to 40+ minutes. This was after people were waiting in our lobby for 60-90+ minutes to get sat.

So it was meltdown. Prep guys were running like rats in a cage with a starved family of pythons. Line cooks were flipping out because they didn't have what they needed to complete orders. AC's were screaming because tickets were getting pushed out incomplete. Servers were scorched waiting for things that should take minutes to cook that were approaching an hour. Bar tenders were bombed with way too many people in far too little space, all wanting more alcohol. Management only worsened things by finding the exact wrong places and time to push buttons. I thought a cook and a manager might have to be separated for a few minutes in the heat of things. Nothing went smoothly except for the dish room. We had clean glasses all night long.

We were on wait for over 5 hours tonight. That is busy, no matter who you ask.

After a night like this, there is nothing better than sitting at home in silence. The silence is golden. I'd pay for this silence. Letting the crash of dishes, the whine of machinery, the blaring music, the roar of a restaurant clear from your head. Maybe mulling it over with a strong single malt. Yeah, that sounds good. Those of you in the industry, here's to you - Cheers!

8 comments:

MHAithaca said...

Slainte!

stupescommaruth said...

yeeeee. so sorry. hope everyone recovers and that at least the tips were good........

The Cleaning Lady said...

your Friday was my Saturday. Don't worry, next week will deliver a whole new set of issues!

Retired Expo said...

Oh my GOD, does this post bring back memories.

"Down 7 scampi 10's; 4 - 7 oz. Rocks; 1/2 tray of flat; ok now make it 12 scampi 10's" etc.

I remember starting expo shifts by stocking the broil box, looking in the wet box and knowing we would be down food by 7:30. filling the sinks with shrimp to thaw and peeling what was already thawed as fast as I could WHILE I worked the line.

Only thing was, this wasn't just on Friday's during lent....it was every Fri, Sat & most Sunday's.

Lobster Boy, I survived 19 years of RL, got my degree and now have a great job as an HR Manager for a financial services provider.

Many of the lessons you learn within the crazy world of food service/hospitality "Red Lobster" style will benefit you greatly in the real world someday. Even if it's just for some perspective.

Best of luck!

Lobster Boy said...

Thanks for visiting Retired Expo. I've actually been in the real world, had a real career outside of my near 2 decades in the food service industry, but I hear what you are saying that some (limited) skills are transferable. And it pays the bills (barely) for the moment.

Lobster Boy

@ working class anti-hero @ said...

Hey, man I feel you. I work as a line cook at the Coralville, IA RL, and we broke the record for our size restaurant with over 1300 guests last Friday. We were on wait from open to close, and not a single person got a break. It's unfortunate that every guest who comes into the restaurant gets to eat, but none of the staff does. Oh well, I guess that's the price you pay for making $9/hr at a busy seafood restaurant in Iowa during Lent....

Lobster Boy said...

I've never been to the Coralville store, but that is a buttload of guests for a single day, especially a weekday. That's rolling a 130 guest count every hour, and that is smoking! Your backup/prep must've either parred a ton or are really good!

Lobster Boy

The Brother Hammer said...

The one thing that is missing between your day and mine, was a complete shut-down of the management system. I swear they all have A.D.D.