Sunday, June 13, 2010

Brush Your Teeth ...

My blog posts have become sporadic of late, the excitement of the renovation process and the rush to open up have faded. Now that we're open there is different excitement, but there is also a lot of work, which just occupies my time, and keeps me from sharing with you my experiences.

This is why today I decided to note every little thing I do, and a rough time-line. Right now E! and I work at least 16 hours every day. Even on Tuesdays, when we are closed, there is so much to do that we barely have time to sit down together.

So, here is what happened in my life today (as far as I remember, and wrote down; E!'s days are equally busy, but I don't have the time to follow her around, and write down everything she does):

I get up at 7am and walk the dog. She needs food, like we all do, and she'll get it hours before her daddy. I make coffee (Monkey Joe's Columbian) and have a cup. I pore over last night's receipts, add up, compare, making sure all servers get an equal share of tables and sales.

A little after 8am, E! reminds me that I had promised to go to Highland, to pick up sausage at Mark's. I rush into Highland, pace myself, the cops are out there. I pick up Weisswurst and hot dogs, stop by our friend Carol's on the way back to see if she has strawberries. She promises to get them to us later in the morning.

Back at home I read the water meter. We have to keep record of our water usage for the health department. While I'm in the basement, I grab some beer and wine to restock the bar supplies (I should let the bartender do this, I always forget that we pay people to do work).

9:30am, I haven't had breakfast yet, but will eat next time I remember. I settle last night's credit card receipts, and make sure the cash register has enough change. Do laundry (aprons, wipe-down towels, which we use a lot of during the course of a day).

I briefly discuss ordering more coffee with E!. At 10am I sit down for breakfast, two slices of the finest rye, made by our neighbor Joe Calabrese (he used to own a bakery, and makes some yummy bread).

I write checks to employees, tape the switches in the bathrooms, so people don't turn off the lights all the time (we have motion-activated timer switches, which turn on and off automatically).

I install protective baskets on the basement lights, which hang rather low, and I have hit them already a few times.

11am our daytime bartender arrives, we open shop. I forgot to put the laundry in the dryer. Have I brushed my teeth yet? No. Will do later.

Take the dog out, she has needs, too, and she isn't a happy camper being confined upstairs all day. It's tough being a restaurant dog.

Print out lunch menu, pay the delivery guy for produce, rearrange shelving for dry storage in the basement to make space for another shelf. Check on laundry, not dry yet.

Noon, bring kitchen scraps to compost (another job for someone we pay, but I'm a do-er, I do stuff). Chat with our neighbor Bill, our first customer of the day.

Finally, I remember to brush my teeth. I should drink some water, I only had two cups of coffee so far, I don't want to get dehydrated.

Run into town for last minute groceries and supplies, there's always something we are missing.

2pm. I really should drink more water. Am I hungry yet? Let's hold off on that.

Get the laundry from the dryer, and drop it on the counter in the wait station. The staff will fold it, when they come in (I am learning to let go).

Chat with customers, print out more lunch menus (we have a lot of people stop by, asking to take a menu, which of course will have changed by the time they come back for lunch or dinner). Chat with customers.

3pm, lunch time, curry wurst on a pretzel bun, yummeeeeee.

Promote the Salmon Strudel on our Facebook page (I feel like a fisherman, trying to lure customers in, and Salmon Strudel is a fine bait).

A customer calls to make a reservation, we love reservations, they make it easier to gauge to the traffic for the evening.

I respond to comments on Facebook (off-premise customer care is just as important as on-premise customer care).

Think about all the things I need to or should do, resulting in a mental overload. Brush it off, everything in due time, baby steps, baby steps.

Talk to chef E! about the dinner menu, edit, print, and present the result to E! for proof-reading.

Call Monkey Joe's to order more coffee (I should have done that Friday already, baby steps). I catch them just before closing, but they take my order, business is business.

Print the dinner menus, respond to email. I need to drink more water. Did I brush my teeth this morning?

I haven't talked to my parents for weeks now, no time. I'll call you soon, love you.

I change for dinner service (dirty shorts and worn-out t-shirt isn't an acceptable dress code). Notice an error on the menu, reprint, E! notices another error on the menu, reprint again.

Kid comes in looking for a job, sorry, line cooks only, and by the way, next time you apply for a job, dress for the occasion, don't circle my entrance with your BMX bike like a fox the hen house, and f'in don't spit all over my walkway.

5:30pm customers arrive. Seat customers, chat with customers, trying to be a good host, making sure customers are attended to.

It's a busy night, almost all tables are filled. Seat more customers, take orders, serve beverages, bus tables, run credit cards.

7:30pm we're out of Salmon Strudel, burgers, and the Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate dessert. Sodas are running low. Need to make an emergency shopping trip tomorrow.

The evening is winding down. I cash out two servers and send them home. Have the last server clean the beer hall and wait station (every server has the honors at least once a week, I try to be a good and fair employer).

9pm a few bar patrons arrive. By 9:30pm the bar is empty again. We're closing down.

Going through the day's receipts so I don't have to do it the next morning. Sit down with remaining staff for a beer.

Another 16 hour day has come and gone. I had a job once where I was paid good money just to show up (my boss hated me, and didn't give me anything to do). This is much better.

Go to bed, start writing this blog post, too tired, will finish tomorrow. Roll over and fall asleep. I think I brushed my teeth.



J Bird said...

Hooray for exhausting but rewarding work! Everything is going to come together in the next few weeks, I can tell. After all, we all want you to be happy, successful, and cavity-free!

Anonymous said...

Dirk, this was one of the best blog posts I've read! REALLY good (& entertaining) writing! I think you really captured the flavor of your day, which is a treat for your readers.

Keep up with the posts, I sense a book in your future . . .!

(Also, I'm thinking we need to be heading westward for a restaurant visit soon!)


lindaingeborg said...

Agreed! Really great post! So so so happy to see the fruits of your labor. It's some fiiiiine fruit too!

Rick Ness said...

i agree with everyone - really good post. I like the flow-of-the-day chronolgy. Gia and I SAW those kids on bmx bikes circling your front door. We slowed down and watched. Our first reaction was "wtf are they up to?" Then one went in so we sped up. Was that the kid on the bike that came in for a job? ugh! spitting on your walkway!? double ugh! "kids these days..." .

Britt said...

Great post!

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