it's usually good for business. The cliche applies as well.
Today, I'm preparing to have one of my new potential employees come in and had called to have our drains snaked since they have been acting sluggish. In between calls a woman whom I do some board work with comes by to arrange a meeting. We agree to 11 am tomorrow. The plumber and the new hire arrive at the same time. I'm trying to deal with the plumber who appears to know less than I about the working of drains and grease traps, which is scary, since the extent of my plumbing knowledge is that most plumbers have big, hairy ass cracks. So his snake encounters nothing, I show him the grease trap, he professes total ignorance, does what he thinks is right, leaves and sure enough my drain backs up. Mind you we are upstairs and the water which is overflowing will eventually leak onto the lower level.
A few calls later I locate the only service in town which can handle the job. This guy comes out and claims he can't get access and starts talking about blazing holes in the side of the building. His most frequent comment,"You're screwed." is not exactly what I want to hear. He is however, a nice guy and wants to help.We follow the lines as best we can, he opens the trap and is digging the thing out by hand, we get water flowing but there appears to be a block between the trap and the city sewer line so he calls another plumber, who sits on the city council. He is just about to go to a city council meeting so he won't be coming until tomorrow morning (today most likely for you dear reader). Many "you're screwed's" later I realize it's basically time to open and I hope the crucial things on the prep list have been done. I come up with a quick and dirty (very dirty) plan of action which will allow us to operate safely until we can resolve the problem. Just as I am coming up the stairs another Mayan guy is asking "You have one work for me?" I tell him to come back tomorrow.
Oh, did I mention the wind and hail storm last night blew the satellite for our music system out of alignment so there is no music in the entire building, just the noise of the construction of the raw foods cooking school which is going in across from us. Yes, raw and cooking school is a bit of an oxymoron but believe me, it'll be better than what was there. So I choose some cd's, throwing in some weird instrumental stuff I like to listen to to break up the (mostly) Mingus, Monk, et al. Things are set up, I tell the waiters we're running the same specials as last night but that may change if we can get things sorted out.
Thankfully I have one solid guy to help train the try-out because we then proceed to get our asses kicked. We track our numbers and average them out to get a reasonable guess as to what we expect for the evening. We should have done mid-50's tonight and wound up with 97, running out of bread at the end of the evening. Chaos ruled, food was given away, one waiter who had come in for dinner on her night off had to get up, put on her apron and start helping.
Meanwhile, I'm trying to assess this new guy. He I'm sure is seriously rethinking his desire for a position. My weird music is bothering some patrons and then starts bothering our maverick waiter who keeps turning the music off. When I can I am checking our downstairs drain (which is away from any other businesses and hidden) and sure enough it's making the mess I knew it would.
It felt like 6 years ago when we opened without enough staff and did twice as many people as we were expecting. Hey, wait a minute...
It also didn't help that the two waiters on tonight were the weakest ones we have. Actually one does alright but she has been on extended vacation is just getting back into the swing.
The night ends, I tell the new guy I'll call him tomorrow because today wasn't a real good day to evaluate and I've got another guy coming in to try out. I tell the dishwasher what to do about the downstairs drain. I try walking the dogs. We do for a minute but they're both in training mode right now (actually I am in training mode, they're just suffering along) and a bit excited and I am a bit frustrated and I'm sure you can see that's not a good recipe so I decided we should make it brief. The pouring rain didn't make the decision any harder either.
I hope Mr Screwed can figure out how to get the job done. I miss Michel (the person who built the place for us). I certainly miss him as a friend and I miss him as a problem solver. If it wasn't for him we might not have a restaurant because we couldn't find anyone smart enough to handle all the problems of construction on the second floor of a majestic 100 year old redwood monument that was built long before there was a Uniform Building Code.
For consolation I checked the sopressata while we're doing inventory. Oh, did I mention we have a theft problem? In two weeks over a half case of wine (various bottles) had disappeared. More in the neighborhood of 8 bottles. We're trying to solve it but it's a bit difficult because we have no doors and can't lock the place up. WHAT? No doors? Yep. The building has doors but we don't, we're on the mezzanine and if the building's open anyone can get in to our space. This has its advantages like purveyors being able to leave orders when no one is there and mostly we seem to have had good luck with "shrinkage", but it does make it difficult to tell whether it's an employee or not. The sausage looks beautiful. So does the guanciale.
I've at this point really only mentioned the major stuff. There are dozens of other little deadlines and explosions popping like firecrackers all around us. The magazine that wants a photo of a dish with barbecue sauce. The description of the restaurant in a tourist mag we've been trying to fine-tune for a few weeks. Family Easter brunch at our house, out of town appointments and visits, an upcoming winery consultancy, a building we've had our eye on for some time becoming available and trying to see if relocation is an option. And so on, and so on.
One of these days I will write about cooking. Or at least food.