Thursday, August 3, 2006

Five Minute Sound Bites

August 3--I’ve discovered that under normal circumstances, caffeine (which I had all but quit five years ago) gives me a pleasant buzz, makes me chatty and friendly, and generally improves my mood and sociability. However, when I am stressed, rushed, and dangerously sleep deprived, caffeine turns me into the bitchiest harpy that ever walked. I have no patience, I throw things, I drop things, I say stupid things, and I just about burst into tears at the slightest provocation. Note to self: Quit caffeine. As soon as I can stop long enough to figure out how to do that…

After ten years away from the customer service game, I have come to realized that customers have not changed. They will come to the restaurant in large, noisy groups when we are under-staffed. They will want whatever we just ran out of, even if we haven’t sold one of (whatever) in the last five months. They will beat on the doors when they are locked, but will not venture to show their faces during normal business hours. These are parts of the Credo of the Customer that I have long been aware of. The trick is to make them think you are understaffed, unprepared, or closed…just to get them to come in.


August 4--So, in the last two days, we have burnt, spoiled, dropped, or otherwise ruined about a hundred dollars (raw cost) worth of food. That would translate into about $400 worth of sales. I have a crew of cooks who wouldn’t use a timer to save their lives. Black bacon, quiches left in the oven overnight, turkey that comes out of the oven after ten hours looking like mop strings. I’ve already decided I have to fire the whole kitchen crew. Trouble is, this is a small town, and I don’t exactly have them lining up at the door to come work for me. Apparently, the previous ownership shot through the available labor pool rather quickly. That’s another story…

I bought some flowers to put out on the sidewalk, around the doors and under the windows, to make it look as if there actually WAS an inviting eating establishment open in this place. Despite the previous owners warnings that I not change anything lest I lose the loyalty of our regular customers, I’ve found that our ranks of "regular customers" are so small that I need to do anything I can possibly do to recruit MORE regular customers. Including changing the menu, changing the staff, changing the hours—all those things that Mr. Previous Owner was certain ought to be written in stone. Stone crumbles, my friend… And "regular" customers tend to ask, "What have you done for me lately???"

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