The Restaurant

The Restaurant
Formal Dining

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Shoes and Uniforms

Many of my posts get a lot of hits, but strangely enough one of the most common ones is SHOES!
I suppose it makes sense because working in the restaurant takes a huge toll on your feet, ankles, knees, and back. It is hard work when you stand or walk on hard tile floors for 40+ hours a week.
Shoes are by far the most important part of your uniform. Everyone makes a work shoe or some kind of slip resistant shoe. You can get shoes from Wal-Mart or Payless to high end shoes like Birkenstock or SAS shoes. I believe you get what you pay for. Shoes for Crews, Saf-T-Step, and the like aren't the best. I recommend a solid work shoe from a company like Wolverine or Timberland.
I've written about it briefly, but I prefer Birkenstocks. They are a solid piece of rubber like material. Totally waterproof. They wash up easy and will take all kinds of abuse from sauces, oils, grease, gunk, and grime. They are slip resistant enough to keep me safe. They have arch support and removable insoles. They fit my wide foot really well and have a spacious toe box. There's not much worse than the feeling of smooshed toes at the end of a 12 hour day. The clogs don't have laces to fumble with and never come untied or anything of that nature. They really work well.
Most every uniform in the industry is different. Most will require black, slip-resistant shoes, in fact beware of any restaurant that tells you to wear whatever you want, not a good sign. You'll have to wear socks. You'd think that goes without saying but multiple times have I seen people without socks on. Depending on where you work you'll probably need to provide your own pants, again typically that will vary from restaurant to restaurant. At Domino's Pizza it seems like the employees are allowed to wear shorts, at Applebee's they were blue jeans, khakis at Dairy Queen, and black pants at Burger King. Dickies are a solid choice for work pants or shorts. Your manager will let you know what is accepted. You're generally provided a shirt, coat, or whatever the top is. Most places you'll be wearing a hat or visor, some require a hair net. It's a difficult topic to write on since so much is different between restaurants. There's not much of an industry standard. Jewelry and fake nails are generally frowned upon, but some places that's totally fine. There's just a very diverse world out there.

Friday, July 10, 2015

General Managers wear many hats & are a hat rack!

General Managers, like myself, are responsible for the day to day operations within the restaurant. Obviously that means the General Manager must know how to perform every function within the restaurant (from busser and dish washer to bartender and grill cook) as well as many, many unseen jobs, to include:
Plumber plunging toilets and repairing the three compartment sink. Leave the gas lines to a professional.
Psychiatrist dealing with and giving advice on everyone's problems and trying to sort out the schedule when employees call in.
Electrician resetting the hood electronics, changing light bulbs and ballasts, new receptacles when one burns up, new wiring, switches, or plugs, changing breakers. Ice machine stops running, oven switch not working, fryer timer stopped beeping.
IT setting up pack monitors, resetting routers, new printer, credit card machine, POS systems stop working, software downloads, security cameras.
Painter parking lines, walls, equipment, ceilings, railings, handicapped zones, cabinets, pretty much anything.
Landscaper pulling weeds, spraying weeds, laying mulch or rock, pulling dead shrubs, planting bushes, flowers, trimming bushes, mowing grass (if you're unlucky enough), power washing, etc.
Detective to sort out where the missing cash is going or the lost inventory.
Interior Designer decorations, advertising, plants, tables, chairs, booths, new equipment, old equipment, registers, table settings, lighting, front of house as well as back of house.
Mason or carpenter to lay floor tile, coving, walk-ins, brick, stone, FRP, dry wall, ceiling tiles, or build walls altogether.
Caterer and Planner to organize, sort, assemble, and execute parties, dinners, lunches and all other kinds of gatherings. People may call and say they have a family reunion or they are bringing food to a wake, there's no telling how much you'll have to do in a week.

The list is never ending. Cab driver to pick people up for shifts or drop them off at the end of the day, weatherman, news anchor, travel guide, mechanic, locksmith, security, singer, etc. Etc.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Value Your Employees

Its been a while since my last blog, but true to form I remain steadfast in my employment as a general manager. My duties haven't gone away and the daily struggle is always real. There is always something going on in my restaurant. Our week is filled with the basics: inventory, truck ordering, scheduling, but inevitably corporate will decide that I can be doing just a little bit more. Some times I am asked to travel to other restaurants and act as a consultant to identify problems and make suggestions and apply a little training to the current management team. Some times they ask for more simple things that simply bog my employees down. Customer service surveys, new deployment charts, customer cleaning points, new promotions all the time. Promotions are necessary. They just can't pile new products on top of coupons and the first of the month, and ask us to push new surveys expecting amazing speed of service. It's enough to drive you crazy. I find that treating my employees right is the most important aspect of running my restaurant. They are my key people. They are the ones cooking the food and exchanging the dollars. If corporate is asking too much from me, to ask more from them I make my voice heard. I stand up for my employees. It is important to never forget that hospitality is not only extended to our customers who may be back tomorrow or we may never see again, but also to the guys and girls that come in day in and day out that we depend on. Take care of them first and everything else will fall in line. I hope to find myself writing more. Time is always the limiting factor. It seems like I have a fair number of visitors, but very few followers. What are you interested in reading about?