Monday, March 27, 2006
Someone from the Yahoo writer's group suggested I blog some behind the scenes and activities of the restaurant. So here are some pictures from Saturday night. It was a pretty typical night we did over 250 covers (customers who sit and dine at the table are called covers).
The evening started off quite busy. We had a line of diners waiting at the front door. We open at 5 PM. At 4:45 I gather the front staff and brief them on the evening specials. This was pretty easy as we were repeating the specials from last weekend-cowboy steaks and salmon with Irish cream sauce-they both sold so well last weekend that I wanted to see if they did as well the second weekend. If I prepare a dish as a special and it gets the kind of response these two are getting, they generally go onto the menu the next time I change it. That way I have a proven dish for the menu with most of the kinks worked out, and costed out so that it not only sells, but that it also generates profit for the restaurant.
Next I go over drink specials and wine suggestions. Sometimes James, the general Manager does this, and offers an incentive such a cash bonus for selling the most of a new beer or wine. This keeps the staff fresh and gives them some incentive to go to the table with more personality than the usual order-taker you get at some places.
Next I cover any problems or glitches that I am aware of. It is now 5 and time to open the doors, I try to leave them with positive words and encouragement. There will always be problems to solve and conflicts, but on the whole I have been working with this staff for over a year and I like everyone-or They wouldn't be there.
The kitchen's day starts much earlier. Sometimes I'm there at 10 Am or 11-depending on how elaborate the specials will be, how much prep will be required to meet the menu, any last minute dessert making, and always bread baking. We make all of our own desserts and breads(with the exception of some sandwich rolls at lunch). There are usually 5 or 6 desserts and two or three breads-white, a sweet bread, and cornbread.
I am blessed with an extremely talented and efficient staff-things usually go very smoothly. I am usually the one that causes any problems by last minute menu or special changes.
Thing moved pretty quickly tonight, and the last orders are going out about 9:45-the kitchen closes at 10. The line cooks clean their stations and are usually finished in 15-20 minutes. The floor mopping and finishing of all clean up is finished by the dish crew-usually two and sometimes three people. Someone comes in on Monday(we are closed) and cleans the equipment and hood, and other areas too hard to clean when the restaurant is opened.
By 10:30 the waiters are checked out, and I go over any problems with the owner that need to be addressed next week. Since it's Saturday, there is a blues band playing in the bar on the third floor-it will be open til 1 AM. It is a sold out room tonight, but one of our good customers, and an influential businesswoman has saved me a place at her table, and I have a glass of wine and listen to one set. At midnight I leave to go home. Pretty satisfied with this week. They don't always go this smoothly, and I will try to blog honestly about some problems sometime.