Thursday, July 8, 2010

Corporate Idiocy

Corporate restaurant executives and their suck-up store managers are notorious for not knowing their ass from page five. I don't think it's only because they've never waited tables themselves. I truly believe that they are either selected for their capacity to be completely delusional, or those kinds of jobs just naturally draw the reality-impaired.

The worst corporate restaurant experience I had was working at a Marie Callender's. It was also my last restaurant job. What a bass-ackwards mess they could make of the simplest tasks. For instance, when you key in your order, the terminal spits out a copy of the chit for the cooks and one for the waiter. The waiter is required to hang their copy above the server side of the window. When the food comes down, the cook throws away the kitchen copy of the chit, so the wait staff has to be on constant watch for their orders 'cos there's no ticket with the plates. Furthermore, they've gotta scan the other chits hanging up on the window to make sure they're not getting another waiter's food. When I asked why the kitchen didn't just drop the ticket with the food, the manager said, "That is not the Marie Callender's way of doing things."

Also among the Not-Marie-Callender-Ways are:

Closing the bus stations next to the open stations and leaving the bus stations in the back of the restaurant open so waiters had to walk the full length of the restaurant to make Cokes or iced tea.

Mixing all of the six-slice and five-slice pie servers into the same bus tubs so that every time you reach for a slicer to cut the pies, you've got to make sure you've got the right size (pies to go are cut one way, served pies are cut another .... there are about 70 of the six-cut slicers and maybe 10 of the 5-cut). You need a new slicer for each pie, the pies are at the front of the restaurant which is a really long haul for the back stations, all the slicers look the same when you're in the weeds, and if you cut a pie wrong, you've ruined it for serving. A separate place to keep the 5-cut slicers? "Too much trouble."

Not allowing the huge, overflowing salad bowls to be served with dinner plate underliners. "They have to ask for a plate if they want one" (Which they always do.) A large salad order automatically means two trips from the kitchen.

Not fixing the keys on the order terminals, so "Breakfast #1" actually ordered "Breakfast #3" in the kitchen, and "Breakfast #3" ordered something else entirely.

It was like waiting tables in a Far Side cartoon.

The day I left Marie Callender's, I was working a brunch. I told the manager before the restaurant opened that we only had 3 bottles of Tabasco sauce total for all three dining rooms. I offered to run to the store and buy some. (Brunch in Texas without Tabasco can get ugly.) He declined, so I spent my entire shift swapping out one bottle from table to table ("Excuse me? May I borrow that for the table next to you?") and shooting myself in the foot for tips. After I'd been on the floor with a full station for 7 hours without a break, I told my manager that my station was covered and I wanted to step outside for a cigarette. He said, "Now, Guy, I told you that not everyone smokes, so when you want a cigarette, you need to say, 'I would like to have a break now.'" Was I pissed? I told him, "For God's sakes, I'm over 40 years old. I'm not gonna play "Mother May I?" with you. I'm going to smoke. When I come back, I'll cash out my tickets. I won't work here anymore."

1 comment:

  1. "It was like waiting tables in a Far Side cartoon."

    Hahaha! I love Far Side. But Marie Callenders does have good pie. :)