I know better, I really do. But I couldn't help but reflect this morning, as I walked down Kennedyville Road, that this has been the first week in who knows how long that we've been fully staffed all week. That is, we would be if no one called out today. That was my mistake - as soon as the thought popped into my head, I should have known we wouldn't actually have a week such as that. The news was on the answering machine in the office - Cherelle was unhappily sick and wouldn't be able to come in. Luckily, our back-up man Antwan was able to cover the job. (He rarely, if ever, turns down an extra shift. This makes him especially valued, in our book.) Meanwhile, Nicole's ride is MIA, so she's rather late. And to top things off, Val came in to give her two week notice.
Val has been the main Brooks Tavern bartender since Day One. She is the only employee, aside from Kevin and Myself, remaining from the staff originally hired in May 2007. She'll be leaving to take a job close to her day job, at the newly renovated and well known Buckley's Tavern in Centreville Delaware. I haven't heard all the details, but I know they will be lucky to have Valerie on their bar crew.
Of course she will be hard to replace. First thing I did was go to Craig's List and place my help wanted ad. As usual I scoped out some of the other restaurant job listings, and as usual I sympathized with the other employers looking for quality employees. We all want the same thing. We want "dependable, honest and fast learner". We want a "team player with a good attitude". The applicant should "be flexible, put the guests first, be able to follow instructions, be punctual and conscientious". "Great hygiene" is vital for any cook. They must be "willing to take direction". "Hospitality a MUST" reads one ad. And while it may seem obvious that a person seeking work in the restaurant business would know that hospitality is a requirement for the job, you would be surprised. There is a reason why people stress that applicants must have a "working cell phone number", "reliable transportation" and that "weekends are a must". Somehow job seekers in the hospitality industry are not always knowledgeable about what it takes to be successful in our business.
The first thing I notice about an applicant, aside from how they respect themselves appearance wise, is if they bring a pen with them. It is amazing to me that people will come for a job interview without bringing something with which to fill out the paperwork. Strike one.
With any amount of luck, we will find a new bartender as gracious and professional as Valerie has been these past five years. And hopefully, we won't need to tell them that "hospitality is a must".