Thursday, January 24, 2013

Thursday Report

Good morning it's Thursday. Nice little dusting of snow this morning.  (Note to self - get us off that school delay robo-call list!)  The hope is for more on Friday - as long as it doesn't start until after nine PM...

Brooks Tavern diners have been eating a lot of brussel sprouts this week, and seemingly loving it.  Last few nights it's been a melange of sprouts, parsnips and carrots, which adds a nice dash of color to the winter plates, as well as loads of flavor.  I really have heard very few complaints about the inclusion of the sprouts, which either means they know it's useless to do so or they actually do like them!  either way, there is another case coming in this morning from Teddy Bear Fresh, so get ready.

Last night's menu ended up being a smaller version of the chicken from the regular menu.  That wasn't how it was supposed to be, however.  Yesterday morning, Kevin had just given me the prix-fixe details, I had my email for it all written and was just getting ready to send the first 10, when the United Shellfish driver came in. Moments later I heard Kevin say "where's my catfish?"  Since catfish almondine was going to be the entree for last night's prix-fixe menu, this was a pretty important question.  And the answer was "not on the truck".  While Mike was calling his boss, to see how they could get us the catfish, Kevin began to consider alternatives.  Luckily I hadn't sent out the email yet, so we could make a hasty change and use chicken instead.  This may mean that next week's menu is already decided (catfish almondine), which is always a time saver.  Meanwhile, chicken stuffed with chicken sausage was the go-to entree, and it turned out to be quite desirable, on a cold January night: 

Or maybe it was the fresh pasta with mushrooms and brie that drove the menu orders:  

I personally could have had that as an entree and as the appetizer!  It looked very good.  

Dessert was sweet potato pound cake with caramel sauce, of which we ran out before the last two or three menu diners were offered their last course.  Substitutions were made, but it really caught us by surprise that the chicken menu was so popular!

Kevin has been a little stressed out lately...Ha! quelle surprise!  The reason, as usual, is staffing.  Rodrigo, who has been working here for almost exactly three years, is moving out to California next month.  He won't be returning from vacation, so we are in the process of hiring someone to take his place.  Which won't be easy - Rodrigo is absolutely one of the best employees we have ever had - dependable, quiet!, hard working, easy going, motivated.  He will be sorely missed, but he is a young man ready to move on into his life.  We hired Eric and started him out on the salad station, replacing....omg....replacing?...this is bad.  Who did Eric replace on the salads???  (I ended up having to look on the payroll sheets to remember that Eric replaced Arthur.  Why can't I remember Arthur?  Probably because I don't want to - he stopped showing up for work one Thursday in December, if you recall,  never to be seen again, until the next payday.  A real professional, that one.)  Anyway, Eric started on the salads, our intention being to eventually place him on the line at Rodrigo's spot before vacation. To get this ball into play, we hired someone to work the salads when Eric moved over.  All of this transition is happening this week.  Of course, we couldn't plan for the fact that Jay would be calling out yesterday - sick with what is possibly the flu, meaning out for the week most likely.  Jay works the middle on the dinner line, calling out orders, plus he is probably the strongest cook we've had, ever, alongside Rodgrigo.  So his absence, especially during this time of training for two new cooks, is painful. 

Last night the new salad cook, Ryan, and Eric, new on the line, had their trial by fire.  Luckily it was not overly busy, and Eric could help train Ryan at the same time that Rodrigo was training him.  The only time I saw Kevin's frustration emerge was when he gave Ryan the "all I want to hear from you is a 'Yes Sir" speech during a busy service moment.  This is generally the response when Kevin tries to tell a cook how he wants something done, next time, and the (new) cook tries to explain, usually in way too much detail, why they did the thing they did.  No.  Don't do that.  Just say "okay" and get on with it.  They learn eventually.  Or not. 

Anyway, it is stressful.  Especially for someone like Kevin, who just wants to cook, not manage employees.  A lot of that falls on me anyway, but sometimes we have a cook that really doesn't want to take direction from me.  Either because I am a woman or because they don't see me as their boss.  Fine.  I don't really want to be their manager, I just want to help Kevin out.  But they will eventually find out that I am a lot easier to deal with than the Chef.  Believe it or not.  

We'll see how it goes.  It's not like we've never been through any thing like this before, eh?

Peace out.


  1. maybe you could get the same results with a different management style. You wouldn't have to go through so many employees. Surely there are other restaurants with similar standards you could consult for advice.

  2. Let me try again.

    I am not sure why we would want to change management style, only to get the same result? You sound like someone - and of course you remain "anonymous" - who has very little insight into the restaurant business, especially here locally. Perhaps you underestimate the skill set required to work a busy line. These skills are not developed overnight, and it takes a dedicated and focused person to reach the level required for success. Some do, some don't. The pool for employees here is very, very small. That is one reason we would like to see more restaurants open up, to hopefully increase the labor opportunities and increase the size of that pool.

    BTW - 9 out of 10 of our full-time kitchen crew have been here for over a year or more. DR crew, probably average 4 years. Where do you get the idea that we "go through" so many employees? Were you possibly one who didn't succeed? Hence the anonymity.

  3. The Other Barbara2/05/2013 1:21 PM

    Could not have said it better myself!!!
    Love that "helpful" anonymous advice!!!!