Another reason why we should all be nice to dishwashers was brought to my attention on Friday afternoon. A friend in Wisconsin, who operates a well known culinary emporium received a call that his dishwasher wouldn’t be in that night. He had been detained by police after a gun was found in his high school locker and a hit list was downloaded from his computer. Fortunately, the general manager of the restaurant wasn’t on the list. However, he mentioned his chef’s name might have been on the list-actually the top of the list- she was one to use a bit more volume than a French trained culinarian when demanding the Dish’s attention.
As of Saturday, no word on whether or not anyone in the kitchen, or on the dining room floor would ever complain again about lipstick on the glasses. But, it is something to think about. Often, dishwashers are not part of the inner circle. They spent a lot of time in solitude, usually on the peripheral side of the action, stuck in a corner of the kitchen with steam and hot spray their only acquaintances.
Some have little knowledge on how to instruct the wait staff to scrape the plates, sort the silverware, or put the glasses in the glass rack. So at your nightly staff meeting tonight, make sure to put in a good word for the dishwasher. They deserve it, no matter what they have in their locker.
On another note, Friday’s blog had barely been published, when a dear friend e-mailed and informed me that the London Fog fellow had stepped out of the shadows and had called offering him a great seaside, Central California coast location. He needed advice.
I immediately picked up the phone and did everything in my blogging power to persuade him to sign the lease on the space-it has an attractive rent, it’s a beautiful building, in a wonderful location- as soon as possible. It is a must sign lease. A few awnings, a splash of color, the same menu that the restaurant pro uses in his other eateries and, Viola, a winner.
Once you have the formula, the skills, and the passion, you can produce winning restaurants, consistently. Sometimes.
Of course, I write about the problems, the trials and tribulations, and the obstacles of the restaurant business. We all know, however, that’s why we get into the business. We attempt to constantly figure and solve the puzzle. And, when everything is going as smoothly as we can expect, that’s the time to expand. To get out there on that limb and see how far we can go before we hear that little sound that everyone listened for when stepping out on limbs.
The business is best when aggressively run.
Of course, safe is comfortable. But is it fun? Is it exciting? No. And, the problems are the same without the excitment of the deal.
I would suspect that broadcast greats Roone Arledge and James Kenneth McManus summed it up best. Possibly sitting at the Four Season’s in New York, having lunch one afternoon, they came up with the definition of a restaurateur´s life.
While looking around at the perfectly run dining room, Arledge noticed a waiter suddenly dropping a tray of food. He quickly turned to McManus and said, “You know, the restaurant business offers the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, all in one afternoon.”
And, McManus, (who we all know as Jim McKay) responded, “Thanks Roone, I’ll use that on Saturday."