2003. A Cull Experience.

Last week a friend sent me a good lead on a job from indeed. It was for an operations manager for a theme restaurant here in R.I. with multiple locations and it even had a company vehicle to use. I have experience with the type of operation so I sent in a good cover and my resume right away.

it was the first time ever that I got “to the next level” immediately which meant they sent me a timed, multi-choice test on restaurant operations. It was a risk taking it on my tiny phone with my big thumbs, but I did. And I have to tell you that each of the 20+ questions had me shaking my head, rolling my eyes and thoroughly amused thinking of my own experiences in the industry since before I was legal to work.

This one particular question asked, “if you were the manager and something important came up so you delegated accepting your deliveries to the bus boy and he stored them in a warm room for hours and the whole delivery needed to be trashed, what would you do?” Some of the answers included firing the bus boy or training the WHOLE staff to accept deliveries. Although I know for sure I picked the correct multiple choice from a “leadership perspective”, that is only because I wasn’t face to face to sound off the real answer.

In the real world, management is just a trusted extension of owners. A bus boy or other staff member should never be sent in to do the job of a manager or owner and certainly shouldn’t be chastised or punished for doing a job they aren’t trained or compensated for.

in my world, the manager would have some explaining to do. A child birth or CPR in the front of the house with a lapse of memory of what needed doing would still not be a good enough excuse for such a mess up. Being prepared to pay down on the loss of inventory and payroll due would demonstrate good character. But, you can’t just expect that as a manager of people, you have to groom them to be their very best for you.

But, that is me. Experienced in the industry for more years than I care to admit. But when I was reading the test questions, I couldn’t help but think of some of the more difficult challenges I’ve faced in the industry that I love so much.

Part owner, manager of all things internet, food, beverage and marketing director of Lighthouse Inn, Narragansett RI. I booked a wedding. We had specials on Lobster because we had a tank to store what came ioff the boats. My job was to sell those lobsters. I gave special prices for culls (one claw variety) and made deals. All profit.

I had a decent size wedding (75-100) and small staff. The chef was a dude from Ireland, full of charm, piss and vinegar. I sold the whole wedding steamed lobsters. Culls and every other size. Multiples if wanted.

The moment came to test my staff and kitchen and they expertly served the wedding party first while knowing the rush needed to serve the room without setting off the Irish chef on a tirade. I watched in amazement without having to step in UNTIL…

The bride called me over and for the first time ever, after meetings galore, and told me that her groom only had one hand and needed his lobsters to be shelled.

Protocol dictates that you please a wedding party before guests so that was an immediate upset that needed attention. The chef wasn’t gonna kill me as his lobsters came back in the kitchen, but he wanted to. I acted as body armor for my staff and we actually got through the whole ordeal.

it was “I” who had to sleep at the hotel after the wedding and open up an open bar and buffet breakfast die the wedding the following day.

Ugh… what we will do when we do what we do….

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