I make no apologies for the way I am wired.
You must take your complaints to a much higher level than myself.
In the height of my career in restaurant management, I was flattered to receive several offers from other restaurants and I took five flights for interviews. The first was in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was for a big 250-seat restaurant and an additional 150 seats in a kick-ass patio set up with three bars and a stage for music.
I am very much a numbers guy in the restaurant business thanks to my big brother Ed, and I sensed me some BIG numbers here. As I was given the grand tour with another candidate, I could hear the registers humming in my mind.
The owner was a fast talker from Philly named Anthony who had several irons in the fire and was all about more. He zeroed in on the fact that I too, was a numbers man and we hit it off right away.
He set us up for dinner in the bar and he wanted my thoughts on the operation.
I looked over the bar, the stations, the bartenders, (always a big focus when consulting on a restaurant operation) and then turned my attention to the pass line and the ordering process.
Just before the waitress brought my food I ducked back into the kitchen and the cook line.
I waved to the cooks and gave them a “thumbs up” for their efforts.
They were busting their asses.
The waitress line was packed with an obvious shortage of servers.
They were busting their asses.
I returned to the table and was amazed to see enough food for at least five people.
I already carefully examined the menu and did a quick calculation on this item.
Raise the price, or lower the portions and sides.
I devoured the steak. It was aged prime beef and it was the real deal. I was a big eater, but even I could not finish the three side dishes included.
The owner returned as I was struggling to finish a strawberry shortcake the size of Pittsburg.
I was being treated like royalty, and I can’t help but think that Anthony had prematurely informed the staff of their impending new manager.
As he ordered us a couple of warm snifters of Grand Marnier, I opened up my notebook and gave him “the skinny.”
We’ll start with the Big Three: Food cost, labor cost, and bar cost.
Firstly, cost out your menu. Do you even know what your food cost is?
Anthony looked at me like I had hypnotized him.
He knew how much sales he had and that was about the only number he tracked. I didn’t even bother going over the rest of my numbers; it was no use.
I deduced that I did not want to work the necessary hours to make this monster operation work.
I told Anthony I would get back with him when I returned to Oklahoma.
As I pushed the exit door and approached my rental car, a group of four waitresses approached me, their cigarettes lighting up the dark Carolina night.
“Hey, you the new manager? You must have heard about us Carolina girls. We’ll take real good care of you when you come out here.”
I smiled, then sped away to my hotel room and hoped that Karen had not heard that (she was a thousand miles away).
Here’s a song: