Putting on a Show

Every performer’s purpose.

Going over the top.

In 1983 the restaurant in which I was manager, closed down. My District Manager walked in and said, “Let’s take a walk.”

I pretty much had an idea of impending bad news.

Hell, I could read.

Nation’s Restaurant News had already broken the news.

I was moved to a cash only status with any purveyor that wasn’t corporate, but I was still drawing a pretty nice salary, and I was not looking forward to unemployment, so I put up with it.

Plus, I was single, making money, and living on the beach in Santa Barbara.

My DM started by saying, “I want to talk to you about your future.”

Here it comes.

I braced myself.

He told me that I had been selected by a huge food conglomerate, owners of restaurants, distributorships, and producers of many of the brands we all use in our lives, to open a large 300-seat restaurant in Palm Springs..

Our whole life long.

 I mean they were huge.

Before I jumped in with both feet, he said I had also been selected by a pizza company out of Omaha, or some bum-fuck Idaho place.

He was mouthing a whole lot of words which I found out later were meant to make my career decision harder, but if ever there was a no-brainer, this was it.

I reported to the conglomerate’s headquarters in southern California, and started an intensive eight-week training program of twelve-hour days. Six hours in the kitchen, six hours in the classroom.

Eight weeks.

There were Restaurant Managers, District Managers, hell, I think there might have even been a Territorial Director or two, all competing for different locations across the country.

When we reported, we were each given the job we were training for. We all gathered around the postings on the bulletin board, and there were several people that were saying “Oh, hell no!” about their assignments or the position they were given.

I said it, too.

But not out loud.

There were many people who were taking demotions in rank and salary, and they just kept walking…

I was a General Manager and next to my name it said…Assistant Manager, a position I had graduated from some seven years prior.

I was not happy, and I could have just screamed, but I knew that the cream would rise to the top if I just busted my ass and studied and did what I always did: outwork everyone.

I finished second (to a District Manager) in the class of the remaining 198 candidates.

By one point.

At the end-of-training graduation party, we would find out our adjusted final rank and where we would be headed.

So, I’m in Palm Springs, assigned as General Manager to open a flagship monster of a restaurant in a town where every food service employee had at least two jobs, and every restaurant in town was perpetually hiring.

I took a wad of one-hundred dollars from my petty cash bag and headed out to staff a 300-seat restaurant from the ground up.

When I say the ground up, I filed the DBA paperwork downtown.

After three hours, and visiting every good place in town to eat, I had my first class of students ready to train as cooks, waiters, and waitresses.

I ran an ad for help, but drew only one candidate that stumbled in drunk. He was unshaven, sweaty, and I swear to God, he had twigs in his hair.

When I asked him where he lived, he turned to the window, and pointed to the direction of Chino Canyon.

He lived in a canyon.

Management material.

I called a meeting to attract more people and was pleasantly surprised to see a healthy crowd of about eighty bodies fill the small hotel convention center.

The word was out and spreading that I was having trouble getting people to staff the restaurant, which was only thirty-five days from the projected grand opening.

I was, but I didn’t want them to know of my difficulties, so what did I do?

I went through the office and got about a year’s worth of old applications from the file cabinet and placed them on a table on the stage where I was doing my thing.

I walked silently up to the stage.

I said, ”There’s a rumor that no one wants to work here…”

I approached the table and picked up the documents (I had to use both hands). Then, I did a Lebron Powder Push and in an instant, it was snowing job applications as eighty shocked potential applicants looked on.

Staffed the restaurant and opened on schedule.


Putting on a show.

Stay well.

Published by maddogg09

I am an unmotivated genius with an extreme love for anything that moves the emotional needles of our lives.

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