A retired Vegas Showgirl walks into a bar…….

Handwritten Checks

Tonight the brewhouse computers went down. 
The instrument I use communicate with cooks, the system that allows the cooks proper timing of my table’s food with the other line cooks, the device that enables me to receive alcohol from the bartenders, the vehicle I use to request and confirm a credit card is valid, decided to shut down: four times in one dinner service.
I think one of my favorite moments of the chaotic, comedy of errors-evening was when a manager in training said,
 “Well, restaurants have been using hand written checks for years and years”. 
He is right.   However,
I would first like to point out that this person, the manager in training is a very sweet guy.  He said what he said not to be self-righteous or demeaning.  I’m sure his statement came from a place of encouragement and support, though I do not need a cheerleader when I, segue between hungry folk and those employed to cook, cannot communicate with one of those parties.  I need him to do what he can to get the computers up and working again, for one main reason: no matter how ugly the evening gets, his take home pay for the night remains exactly the same as expected.  I’m not so fortunate.  People will, sip, watch the game, eat when the food finally does arrive and the brewhouse will collect money.  If the guests believe I impeded their dining experience in anyway, I do not collect an adequate evening’s salary.  Food service is difficult enough when everything goes according to plan.  Take away my computer and you might as well just have cut off one of my arms.
“Well, restaurants have been using hand written checks for years and years”. 
Yes, they have.  I have seen examples of this on TV shows or in scenes from movies.  Throaty women in dated a-line uniforms remove a pencil from the bun of their updo hairstyle and scribble last minute notes on a guest check.  They scream over the pass, “Lenny, I need two sunnies over easy, a bird’s nest and an Adam and Eve on a raft-sink it”.  They then rip the carbon away and hand it to one of the working Lennys.  They go to the next of the restaurant’s 10-16 tables.  The menu they work with is about two pages long.  The restaurant offers perhaps 2 types of bread and maybe three types of cheese and the variations are limited.  These TV waitresses communicate with 1-3 cooks maximum and the cooks communicate verbally with each other.  When it is time for the bill to be paid, the patron picks up the original handwritten guest check and carries it to the cashier.  That cashier accepts monetary compensation for the meal.
I work in a room large enough to feed 800 people a night.  My menu is 20 pages long.  I have 7 different kinds of bread, 11 kinds of cheese .  I have a pizza cook, salad cook, sandwich cook, pasta cook, and a grill cook; when computers fail, I must rewrite separate tickets for each of them.  Quite a few of the cooks know English as their second language.  My bartenders are never allowed to pour a drink without a computer chit on a normal day; working without chits goes against their nature.  And I have no cashier: no one to add up the bill, figure in the tax and run the proper card or give change, for 800 guests.
The reason restaurants of such a grand size exist is because of computers.  Computers made every aspect of food service quicker and more efficient, thus the ability to feed more guests in a shorter amount of time.  
Tonight, I was upfront with my tables when I greeted them.  “My computers are down and food is coming out of the kitchen slowly and at odd times.  I promise I will do my best to stay on top of everything the best I can”.  I had nice people that understood.  Some understood but were not so nice.  I was never so happy to be cut from the floor.  I was the first one to go having worked the second shift of a double.  Four servers asked me to switch with them so I could stay later and they could instead leave the building.   I thanked them politely before I emphatically turned them down.
The main culprit for crashed computers?   The rain.  Las Vegas was visited by a good healthy winter storm.   A decent amount of precipitation fell on the city and then the city fell apart. 
Before tonight, I always loved rain.  You know, that stuff that has been falling from the sky way longer than
“restaurants have been using hand written checks”. 
Unfortunately, as long as I work for the brewhouse, I will see rain in a whole different way. 
Viva la sunshine.

One response

  1. Mom Cat

    Rain,rain go away…..

    Bill sent pictures of how much rain filled the Taquize(?)Wash (not sure of spelling)
    They are so happy in Palm Spring, because normally it is dry.
    The water was rushing around and flowing…a beautiful site in PS!!

    Sorry it didn’t have the same effect in LV.

    December 21, 2010 at 4:44 pm

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