"Behind every successful man is a woman doing his job"
Hey everybody! Just wanted to quickly thank everyone for listening to my very first podcast episode ever!! It was so fun and Nick is such a chill host… I highly recommend that if he asks you to be a part of it then DO IT.
Now if you listened then you already know I technically started working in the hospitality industry when I was 15. I went to a culinary school part time for 2 years and became a part of a catering/cooking team called “The Drunken Chef and His Designated Driver”. It was intense, especially at my age. I was the only consistent employee for 3 or 4 straight years (until I went to college – go Cocks!). I decided cooking for a living wasn’t for me due to the hours and conditions (lets all laugh together now….) and studied to be a travel journalist. During that time I started hosting and serving at all sorts of places in Columbia. My first job was serving at an Asian fusion restaurant for this self-made Chinese woman and oh boy she was intense. She would get on us for everything… mostly appearances. One time she said she wanted to take me to ballet because it would help my posture and clear up the acne on my face… so that was fun.
I went on to work at another fusion-type restaurant that sold sushi AND tacos (my faves!) and quickly climbed the ladder from host to server to bartender to assistant manager and eventually GM. There was actually a running joke while I was manager there – one day I got a letter that was addressed to the GM but when I opened it the first line said, “dear sir…” SIR. I happened to be surrounded by my female AGM and my female lead bartender… and we just started calling each other sir from then on.
The GM right before me was the dumbest, most selfish man I’ve ever worked for. He would leave at 8 pm in the middle of our dinner rush and usually his excuse was because he needed to go to another store. The funny part was when that store called up about an hour later asking to speak to him! On his way out he’d grab a handful of raw steaks and a case of bud light, you know for the other store, and be on his merry way. So guess who actually ran that place? That’s right, the 22 year old with no experience. But it worked in my favor when I told them I wanted to move and they responded by firing that guy and giving me his job. I thought that was a good move… I was mistaken. I ended up averaging about 75 hours a week with no days off – on Sundays me and the AGM would go in and do deep cleans so my servers didn’t have to do it (they didn’t get paid enough to scrub baseboards, but I did). It was a short lived job span but I wasn’t going to half-ass it. I had to prove myself, you know?
There was a sushi chef who worked there and he had a huge temper. He and one of my servers really just didn’t get along, to the point where she almost sued the company because of him. One day the server came up and said the chef had tapped her on the shoulder and that it hurt her. While she and I were talking about it he came into the server station (that only has 1 entrance way) and hit her again on the shoulder. When I told him to stop because it was hurting her he hit her again and said “I didn’t fucking hurt you”… it escalated and he ended up cornering her in the server station and yelling in her face about how he didn’t hurt her until I had to threaten to call the cops to remove him. When I told the owner about it his response was, “well we talked to him and he said he didn’t hit her that hard”… I said, “HE SHOULDN’T BE HITTING HER AT ALL! Not only that but he doesn’t get to decide if she’s in pain.” In the end, the chef got a slap on the wrist and wasn’t allowed to come back to the store for a week all while his chef buddies are giving my server shit for blowing the whistle.
Fast forward to when I moved down here and started working on the battery as an AGM—I was assistant to the most badass woman. She really taught me how to run a business well and get shit done. I didn’t really have much of a backbone until I worked with her. Unfortunately she also had some very large faults (she was the woman who would yell first and not ask questions later). She know her stuff but she wasn’t a good communicator, which actually helped me be a better one. I was the person everyone felt comfortable talking to even if it wasn’t always work stuff. I was the first one to be informed about why they weren’t doing their job well – suicide attempts, domestic abuse, abortions, family deaths… you name it. I also became the mediator of the store – every time there was a person to person conflict I was asked to come outside and diffuse it.
All that said, it really never made a difference to the people who were never in house. What sucks is when owners play favorites, that’s really one of the worst parts of the industry. Even though I was good at my job and communicated all of our issues/grievances AND solutions on how to make them better, I still had to leave because of favoritism. We had a new head chef come in who (and this is not an exaggeration) would pop pain pills like they were tic tacs then go next door and take shots of tequila then come back after a few hours get so irate at everything. One night he left around 6:30 (without telling anyone) so I had to jump on the line and run expo and sauté while one of my line cooks walked me through how to do it. The best part of all of it was that the chef tried to call in a togo order!! I told him no, since we were running 50 min ticket times, and the dude COMES IN AND SAYS HES GOING TO MAKE IT HIMSELF! I said that unless he brought his own fryer he wasn’t making anything since ours was full. So to recap—he LEFT during a Friday night dinner rush on the battery, made a togo order even though he was told not to, then CAME IN and saw how weeded we were and that I was doing his job and still left again… oh and when his food was actually done he never came to get it, so I gave it to the servers. But when I told corporate about it they said I was biased and “change doesn’t happen overnight”.
The final straw was when he quit on us. It was a Sunday and we ran out of product but he told the line cooks not to let the front of house know… one of the cooks said no, that’s not a good idea. Long story short I walked in to them in a screaming match over who knows what and I told the chef to take a lap because he was in one of his moods and needed to calm down. He ends up leaving but on the way out he says he’s done and quits on us. But that’s not even the best part!! Corporate gave him his job back like nothing ever happened then had a meeting with me about why and tried to say that it was my fault and I need to watch how I talk to people… so I put in my notice.
I’ve worked for good bosses and really shitty bosses but I have never stayed in a position where the owner put an abusive, aggressive, liability of a human over me. I can put up with customers calling me stupid (yes that’s happened more than once) and bosses underestimating me since I’m young but it’s a new low to put your employees in a dangerous situation just so you can stick with your good ol’ boys club. Its really sad when you have to lose a handful of good employees to save one terrible one.
Well that’s my rant in a nutshell! I’m sure we could all go on and on swapping horror stories of the industry but I’ll save some more for next time. Thanks for listening and reading and hopefully this isn’t the last you’ll see of me!