Monday, October 4, 2010

Getting Dialed In.


It’s Monday morning and my stomach is gut-wrenchingly abusing me for ignoring it for 16 hour stretches.  Meanwhile, I tried to sleep 7 hours last night, but my brain cut me short at 5:45AM in the morning today which means that I subconsciously robbed myself of 75 minutes.  And so, this is how I welcome week 2 of our opening. 

By the way, I found the key to curbing obesity in America: force every overweight person in this world to open a restaurant.  We’ll have better malnutrition numbers here than a small third world country after that.

I dreamed of eating ramen and enjoying a sexy cocktail with a pork chop on Thursday and Friday, but by Sunday those dreams seem to be lost.  Things are stabilizing here and we are figuring out the timing and shifts needed for everything.  The kitchen seems like it has found a groove, but with the shifting weeks and busy periods – you just never really know.  All in all, I am content and happy – which despite the marathon hours, is as much as anyone can ever ask for.

Once the dust settles, hopefully soon, we can start working on expanding menus and resolving issues.  In the meantime, I won’t say that I’m thrilled that Friday and Saturday dinner services were a little more on the quiet end, but with fingerprints on everything stretching from beverage, lunch, dinner and operations – personal pride aside, I’m not going to stress about it.  Right now, it’s all about dialing in the product and quality – that is the only thing that matters.

While I do enjoy summer produce, we’re going to have to shift to fall and winter pretty soon.  It really sucks to be open at this point and then have to rotate items so fast, but I’m excited to start introducing a new season.  It is definitely the best part of the job.

One of the hardest things for me to understand is how people psychologically view mental wait times in spaces.  I’m not sure if there is a difference (other than customer perception) if you are waiting for a coffee after you are rung up in line or if you are just waiting in line for 15 minutes and then getting your coffee 5 minutes later.  People seem to be happier to wait in line longer standing than wait sitting down.  This slightly confuses me. 

On the coffee end, as part of our Straus Barista milk project, we’ve been getting a few orders everyday for the lattes and cappuccinos with Straus added ($.25 extra).  It hasn’t been a ton of orders, but those who have done so, really appreciate and love the product.  One lady even did an add-on for her drip coffee.  It was never a doubt in my mind, the end result is superior and I don’t think keeping it in stock has been much of an issue.  Storage on the other hand is the kryptonite to all restaurants.

I’m proud of all the staff here because they were thrust in the fire and they’ve responded unbelievably and positively.  We were also very sad to see one of our initial front of staffers, Grace, go.  You don’t meet many people who work this job with a better attitude, but she had to move temporarily for urgent matters.  So this is my little way of appreciating her work ethic and positivity.  You can be as smart or as talented as you want, but will, work ethic and attitude wins out almost all the time.

I think I’ve jumped into the Barista line 4-5 times the last few days which while fun – is madness.  Foaming soy milk infuriates me and good latte art still slightly eludes me.  I can pull some pretty nice even shots, but I am crowning myself the prince of drip here only because I’ve been psycho about it for the last 2 years – maybe not crazy, but pretty much close to there.  So consider yourself blessed if you see me on drip, you’re in good hands.

Alright, enough writing, back to work.


  1. Congratulations on the opening! How is the Straus promotion going? Are you offering it when people place their orders, or is it just listed on the menu? It will be interesting to see whether demand picks up or stays flat as people try it.

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