The Restaurant Game

When I was much younger, my mom got a couple of hostess gigs at some upscale restaurants. Yeah, it’s her fault. She ended up marrying the owner of one of these places, and sometime during that period she invented a game about restaurants.

To win this game, you had to make your way around the board–I don’t remember if it was dice or a spinner–you needed to collect the necessary number of employees, and make money–I think it was $150,000 (it was a long time ago when $150,000 went a little further than it does today).

It’s not a game

People who own restaurants realize that it certainly is not a game. It is a lot of hard work, and a lot of luck (so is my mom’s game–at least the luck part).

The thing about this game is that when you are trying to navigate your way around the board, you are constantly landing on squares that slow your progress.

A few gems

“Toilet overflows and runs in to dining room–go back 3 spaces”

“Water heater goes out and you are forced to close your doors for the night–pay $10,000”

“Bartender cuts finger on glass and is rushed to hospital–hand over one employee”

These are just a few of the things that would happen to you as you attempted to pass ‘go’ and collect $200. (Monopoly reference). These, I’m sure, also sound familiar to those restaurateurs out there. These bumps were all created out of actual experiences.

Mise en place

The point of talking about all of this game stuff is that it is imperative that you have your mise en place. Everything must be in its place. Whether that is out on the dining room floor, in the bar, in the kitchen, or at the dish pit, everything needs to be just right because you will be thrown plenty of curveballs along the way.

If you really have all your ducks in a row, then and only then are you prepared to deal with the stuff thrown at you. And I promise you, things will be thrown at you. Every night.

It is rare that an evening will go by in the restaurant business without some wrench being thrown in to the works.

I am running out of clichés

Be ready to go each and every day. Make sure you hire employees that are ready to go each and every day. Train them so they have a chance to be ready each and every day.

Then and only then will you be prepared to deal with stuff thrown at you.

And happy anniversary, Rachel.


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