Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Just before the System goes down. Part one of the system's down

So it's seven o'clock on a Saturday, seven o'clock on a Saturday; we seat 375 people and we're full. We're full and we have 25 parties on a wait. Almost 100 open menus with 14 servers on, a full bar two deep, three bartenders on, two expediters in expo, three to-go people with about thirty five open orders and a line of impatient people snaking out the side door waiting to put their orders in. I've only got five guys and a manager working behind the line, cooking for all these people, because one of my cooks got arrested the night before and another walked out ten minutes ago because he was new and discovered he couldn't take the pressure.  A wave of orders floods the kitchen and they call for me on the head set, they're going down behind the line. I rush towards the back line, grabbing an apron as I go, several servers pawing at me in a futile attempt to get my attention, I've got to cook. Fry is where they need it the most, that's the station where the new kid broke and ran moments before and my assistant manager is working there now and he is not gifted with fry skills. He's not gifted with fry skills and he's got maybe thirty orders hanging and more coming in, I watch as the top half of his screen goes red and the page counter clicks back another screen. His lead tickets on twenty and he barely has half the food dropped. I dig in, while the guys around me struggle to put plates in the widow and the expediter screams shrilly for runners. I burn myself at least twice and I'm so focused that I barely notice that, I also ignore the waiters who come after me, one after another, trying to get my attention. I just can't, I know they have problems I need to tend to, but if I don't get that food up in the window nothing else is going to matter, so I tuck in my chin and I keep going. Finally, fry caught up I swing around to the other side of the line to where the expediters have created another bottleneck, it's not really their fault, the servers have come to something of a standstill. I push aside one of my expediters and start organizing plates onto trays and pulling tickets, then I start barking for runners and  don't get ignored. Ten minutes later the window is cleared out and one by one servers begin to approach me; "Table thirty two says she has a hair in her salad, can I get a table visit?" "The guy on twenty-two is furious that we ran out of pecan pie, he says he wants to know what kind of F-----g place we're running here." And so on, so I heave a heavy sigh and head out into the dining room to run the gauntlet of petty, pissy complaints from petty, pissy people who feel the need to blow up, completely out of proportion, their responses to really minor problems just because they can get away with it. But I never make it out onto the floor, the entire computer system goes down and that will be the subject of my next post.