Dawn is an hour or two away as you unlock the doors and turn on the lights.
As you make your way across the dining room to start a pot of coffee, you notice that the table cloths are crooked on some of the tables and there are cracker crumbs on the floor, not really obvious, but still enough to cause damage if noticed by an
excessively fastidious diner.
Inside the kitchen, the counters are clean and wiped down, and the griddles are spotless as you turn on the equipment for the day’s service.
The oil in the fryers looks clean, and the floor looks like it was swept and mopped properly for a change.
But the dish area is disorganized and sloppy, and the sink is full of a few pots and pans.
Otherwise it is not too bad.
You tell yourself it might just be a tolerable day as you open the walk-in cooler door to examine the shelves for soup ideas, arrange everything properly for the food order
that is arriving today, and start your prep list. You pull all the leftovers from the previous night and some vegetables that haven’t been used and throw them on your cart-there is the soup-commonly known as “cream of walk-in”.
You organize the raw meat onto the bottom shelf, put the fruits and vegetables where the fruits and vegetables belong, and the dairy where the dairy belongs.
Once in a while it is scattered about on different shelves and you wonder if a tornado blew in and did the harm.
But most often it is staff that is either in a hurry, blind or senile and neglects to put back anything from where they got it.
Anyway, you get everything organized and a list made for the day’s prep work, so you grab a cup of Java and head out the back door for your first smoke before the sun comes up.
As soon as get back in the door, you wash your hands and get busy setting up your line and stocking for breakfast and lunch.
You cut up your mirepoix and leftovers and throw them in the stock pot for soup.
You stock your eggs, cook off the bacon and sausage, grab the bread for toast, and make sure you have French toast and pancake batter.
You make sure all the omelet fillings are stocked and there are plenty of hash browns.
The place opens in a half an hour and you are ready to go, so you head out for your second and possibly a third smoke before the wait staff show up and the peace and quiet of your day ends and the doors open.
It looks like it might be a great day.
But then all hell breaks loose:
The phone rings and your one waitress say she will be a little late, and the other one is a no-show. Cars begin pulling in to the parking lot and no one is on the floor, and when you try to turn on the dish machine it rattles, groans and gives out a
whimper as it sputters and dies. No problem, you know the number for the repair guy; you have waited tables in the past, hopefully the wait staff will show up before it gets too crazy.
You make the call, schedule a repair, and start pouring coffee and cooking for the customers that have trickled in.
The wait staff finally arrives, and all is right with the world again.
Someone calls with a to-go order of sandwiches and salads for 30 people at noon (in the middle of lunch of course) and most of what you need is on the delivery truck that still
hasn’t shown up yet. Again you make a phone call and get things worked out; the truck should be showing up around noon (of course).
Meanwhile you have no produce, no hamburgers or to- go boxes and lunch starts in 15 minutes, and to top it all off-your relief chef looks hung-over and worthless.
The truck arrives, as does the repair guy,
and it is the most wonderful thing you have ever witnessed, as you break into tears and
tell the driver what you need immediately, the repair guy what the problem is, and then give the relief chef a kick in the butt to get him motivated on the to-go order. You feel good, like the planets have aligned and your karma has readjusted.
The carry-out has been picked up and out of the way before the lunch rush.
Orders come in and orders go out like a well oiled machine, the wait staff is happy and making money because the food is good and the customers are happy.
The dish machine is humming along for now and the second chef seems to be clear-eyed and in synch with the rest of the world.
Somehow, in some way, you make it through lunch, and everything was cooked right and served to the customers in good time, most of them clueless as to the pandemonium that preceded
their arrival. The next shift is showing up, and the larders are full for a few more days, the equipment is still working as you punch out and head out the door blissfully thankful that you made it through the day without too much trouble.