Monday, August 20, 2012

Alleged Fan ©2012 by Joe Sixtop all rights reserved

     There were three of them, two men and a woman. They got seated up near the front, table 13 I think it was. One of them was clad in a golf-type shirt with his company's logo on it and the other two in more conservative business attire. They had a briefcase open and a lot of paperwork. It was pretty obvious that they were reps, or something like that, for a product called Arizona Iced Tea®.
     Their lunch was some kind of business confab so I played unobtrusive, silent server as much as possible. When they were through enjoying their entrees, they agreed to my suggestion that they share a dessert. After that was finished, they sat and conversed for maybe 15 minutes and then requested the single check. Just a nice, normal table during the slow afternoon. No big deal.
     I ran the plastic and returned with it. I thanked them and invited them to visit us again. I'd seen Arizona Iced Tea displayed at my neighborhood ShittyMart™ although I'd never actually purchased any. Just for fun, I said something like, "Hey, I got a can of that tea the other day," and named the store. "It's really good!" and witnessed three pairs of eyes light up.
     They were an easy table and nice people so I figured I'd be adequately compensated for my efforts but wasn't anticipating anything out of the ordinary. When I returned to bus my trio's vacated table, I looked at the voucher. I'd been left 12 bucks on a $40 check.

     It looks like Willard "Mittens" Romney has selected a running mate. I thought it was going to be Governor Fatass (R-NJ) but instead it's a weaselly Minnesota congressdude and alleged fan of Rage Against The Machine named Paul Ryan. I've thought of a moniker for their unholy pairing, you can use it if you want. I think it'd be great if it caught on with the general public although I'm well aware that, arising as it does from my struggling internet column here, that's very unlikely. Anyway, let call them the "Double Douchebag Ticket!"
     And just in case you're wondering, Arizona Iced Tea offers some diet varieties. I've since tried it and like it pretty well.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Kind of a Close Call ©2012 by Joe Sixtop all rights reserved

     Hi! Here's a guest post for ya, it's from Joe Sixtop over at These American Servers™. Oh, hang on a second. It's not a guest post. Sorry about that, it's getting to be a habit. The previous pair of episodes immediately prior to this one were guest posts. And I'm really, really glad they were.
     My neighbor, Jakey G, is about to move. Not to another part of town but several states away. He knocks on my door just a little more often than I'd like but otherwise I kind of hate to see him go. He's told me about his plans and frankly, I think they're pretty retarded and I've told him so. He seems not to have amassed sufficient resources for the relo and he's pretty vague about what he's trying to make happen. Even though I fear they won't, I really hope things go well for my friend. If you get a minute to think a good thought for him, that'd be great.
     Anyway, the other night when we were both off from our respective jobs, Jake asked me to help him set up a Craigslist account. Which is kind of like if Helen Keller asked Ray Charles to drive them somewhere but hey, he needs to sell a lot of his stuff and I'll see what I can do. My internet at the crib has been kind of messed up here lately and Jakey G doesn't have the internet at his place at all. So I was like, "Dude. Let's grab my laptop and go over to Mickey D's® and use their wifi."
     Do you have These American Servers set as your homepage? If not, I'm afraid you're not wringing every last drop of golden goodness out of what the internet has to offer you my friend and I encourage you to get with the program. I had it set as mine but not anymore. If you want to keep something a secret, don't let anybody in on it. I knew what my homepage was when I went to grab wifi but I also knew that McDonald's®, like a lot of "free" hotspots, has their little disclaimer pop up when you log on instead of what your computer usually does at home so I was unconcerned about being busted.
     It took several minutes but we set him up an account and placed an ad. But at one point during the ordeal, the page we were after wouldn't load. So I hit "REFRESH." Guess what popped up? That's right: These American Servers. Uh-oh. I acted like it weren't no thing but inside I was like, "Oh fuck!"
     Jakey G looked at the screen before I could navigate away. "These American Servers. What's that? Who's David Hayden?" That being a guest post saved my ass twice. The first time was when I got to serve up something actually, you know, good to y'all instead of the usual crizzap from yours truly and the second was when my name wasn't on it. I casually acted like I didn't know anything or give a rat's ass about it and returned to the task at hand. Whew!
     Jakey G's a good guy and if I asked him to keep things on the DL for me, I'm sure he'd try. Of course, he wouldn't care about my little project here or my anonymity nearly as much as I do. I just vastly prefer that nobody in this town (besides me) is aware of my struggling internet column. If Jake had glimpsed my name, it'd probably have sparked some questions, maybe even a later search engine query or two. As it stands now though, I think you could ask him about it and he probably wouldn't remember the incident at all and if he did, couldn't tell you what website popped up if the correct answer came with a hundred-dollar prize.

     Lucky for me, my buddy obviously doesn't read any server blogs but that's no reason you shouldn't! I highly recommend, for example, that you check what delights Terry Everton has to offer you at  Working Stiff Review and then there's David Hayden, who's been a ginormant help to me and These American Servers but please don't hold that against him. His myriad projects, sheltered beneath the nurturing umbrella that is The Hospitality Formula are required reading for anyone who cares at least a little about our challenging industry. Thanks again, guys!

Friday, August 3, 2012

The People That You Meet ©2012 by David Hayden all rights reserved

     Once again, it's a real good guest post! This one courtesy of David Hayden over at The Hospitality Formula. Thanks, bro!

One of the remarkable things about spending the better part of two decades in the restaurant business is the people you meet along the way.  I have former co-workers who are Doctors, Lawyers, and very successful business owners.  There is something about the restaurant industry that draws people with talent and ambition.  It is always nice to see a former server achieve their aspirations and move ahead in the careers of their choice.  Sometimes you even get a chance to wait on them again.  While it may seem awkward to do so, that feeling is dwarfed be the sense of pride you have in playing some small part in watching their rise to success.
It is the people that remain in the industry that always fascinate me.  I am endlessly inspired by the people who would be successful in any career they choose, but choose to stay in the restaurant industry.  The ones who stay do so out of a passion for the business and the unrivaled ability to make an impact on the lives of others.  Foregoing wealth and status for the ability to put a smile on someone’s face is one of the noblest callings in the world.  Those are the people I truly admire.
People like Penny Shultz.  To say that Penny is beloved is to say that George Washington is mildly respected.  She is the confidant, cheerleader, and counselor to countless regulars at the bar she has called home for over 20 years.  I’ve known Penny for most of those years and she is one of my most cherished friends.  She never forgets a face and nothing makes you feel more special than being welcomed like her best friend when you pull up a stool at her bar.  The compassion she shows for those who bring their problems to her and the excitement she shares with the success of others is remarkable.  At some of the lowest moments of my life, Penny was there to make me feel that everything would be alright and hundreds of other people could say the same thing. 
Then there is Scott Henze.  There might be a few people in Kansas City that don’t know Scott Henze, but I haven’t met many.  I have never asked Scott for the shirt off his back, but I am pretty certain the only delay in him giving it to me would be taking the time to iron it first.  Scott is the most patient server I have ever met and can turn even the gruffest guest into a friend.  His sincerity is easily shown to others.  This is probably why Scott is like the Yelp of the city.  My car recently died.  I had some money set aside, but not enough for anything nice.  I definitely had no time or transportation to go shopping.  Scott made a call and had his friend Pete on the phone.  Two days later Pete was at the restaurant to show me my new convertible.  I would have never imagined I could afford a car that was this nice.  I probably couldn’t have, but Pete knew I was friends with Scott and financed the difference with no interest and no rush on paying it off.  Being a friend of Scott’s comes with credit approval and discounted rates.  This is also something I will always extend to Scott’s friends.  That is all the recommendation a person will ever need.
I really wish everyone in this business could meet Chef Jasper Mirabile.  Jasper loves this business more than anyone I have ever met.  It was like the man was born to be a Chef.  He runs the restaurant named after his father in a manner that must constantly earn him smiles from his first mentor.  He is a tireless cheerleader and advocate for the entire community.  His Facebook page is filled with mentions of other restaurants.  His radio show provides publicity to small restaurants that could never afford it on their own.  He is an advocate for the community and the community loves him in return.  I can imagine that it must be frustrating for his staff to have every guest that comes through the door know the owner.  I don’t think he would have it any other way.  To meet Jasper and encounter his seemingly limitless optimism and enthusiasm makes everyone he meets a new friend.
I am certain that any of these people could have succeeded in any other industry.  They have passion, drive, and the sincere desire to improve the lives of others.  What makes them special to me is that each passed up those opportunities for the ability to keep bringing smiles to the faces of others.  No one ever gets rich in this business, but I am not sure money is any of their primary concerns.  They have a passion for this industry, my industry, and their examples inspire me every day.
     David's got a Restaurant Marketing Plan that'll drive traffic like you won't believe! If you've got anything, especially an independent restaurant, to promote, you owe it to yourself to check it out. You're welcome!