Monday, December 21, 2009

My first week at the Diner

A good friend of mine asked me to write about our first week at the diner. What was it like, how did I manage, how did Art do, was I tired????

Right away I can tell you the first week was a whirl wind and hopefully I can remember each day.

I'll start with Monday, Dec 14th. Art and I were at the restaurant for most of the day. We picked up our meat order, our baking order and did our grocery shop. I prepared all the beef patties, chicken breasts, roasted a beef roast, cut the turkey, roasted the breast and made broth with the remainder, made chili. I wanted to start on my baking but we ran out of time. Around 4pm we had to go home and deal with the dog, the cats and the chickens and then back to the diner until about 8:30pm. That night at home I put the menus together, kept running through the to do list in my head but managed to be asleep by 10:00pm.

We opened Tuesday Dec 15th at 7:00am, I was awake 3am and I could not go back to sleep for love nor money until about 5am, yay!!! But we were up at 6:00am not so good! Our original plan was to be at the diner by 6:00am. I was beat, tired beyond belief.
At the diner I bake muffins, scones, brownies and carrot cake. Art cuts the fries and takes care of the first frying. I make cream of mushroom soup and prep the fried onions, fried peppers, bacon and sausages. We get one client from the church, he's happy we are open because there is a small group of folks that go for coffee after daily mass. I'm thrilled.
Where are all the people? Where are my signs? Art starts phoning the local papers and radio stations to get advertising info. They are at the diner in a flash and they all buy lunch. Good plan Art, we have some money in our till. Not sure who we can call tomorrow but we will worry about that later.
It's 3:00pm, closing time. It was not too busy so clean up is pretty fast. Back home, deal with the dog, the cats and the chickens. Dinner is leftover soup, salad and bread from the diner. Bed is at 8:00PM... So tired!!!!

Wednesday, Dec 16th. Not a soul until the group from church comes in. Lord bless them! The man kept is word, he came back and brought is little group. They order muffins and a small breakfast. While Art takes care of them I'm getting soup ready, turkey vegetable. And again I'm surprised that we have lunch customers, not many but enough to get some practice in.
The signs are ready!!!!
We close at 3pm and by the time we clean up, hang the signs it's almost 430PM. Another long day but Art and I are exhilarated but we decide that we want to close shop at 2pm.

Dec. 17th, I think!! I'm loosing track of my days. I boil up some beef bones for beef barley soup, bake some blueberry muffins. I'm feeling at ease and ready for the lunch crowd that never show up..oh oh, what's going on, do we need to change our hours?

Dec 18th, much like yesterday, the church group has come in every day and there is another customer that has come in every day. He loves us, well loves the food and he orders the same thing, sausages and eggs, thank you, thank you and thank you.
Today we ran out of eggs. I go to the farm..."Can I buy some eggs"? I'm told "nope" what do you mean nope? The chickens are not laying right now, yikes. My menu says "farm fresh eggs" where will I find eggs? I start calling around and find them from another farm. They are good but the yolks are not very orange, not sure what they are feeding their chickens but I really want orange yolks so I'll have to keep looking but these will do for now.
We get customers after 2pm but we are closed and we are now second guessing ourselves but I stand firm, we close at 2pm.

Dec 19th. Nothing, nobody on the street, nothing going on. We decide that our sandwich board needs to go down the block to the main road, maybe that will help. We shall see.
The church group comes in again, I'm thrilled! And then nothing. We really think this will turn out to be a stinker of a day and them bam!!!! We are hit, all the tables are filled in five minutes around 12:30pm. I'm in a fog, Art is in a fog, and I hate to admit it but I was very nasty to him, he didn't deserve it but the stress was killing me and I took it out on Art. And they keep coming..they all saw the sign on the main road. Just shy of 2:00pm we have a lull and Art gets the sign off the street and Open neon sign is turned off.
Art and I are stunned, not sure we want to put that sign down there again, we are scared. I'm scared of myself and who I turned into for that hour when we were really busy. People are still coming but the door is locked!!!! Art talks to them and tells them our hours...they will be back next week they say. I hope they do!!
I really have to come to terms with the way I acted today. I think about it all the way home, I'm getting ready for Saturday night mass, still thinking about it and ask God for help all through mass. Tomorrow is another day and I'm only human, I hope to do better.

Dec. 20th. Again nothing for most of the morning. I know we will get some folks after church but I'm ready. Pancake batter is done, strawberry compote is simmering. The soup is heating, the bacon and sausages are half cooked, I'm in good shape.
10:00am and slam, again, all the tables fill up at once. I mess up the church groups order, you know the ones that come in every day, I forget one of their orders. How could I??? Art comps their breakfast, he is doing a fantastic job, talking it up, topping up everyone's coffee. I'm feeling the stress starting to bubble, feel the explosion, start to get snarky again, and Art just says "Margaret stop! We are both doing our best". And he is so right, I calm down, and get on with it.
They all leave around 11:30am and I have no potatoes and we are out of eggs again. My son and his wife show up and he makes an egg and potato run. I'm quickly cooking up some more bacon and sausages..the second mass lets out around noon...and I'm freaking out! I don't know if I can handle it. This is not what I signed up for. I want to cook, put parsley on the plate, make it look nice, take my time, but this??? This is just crap!!!!
Noon comes and guess what no one comes in, deep down I'm happy but now I worry. Where did they go?
And then a table comes in, just one, oh joy, I can take my time. About 10 minutes after that, another table, I'm ecstatic, this is what I envisioned. And that's how lunch went, a table every 10 minutes or so until we closed. Nice and steady but not slammed. The day ends! Art and I are happy and we go home after we clean up to think up a plan of attak for next weekend.
Oh right it's Christmas!!! We will be closed..

And now it's Monday morning. I've taken care of the accounting for the last week, our bank deposit is ready. We have to take our garbage to the dump and sort our recycling. I have a catering job tomorrow night so I'm getting that list ready...and I have to think about our Christmas dinner? Duck I think...

Buon Natale Aanz..che cosa e saponnette?


Betty said...

It sounds like you had a interesting week. I told you that you needed a little bed in the back room.(LOL)Running a restaurant is a very stressful endeavor Remember to stop and breath once in a while.
~~Hugs and Good Thoughts~~

scrappy quilter said...

What fun to read how it went. I've found when I'm getting stressed that counting to 10 always helps. Things will continue to smooth out as you find your groove. Remember this is only your first week. And you must be doing something right, people keep coming. Hugs

Elizabeth said...

Congratulations! It sounds like a good first week. Thanks for the day by day - very interesting. And don't worry too much about your reactions - once you get used to it all and it's not overwhelming you'll be your usual self. Best Wishes

The Hobbit said...

Oh Margaret How great is that.Just smile and remember you're not in N.Y. city. Your customers need to get to know you,just be yourself.Wish I could be there to help.I'll say a little prayers for you at mass,just in case He didn't hears yours.Oh God bless Art for being there.

Elizabeth Davis said...

Oh Margaret! I so enjoyed reading about your first week. Your delightfully honest account had me in laughter and tears...It was like I was right there with you. Keep doing the great job that you are doing. (ladybugg606 from DTE)

Anonymous said...

You're both amazing...I just couldn't do it!

Is there much waste food at the end of the day...I've always wondered about least you have your chooks to eat scraps ;)

I'm sure it will only get easier from now you prove to yourself that you can actually this and that you're living your dream,

(coffeee DTE)