Today a guy sat on his knees for about 10 hours straight with a handheld concrete grinder preparing our floors (for the wood floor which we just found out did not arrive in LA as scheduled yesterday but is instead in SWEDEN)…That paired with the tile that is on back-order for six weeks created a little more work for us as we figure out what is available.. That has happened with each restaurant we’ve built so whatever….. we’ll pick something else. I’m writing earlier in the evening than normal because I hesitate to leave the job site.. there is one other person here, using a gas powered compressor in a not very well ventilated space and I’d hate to walk in tomorrow and find him blue on the floor.. so I’m hangin’ back. It kind of sucks going to one of the restaurants after all day in the space, because even though most of the time I am on a computer…I am still covered in debris and dirt.. the concrete grinding today made it the worst of all. There’s a fine layer of white on everything and surely in my lungs as well…
On the upside, we made a nice discovery yesterday in the bar area.. There was this horrid siding above the center of the bar in what used to be the “outisde bar”.. you can see it here in this picture.. before we tore out the bar cabinets, this top area was lined with tommy bahama tiki mugs:
So..yesterday I decided to take a peek behind it because I’ve always been confused by a vent that is in the ceiling near it and where the duct for the vent goes.. and what I found was a big, beautiful raw wood glue-lam beam. That spans the entire width of the building.. so we tore that sh@# right off and this is what we have to work with! (it’ll require some sanding and love but it’s really going to be a cool element):
Now that we’re changing how that soffit looks, we need to strip the ceiling too.
On other fronts, the bank delayed closing the loan for a few days (mainly because our permits took so long to get in) but that happened on the last restaurant too, so other then the fact that I’ll have to pony some cash in to keep stuff moving for a week, I don’t foresee too much issue. Construction crew is pulling their first Saturday duty as we passed our electrical inspection today (and framing Wednesday) so we can button up the rest of the walls with drywall.. bathroom tile is here and waiting to be installed so one more day of grinding floors and taping drywall, and Monday looks like tile in bathrooms and maybe some paint.. and sanding that big old beautiful beam. Kitchen is almost all degreased now and next week we’ll fire up the gas (if SDGE lets us) and get our repair company out to make sure we are all up and running.
This coming Monday, June 3rd, from 9 am to Noon, we will have our first open house for hiring staff. So tell your friends if they are talented and motivated cooks and/or extremely knowledgeable servers/bartenders etc to come on down with a resume. Over the years we’ve wavered back and forth on what we look for in an employee. Do we hire the right personality and hopefully train them to be knowledgeable….or do we hire the knowledgeable person and try to train them to be personable??? Though in a perfect world, I’d prefer the former to the latter; what we’ve found is that they pretty much have to have both to survive. It’s made the interviewing process a real challenge for us. Maybe I already talked about this in a previous post, but we just have so much knowledge that each FOH person has to be responsible for that we just cannot train people from the ground up.. Even people who have experience often don’t have the real knowledge foundation we need… and training was getting to be like a 3 or 4 week endeavor, which is just too expensive. So we started screening our FOH staff with a quiz of sorts, about food and beverage knowledge. If someone can’t answer most of it, we don’t waste our time or theirs because we have learned from our past that the success rate is too low if the foundation isn’t there. What that means is a decent percent of our FOH candidates walk away before we even speak to them. In a perfect world, we’d be able to teach and mold everyone we liked but. sadly, no.. So there’s a challenge to any of you job seekers out there!! We take this profession seriously and want our staff to also! Kitchen is a little different since it is such close quarters and we can more easily mentor a cook. Anyways, we are having our first open house monday for those who don’t need to start work right away and will follow up with a couple more over the next two weeks and try to nail this down!
One topic I have definitely covered before is how restaurants are not always the right “fit” for every guest. Every now and then I am reminded of that by a fun email or yelp review. I take them all (mostly?) seriously, but every now and then one is just… well.. special.
Yesterday was my birthday.. I am officially “middle aged”. I swear, I looked it up on the internet.. 41 is officially middle aged.. I wonder if my parents felt like they were really in their twenties like I do at 41…. mentally at least. Well, yesterday, after a great family breakfast, a great day of work and a fun dinner celebration with my wife and kids, I got this email (disclaimer..other than sharing on facebook last night, I have never shared a guests email with the public, though I’ve wanted to many times.. there’s sort of karma involved..especially when the gripe is real).. but this one I am using as in illustration that not all restaurants are meant for all people..even though we try:
“Tried your overpriced resturant tonight…
with the prices you charge it would behoove you
to invest in a blender or two!”
At first I thought maybe it was a haiku attempt because of the spacing and general meter of the verse, but I soon realized it had just waaaay too many syllables.
So then I moved into the territory of trying to understand what this person actually meant…and came up with a few questions:
- If i had pureed his/her food in this particular blender, would it have made it feel less overpriced? Grass fed beef cheek, smoked tomato jam, roasted veggie, sweet potato masher, garlic jus smoothie? A steal at $24.50?
- Is he/she suggesting that being the wealthy restaurateur I must be because of my high prices that I should invest in the blender industry for some reason?? Is it experiencing some sort of recession I am not aware of and it’s my duty to craft a stimulus package to salvage the dying remains of this magical device??
- Is he/she suggesting that with the prices I charge he/she should be given a blender? like instead of an after dinner mint? Consolation prize?
- Then I focused on the misspelling of restaurant (which my wife pointed out I am guilty of often) and wondered if there was a hidden meaning in this.. is it a code?.. I tried rearranging the letters but all I could come up with naturerst or ruset rant…. so I didn’t get far on that..
- Finally, I came to the conclusion that he/she probably just wanted a margarita and some GMO corn chips with commodity beef tacos and premade salsa full of artificial ingredients, stabilizers, colors and other additives for nine dollars and he/she was simply not prepared for the type of service we provide.
I can’t fault this person for wanting those things, nor for feeling like they didn’t receive a value from me (though a take home blender may have helped ease the damage on the wallet for this person..yes?) but I wish they had been able to let us know during their visit that they didn’t feel a value.. we probably could have changed their mind somehow.. or at least acknowledged their frustrations and made an effort to appease them. We lost this one. BUT!!!! BUT, on my way home from my family / ice cream / middle aged birthday / pig-out session I ironically walked by this place.. and realized later when I got this email.. that had this person and I been able to communicate, I could have let him/her know that paradise awaited them.. that I have found the solution to all of their blender fantasies!!!!!! cheers:
WET WILLIE”S, GASLAMP SAN DIEGO