Monday, June 18, 2012

As this stone sits in my stomach

I'd like to say something. This is going to be hard for me and I don't want to do this but maybe that's the whole point of a re-birth. People think dying is the worst thing that there is, I think being born is. I mean your skull is pressed together, your shoulder blades ache, you start breathing for the first time and you can't see or talk in a room full of strangers. If your lucky there are people in the room who care if you live or die. When you're born you don't know what life has in store for you, when you die you know what kind of life you had.

So what kind of life have I had? I know what kind of life I wanted when I was a 16. I wanted to be successful, I wanted to be rich, I wanted to be a good person. To be honest I never thought myself to be a bad person, sounds like a lie doesn't it? Well it was, it's taken me losing everything I had, losing all my friends, but most of all it took me picking up the phone and hearing my Mom crying asking me what was it that I had become.

It was a lie, thinking that there was nothing wrong with me, that I was just reacting to a world the way that I had been treated for quite sometime. That was my justification for it anyways, that's how I lied to myself to convince "me" of doing whatever it took to justify my actions. so before I go any further let me say this out right.

I was wrong.

What was I wrong about? Pick something, I'm sure no matter what it is you're not too far off. a lot of the feedback I got was basically people taking their righteous rage out on someone who they don't think will ever hit back. Well the guy you saw on TV would hit back and wanted to very much. I hate that guy, he's mean, manipulative, sneaky , a coward and absolutely everything that I never wanted to be. The truth is though, that is me, that's where I am or was in my life. I tried to spin what I saw so many different ways but in the end the truth was never going to go away. I spoke to my Mom who up until a month or so ago thought I could do no wrong, she said that wasn't the son she raised, that my father would be ashamed of what she saw. I don't think I cried that much since my father died.

Now I've been through some scary shit in my life, been in a fight or two, I've had a gun pointed at me twice so I'm not unfamiliar with fear. for awhile I though about giving up on everything but to there is nothing in this world or the next that scares me more than the thought of having to look my father in the eyes and telling him that I gave up. So here's me, lost everything, no more money or prospects and I couldn't be more grateful.

You see I get a second chance, when I go to sleep tonight and wake the next day I have a whole life left to live and make something good of myself. Let me tell you, never underestimate the power of denial! Denial will convince you that right is wrong, up is down, and that no matter what you do, you're always the good guy and everyone is just out to get you. When you buy into that lie you will (like me) turn into someone who hurts people, one way or another.

Dennis was who I took my anger out on, or my resentment of the business.Before I go any further let me say that Dennis did absolutely nothing to deserve how I treated him and for that I'm sorry. Dennis made the choice that I should have made a long time ago. You see rather than treat people the way I had been treated growing up in this business I should have been the boss that I always wanted to have. I'm not making an excuse for what I did but I think it's important for people to know what creates a person like me ( not all of us are born A-holes, we grow into it).

The restaurant business is not a gentleman's business. I've had a lot of bosses in my time and some of them were great but most of them were lying cheating egotists who cared about nothing other than their money and all the workers could go to hell. I've seen some shit people, I was once told I couldn't hire a man for a dish-washing job because he had a criminal record. What was on the record? I have no idea! I wasn't allowed to continue with the interview. some of you might not care but when you have to look into a grown man's eyes and tell him no when you know that this job could mean the difference in a new life for him or going back to his old ways. It hurts. I've seen an owner discover his gm was embezzling a shit load of money and play the part of the victim when I knew and so did the owner that the Gm had a wife who had crones disease, had a pile of medical bills, three kids and that he hadn't given him or any of his managers a raise let alone a thank you for years. I've had bosses who promised me a bonus upon reaching sales goals which I did but they jacked up the goal to a 6 percent increase one month before the end of the quarter! FYI, unless all the restaurants in your part of town go under then it's impossible to raise that much revenue! One last thing, remember when the market crashed? I was was working for one of the biggest restaurant chains in the country at that time. When the boom came down all of our bonuses froze as did our raises. Now before I continue let me tell you what a bonus really is, it's a way to save money on salaries, it's not a reward program. The salary for an assistant manager should be around 38-48K a year depending on where you work. Now what most companies do is pay about 32-36k a year and put the rest of the salary in the form of a bonus. This way that they only pay a full salary for managers who are doing a good job, sounds reasonable right? The thing is, when the board gets nervous about shareholders dumping their stock they say they're saving money and cutting costs taking away excess spending, like a bonus program. so now they're saving about 6-10k a year per manager. You want to know how much money the restaurant I worked for lost during the crash? $0.00.

I could go on and on about the shit part of the business but that's what got me to where I was in the first place. Two wrongs don't make a right,right? I hate to admit it but that's how a lot of the biz operates . The thing is, it doesn't have to operate that way. The world has "ended up" this way because we let it. I wasn't born a jerk, I grew into it. I'm not blaming the biz, I made my choices and I'll own up to them.

Now I'm going to make a new choice, I have a lot of work to do on being who I wanted to be when I was a kid. I know I still can be something better than what I am! It might have taken me getting blasted across the country as one of the worst employees in the history of ever but at least I have no delusions about what I was and now I have nowhere to go but up!

I'm not sure if I'll ever be posting on here again but this is for certain. Chef Dave is dead and now there's only Dave. Thanks for reading everybody, I wish you the best, even to those who wished me the worst =)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

So people will get off my back

Ok, so as most have you have seen, tonight was the airing of yet another bullshit reality show. With some choppy editing and a grand Hard Copy slow mo shot of me, I was painted as some kind of villain. First off, if I were to follow anyone around, and yes that means you the reader, I bet I could make you look like the biggest A-hole on the planet too. So don't go believing everything you see on TV.
Second of all, yes this happened about four months ago when I quit The Groves (for the record I QUIT I wasn't fired). I was so pissed that night, had I not needed my last check so much I never would have signed that stupid release. They had me over a barrel and since then I have been trying to get the network to not air that special. Sadly the little guy without a lawyer doesn't have much of a shot getting anything done against a big time corporation.
For months I had been dreading this night. Then last Sunday I get a call from one of my co-workers asking if I'm on TV. Food Network decided to give a sneak peek of the show and boom we're off to the races. Over the next few days I had lost two of my clients over this and I'll be very surprised if I have a job after this weekend.
I'm glad so many of you feel so righteous judging me but you can believe that this isn't over.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A televised kick in the nuts

So as some have you might have scene, I was on some bullshit show on food network. I'm still pissed about this whole thing. I lost two customers on Monday and three more since then. I'm basically being set up as a whipping boy for the amusement of the country. OK if that's how it is, let's talk about the food industry America! You think it's all so black and white? There's a bunch of shit in this business that makes me look like a saint! I didn't do anything that hasn't been done to me in one way or another!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Worst night of my life

I'm so pissed tight now I can't even see straight. To hell with food network, thats all I can say.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Why AZ bosses need to have their citizenship stripped

Ok here goes, let me start by asking what is it to be a boss?
            Is it someone who lets you do whatever you want? Is it someone who rules with an iron fist? Is it someone who helps everyone with their job? Is it just someone who is smarter and wealthier and by default are put in charge?
            My feeling on the matter is that it's none of these, or at least it shouldn't be but as it stands in our country this is the case in most places. A boss who lets you do whatever might make for a fun place to work but growth will be hard to come by as there must always be some sort of challenge for any of us to get better at our job. A person who thinks they rule with an iron fist is just fooling themselves. Trying to convince every associate that they have some semblance of control but anyone with half a brain can see right through that charade. a boss who is just smart and rich would have a better idea of how to run the biz but it's not a sure thing. So what makes a good boss?
             One word,Leadership. Can this person lead? Can they take a staff and make them better at their jobs through any means necessary? Can they help make the company's and staff's lives better through their work?
             If we want to take it a little further, does this boss want the world around them to get better? I know we all wish for a better and brighter future but someone who takes on any form of leadership knows that deep down that they have to ability and more importantly the will to make that happen.
             Hey whats one of the reasons poor people stay poor? I know there are many but lets just start with this one. Education. Now it's been shown that kids who have one parent at home to make sure their kids are staying on track do better than kids who have two parents working one to two jobs. Unattended kids have a harder time succeeding on their own, that's not a Mexican thing, not a black thing or a white thing, that's a human being thing. Now let me ask this, how much time do you think many of the business owners think about this when they determine the pay rate of their associates? I bet they do, I don't think they're being inhuman about it, but it's easier to sidestep that whole dilemma by hiring young people who don't have kids to raise. No I don't think they're being inhuman, just cowards. They have the ability to make a difference and they choose not to for fear of loosing money, their lifeblood, their identity, their God.
             I have someone very close to me that had to take a LoA due to a sickness. She had given her boss documentation about it which said she needed to be on a lighter work schedule. This gal was due for an advancement and a raise but taking on a lighter work load meant giving up on all these things she'd worked so hard for. So it came down to her money vs her health. Keep in mind she'd worked for this boss for a few years and worked her ass for this guy's company. did he return the effort? Of course not. Now he's trying to give her lighter duty with a pay cut and I bet for a difficult schedule to go with it, why? Because now she's a liability, that and I'm sure he knows he fucked up. When you have documentation about an illness and you ignore it so you can keep making your money it will bite you in the ass.
             As for the guy I work for now, I could say a bunch of stuff about him but I will say this for him, at least he cares about the staff that works for him.
            One last thing, maybe we could start a new thing . When a business owner says they ,"Make no money" we should ask them how? I mean not just asking them how come but as in,"Show me you books and let me help, maybe I can fix your cash flow problem." Chances are they wont , at that point we should call them a liar to their face and beat the crap out of them. Ok maybe not that extreme but we should call out bullshit when we see it.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Ok I don't want to trash a specific restaurant or anything but this post has to do with a restaurant that SOUNDS a lot like Emi's Cafe that is definitely not in the Metro Center in Phoenix AZ.

My lady friend and I went to celebrate one of those "milestone" evenings and thought we'd give the place a shot. I'm not a big fan of these corporate style restaurants but hey my sweetie wants to go and so there I am. I look at the menu and I can respect what they're trying to do with it. They have a somewhat watered down French Cuisine that does in itself stand apart from it's competition of Applebee's or Chili's or any other "'s" for that matter.

One of the things my sweetie loved about this place was the bread baskets that they set at the tables. Now I know a little something about baking so I was curious to see if it was fresh or something thawed. So we sat down, ordered, then bread.

I asked the server if they had any bread baskets, you know, like the ones I saw on the other tables. She said she'd grab one for us but it seemed like it was a chore as opposed to part of the service. The food came in the usual order. First the soup and the salad, ten the entrees. During this process dished were starting to pile up on the table. I didn't want to be rude as I'm with my lady so I just subtly stacked the dishes at the edge of the table. I'm not lying when I say this but the server never picked them up! Even as I was paying and staring at the dishes ><

It was something simple thing but man did it piss me off. Perhaps the manager would have caught it but in the hour that I was there I never saw one. another thing that pissed me off. I'll get into that in another post as far as management goes but as far as the server goes I'm going to blame the restaurants training.

A little effort goes a long way people!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Attitude and razors

You know I hate to be "That" guy but I have to get this off my chest. Since when did the city of Tempe run out of razor blades?

The last few times my Gal and I have gone out to eat in this city we've had "Scruffy young guy" as our server. I don't have anything against facial hair or any of that, all I ask is that the person who handles my food look like they gave two shits before they left the house. It's almost as if they don't even want the job they're working. I know that might not sound an unreasonable conclusion to come too but holy crap people, these servers were like 22 at the oldest! I blame the older generations like ourselves for the young peoples dismay, perhaps we shouldn't have made the air of discontent so inviting.

Ok back to the service or lack thereof. Listen folks, I've been in this business for nineteen years and  regardless of what you think of me I KNOW how to make a restaurant run in the black and I'm telling you this," Everything matters!" When it comes to the FoH or (Front of House) you have to have a close eye on every aspect of their work, from the look in their eyes to the cleanliness of their uniforms because they all send out a message when the guest walks in the door. For that reason you as a boss have to look for the weed in your garden that will spread quickly and choke out the roses you've worked so hard to grow. Seriously all it takes is one crab ass to ruin a whole shift for your crew.

Don't believe me? Next time you go into work make sure you are giving out an angry vibe and in thirty minutes everyone on your staff will be in a shitty mood. Even the person on your crew that is always happy and beaming with light will turn into a quiet somber little mouse that runs from everything. after you've done that try the opposite. Come in with the best attitude in the world, as if it's your birthday and every friend from the past and present are at your job and they're going to spend the day working and smiling right beside you. You'll find that it's much harder for that positive vibe to spread but when it does holy shit is it a beautiful thing.

That "Vibe" is as important an asset of your business as your cooler or your safe  because you'll never succeed with out it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Heavy is the Head

Morning everyone,
I thought I'd start out the day reflecting on what it means to be in charge. I know there are a lot of people out there who have many issues with their boss. I know there are a lot of people who think their boss is just some jerk who has no idea of what they're doing. You know what that is?

Your cowardice, plain and simple.

It's been my experience that all critics tend to be scared shitless when it comes to stepping out of the shadows and actually doing something to either fix a problem or heaven forbid, improve a situation. It's almost as if they're back in High School trying to get something over on their teacher if only to prove that they can outsmart the one person in the room who is trying to help them. Does anyone else find that logic asinine?

Let me break it down this way:
If you think your boss is an idiot. Perhaps they are but they're still smarter than you.

Your boss acts like they know everything. They know more than you.

Your boss can be a mean jerk. If they get crabby maybe it's because they have the weight of the business on their shoulders and you don't.

I bring this up it's because I think subjects like hese needs to be addressed. Topics left unsaid tend to fester and rot in the workplace. It might not feel good to bring up but sometimes you have to remind the staff that they should try to see things from your point of view from time to time.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Another day another dollar, or in my case another buck and a quarter. 

I went out to eat a few nights ago and I seem to be noticing a trend of ill server karma coming my way. You see when I go out to eat I always like to tip 20%, if a server does a "meh" job they get 15%, and if they really piss me off they get 10%. why 10%? For the very reason that I would hate it if it happened to me (and it did many times over), I mean there's tempting fate then there's slapping Fate's mom while peeing on their favorite rug. I'd like to think I'd never go that far.

So what is good service? what kind of service should you look for in your own staff? 

Sure servers need to be friendly, that's the basic requirement for any server. However that should not be the main focus of their abilities. I know this because I've hired and fired many servers in my day and I'd like to think I know something about this. While "friendly" is nice, "friendly doesn't cut it when your food comes out cold  or if your tables are never bussed, or even worse you're guests have to wait 15 minutes to pay for their tab. 

Trust me on this one folks, the three qualities you need to look for are efficiency, consistency, and then a friendly/professional demeanor. As long as your staff have these traits in common success is sure to follow!

Oh and for all you hacks out there, putting hot chicks in the front only tells your guests that you hire with your cock and not your brains. If I want to see young hot chicks I'll go to a club or the internet, that and they doen't make your brought in food taste better in the slightest! Deal with it!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Doing What the Other Guy Won't.

Welcome to Chef Dave's new blog! This blog is for those interested in pursuing a career in the culinary arts of the business at large. There are a lot of things I'm going to be talking about here that might not sound too pretty or easy to take but I have to be honest about this business (It's the only way I know how to be).

First off I wouldn't recommend getting into the food biz unless you have at least 6 years in the industry. Why six years? It's not that it takes that long to learn about flipping burgers or busing tables, not at all. I say this because I think six years is how long it takes for a guy's ego to settle down and see this business for what it is, it's about making people happy.

Now making people happy may sound simple but it's not always so easy. Sometimes you have to think outside of the box, sometimes you have to break the rules a little bit. In the coming blogs I'll go into examples of how I accomplished what success I have and maybe you'll find some way to achieve your goals as well.

Stay tuned everyone!