My Restaurant Career Part I

I joke around a lot so people tend to think I’m exaggerating for comedic effect when I say that I have worked at over 18 different restaurants. I’m not.

Here’s my Restaurant Resume:

(1) Long John Silver’s-Fired—My first restaurant job was at one of my favorite places to eat when I was a kid. I think it had a lot to do with the cheesy paper pirate hat because the food sucked. My neighbor got me the job and I didn’t complain too much because it beat the shit out of grocery bagging, landscaping and shoplifting—all of which were made difficult by the sweltering summer heat. There I worked multiple positions and made friends and had a lot of partying Firsts. One time at a party I got to get drunk on moonshine with a Viet Nam Vet for the first time and exchange stories about working on a PBR in the brown water navy on the Mekong Delta . He had a lot. I didn’t have any. LJS was located directly across the street from another fast food franchise. One day on my break I walked across the street to grab some really cheap burgers and on the promise of a five cent raise was recruited to jump ship and begin my career at Wendy’s. I worked both jobs for a short while until one day one of the cool managers from Long John’s who had let me borrow her car to take this chick out one time came in and saw me working the counter. She just grinned and said ‘You know you’re fired, right?’ Yeah, I knew. I had committed the sin of getting another job and working around the first one’s schedule. Of course I was fired. Please note the implied sarcasm. It’s not like Long John Friggin Silver’s requires a non-compete clause in their contracts. Not for their line cooks at least. Oh well. My first taste of disposable employment.

(2) Wendy’s-Fired—I worked at Wendy’s for the remainder of high school. It was the first job I had where I could do every job and where they sent me out to work at other locations in town and in other towns.  My daily schedule at one point was high school from 8:00 to 2:00 then home for a nap and a quick meal then work the night shift from 4:00 to 11:00 then hustle pool until 4 or 5 a.m. I slept through the better part of my senior year so I could learn how to shoot pool.  That might not look good on a resume but it will sound cool when I’m telling my grandkids about it. I was a model employee but I got fired for being late one day. I think it was the second time in two weeks. The reason for my tardiness was that my girlfriend at the time, the salad bar girl, had a fondness for long hand-holding sessions on the front porch swing. And clumsy, sweaty high school sex.

(3) Krystal-Quit-For a short period of time I thought it would be a good idea to get a third shift job at the white trash White Castle while also attending school and working second shift at Wendy’s. Umm . . . yeah. What the fudge was I thinking? Naturally this arrangement didn’t last long.

(4) Captain D’s-Quit-I got this job the day after my two year tenure at Wendy’s ended so abruptly. This place was fairly dull, a low volume unit that rarely if ever got in the shit. I punched a clock until salad bar girl’s dad got me my first and last factory job.

3 years at a cotton mill-This was one of the hardest and most physically demanding job I ever held. For almost three years I doffed, creeled and breathed in oodles of cotton dust. The migraines that I had always gotten since I was a kid ramped up and increased significantly while I worked there and I wound up quitting one night when it got to be too much. One positive thing that came out of that period of my life was that I started going to school to get my college degree. Nothing is more fun and satisfying than working from 7 pm until 7 am and then going to school at 8 am and staying until 2 and doing it again. I started in the Fall of 1994 and class by class, credit by credit got my diploma in the spring of 2005. It took eleven years but I am very proud of my Associates of Business Administration.

(5) Applebee’s (BOH)-Quit-I got this job as a result of my continuing experimentation with having multiple jobs. The factory just sucked to work at and the girls were much prettier at the Bee’s. I even married one of them.  I eventually quit as a result of my continuing experimentation with trying to get enough sleep. Apparently working 36-72 hours a week at one job while going to school and having another job was something that I was just not man enough for. Quitting the mill led to a short period of unemployment and casting about for an acceptable means of making a living. My girlfriend at the time made killer bank at this Applebee’s and even though her legs were much longer and much, MUCH prettier than mine I decided to give waiting tables a try at . . .

(6) Buffalo’s-Quit-I used to love eating at this place so I figured naturally I would do well here. But alas it was not to be. Buffalo’s wasn’t the most poorly-ran place I’ve worked at. It didn’t suffer from any serious lack of decent management or customer base. It just wasn’t that great for me at the time. Personally I’ve never liked being quadruple sat in the dining room and then told that I also had two other tables out on the patio. For the record 99.999% of all restaurants divide their dining rooms into sections for a reason—so that fusterclucks like the one I just described don’t happen. So even though it wasn’t all bad, a con artist friend of mine convinced me to jump ship and work at . . .

(7) Tanner’s (closed it)-Laid Off-This place rocked! It served really good chicken and food and stuff (pardon me if I don’t have the menu memorized after all these years). It was the first place where I worked on both sides of the line. It was the first (and only) place where one day I was the only server that showed up for the lunch shift, where I had my personal record of 22 tables at the same time. This scenario is normally just a metaphorical nightmare for many servers but it actually happened to me. One of the cooler aspects of working at Tanner’s was that we could grat any table. This means we could  (and often did) add a gratuity to the check if we felt that table wouldn’t take care of us in the same manner we took care of them. Most places have an autograt policy whereby parties of a certain number (usually 8 but sometimes 10 and in even more rare and better circumstances, 6) will have a gratuity ranging from 15% to 18% and sometimes 20% added to their bill. We would grat 2 tops sometimes. Oh what joyous days! And my friend who actually was a con artist would snip coupons in the local paper and redeem them without mercy. This guy probably made more than the friggin GM in the end. Not surprisingly one day we came in to work and they were taking the booths apart and removing all the appliances in the kitchen. We were told the place was going under and we no longer had jobs. It was good while it lasted though.

To be continued . . .

Dignity and Respect

Me, The JerBear

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