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19-04-2010, 12:40
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This post wasn't meant to turn out as a long getting-things-off-my-chest post, but that's how it turned out. I was debating whether to publish it or not - but I have done in the hope that one day someone thinking 'I'll take on a pub, it doesn't seem that hard' might find some use out of it. Normal blogging will return as soon as I find a couple of staff who can take some of the work load off me.


http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd61/edkilverts/Launch%20Night%20Cask%20Ale%20Week/P1010152.jpg (http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd61/edkilverts/Launch%20Night%20Cask%20Ale%20Week/P1010152.jpg)




It's been an annoyingly hectic couple of weeks. The new chef who was on trial has decided we're not the right place for him - on Saturday morning when preparing for the launch of the new summer menu which has about 40 mains on it (mainly fish and grill). So finding myself with just the KP to help I set about getting as much ready as possible. The first check came in at midday which got me slightly angry as we don't open til half past, and without a 2nd in the kitchen it would be a struggle to get open on time as it was. I agreed that the few guys who wanted to order could order as long as it was clear I wouldn't be starting to cook for another half hour.


The 'few guys' turned out to be a party of just under 20 people. So straight away there was going to be a half hour wait on food. With a another dozen or so orders straight away at half past, we ended up with waiting times up to an hour. A couple of people got very stroppy and demanded their money back as they'd waited 2 hours for their food - in this particular case they'd waited 50 minutes and their food arrived as they were asking for their money back.


Now I can understand being frustrated at waiting so long for food. I can understand wanting your money back. I can't understand wanting to have your money back and leaving when your food is ready. If you leave and order somewhere else you'd then be waiting again for food - why not eat it now it's out? Anyway, each to their own I suppose. I was (and still am to be honest) more angry at myself for a) allowing the situation to get so out of control - I should have stuck to the opening times - they are there for a reason after all - and I should have simplified the menu. Hindsight eh?


It must be mentioned that the rest of the customers were lovely - fully understanding and a lot of 'worth the wait' comments which helps calm my self-loathing. I think this is partly because they can see it is a family run place - Mum and my better half helping on the bar and waiting, myself in the kitchen and Dad floating around, keeping the peace and helping where needed.


After closing down the kitchen I wrote a menu for the evening - restaurant only and dishes that I knew I could prep and serve to restaurant standard. It actually worked remarkably well - the two most popular dishes were the fillet steak with sauteed potatoes and asparagus and the Seabass stuffed with ginger, lemon and spring onion served on creamed leeks. About half past eight I sneaked out of the kitchen for a breath of fresh air and found the restaurant full of people dining and the pub full of drinkers, with a great atmosphere in the snug where the two meet. So acting out of neccessity I think we may have stumbled across a better way of working on Saturday nights - rather than have a large bar menu and a specials menu for the restaurant, just streamline down to a few dishes only served in the restaurant, where a mixture of good prep in the kitchen along with my better half staggering the tables and orders nicely meant everyone was served in good time, the food was good, the wine sales were up and the tips were good (although the family don't take tips - so the KP and waitress were happy!)


Yesterday gave me a little warning though. I have low blood pressure and low blood sugar, which means I occasionally go very weak and light headed. 3 weeks of Easter with minimal staff and myself doing the amount of work we'd normally expect 3 people to do in the kitchen took their toll on me. So last night I was under orders not to work in the kitchen and take the night off after lunch. This morning, after placing all the kitchen and bar orders I had a pleasant surprise - my family and the staff had arranged full cover for me for the day and I've been sent off for some R & R! I'm not allowed to do any work in the brewery, kitchen, cellar, anywhere! I'm not entirely sure what to do with myself now I've written this - I think I'll go and find out!


Cheers!
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