Clopening

The past three weeks have been a whirlwind — I’m essentially getting a crash course in all the goings-on for the restaurant. Every single thing, Front of House and Back of House. For FOH, I’ve greeted customers, taken/entered orders into the POS, made our drinks and juices, and worked the cash register. For BOH, I’ve helped the prep crew, made salad dressings, worked the salad and to-go stations during service, and, my favorite, “expo” (expediting). The funny thing is, I’ve grown more comfortable with expediting in Spanish, so I get thrown off when I get an English-only speaker on the line.

Anyway, it’s been good to get to learn the ins and outs of the restaurant and to learn the management side of things as well. It’s been an awkward balance of trying to figure out how things are usually done, and running into situations that don’t pop up often and just winging it. And learning from the guys with the goal of understanding and mastering their stations enough to be able to supervise.

Running the lunch and dinner specials has been exciting too. At first I was overwhelmed by the seemingly limitless opportunity to just make anything. Chef seems to know that I’ve grown used to following recipes strictly by the book, so he’s been giving me guidance and letting me run with it from there. (For example, instead of “make anything,” it’s “braise pork belly, cook polenta, and make a nice sauce.”) It’s been going well, I think. As we’ve been going through the (very thorough) company checklists for my training schedule, he keeps repeating the same sentiment — “I’m not worried about your kitchen skills. I just want to get you trained on the FOH and managing aspects.” That’s been a relief especially because I always seem to get nervous around him. (It happened with the other executive chefs I’d worked for too — I always seem to make stupid mistakes and panic when I’m around them.)

As I’ve gotten more trained, I’ve been able to fill in more often. Just like at the old restaurant when I could pick up Plancha shifts even while working on Cold station. The more you know, the more useful you are to the operation as a whole. Unfortunately, that meant that I got called on to work a few “clopening” shifts the past few days… a portmanteau of “closing” and “opening” when you work back-to-back, save for a few hours in-between for sleep. The struggle is so real.

Speaking of sleep, off I go. Just wanted to post a quick update to let y’all know I’m alive.

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