Rising to the Challenge

We recently took on another Junior Manager, which at first, I’ll be honest, felt a little bit threatening. Someone moving into my turf, possibly gunning for the same promotion. But it turns out that we have very different backgrounds and very different strengths, and they seem to complement each other well. She started as a cashier and worked her way up to FOH Lead before this, so she’s better with the customer interactions and dealing with the cashiers (who are like the servers of the quick service world — cooks and servers often have trouble seeing eye-to-eye). I have my admin and culinary background, so I handle the nightly specials, ordering, inventory, and requests from corporate. We’ve been chef’s dynamic duo as the closing team.

The past few nights, though, definitely brought challenges. Staff called out from their shifts last minute, the restaurant was busier than expected, one girl had a meltdown in front of the guests, the power went out in a 5 block radius around our restaurant… it was bad. I thought, man — why is this so hard? I’ve closed on my own before, so it should be even easier with another manager. It was reassuring to learn that it was bad luck that all of these things seemed to occur simultaneously and that we did a good job of maintaining composure and pushing forward. I mean, it sucked but we survived. I’m very proud of that. We are definitely reevaluating our team (some cuts have been made, and some have given us their 2 weeks’ notice) and hope to build a stronger team, especially with the busy summer months ahead.

But, come hell or high water, I’m not going to let this restaurant break me. I definitely had my “I don’t want to be a manager anymore, let me be a line cook again” moments, and the honeymoon period of this new job ended really quickly, but I have my eyes on the prize. Once I get the title (and responsibilities) of Sous Chef, the sky’s the limit.

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