Friday, April 13, 2007

Into a Groove

Maureen says:
It occurred to me the other day that I shouldn't have said you were 'stuck with me' in relation to the dearth of entries from Tom. Not because the phrase smacked of low writerly self-esteem (though one could argue it did), but because once the doors opened, Tom stepped into his wheelhouse and the list of new-and-interesting-to-him things to write about began to dwindle or, at the least, aren't appropriate to publish in a public space.

I, on the other hand? I sit daily, not always calmly, but I sit daily in the center of an information storm. I'm learning the nuances of a line of business with which I have limited experience (things like how, when you're out to dinner and the owner or manager visits your table, yes, they're gauging your experience, but they're also examining the plating and presentation of your meal). I am learning how to modify my skill set to support the restaurant, service our customers and empower our staff. I am learning that the practice of being present and focusing solely on the immediate reality doesn't just keep you grounded and centered, but might in fact be a smart way to build a business.

We are slowly getting into a groove, Tom and I. Slowly learning what life as restaurateurs looks and feels like. And by life I mean the whole of it--professional, personal, domestic, familial, social, spiritual, emotional, physical (we're still not eating our first meal of the day before noon). We're finding our way and finding it more quickly than I anticipated even though this last week has been anything been but typical and none of the anomalies had anything to do with the restaurant (shakeups at my company and the ensuing additional job responsibilities, semi-emergency surgery for our boy cat that's set him right as rain--thank you Dr. McCammon et al at Lockridge Animal Hospital--and yet more snow in April).

So I'll be writing about this search for balance between owning a restaurant and having a life, what I'm learning and what maybe I wish I didn't have to learn and keeping you all up to date on any happenings at Z. Until next, read on for a visual-literary representation of what the 48 hours prior to opening felt like (with apologies to William Faulkner).

Still tweaking the menus and need to finalize them now so the printer can print them and we can stuff them into the menu books and wow they look hot don't they, but we need take-away versions and we're going to have wait on that because there is staff to train and paperwork to complete for payroll and tax withholding and direct deposit and the back door where deliveries come might as well be a revolving and I think right now I could focus better in the middle of Grand Central Station or the Filene's Basement wedding gown sale because I've realized fully and finally that we have XX people in our employ and for me, the long-time good corporate worker bee, it's enough to strike terror in my heart, but there's no time to be scared which is actually helpful because the kitchen and the pantries and the dining room need to be set up and organized because I still have to procure things from the office-supply store like rubber bands and tip envelopes and thermal paper rolls and plastic sheet protectors and more (more!) dry erase markers which disappear more stealthily than socks in a dryer and small trashcans that are in keeping with decor but aren't priced in keeping with decor and then I have to print and hole punch the reservation sheets and what about gift certficates and has anyone seen the stack of take-away menus I just printed or the fuel cells for the table lamps and dear lord in heaven we don't have carryout containers can Joan go out for some, but that's right, the lunch menu isn't completely programmed in the POS yet and we need her for that because Kristine is running all over hither and yon to complete the bar inventory and I still need to record the voicemail message on both lines and why is there so much interference on the line whenever I try to do that, well, I can't worry about that because the glasses and flatware have been buffed and need to held to the light and checked and we only just now determined how we want to present the salt and pepper and yes Joan, you're right that neither Tom nor I has eaten in about 36 hours but I'm off to the mall and I hate the mall, but I'm off to the mall because we both need multiple pairs of dark wash jeans to wear on site and Tom's size is the notoriously difficult to find 32" x 34" and please tell me if you know where I can find jeans that are age/style appropriate for me because there is low-rise and there is no-rise and we are apparently living in a no-rise world and who wants to look at no-rise when they're eating, let's be real, and don't get me started on how it seems that the fashion industry designs for the 20-year-olds and the 60+-year-olds or the issue I take with being ignored as a demographic with spending power and how I can't do anything about it because owning a restaurant and launching a clothing line and having a full time job would kill me and Kristine, please tell me, even if you're lying, that this gets easier and that okay, really, by next week at this time I won't give this day a second thought because there are only 24 hours before we open and there is not enough kava tea in the world to get me to the place where I'll believe we're going to be ready or I can take a full and complete breath.

But we were. And I did. And Kristine was right: it's way easier now. More terrifying in a lot of ways, but way easier.

1 comment:

tammy said...

I've been meaning to send congrats on your opening! Hopefully, we'll get the nice weather this weekend that we've been promised.