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Tag Archives: Labor Day

My Labor Day observations backed up by “More Bread, Please”

http://morebreadplz.blogspot.com/2010/09/asshats-rated-pg-13.html#more

Yes, another restaurant slammed the Sunday night before Labor Day. Here’s where most people get it wrong:

“Started off SLLLOOWWW, which was to be expected as it is the night before labor day and we have been having some AWESOME weather lately, so we all figured that people would be out at the lake rather than sitting in the restaurant trying to shove fish down their mouths.  We figured wrong”.

“By 7pm, we were wall to wall.  Not a wait, but a steady stream of folks that would be come in right as you thought you were done for the night”.

It’s logical, but fallacious. I discussed the realities that undermine that assumption in this post from last year:

https://teleburst.wordpress.com/2009/09/03/labor-day/

“But don’t get fooled. Remember what I said about the day before a major vacation – it’s often times busier than you might expect. As the day before Labor Day always falls on a Sunday, a day that is traditionally already a bit slower than most, it’s easy to get lulled into a sense of false security. One thing about the Sunday before Labor Day, it can surprise you. This is because some people have family and friends who travel in to participate in the hallowed Labor Day Cookout. Because the grand feast happens the next day, some of these folks will go out the night before because they want someone else cook for them and they want to start their Labor Day in an institutional social setting. And the hosts like to be distracted from all of the prep work that they’ve done prior to The Cookout.”

I was going to post again about this subject before Labor Day this year, but forgot. I’ll try not to make the same mistake next year. I always go into the Sunday night before Labor Day expecting to be busy. Last year, it was busier than anyone expected (except me, of course) and yet, due to a vindictive manager who isn’t around anymore because he was caught stealing, I only made around $90 while all around me made good money. I’ve never talked about this particular manager on the blog, a manager who admitted privately to others that he deliberately screwed me over whenever he could, but, guess what? He’s gone, disgraced, and I’m still standing. He cost me literally thousands of dollars, but sometimes waiting out a situation like that can be rewarding.

Finally, I would have commented about my Labor Day post at More Bread, Please, but there’s a problem – if you want to comment, you’re automatically logged in under your Facebook name. As I choose to be anonymous, that’s a non-starter.

Anyway, I think I’m going to post one of my “change of seasons” posts quarterly because I think that waiters need to be mentally prepared for those times where the restaurant gets kick-started out of its routine.

Happy Labor Day!

For those of you who are lucky enough to have restaurants that close for Labor Day, enjoy the fruits of your labor. For those of you who still have to work, I hope that you have been lucky enough to be compensated with an extra day off sometime during this Labor Day weekend.

I meant to post about having to work the Sunday night before Labor Day because it’s such a tricky night, but I forgot. Even managers get sucked into a false sense that it’s going to be slow, but waiters can be lulled to sleep thinking it’s going to be slow. Logic dictates that if Sunday is normally slow, the day before Labor Day will certainly be even slower. After all, everyone’s going to be cooking out and partying on Monday. Who wants to eat out when they’re having to prep for a full day of stuffing faces?

Well, dear reader, logic fails if you don’t consider that Labor Day is a big travel weekend. People fly in to rejoin their friends from far-off places. Who wants to cook for them the night before the big cookout? People who travel are hungry and a restaurant is a good stopping off point on the way home from the airport. Parents fly in to visit their kids off at school and they enjoy the opportunity to take the spawn out to dinner. People like to turn the cooking duties over to the pros to give them some relief from all of the pre-cookout prep and concerns. And finally, this is the time when people make last-minute, spur-of-the-moment decisions to “grab a bite to eat”. So, restaurants which get most of their covers from reservations don’t see a lot of early names on their books.

When you take all of these factors into account, the Sunday prior to Labor Day often comes as a big surprise to novices as well as seasoned vets.

That’s why I wish I had posted a caution before last night.

I hear you saying, “Well, big boy, you sound smart now“. I’ll bet you got rocked last night and now you’re pretending to be really smart. Hindsight is 20/20, right?

Well, you’re right. We did get rocked last night. We started with about 35 covers at the end of Saturday night and ended up with 140 by the end of the night! Normally, we’d finish with about 60 – 80 if we started with 35. We even had one less than our normal Sunday crew of 7 servers, so you can imagine that we were relatively very busy. Of course, I knew that we were going to be busy, so I wasn’t blindsided, but the manager that did the schedule didn’t look at historical figures, I guess. The MOD realized that it was going to be busier than usual since we had gone from 35 to about 70 during the afternoon leading up to pre-shift. But even he was surprised at what we ended up with. We doubled that figure by the end of the night.

But you would be wrong if you think that I’m just posting this info based on hindsight.

For evidence, I give you this post from last year:

https://teleburst.wordpress.com/2009/09/03/labor-day/

While you should read the whole post, and the other post that references the coming last quarter of the year,

https://teleburst.wordpress.com/2009/10/27/getting-into-holiday-mode/

here is the part that should make me look like a genius:”

“But don’t get fooled. Remember what I said about the day before a major vacation – it’s often times busier than you might expect. As the day before Labor Day always falls on a Sunday, a day that is traditionally already a bit slower than most, it’s easy to get lulled into a false sense of security. One thing about the Sunday before Labor Day, it can surprise you. This is because some people have family and friends who travel in to participate in the hallowed Labor Day Cookout. Because the grand feast happens the next day, some of these folks will go out the night before because they want someone else cook for them and they want to start their Labor Day in an institutional social setting. And the hosts like to be distracted from all of the prep work that they’ve done prior to The Cookout.

So, if you’re working Sunday, don’t assume that it will be dead. It might very well be, but if you go in anticipating better, you won’t be caught flat-footed”.

So, note to self, “Make sure that you post this warning next year to warn your fellow waiters that might have to work pre-Labor Day Sunday night”.

BTW, I walked with $325.

And didn’t get out of the restaurant until after midnight. We normally close at 10pm and do our last seating around 9:30. I got three tables at 9:45, only one of which was on the books (for 9pm).

So that reminds me of something that I failed to mention – be ready for uncharacteristic late tables. I’ve noticed that in the past as well. I think it might be related to travel.

The Sunday night before Labor Day

At my restaurant, it turned out as I predicted – it was a little busier than you might have thought for a night before a big cookout holiday. 

Wasn’t crazy busy though and I left after 3 tables and $90 in my pocket.

For those of you itching for a personal post

Just wanted to let you ruffians know that I’m smoking a 6.5 lb Boston Butt right now using a new experimental rub. Cost me less than .60/ lb after paying .88/lb and using a Harris-Teeter $20 off $50 purchase coupon.

Hell, it’s about as cheap as ramen, but it takes a million times longer (it shouldn’t be finished until well after 9 pm since I only got it on the Weber around 11:45.)

Man, nothing like the smell of hickory and alder on Labor Day. Coupled with a pale ale, of course.

Labor Day

Traditionally, the week leading up to Labor Day is a slow one for most restaurants.

Usually it follows a couple of weeks up uptick from the slow summer months (except for those restaurants whose busy months are summer, of course).

Waiters are lulled into a false sense that the slow days are over. They rejoice over fattened wallets and busier, less stultifying shifts.

And then comes “the week”.

What a letdown.

But it’s inevitable. There is a confluence of events that conspire against the hapless waiter. School is firmly back and parents are dealing with the financial and personal shock of getting their kids acclimated to their new environs. The summer is almost “officially” over and people scramble to wring out the last joys of summer without the benefit of the restaurant. and they prepare for the onslaught of the inevitable Labor Day cookout.

So, fellow waiters, don’t get down. It will pick back up where it left off next week.

But don’t get fooled. Remember what I said about the day before a major vacation – it’s often times busier than you might expect. As the day before Labor Day always falls on a Sunday, a day that is traditionally already a bit slower than most, it’s easy to get lulled into a sense of false security. One thing about the Sunday before Labor Day, it can surprise you. This is because some people have family and friends who travel in to participate in the hallowed Labor Day Cookout. Because the grand feast happens the next day, some of these folks will go out the night before because they want someone else cook for them and they want to start their Labor Day in an institutional social setting. And the hosts like to be distracted from all of the prep work that they’ve done prior to The Cookout.

So, if you’re working Sunday, don’t assume that it will be dead. It might very well be, but if you go in anticipating better, you won’t be caught flat-footed.

Happy Labor Day everyone!

labor_dayThanks to www.cantkeepquiet.com/ for this cartoon…