Tag Archives: time

A restaurant’s downfall

I was supposed to share with you another recipe, but while trying to write the article my sister stormed inside my room complaining about her experience during dinner. She was attending a baby shower party and they decided to hold it in a decent restaurant. It was a party of 25. I don’t think it was that big of a deal. I should know, because I used to be an assistant cook and front of house (FOH) for four years in a restaurant. This is nothing compared to a party where you actually have to close the whole restaurant.

She was fuming because it took two hours for food to be completely served. Not to mention that the things they ordered are not out of the ordinary. Provided that they did not order in advance, but you can’t make your customers wait for two hours. That’s just awful service.

When I was in charge of FOH, I always tell my servers and cooks to NOT make the customers wait for long, and if the dish they order would really take time to be prepared, you have to tell them in advance so that they could decide whether they’re willing to wait or opt for something else. As an asst. cook, I usually work with an extra cook plus a grill man. But even with two extra set of hands, sometimes you get rattled by the influx of orders, that’s why prepping is very important.

I start my day earlier than the rest. I see to it that all vegetables are chopped, rinsed and are within reach. I also thaw ingredients that needed to be thawed. I had a couple of experiences where I served grilled seafood and it’s still cold inside. I wanted the ground to swallow me whole during those times. Never would I serve anything that would put my and the restaurant’s name in shame again.

Back to my sister’s experience in this restaurant: the manager said that the orders took long to be cooked because they only had two cooks working that night. That’s a lame excuse! Only big restaurants have a lot of cooks and chefs, a typical restaurant usually only have two working cooks at a time. Some restaurants forget the value of kitchen dynamics. They blame everything on few manpower and peak hours.

If you work at a restaurant, you know that there are certain hours in the day that you will be very busy. So, I don’t see the reason why a group of 25 is different from serving people during peak hours? Restaurant owners and managers alike should take into consideration that food will be served fast if there’s an expediter to take care of the business in the kitchen.

An expediter make sure that the orders are announced, food is being prepared, plated and delivered to hungry customers on time. Work will be a lot easier and there will definitely be a system. I don’t believe in quantity when it comes to kitchen staff, it’s always about quality. And I guess that restaurant doesn’t value quality, nor do they even care if people go hungry because of them. What’s even more appalling was the fact that they were asking them for service charge, since they were a big party. If I were the manager, I would’ve given them desserts instead, free of charge of course.

Dining out is supposed to be a culinary experience. A restaurant’s life span is so unpredictable because there’s so much competition out there. And for one restaurant that wasted those 25 customers they had, your guess is as good as mine on how long their doors will be open for business.

This post was written by Rita Salonga.

Continuing the dating game

Many couples tend to relegate their “couple status” to the back burner once the kids start coming. Jack and I will be celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary this year, and I have found that we have had to very deliberate about our couplehood, so that it stayed on top-of-mind for the two of us.

It’s not that married couples don’t want to spend time together anymore. It actually has more to do with the demands of parenthood. One child gets sick, another one is having a tantrum… First child gets well, the other child catches the virus. The yayas nowadays come and go at lightning speed. Husband and wife are often just trying to keep pace with the daily mishaps that crop up. Before they realize it, the month has passed, and they have not managed to go out on even one true-blue date.

What can we wives do to get back into the “dating game”? (And I speak to the wives because I believe the women carry the tone of the relationship… or at least, women read up more on relationships!)

  1. Don’t always expect to be surprised by your husband. Before life takes over, sync your calendar with your husband’s, and set your dates.
  2. Pencil in your dates, but don’t break your heart if plans change. Be flexible, especially if your husband has to deal with urgent matters at work. But, make sure to reschedule that canceled date.
  3. While on your date, DO NOT TALK ABOUT YOUR KIDS! I learned this from a book I read to prepare me for the birth of my second child. The author devoted a short section to “protecting the marital thread” (as having another child always turns a couple’s world upside down). She specifically gave this tip. Couples should make the deliberate effort to focus on each other. Talk about things that you learned at work, new interests you want to pursue, challenges that you have in the office. Anything about YOU!
  4. Last, but not least, don’t give in when your kids cry as they see you leave for your date. They will be thankful later on when they see their parents continue to be happily married to each other. When they shriek and beg you to stay home—or worse, beg to join you!—be firm. State what time you’ll be home and why you’re heading out. “Friday night is time for Mom and Dad to spend time together.”

Ironically, switching off the “parent mode” for a few hours every week has helped Jack and me become more effective and happier parents. And the wonders, of course, that dating has done for our marriage. Getting married does not excuse couples from continuing to play the dating game!

This post was written by Meg Murrf Trinidad.

My new entrepreneurial lifestyle

I am now officially an entrepreneur. While many of the employed have romanticized ideas of what entrepreneurs’ lives, I’ve now seen first-hand how it is. Here’s how my lifestyle has changed:

1. I put in more work hours.

If you’re an entrepreneur, it doesn’t mean you dilly-dally for most of the day. It’s quite the opposite: there are many things to be done when building a business, and since I’m just starting out, most of that work goes to me. Don’t start a business just because you want to work less—it won’t happen.

2. My time is flexible.

While I do work more, I get to choose when I will. That means I get to visit friends when they’re in the hospital, run errands at the mall right when it opens, transact at the bank outside the lunch hour, work out at the gym when there are fewer people, etc. I guess it’s my little reward for having to work more hours.

3. I get more of the morning sun.

sunriseSomething tells me I used to be deprived of vitamin D. I’d usually be in the office between 8:00 and 10:00 am, so I wouldn’t get a chance to get vitamin D the natural way. But now, since I occasionally walk around from 8:00-9:00 am, I enjoy the smiling sun.

4. I get heat exhaustion once in a while.

The sun is fine in the morning but it gets bad after that. I’m rather sensitive to heat, so I really avoid going out at midday. But there’s no one else to do the running. I do go out for errands at noon when I have to, and most of the time, that means the heat will get to me. I try to battle the heat by drinking cold juices but in the Philippines, you could only do so much.

5. Wasting time has very real consequences.

When you’re employed, you could get away with being idle once in a while. But when you’re building a business, everything rests on you, so time wasted really means less income. I can’t afford to waste a single minute of my time because it means something in the plan won’t materialize.

6. Money really matters now, and that’s a lot of stress.

I used to take the flow of money for granted because I received a paycheck every two weeks. Now, I have to make the business work, and that means I have to make the income model work. That’s a great deal of pressure. But it really comes with the territory, and I knew that this would happen even before I made the leap to entrepreneurship. I’ve had to come up with ways to sustain myself (e.g. part-time work) so that the money stress won’t kill me.

And last but not least…

7. I get to build my business the way I want to, without having to explain or prove anything to anyone!

When you’re employed, you’d have to have nearly everything approved. We builders by temperament can’t build anything without having to explain so much to our superiors. Since I’m running on minuscule funds from my own pocket and from an angel investor (i.e. my ever-so-supporting mom), I don’t owe any explanations to my bosses or shareholders. Building is simply faster this way—and heaven for people like me! When I go to work, I just go straight to work. I don’t make as many proposals and presentations as I used to 😉

What do you think about entrepreneurial life?