Saturday, March 12, 2011

Eating Out is an Almost Real Job

Imagine...Being asked to eat out and getting Paid$$ for it! Dream job, Huh. Hold your horses; never look a Gift Horse in the mouth (bad teeth). Now, for the rest of the story.

I have a Friend (sure, you've heard That One before). She owns several restaurants in town. As a challenge, she stumbled upon a unique opportunity to take ownership of an ethnic themed restaurant for little to nothing. One Problem...

Frogs Can't Bake Chicken

My friend lives the American Dream. An immigrant, entrepreneur, she is an honor graduate -- magna cum laute -- of Hard Knocks University. Her restauranteur skills are impeccable. Yet frogs can't bake chicken. The new venture has an ethnic-specific theme; her cooking expertise is as far away from the new restaurant's theme as california is from new york.

Eating Out is an Almost Real Job

Determined to make a success of the new free enterprise, she asked for my help. The favor, "Mystery Shop My New Restaurant." "I Want a Full Report!"

Off I go; invited a friend that has a palate for this ethnic-specific haute cuisine. Arriving @4pm, the place was like a ghost town, High Noon at O.K. Corral. One would have thought that Jesse James was coming to town. I talking GHOST!

The Restaurant Experience

A lovely young female server greets and seats the two of us. Her name is Silvia; she is 16 years old. Her smile is Powerful! Two Thumbs Up -- my friend and I render.

"What's the special," he asks. She recommends the stuffed alligator. NOT...

The special was less exotic (not wanting to giveaway the restaurant's theme -- someone might recognize it). Usually, I post customer service experiences and restaurant reviews on YELP dotcom. That would be too public; the review would not have been very flattering.

The 'Help' were busy cleaning and mopping the floor. I wanted to meet the cook/chef, but was told that he was too busy. Busy? There were no patrons there except me and...

We order -- fast forward, 20 minutes later, the food arrives. I order chicken.

Food Critique:

  • Chicken was cold
  • Chicken had NO FLAVOR
  • Tortillas were store-bought; were not compatible with enchiladas (too thick)
  • Guacamole -- good, yet missing cilantro
  • Cheese -- American...was not the authentic ethnic variety
  • Flavor-Deficit, Flavor-Deficit, Flavor-Deficit
We ordered dessert, that was pretty good if not almost GREAT! I didn't have a knife with my serving napkin (fork only); had to request one. Service was Two-Thumbs Up! -did I say that already?

The bill for two entrees, although gratis, was rather steep. Not sure if I would have paid as much. maybe, if the flavor was more...

Final Grade:
  • Customer Service                   * A+
  • Food & Flavor                         * B- 
  • Price                                        * C
  • Location                                   * A+
  • Serving Time, Order-to-Plate  *D+
Overall Score: B -The Restaurant WILL make it; it has potential and a great owner (my friend). Food needs some salt...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

I'm (was) Standing on Shaky Ground

Wow...what a week. Boy, do I have a story to tell. The name of the story? Yep, you guessed it...

-I'm (was) Standing on Shaky Ground

It went down like this. First, I got a call. Them I had a meeting. Next, the floor was falling out from under my feet. Then I heard music. It was some rocker from Austin Texas singing a song called, Standin-On-Shaky-Ground. It also had a funky Stevie-Ray-kinda-funky-guitar thing going on. Oh yeah, right; Get on with the story...

Shaky Ground Feels Like...

Sweaty palms -- dry (cotton) mouth -- loss of appetite. All of the above. Anyone out there ever had these maladies outside of an emergency room situation? Some of you can identify with this. The bottom is falling out; you're slipping down that slippery slope. You're falling...and ya can't get up. YOU, my friend, have entered the, Standing-On-Shaky-Ground Zone.

Finances are probably the most powerful form of energy save Solar energy from the core of the universe. My finances and career took a right jab to the head. Did I see it coming? Sure, but I couldn't duck in time. Why? Because, I was Standing-On-Shaky-Ground. As gut-wrenching as it was, I also felt a sense of encouragement.

Encouragement can find us in the darkest of places...the deepest of holes. In fact, when the Standing-On-Shaky-Ground monster comes upon us, we attempt to grab on to something -- anything in order to regain our footing. But it doesn't work like that...does it?

The Best Part of Standing-On-Shaky-Ground  

Whenever I began to seek meaning to the mundaness of work (all work is mundane, trust me), I find encouragement and comfort in two places. One being the Holy Bible (KJV); the other? My Blogpost review of Thomas Moore's, Life At Work--Caring for the Soul. Call it vanity; call it shallow hypocracy, but Life At Work put it all into perspective for me. I was Standing-On-Shaky-Ground because I had asked for it...I had secretly wished for this. Waaat?

Don't get me wrong. When a man or woman is assaulted and/or accosted, NO! They didn't ask for it. Beyond that, much of what occurs in our lives, are of our own doing. Trouble is -- we see it coming...know it's coming. Betcha by Golly Wow; Gee Whiz. We just can't avoid it; can't get out the way. Can't duck. We're Standing-On-Shaky-Ground.

The Conclusion of the Matter

Whatever YOUR Standing-On-Shaky-Ground is. A Life-threatening medical diagnosis, job loss, breakup of a relationship, divorce, work stress (including production quotas, demotions, and/or PROmotions), or simple burn-out -- Standing-On-Shaky-Ground doesn't have a magic portion to fixit or make-it-disappear.

We must go through the fire...alone. When I was Standing-On-Shaky-Ground, I found comfort, courage, and clarity via Prayer and meditation, but I did not find relief. Standing (now) on the other side of the issue, I've gain strength from it all. But, it still wasn't pretty or sexy. It Was What it Was. I was Standing-On-Shaky-Ground.

What about you...what is Your, 'I was Standing-On-Shaky-Ground.' I'm curious to learn about it (as are this blog audience). How did you handle it? What were your thoughts and feelings? Did you make it out uncut? Did it defeat you? Leave a Comment(s)...