Wednesday, October 29, 2008

an insanely large machine

So I work as a busser in The Cheesecake Factory in Waikiki. 21 million in annual sales, and in the last year, as tourism receipts and room occupancy rates have taken a serious hit here, our store has increased sales by 10%. There are 340 employees (plus the 18 of us that got hired when I did), 17 managers, 140 servers... I thought I had been working in restaurants for the last 5+ years, but I was totally wrong - I may have worked in businesses that sell food to make money - but not in a real restaurant. It's truly an insanely large machine.

There is a guy, Oscar, whose job it is to clean the back of house. He sweeps the line, he sweeps the prep kitchen, he mops, and then he does it all again. It takes him a little over an hour, and he does it all day, from 10 in the morning, until his relief comes in at 5 in the evening, when it all begins again. The dish room does not have stress mats in it... it is literally one giant floor drain with one inch by one inch plastic grates covering it, such that all the debris and liquid just goes into the floor. The dish machines and the sinks drain into it, it smells a little nasty, but it's effective. The last prep cooks leave at 2am and the first of the next day are in by 6. All of the managers have CIA style earpieces with microphones on their collars so that they can communicate with each other and the hosts, the expediter has a microphone that pumps into the speakers in the back of hose to give commands and sports scores to the prep cooks, dishwashers, and Oscar. "White rice to sautee." "Salad side bus-cart pickup." "Oscar to the pasta side, broom and wet mop." "Go Phillies!"

I bus. We turn tables in less than two minutes from when they break, or we get our knees broken. We are so busy (a 1 hr.+ wait every night) that the only limit to the amount of money we (the restaurant) can make is how quickly we can reset a table. It's a very important job in the grand scheme of things. We are table setting mercenaries. There is no such thing as a break - not if you want to make money... and we all do.

Money is what makes the machine run. 340 people who have come together to make awesome food, offer exceptional service, and be be total badasses which in turn, makes us all a ton of money. Well, I don't make a ton yet, but mark my words: I will. Because I am a badass. And this is a place that is custom made for badasses like me.


  1. You're in my top 8 of favorite badasses, which is pretty fucking good company. Ghandi, Frank Sinatra, The Dude, Mom , Gotama Siddartha, Mohammed Ali, Chuck Norris, Joe Lorenzen. That's the list folks.

  2. The floor that is a drain that is a floor sounds a little disturbing; where does it all go? What if it gets clogged? Is there a giant garbage disposal that is the foundation?

  3. I have no idea... It's really crazy. They keep most of the food and debris out of it with strainers, sorting, etc., I imagine they just squeegee it out and clean it at the end of the night.