Thursday, December 29, 2011

I've stopped trying to have a full Caribbean menu every day. We keep the full menu of sandwiches available, plus a homemade soup and a special dinner. Today, which was windy and rainy, although not really cold, we sold out of soup for the first time. The special was turkey cutlets, served with black beans and rice with bacon. We got not one order for that, which is a shame. It was delicious.

I'm very happy with the three employees I have. It turns out I didn't need the ones who didn't show, after all.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Another day at work. New server started today, but we had to send her home sick.

Want sleep.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Across the great divide. Our business is open. We've made some sales. It has been slow, but, considering that it's a holiday weekend and no one knows we're open, it's not so bad. We're gradually learning what we have, what we need, what we can do, and what we can't. Our one day off this week is going to be spent buying stuff to fill the gaps between what-we-have and what-we need. The week after that, I'm going to take a real day off. I promise.

Oh, and it was Christmas, too.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I had another day without knitting. We slept late, listened to our radio shows, ate a leisurely breakfast before going to the shop. There was no hurry. As we had failed our inspection, we wouldn't be able to open until after the weekend, anyway. We could take all day to correct the deficiencies, get inspected tomorrow, and then notify the staff that we'd be opening Tuesday.

We went into the shop at a little after 10. Maybe it was 11; I don't remember. I delivered the various things I had bought-- bleach, trash cans-- to their destinations, and then went about assembling another big shelving unit. Once Lance, our contractor, finished flushing the dishmachine, and ran a cycle or two using bleach as the sanitizer, I tested it. It was exactly in the range it was supposed to be in, so he called the inspector to arrange a retest. Surprise! We had come so close to passing that she decided she didn't have to reinspect us; she gave us approval over the phone to open.

We spent the next couple of hours correcting the rest of the deficiencies. I reassembled two small shelving units on which the bottom shelves were too low, and Tom turned all the right-side-up dishes upside down, per Health Department directive. Then, Tom left to run errands, while I picked up some paperwork and proceeded to phone staff and arrange schedules for the next week. Easy peasy. We arranged for trash pickup, so Tom can discontinue his twice-daily dump runs. It was a lot to ask of him when it was just clean cardboard for recycling; it would be too much to ask him to transport actual garbage as well.

Then, Tom waited at the shop with a repairman, come to fix the stoves that were contaminated by the accidental triggering of the fire suppression system, while I spent a couple of hours, and several hundred dollars, buying groceries for the shop. The car was full, and the shop ready to close, before I even started looking at meat, veg, and dairy, so I'll have to go back when it opens in eight hours. My cooks are meeting me in the morning, for a practice day. We open for business Christmas Eve.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

In spite of having stayed at the restaurant until after midnight, cleaning and studying the Oregon food-service laws, and going back in this morning for more, in spite of our having valiantly conquered a myriad of last-minute disasters, we didn't pass our inspection.

I wasn't terribly surprised. With all the problems we've had this week, from the refrigerator breaking down, the fire suppressant system accidentally discharging (and thereby contaminating the whole kitchen), the pilot lights on the stove failing, and, today, the dishmachine springing a leak, it would have taken something of a miracle to pass. We did fix all the aforementioned problems, but failed because I bought the wrong sanitizer for the dishwasher. I bought quaternary ammonia; the machine was calibrated for bleach. Live and learn.

Because of the holiday, delaying our certification by two days delays our opening for four. While I am, of course, disappointed to not be able to open before Christmas, I'm even more relieved that I'll have the weekend off.

No knitting today; I didn't even try.
Why, it's tomorrow already.

Busy day. The restaurant is almost ready for inspection tomorrow.

If the inspector is available.

Monday, December 19, 2011

And yet more today.

The refrigerator quit, and the fire suppression system malfunctioned, dropping a load of chemicals all over the kitchen. The contractor called in an emergency housekeeper to clean up the kitchen, but I still have to flush the fryer tomorrow. He also got a refrigerator tech to come out, who kluged a fix that will hold (it is said) until he can get the replacement part he needs.

Knowing that the whole restaurant would need to be swept and mopped, and the new dishes washed, before we could open for business, and knowing that I have no desire to mop or wash dishes myself, I called some of my new hires to do the work for me. As it turns out, they have different ideas of what "available any hours" means than what I had. Two of the people I had hired will be unavailable until after the holidays. A third will do the work, but not until evening, because he doesn't have childcare during the day.


I did get more dishes unpacked, more shelves assembled, and all the pictures hanged. The place is starting to look like something.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

We had another hard day of work on the restaurant today. I finished assembling the shelves, and then started stocking them. Until you take enough dishes for 60 people out of boxes, you don't realize how hard that can be. I was exhausted before I was done, but still insisted on arranging the tables and chairs the way they'll be when the place is open.

Tom assembled the bus carts, applied the felt dots to the table legs, and ran some essential errands. We didn't make it all the way to hanging the rest of the pictures; we were both exhausted.

Did a little knitting in the morning before work, but, after work, I was too tired to pick up needles.