Friday, February 12, 2010

Three Weeks to Go!

Wow, I can hardly believe it myself! My last class started today. The class ahead of me had their graduation and I kept thinking to myself, "Next time, it will be my turn!" I will be the one celebrating and moving out! (I have been suuuper jealous of all the people moving out every three weeks!)

Back of the house in the cafe was so killer! I managed to make it through the class only burning one thing! Whew! That whole day was bad and some say I was jinxed by Chef M because he had said it was a miracle I hadn't burned anything. Earlier this week, I had to train the person who would be taking my spot (ahhh!!!). When Chef M and I had sat down before to go over my evaluation, he brought up an interesting point. The actual bake is not something that can be taught in a book, or done with just a timer. So it was definitely interesting trying to teach someone else what to look for when baking our products.

Also this week, I had to spend about 6 hours doing cross-training for the last class (front of the house: aka customer service) in addition to my regular class hours. It was awful! I had to change my sleep schedule yet again, and I was just exhausted.

Today was Day 1, and it was a graduation day, so we all knew it was going to be hectic! We had a sort of orientation with the instructor back in December to go over some things and she said the one word that would describe our Day 1 would be "inhumane". I laughed to myself and thought that we were a good group, we could handle anything!

Ha. Ha. Ha. We totally got rocked this morning! Setting up was easy. My station is "tray up". I will coordinate all orders before they go out to the customer. The way the cafe operations are set up is a little funky in my opinion and nothing I have ever seen before. I worked behind the counter at a restaurant for three years, and I did all the coffee drinks, to-go orders, and general packaging and customer service. The cafe here on campus is the busiest of any restaurant, and there actually IS enough work to do to have each job be its own station. We have two students who bag up and plate all desserts and venoisserie (pastries, danish, cookies, etc). We have a barista and also a cold beverage student. There is one person who does the savory station expediting (they coordinate the hot food), and then there are several dining room attendants.

The first thing I have to do is go down to our school's storeroom to pick up the food order for the cafe. It was the most massive thing I have ever seen! On a huge cart. Just me and the cart. Yay! It took me over an hour to get things inventoried and put away, then I had a little bit of time to get my station organized before the doors opened.

In about half an hour, we totally got rocked. I had about 30 tickets laid out on the counter, the barista was 15 deep in hot beverages, and the slow guy on cold bev decided to polish glasses instead of give me a hand. It was out of control! Customers were getting upset because it was taking 15 minutes to get a coffee, and of course I am the one who gets to take the brunt of all their complaints! We sorted everything out, yet still kept getting rush after rush. I think the flaw in this system is that the cashiers take orders faster than we can fill them (customers come in, order and pay first, then sit down or wait for to-go's). I don't think this is a good system, but it works okay.

At the end of our very long day with no breaks :( we had a short meeting and our instructor said we did a great job! No one froze up or broke down, we just kept going! She said that she is pretty certain that we made our sales goal of the day. The deal was that if we made $10,000 on our first day, we wouldn't have to take the final! I'm pretty sure it's in the bag seeing as we were busy all day long!

Day 1 is the hardest and I am so glad it is overwith! We got slammed and now we know what to do to prevent mistakes and get through rough patches. It's not going to be a walk in the park, but I can tell you that I am rounding the bases and running hard to make it to the finish line!!!

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