Mama said there would be weeks like this

Vie, 24/06/2016 - 16:04

When it rains, it pours. What were the chances that out of 365 days in a year, or even, say, the 30 days in the month, our small café would have two large groups reserve lunch for the same two days back to back? Neither interested in the same menu items? Ever the masochists happy to make it work, we smiled, accepted, and dug in.

A few email exchanges and we had menus tailored to each group and we were ready for high prep mode: two special menus plus our regular service. Lots of lasagnas and quiche. The kitchen went to the markets and ramped up. The front of the house counted out silverware, checked dry stock, fruit, sugar and coffee stash. We all calculated how fast we could do dishes between groups, whether we needed rentals, guesstimated how many regular clients would switch to take-out to be ready with those set ups.

The bakery went into overdrive on Sunday, first quiche and lasagna, and then some to spare. Then pecan pies, our signature ginger cookies, cupcakes, triple layer red velvet cakes, mini pies, flan – all individual serving sizes. If there’s one overriding theme in our clients’ sweets preferences, it’s that they love the one serving size and almost never are interested in taking home a whole anything.

If it can go wrong, it will try its mightiest. Especially on Monday. Our market order came over an hour late and short part of the order. The local bakery ran out of the bread we wanted for the hamburgers at 7 a.m. The bacon for the club sandwiches never came. A client needed a large, entire dessert by lunchtime. (What?!) We smiled, we worked it in. We had late breakfasters. (It’s Monday people, really, don’t you need to get to work?). One group leader called at 11, to ask for a single serving of chicken soup for one client who was sick. (Good chicken soup in 2 hours? With no room on the stove? The burn on my hand from that effort will eventually heal…).

Tuesday dawned calmer until the knife slip in the kitchen, requests for last minute, between-seatings table rearrangements and sub-groupings and the unexpected new lasagna orders, making us all thankful for those additional lasagnas we’d made on Sunday.

All’s well that ends well. Six tired staff members served over 60 happy customers each day in two intense hours. Time to rest, tomorrow we start anew.