What is the lifeblood of a restaurant? Is it the food? The ambience? The location? Nope. I’d have to say it’s having a reliable group of dishwashers. Dishwashers? More important than the food? Nothing is more stressful than having a dishwasher call out. If a cook calls out, you can manage. Just move a few people around, maybe you might have to work a station instead of expoing. But not being able to find a dishwasher to come in means a shitty rest of the day. You take it for granted that your dishwasher is going to show up and work. When they don’t, it just shoves a huge monkey wrench into everything. You pretty much try anything to get it covered, such as calling someone in on their day off. If that doesn’t work, ask if they know someone who is looking for work. Occasionally you might get lucky that way. Hell, I used to steal dishwashers from our sister restaurant across the street. I even made backwaits wash dishes and rewarded them with a free dinner. No one wants to wash dishes all night. It sucks. I don’t even like washing dishes at home. It’s gross, hot, and a never ending process. The worst is when you are the extra person in the kitchen the night you are down a dishwasher. You’re pretty much obligated to start scrubbing pots and pans and take one for the team. Dishwasher is a thankless and underappreciated job in the kitchen that often gets overlooked. Often they have jobs during the day and then come and work in the restaurant all night. And I thought my hours were bad. Once you get a good group of dishwashers though, your job as a chef is golden. It will definitely pay off in the long run. I’ve even had dishwashers who became prep cooks, and even work the line sometimes. But seriously take the time and thank them for doing a great job, especially when it’s a job no one wants to do. Now all you have to worry about the idiot line cooks.
If you’re a restaurant south of the Mason-Dixon Line, you should probably have ranch. Now I’m not talking fine dining obviously. I’m not going to go into a Michelin star restaurant and ask for some ranch for my Wagyu steak. But in sports bar or casual dining setting, you should probably keep ranch on hand. I used to work in an Italian restaurant and one of the servers would actually make ranch to order for guests if they asked. I would just look at him and shake my head. The things they do for tips. Anyway, we were in a bar downtown last week after my Applebee’s debacle ordering fried things, and of course we asked for ranch. His response in a smug manner was “No, we don’t have ranch here.” Well we asked if there was any other sort of dipping sauce. “Well, we have an herbed sour cream.” It’s fucking fancy ranch! Hipster ranch if you will. You’re in the South. We love ranch on everything. Especially if it’s deep fried. And we also love sweet tea. Enough about ranch, my three day weekend has started and it’s beautiful outside. Day drinking perhaps? Cheers foodies!