Manager Runs Restaurant Into the Ground

September 26, 2015

in Odds & Ends Stories

I used to work in an Italian restaurant in a small midwestern town. It was run by an Italian family. The father was the sweetest man you could ever meet. He was our dishwasher. His oldest son mainly cooked, while the youngest son, Tim, was the general manager.

Now Tim was a piece of work. He opened, stayed through lunch, had his break and then usually showed up halfway through dinner. There was no problem with that except nobody could clock in because you needed a manager code, which he refused to give to any server. There was also no “head server” to make decisions when he wasn’t there. It mostly went by seniority. The problems came when only one server could put food in the computer because no one else could clock in. It had gotten to a point where I had to give the cooks a handwritten ticket, add the bill and figure tax manually, and give customers a handwritten bill on receipt paper. It looked horribly unprofessional and I always felt awful about it. Luckily, most people were okay with an apology.

Tim also had a thing for young servers. He was 24, which is too young to be running a restaurant in my opinion. But he looked over experienced servers and instead hired servers who were under 18 and had no experience, only because they were good looking. It’s a little creepy if you ask me. But most nights, I would be the only server old enough to serve alcohol, so on top of all my tables, I was also expected to run wine to the rest of the tables in the restaurant, and my tips suffered because of it.

They were also incredibly cheap. The company we sent our laundry to refused to do it anymore after I was there for a month. They hadn’t been paid in weeks. The ice machine broke so they bought plastic ice trays and put them in the freezer. We ran out of ice every night and management was too cheap to buy ice, so our customers went without. On top of all that, our paychecks almost never went through.

Eventually I had enough, found a new job and left. At that point, only two servers worked there besides me because turnover was so high. Both had worked there for 2 weeks, were 16 and had never had a serving job before. They closed the restaurant that weekend because they had no staff, but reopened shortly afterwards.

About two months later, they went out of business. Not only did they not tell their employees, they simply packed up one night after close, changed the locks and left town. Servers were without their last two paychecks, any credit card tips from the last month, and without a job. I’m just glad I got out while I did.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Brian Stamps March 11, 2016 at 2:49 pm

Wow wow….he really does sound like a piece of work….and a creep. What ever happened to them? And did the servers ever get there last two paychecks / credit card tips back?

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Brian Stamps March 11, 2016 at 2:50 pm

I forgot to add as well, who actually owned the place? The father or one of the sons?

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