I spent a total of eighteen years working as a Restaurant Manager in various venues, but most of it was with a fast food restaurant you can guess from the title of this post. Some of it was the best times, some of it was the worse times. A lot of it was unbelievable. Here are some stories from that time of my life. You can determine which are truth and which are tall-tale.
I was working as an assistant manager at one of the busiest places in Colorado, located right across the street from CU Boulder. It was a 24 hour restaurant, and I worked at least 60 hours a week there. One Saturday, during a CU vs Nebraska game, we were slammed. The line in the lobby wound through the turnstile and out to the door. The line in drive-thru was wrapped out the end of our lot and along the access road leading in. The lobby was filled with CU students, parents and fans and the noise level was unbelievable. We were fully staffed, for once, and the back of the store was almost as busy as the lobby.
In the middle of this mess, I looked for one of the employees in order to reassign them to a new job duty. He, we will refer to him as R, had disappeared. I looked around, checking the lobby and the kitchen area, but he was no where to be found. I asked my store manager if he had seen R, but he hadn't. I, needing the product and not really having the time to wait, headed to the cooler to grab cheese. When I opened the door I was surprised by the sight of R and one of our female employees, doing it on a pile of 50# bags of pinto beans. I grabbed what I was after and left the walk-in cooler. Going up front, I informed my boss of the incident. We decided to give them a moment to finish before escorting them both from the building.
Why anyone would want to lose their virginity in the walk-in cooler of a fast food restaurant is beyond me.
This particular restaurant location is on the top of a slight hill, facing north and south, with a nice verge of green grass open to the morning sun to the East of the drive thru. In the spring, summer and early fall, that grass gleams as the first rays of sunlight strike it. One morning, at about seven, I walked to the drive-thru to survey the outside, checking that the garbage and mess from the night before was cleaned up. Imagine my surprise to find a one man nudist colony stretched out on the piece of grass right in front of my drive-thru sign. He had socks and shoes on, was stretched out on his back, with his arms tucked under his head, flaunting his nekkidness for all the world to see. Not very pretty.
I was laughing too hard to be coherent for the police.
He became a regular on Sunday morning.
Regarding Pest Control
A store, not my store mind you, but another store, had an issue with pigeons getting into the attic empty space and setting up a pigeon colony. I guess it was a fairly substantial colony. The restaurant manager of that particular store called out an exterminator and asked them to remove the pigeons. As is often the case, the restaurant manager picked the cheapest option and scheduled the pigeon slaying. The exterminator came out at night (this was not a 24 hour store) and took care of the problem when the store was closed, killing the pigeons and sealing the attic access so new birds could not come into the building. The next day, there was no sign of pigeons coming or going and the restaurant manager was pleased.
Three weeks or so later, during the middle of a very busy lunch rush, it began to "snow" over the line. The assistant manager, who had been having a very hard and emotionally difficult week, freaked out when she discovered the "snow" was actually maggots.
The exterminator had killed the pigeons but hadn't removed their bodies from the attic space.
The assistant manager went on short term disability for a nervous breakdown. The store closed for a couple of weeks to remove and repair the damage to the ceiling and attic of the store.
I was working at a restaurant on Colfax in Denver. It is a very busy location, but not a very busy store. Just down the street was a hospital and we routinely served walk-up customers that had been seen in that hospital. One of them was a regular. He came by every Sunday morning and ordered the same meal. Always got it with a large drink and then would sit in our outside dining area to eat. He would eat exactly half of his meal, come up for a refill, and then finish his meal. He would then leave everything on the table and be on his way.
One Sunday, he left everything on the table and left. We weren't sure he was finished, so I had the employee who was responsible for cleaning up outside wait about fifteen minutes before going out and cleaning up the mess. About fifteen minutes after that, the guy came back looking for his drink. He might have been in the bathroom, but honestly, I have no idea where he was for that 30 minutes. He was very upset that his drink was gone and although we offered to give him a new, large, free drink at no charge, it seemed like THAT original drink was the only one that would do. He was incoherent and started to cry. We handed him another large drink, but he left it and wandered away, still talking about the large drink. The kid (all of fifteen) who had cleaned off the table felt really bad and we talked about buying the guy his meal the next time he came in.
About five minutes later, all hell broke loose across the street. There were fire engines and police cars and EMT's. One of the employees went across the street to see what was happening. The customer had hung himself from the branches of one of the trees in a park across the street.
We never saw him again.
The store at Colfax was interesting. And very scary.
One morning I was outside cleaning the driveway of oil, soda and other sundry items, when a woman of the early morning walked out of the bathroom, wearing a sheath dress and not much else. She had two twenties between her lips and was adjusting her skirt. Behind her was a business man in a power suit, complete with jacket and tie, who avoided my eyes and climbed into his Porsche and drove off.
We started making sure the bathrooms weren't unlocked until we opened.
Do you know what the difference between a Porsche and a porcupine is? In a Porsche, the prick is on the inside.
I spent a summer managing a restaurant in Estes Park. This location provides a challenge since it is high in the mountains, has limited population and yet has 100,000 people descend on it a day during the summer. Running a restaurant under those conditions is pretty tough. We used the mirror technique for hiring: if they had a reflection, they were hired. We had a lot of transient visitors from foreign countries up for the summer: a group of Sri Lankans working and living at McD's provided housing and working for me when they weren't working there; a young couple from France, who worked every shift with a colorful scarf wrapped around their necks. I also drove up and down the mountain to borrow employees from other stores just to keep the doors open. I put 18,000 miles on my car in three months. It was entertaining.
We also had a handful of mountain folk, mostly kids, that were looking for summer work. One of these, a bright red headed, eighteen year old young man who had come from Texas to stay at his cousin's place for the summer. We called him Red. He was a good employee and caught on quickly, becoming one of our regular night closers.
One night, after I had secured the cash and finished the paperwork, I came out to walk through the store. I thought there was only myself and another employee from Boulder still in the store. (We car pooled together because there was no housing in Estes.) The store was dark except for one light in the back. I walked to the back to check that the back door was secured then headed toward the dish area to double check the cleanliness of the kitchen. As I rounded the wall I was greeted by a naked young man standing in the kitchen in front of the sink. He was facing away from me and was covered in soap lather. He was singing under his breath and shampooing his flaming red hair. He had the spray nozzle from the sink on and rinsed his hair with both hands as I watched.
I turned around so my back was to him and asked him what in sam hell did he think he was doing?
I scared the crap out of him. He replied that he was taking a shower. I told him to finish and get covered up and then we would talk. He hurried to rinse off, then grabbed his bath towel from where it was draped waiting for him and wrapped it around his waist. By that time, both of us had regained our normal coloring. Red explained that he was staying at his cousin's place and they had no running water. This seemed to be the normal state of being at this particular cabin and he was tired of sponge baths.
I gave him directions to the shower facilities available for four dollars in Estes and asked him to not use our facility as a shower in the future.