Opening Dempsey's is usually a very fun and easy task. You set the tables, make the coffee, get televisions set to appropriate channels, get some ice and some other small details. BOOM! In no time, you're ready to serve our fantastically loyal customers.
Now, as an owner, I can accomplish almost all tasks at Dempsey's. Just enough to be effective for the operations of the restaurant. And as the opener today, Sunday, July 17th, I was very comfortable with the first few tables on the patio just after 8 am. Even the fourth table within one hour I was fine being by myself and service was acceptable and fun.
It was the three tables that arrive within four minutes of each other and sat inside that started to concern me, "am I in trouble, will this be my demise for a good day". The answer was a big NO! The scheduled server showed up just when she was needed. She took the two tables NOT touched within the first two minutes of arrival.
This set me back on the successful path for serving. Getting caught up and ahead of the game, new customers arrive and the server and I work as an effective team. Stay with me readers, this isn't quite the feel good story you might be thinking.
Strumming along with great success, our three employees in the kitchen providing fast and delicious product, the other two servers arrive just as we start getting full. And just before a scheduled party of 25 show up. All is good. Success is within reach. Here's where it turns. Maybe about 10 am at this point.
The 25 person reservation turns into about 45 and the competent server is now in need of help. As the group continues to grow and is being handled quite well, even with the main dining humming with satisfied guests. As more guests arrive and most of the servers are on pace but starting to show a slight "we need some help" attitude, the next employee is late for their shift. Damn. Only about 15 minutes but could have made a difference.
In addition, an employee sees some guests waiting at the hostess stand and decides that instead of holding off seating them until the restaurant is "caught up", they decide to seat three tables that should been asked to wait about ten or fifteen minutes for per open service. Okay, let's get through this. I assigned tables to two servers that could handle the prematurely seated guests and I took charge of the kitchen to ensure food coming out as fast as possible.
Reading the food orders and checking the times of the tickets, we're about ten to twelve minutes behind on ticket times. In human terms that's 20 minutes. Let the "expo begin". Barking out directions to three cooks and three servers can be a daunting task. Please no talking except by the expo. The expo controls what each cook is preparing in a certain time frame and getting the servers on course for proper and timely delivery of the fantastic food from Dempsey's.
All is going very well with the prematurely seated guests, the ever growing back room party and the other customers. However, just as the NEXT large reservation begins to arrive for the NEXT party in the back room, THE FIRE ALALRM GOES OFF!
Now my time as the expo has to be turned to ensuring everyone is safe. Of course it is a false alarm but the blinking strobes and very loud alarm needs my attention NOW. Let the chaos begin. Fire Department shows up, even after being notified that this is a false alarm.
I really should mention that this alarm is not just in the confines of Dempsey's four walls. Six neighbors that live in apartments are hearing the same blaring noise and unexpected light show from the strobes. Not being a good neighbor. And oh yeah, the fire department has to forcibly open a business next door to Dempsey's to gain access to main alarm panel. Will the madness ever end.
So, the Fire Department cannot get the alarm reset and our alarm vendor is on the way to help. The hero of the day shows up, disconnects the fire alarm and Dempsey's (and neighbors) becomes a quite place. Please wait for your sigh of relief, all of this activity has shut down the HVAC in the back room of Dempsey's. No recourse to get it started either.
The very patient and gracious second group continues their baby shower with great success. What wonderful guests under these conditions. Now they may have stayed longer and drank a little more if the room was comfortable but they ate, they gifted the expectant mother and they left. Somewhat understanding and happy.
So, with all these comedy of errors occurring in matter of 45 minutes at Dempsey's today, we hope that those customers that may have had negative experience, especially first timers, please go easy on your reviews of Dempsey's. It just wasn't an ordinary day at Dempsey's and I hope you understand we tried to do what we could with what was actually happening behind the scenes and in plain view.
Give me a break on any social media reviews for an off day.