Every job has its distinct challenges, its upsides and downsides, the good days and bad ones. And when you’re self employed, its no different. I’m discovering that its a matter of how I manage those times when they do come, instead of trying to naively assume I can somehow avoid them altogether.
There is a constant force in my restaurant, I just simply refer to it as gravity, that always wants to pull the operation downward. It goes with the territory, yet its taken me this long to recognize that this force is both unavoidable and at the same time, quite useful. Without it, there would be nothing to keep us from drifting away from the main reason we are in business.
On any given Saturday, we have several components in orbit, all of which require preparation, execution, and oversight so that it won’t come crashing down in catastrophe.
It all starts with the baker, who makes the bread we will sell all day long. We send that rocket up and get the production started early in the morning, and as long as it stays in orbit, we will have bread to sell the rest of the day.
Then we fire off the Farmer’s Market crew and get them in their space, with the cinnamon rolls that the baker made, and all the tent, tables, change, and gear they need to carry on business for the morning.
Next off the launch pad is breakfast, and all that it entails. Right behind it comes the catering order, and setting the table for the bridal brunch that arrives at 11. Once we have acertained that everything is smoothly in orbit, preparation for the Market Menu is ready for liftoff.
With this much activity, there’s a lot to go wrong. And because we are dynamic human beings that stayed out too late, or is mad at the roommate, or had our car towed last night; in some way, shape or form, it eventually will.
It does. And it did. And I should not be surprised.
I should not be surprised when the printer on the POS won’t work, which is connected to the cash drawer, causing it to not open, which means the bartender can’t make transactions for the 10 people in line, which means I need to open the next register to keep the flow going, but since it hadn’t been counted down properly, it will need to be reconciled some time later, which will screw up the accounting on the reconciliation sheet, of which I am terrible at and will have to pass it off to someone else to clear up what I cant fix and has more questions than I have answers and…
I call it Gravity. It wants to pull your work to the ground.
And it’s always going to be there.
It does get wearisome when it feels like all you hear is, “the sink is leaking,” or “the fryer won’t turn on,” and “there is a huge leak in the women’s restroom.” But these are just the facts, and I’ve spent too much energy asking why they happen rather than accepting it as the natural gravity of business.
But without gravity, we would not have flight. Its amazing to think that the plane I see flying overhead this morning has an incredible amount of force working against it. And if the pilots and engineers have done their job, the passengers will never give it any thought. The same laws that would cause it to fail are the very same ones that allow it to soar and get everyone to their destination.
The effort required to extend hospitality is great and constant, but when well executed, despite adversity and mishap, it makes the outcome that much more fulfilling,