Giving credit where credit is due

chef with food trayIt’s not often that I come across a situation that really impresses me. I mean one that makes me really sit up and pay attention, but I found one on Sunday.

My friend and I went in to Denny’s Restaurant on Douglas in Victoria for lunch. It was a quarter to noon and we happened to walk in with only a couple of people ahead of us, and the restaurant was full.  Our greeter asked if we would like to sit at the counter. I blurted out “sure, why not” looking over to my friend and asking if that was okay. I don’t  know why I agreed because I generally like to sit at a table and a little away from the noise.

Well, sitting at the counter was definitely not away from the hustle and bustle, rather it was smack dab in the middle of it.  A thought of why I wanted to sit here faded quickly when I started to notice all the activity.

The first thing I noticed was how warm it was with the heat coming from the kitchen, as we were sitting directly in front of the window.  I thought of how hot it must be for the workers but then they must have good ventilation; at least I hope so.

I observed five kitchen staff and one manager working in unison.  It was so intense that no sooner one tray of orders was up and picked up by the server that another took its place, and so went the routine for the next forty-five minutes or so. No time for the workers to even lift their gaze for a peek outside of their world! Each person having a specific job and knowing their co-workers next move without thinking.  Constant, speedy, and no time to breathe, the marathon continues.  I was so impressed.  It it was exciting to watch and you could feel the energy.

The servers were passing in front, never getting in each others’ way.  My coffee cup never had a chance to go down before being filled again.  Eventually I had to refuse a top up as I thought I would burst.

As the kitchen staff continued to work you could feel the energy of the restaurant lessen as more and more people were enjoying their meals.  At one point it was almost quiet and I didn’t have to lean into my friend to speak. The flow of work behind the window seemed to slow a little and at one point it looked as though the grunts had too much time on their hands and they started moving around slightly; coming ajar from their once glued stance.  At another point the show appeared to run in slow motion – it was quite the change.

You know, when we walk into a restaurant we generally never think of the people who are working behind the scenes in a hot, stress-filled kitchen, all to satisfy our thirst or hunger.  I could never do their job.  I am grateful for what they do and I believe they do not get the thanks that they deserve.

I now have an even greater appreciation for what these people have to endure, most often for minimum wage.  So please, the next time you order your favourite meal at your favourite restaurant, think of what goes into the making of your meal and thank the restaurant staff.  We all too often ignore saying thanks.  Give credit where credit is due.

…take a breath as the people are lined up at the door and beyond, and it starts all over again.

Thank you to the staff at Denny’s.  You enlightened my day.

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