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We all know that reality TV is huge with our generation and when one show makes it big, a dozen variations of the same show come out shortly after it. A big one that I have been hooked on are all those save our restaurant shows. You’ve heard of them “Bar Rescue, Restaurant Impossible, Kitchen Nightmares” just to name the big ones. They are all very similar and follow the same basic flow. Its starts with a failing business with crappy bookwork, a blown budget and best of all stubborn old owner that refuse to make change regardless of how much sense it may make.
That’s where the experts come in and do what they do. They start off by researching the area and realize that the establishment is trying to serve a newer younger clientele with old style practices. They read through the books and find where all the weaknesses are. They bring in expert specialist and teach the employees how to do their jobs better. Bartenders are taught new and improved drinks and how to make them faster and more efficient with less over pour. Cooks’ menus are streamlined and tailored to the customer so that a better product makes it out the door faster. Best of all the managers get yelled at and shown how to manage better.
Next, comes the part everyone loves. Somebody always gets fired because they down right suck at their job. With that, some shy quite kids’ potential is found and he replaces the Head Chef in the kitchen. Then the entire business is torn down to the bare bones and rebuilt into a modern, efficient, smoother running machine.
Here comes the good old what if…what if? What if we put our pride and egos behind us and got rid of our self-appointed “I’m a Hero and you owe me” attitudes? What if we realized we too are a business and we need to advance with time and our ever changing clientele and job description? What if we reread this article and replace the words restaurants with fire departments? And replaced words like bartenders and cooks with words like firefighters and truckies, or manager skills with command structure? What if instead of talking about cocktails, live music and menus we talked about hose loads, nozzles, ladders and SOP’s? What if instead of remodeling a restaurant to be more efficient at bringing in clients and making more money, we tore down our Rigs and remodeled them to be more efficient at Eating Smoke and Choking Fire? It may be time to start looking at this as less of a job on a fire department and more like a profession with a Fire Company.
Just as restaurants are expected to work hard and be fast and efficient at providing a product and service, we to are paid to be here and should expect it from ourselves to be professionals at our craft and provide the best service and product no matter what our long standing beliefs and traditions may be. Instead of accepting a hose load because it works push to “learn it” because it can be faster. Don’t be satisfied with just having the tools on the Rig, have them on the Rig where you can grab them and go from point ”A” to “B” faster. Instead of being happy that your company trained today, ask was it realistic and did it have an impact. With every task you do throughout the day, ask yourself “could this have been done faster or better” and push to change it with yourself and the other crews.
Restaurants renovate their buildings to invite us, train there staff to serve us, fire bad cooks that disappoint us, update menus with the season to attract us, hire hostesses to welcome us, offer discounts when they wrong us. What do we do for our customers that NEED US? Always be ready to Lead, ready to Teach, and ready to Learn but the greatest is Learn. That’s just what I think so take from it what you want and leave from it what don’t.

JR
“Better Basics”

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