The Serial That Takes You to Dinner
by Chef Bob Munnich
Back of the House is a real chef's fictional story about running a restaurant and the politics behind the scenes that diners rarely see.
Jamie and Scott had a long conversation after dinner.
"I love her," Scott said. "She is definitely the one for the job. She's talented, confident and attractive. She's got a great personality and would do great with interviews and schmoozing with guests."
"I'm with you," Jamie agreed. "I'll call her in the morning." and he did.
Jules answered on the first ring. She sounded excited and agreed to meet them at the restaurant at noon.
Jamie was waiting for her when she arrived. He smiled as she approached. She was confident, and she was attractive, he was thinking, as she charged up the front stairs. He opened the door for her and said hi.
"Hi. Thanks again for dinner last night. It was great. I had a lot of fun," Jules said.
"Our pleasure," Jamie said. "Scott is out with our lawyers working on the liquor license; but he told me to express his apologies for not being here. We enjoyed ourselves also. We'd like to offer you the job if you're interested."
"I am," Jules said, trying to hide her obvious excitement. "It sounds like a great opportunity."
"Well, we're excited to have you on our team. We haven't spoken about compensation; but I'm sure you'll be pleased with our offer." He handed her a folder with some brochures and papers. "Here is our 'hiring package.' It contains all the necessary forms and a description of our health benefits program. It also has an employment contract. The contract includes a job description and our expectations. We'd like you to look it over. If it matches your expectations, fill out the forms and return them to us and we can work out when your first day will be."
"Great," she said as she opened the folder and quickly scanned the contract. "Can you give me the highlights of the benefit and salary package?" she asked.
"Well it's pretty complicated, but generally we will offer a full HMO Health plan after ninety days, and we'll start you at a base salary of thirty five thousand until we open. At that time you'll receive your base plus a half percent of gross food receipts. We expect sales to exceed two million per year—so we're talking an additional ten thousand a year. In addition, you'll receive ten percent of any distributable cash, meaning profit, on a quarterly basis. Included in the package is our predicted operating budget that projects this number to be around twenty thousand. If all goes well, you could make upwards of sixty five thousand."
"Sounds OK," Jules was smiling, trying once again to hide her excitement. She only made thirty five now, no benefits, no bonuses, no extras. Sure, she got to eat for free, but that was typical. This was a real opportunity. "When do I start?"
"Well, you can start working on the menu now. We have a first draft, but want your input. It is your menu; but you can get the idea of what we want from the outline. It's in the packet. Why don't you read through it and give us a call when you're done. I would love for you to start right away; but I'm sure you need to give notice."
"Yeah, I should; but, you know, I'd like to jump right into it. I'll probably be able to start a week from today. They have plenty of help. My sous chef is strong. He can handle it. I'll give them notice tonight."
"How do you think they'll handle it?" Jamie asked.
"Well, I don't know. I don't think they suspect anything; but they don't have much choice do they?"
"I guess not," Jamie said.
"I better get going," Jules said. "I've got to be at work by two. Got a big night tonight."
"OK, I guess I'll look forward to hearing from you tomorrow to confirm your first day. We want to open in four weeks, and you'll need to hire a staff. We have some applicants, but want you to interview everyone. We'll review it when you call."
"OK then, well, I'll talk to you tomorrow." with that Jules left.
Jamie was a little nervous. He was worried that Jules was only giving a one week notice. If she left them on such short notice, what would she do to them if she was ever unhappy? He dismissed it and went back to his office to call Scott and let him know that they had a chef. It was time to start cooking!
Copyright © 1996, 1997 Bob Munnich. All Rights Reserved.
This page originally published as part of the electronic Gourmet Guide between 1994 and 1998.
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