Lesson Number One - AMBOS MUNDOS RESTAURANT ANECDOTES First of a Series5:52 PM
During our childhood days, whenever my siblings and I were brought to Ambos Mundos Restaurant in Estero Cegado in Quiapo by our parents, there were only two designated places for us: near the cashier area when there are few customers or off to Shoemart (for window shopping only) which is just across the restaurant, when the restaurant is full-packed. We weren't expected to do anything around the restaurant except to keep out of harm's way and allow the employees and our parents to do their work with the least of distractions. In my mind as a child, everything was perfect. We could eat what we wanted, whenever we wanted and even got a bonus prize sometimes for behaving well.
This pattern continued on up to our college days but abruptly changed when my father's long-standing bout with diabetes led to complications to his kidneys. All too suddenly, there was no one to man the restaurant. My mother had to be with my father, my two older siblings and I were employed then with different companies while my two younger siblings were still studying. Our family had many able-bodied members but none of us were prepared to take on the responsibility of my father as the manager of the restaurant.
For a while during my father's recuperating period, my siblings and I took turns in manning the restaurant and tried to hold the fort while our "captain" tried to regain his strength. After undergoing a series of dialysis sessions, my father finally mustered enough of the needed strength to come back and assess the situation for himself. He decided that I was to resign from my job and take over, to be assisted by my younger brother after his school hours. His reasoning then was that I had the least time investment with my employer as I was still fairly new, thus I had the least to lose in resigning. By this time, we were already located in Pedro Paterno Street, also in Quiapo.
Now given our background with regards to the responsibility in Ambos Mundos Restaurant, you can forgive me if I thought I would be occupying the cashier's seat. I could never be more mistaken. Obviously, my father had other plans that day and the days and months to come.
After a short lecture of how important it is to know all the aspects of managing the restaurant, he finally gave the shocker. He said, "Start cleaning the tables." I was hearing him but apparently I was not comprehending very well as I remained unmoving. It was only the stark seriousness of my father's face that finally bolted me back to reality and to motion. And so my Ten Lessons consisted of the following:
Lesson Number One: How to Wipe the Tables
Lesson Number Two: How to Wash the Dishes
Lesson Number Three: How to Clean the Dining Area
Lesson Number Four: How to Market for the Ingredients
Lesson Number Five: How to Receive Orders from Suppliers
Lesson Number Six: How to Cook the Dishes
Lesson Number Seven: How to Plate Orders
Lesson Number Eight: How to Take Orders from Customers
Lesson Number Nine: How to Check Orders from Waiters and Receive Payment from them
Lesson Number Ten: How to Segregate Daily Earnings for Bills, Salaries and other Expenses
It was a big load of "how to's" to handle but it was a real crash course in restaurant management. There were many other practical lessons along the way. However, he would always emphasize true love for the business so that it would love you back, and I believe that much I absorbed.
That said, I thank my father for teaching me. The great effort, considering his frail health condition, is something which I will remember for the rest of my life.