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Q and A with a Real Live Restaurant Owner  RSS feed

 
Posts: 60
Location: Down the road and around the bend, Southern Ohio, Zone 6a/6b
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I heard about that case. They should not have disallowed tips even if they were paying a living wage.

Does the restaurant make up the shortfall when tips are insufficient?

Do servers perform untipped labor such as rolling silverware or cleaning restrooms?

Is it possible to deliver fresh clean kitchen-ready leafy greens, herbs, and sprouts to restaurants without using "disposable" plastics or styrofoam?

What do you think about this idea I have of offering restaurants, say, a 10-20% discount on produce if they give me all their organic waste?
 
pollinator
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[quote=Shalom Eigenheimer]I heard about that case. They should not have disallowed tips even if they were paying a living wage.

Does the restaurant make up the shortfall when tips are insufficient?

Do servers perform untipped labor such as rolling silverware or cleaning restrooms?

Is it possible to deliver fresh clean kitchen-ready leafy greens, herbs, and sprouts to restaurants without using "disposable" plastics or styrofoam?

What do you think about this idea I have of offering restaurants, say, a 10-20% discount on produce if they give me all their organic waste?[/quote]

Hau, Shalom.

I think I mentioned earlier, there is a federal law that requires employers to make up the difference to meet minimum wage if a server paid less than min. wage. (But that doesn't really happen, the average hourly take for servers is around 21.50 in my restaurant. It is, far and away the highest hourly pay in the company. If they want to sue me for polishing their own forks, I seriously doubt (at 21.50/hr) that any judge in the land will listen to this.

Our dishwasher washes all dishes and bathrooms. The linens are rented (and come already pressed). Servers easily have the cushiest job in the whole company. Bouncing out at 10:35 they're not going to get a lot of sympathy from cooks (or managers, or chefs, or sous chefs) who stay until 1 am scrubbing floors and breaking down the restaurant.

As for greens, our standard container for everything is collapsable usually black produce crates. They're a kind of currency, farmers will fight over them. Strange that when we buy produce from Farm To Table delivery service, nobody seems to come looking for them--so I curry favor with farmers by hoarding them and giving them out as favors suring farmers market. I have actually paid for produce with crates before.

Greens, I don't mean to be insulting, but have to admit..I hate lettuce.

This is one of the most hardcore restaurants in San Antonio. People come to me to blow the fucking doors off. I can't make a single dish you would write a letter to your mother about having eaten... based on lettuce. I don't serve chicken for the same reason--but I really do enjoy chicken.  

You just can't win with chicken. I serve a seven course meal for a hundred dollars, and I don't care if it's Bresse bluefoot chicken raised by Obiwan Kenobe himself, you serve it and folks are like, what's this....F-ing CHICKEN? You valeted my Maserati, my wife wears a three thousand dollar dress, and you're serving me F-ing CHICKEN?

As for the compost kickback, seek out "restaurants with ethical purchasing behaviors." 99% of cooks/chefs/managers/etc. will blithely throw plastic cartons and wrappers and food waste into trash cans all day while surreptitiously taking drags off the cigarette hidden on the inside rim of the vent hood and fantasizing about the hostess out the kitchen window.  They Super Don't care. Definitely, definitely DONT give thoae assholes your nice handmade cheesecloth baggies. They'll be stuck on the grease-encrusted floor in the back alley beneath the wheel of the eight hundred-pound dumpster by Tuesday  

Restaurants who are interested in changing the world will give you their compost becahse they want you to have it--unless someone else has already asked, or they use it themselves--which is my case. I also raise animals. I feed the compost to my ducks, who lay eggs, which I bring back to the restaurant to cook with--kind of incentivizing the cooks to put the shit in the compost bucket when I'm not around. It often works, because it's cathartic.

They have a little chance to be a part of something, and then they hold the duck egg and think..."Wow... it works."
 
master steward
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Michael Sohocki wrote:I feed the compost to my ducks



How do you feed it to your ducks? For a while we got free expired veggies/bread from a local food co-op. My ducks loved the tomatoes and bread and soft pears...but there was so much that they couldn't eat because it was too hard for them. They don't have the sharp beaks or claws of chickens, and I eventually gave up trying to fee them left overs because I didn't want to spend my time chopping old veggies and fruits so the ducks could eat them.

The pile of food they couldn't eat did, however, grow a lot of flies...which the ducks did eat, so it wasn't a total failure, but it was not something I could do if I had a rodent problem, as the rats would LOVE all those food scraps.
 
Michael Sohocki
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I always enjoy your posts, Nicole.

Maybe your ducks ain't hungry?

The full-length story I laid out in the topic "My Insane Compost".

Basically all the animals want SOME part of what's in that bucket--and the entire farm moves slowly across ten acres, about ten feet at a time. The ducks get first crack at the goodies since they come the closest to actually paying their own way. They devour watermelon, love green plant scraps, enjoy bread crusts and burnt croutons with butter, and sometimes little bits of meat, fish skins and the like. Then I pull the cages forward the next day, and whatever's left the rest can fight over. Goats, donkey, sheep, and dog all go through the pickings. So far I haven't seen any sickness cross the species barrier--though that is a concern of mine.

I should have added the more responsible caveat that giving my ducks goodies actually HURTS my egg production, as whatever they eat in vegetable matter replaces an equal amount of high protein layers pellets (and when compost is up, the number of eggs does indeed go down). Nothing in that compost bucket equals the optimum production inputs that the commercial feeds bring about.

If I wanted to maximize output, Tyson has taught us very well how to do that--I probably don't have to explain. I feel that less output, with a more varied diet, and interesting little bits for them to talk to each other about, seems to have some health benefits--more and different kinds of nutrients to be sure.

But these are, on the whole, a pretty happy bunch of duckies. They're like little kids, they see me coming with the buckets and everybody goes "YAAAAAAAAYYYYY!!! WATERMELOOOOOOON!!!

They make me giggle every day. That's got to be worth something.
 
Shalom Eigenheimer
Posts: 60
Location: Down the road and around the bend, Southern Ohio, Zone 6a/6b
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lol yeah no lettuce is decent fodder for the horses I guess.. I'm thinking more of like baby kale, baby mustard greens, young turnip greens, bean sprouts, pea sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, chia sprouts, watercress, dill greens, basil, chard, sunflower sprouts, cilantro...

Thank you for your thoughtful and informative answers.
 
pollinator
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Hey michael. I ate at Gwendolyns tonite. Top notch. We were seated at the window to kitchen. We did the taste menu with paired (pared?) wine. It rocked. We asked the server to surprise us. We made no selections.

Your coffee maker is out of this world.
 
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Michael-

Thank you very much for this thread. It is extremely informative. I'm no where near you, however, there is a real lack of information like this for anyone who is even thinking about doing anything like this.
 
master pollinator
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Thoroughly enjoyed reading this thread. Spent most of my life in Austin & also much time working in SA. Next visit back home I'll definitely come eat at your restaurant. Will be very satisfying to eat high calidad comida from a chef that "get's it." Thanks!!!
 
Michael Sohocki
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wayne fajkus wrote:Hey michael. I ate at Gwendolyns tonite. Top notch. We were seated at the window to kitchen. We did the taste menu with paired (pared?) wine. It rocked. We asked the server to surprise us. We made no selections.

Your coffee maker is out of this world.



Agh....I'm so sorry I didn't meet you! Wish somebody would have told me. Please leave me a message when you're around--I'm there pretty much every day except Monday.
 
pollinator
Posts: 425
Location: Zone 8b: SW Washington
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Just wanted to give an update on my dream of finding a restaurant owner or foodie to share my surplus with.

There is a relatively new foodie-oriented restaurant here in town.  I saw an interview with the chef who talked about how they were trying to get their ingredients locally, and toward the end of the interview they walked from the restaurant to the weekly farmer's market to get supplies for dinner that night.

So I reached out the restaurant, explained my food forest and my desire to share my surplus.  The owner responded right away and came over a few days later.  He was very interested in some of the things I have (though had never heard of them), and took some home.  I have since mentioned to him when other things are ripening, but he has been too busy to come pick so I just pick some extra for him, and put it out on my porch for him to pick up.  That has actually been working out pretty well.  Not quite what I envisioned, but definitely moving in that direction.  The reality is that I don't have time to pick everything, and neither does he.  

His staff has done a great job utilizing my surplus (how often have you had cornelian cherry + sea buckthorn vinaigrette). His customers seem to enjoy his staff's skill to come up with some really amazing things from the unusual things I am growing.  I have also shared surplus from my foraging ventures, e.g. plums and nuts from my neighbors/neighborhood.

My wife and I went there for dinner last week.  They didn't charge for our drinks, which is the sort of "barter" I was hoping to have.

I realize that most restaurant owners probably don't have time or interest to deal with a backyard food forester like me, but I think it works because the restaurant is pretty small, and they like to constantly change up their menu and experiment.
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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