So, my new post is a bit odd. It's mostly the elderly mother of the directors, she thinks she's in her living room, and the guests are her friends and the staff are her kids. She goes through the bins to see if we threw out anything she can re-use. Doileys, drink stirrers, cocktail sticks and so on.
Then there's the way they don't trust the staff at all, EVERYTHING is rationed. The coffee for breakfasts is made down to the precise number of cups they'll be pouring. If someone asks for a top up, we have to go and get the granny to make more, because the waiters don't have the right to make coffee. The bread, it comes from a bag the granny drops off, and there is never more than one baguette in the bag at a time. When she sees that the bread is getting low, she disappears off into the corridors and comes back with another baguette. Glasses of wine are poured in the bar, by a director, because they're scared that if we pour the wine at the table, we'll pour too much. At the end of the meal, if someone wants a coffee, or a tea, I have to go and find a director, even though I am the restaurant manager, because they don't let the "staff" behind the bar. I spent half an hour the other night looking for a bin bag, because yes, they're also counted and rationed. I always say that the bin must be emptied at the end of every service. The granny reckons it should only be emptied when it's overflowing. She gave out to me for emptying the bin tuesday night.
Then there's the dogs. Three labradors that are constantly under our feet. Even in the kitchen. In fact, the dogs have dinner in the kitchen during the service at night. Their food is kept in the kitchen. In the lobby, the lounges and the carpeted areas, there is dog hair matted everywhere.
I said all this to the actual boss, the daughter of the granny, and how they took me on and told me to help them, to improve things, to make changes, yet I can't, because her mother is set in her ways and "ah, it's always been like that" for everything. I took on this role thinking "wow, this is me, this is what I am good at, walking in, identifying problems, and solving them." For once, I thought, I'll not just have the responsibility, but also the authority to make changes, improve the level of service, really get into it. Up until now, I have found myself in postitions where it's not a maitre d'hotel that's needed, but a whipping boy. Having to assume responsibility when things go wrong, but never actually having the power to change things. It turns out, this hotel is no different. Until the elderly lady steps back out of the role of restaurant manager...... there is no place for me in the hotel.
I now have to decide if I can let go of some of the hiccups.The rummaging through the bins, the dogs in the kitchen, the constant harassment about how the service is not good enough, despite the fact that I have only ONE staff member to manage (and was told I would have 5).Two people. For dinner service, there needs to be two of us on duty.... do the maths and see how easy it was for rostering this week. I might be able to let that go. The lack of confidence in staff, I might get over that.... trying to economise, fair enough, but to what degree. I cannot, however, get over re-using napkins, doileys.
I will never be able to "just let slide" the fact that there are three dogs wandering around the back areas of the hotel. I will never settle for emptying the bin every three days, and using the same sponge to wipe the tables as they use to wipe the dog's bowl. Where do I go from here?