Dec. 26, 2016: An open letter to John and Jayne Q. Public:
Have you ever gone into a restaurant or a business at a time when there seemed to be 20 customers for every person employed to help them? And if so, did those folks who were scrambling around to help everyone stay positive, pleasant and bust their booties to be everywhere, doing everything, to help everyone?
I can’t say that I have. For the most part, when I’ve gone into a place to eat or do business, it’s been completely manageable. But today, at about 1:30 p.m., my father and I walked into Denny’s on Highway 69 and were blown away – by the crowd, the hubbub and the general sense that someone had opened the front door and yelled, “We’re giving away food!” The place was a madhouse. But before we were able to make an accurate assessment of what was going on, we’d seated ourselves at the counter and were ready to order some coffee and food. It was then that we actually looked around and realized that the poor staff members were buried in a quagmire of hungry people and not enough staff. “OMG,” I said to my father, and then asked him if he wanted to leave and go somewhere else (he’s 88 years old, by the way). He said no, so we stayed. I’m very glad we did.
An employee named Jennifer took the time to stop on her way to help 10 other people and took our order (with a smile on her face), and gave us coffee. Because we were sitting at the counter we were able to observe all that was happening with the orders, the folks who were cooking and the two people who were collecting the dirty dishes to take them away, clean and replace them with new stuff. It was organized chaos! But within the madness, the servers, the cooks (a manager who had been called in to help cover and an assistant manager), the actual cook in the kitchen and the aforementioned folks who were gathering and processing the dishes, things were moving efficiently, and the staff was maintaining a positive, helpful attitude, keeping a smile on their faces and doing everything they could possibly do to take care of all of us. It was a remarkable thing to behold!
I was in awe of the entire situation. My father and I got our food, after a bit of a wait, of course, and throughout our wait time, I was pleased to observe everyone working at Denny’s that day and felt two things. I was very grateful that I wasn’t one of them and very grateful that they were doing such an amazing job under the circumstances.
So I’m writing this so that their efforts can be acknowledged and because, for me at least, this was a most unusual and surprising thing to experience. I’ve been to Denny’s many times and I will certainly go back many times again, but I hope that I, and the staff there, won’t have to experience that sort of craziness again. Yikes!
And now, for the record, the names of those involved at Denny’s: Wait staff: Jennifer, Audrey, Kelsey, Ricky, Ricci and Joe; Cooks: Joh, Jay (the managers) & Kevin; The folks collecting the dishes: Otillia and Delfino. (Hope I spelled everyone’s name right and I apologize if I left anyone out.)