Second Draft, thoughts much appreciated.

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Second Draft, thoughts much appreciated.

Postby jamrclap » Tue Dec 06, 2011 2:12 pm

Thanks to those who looked over the first draft. Hopefully this is more on track. I'm struggling with whether the middle paragraphs detailing daily restaurant work are too general and if I should focus it to one single experience that taught me something about the legal aspect of running a restaurant/ small business.

Thanks in advance for any help...

On any given day you can always find me in the same place. As the first one to arrive in the kitchen of a Chinese restaurant which I have helped open and run an expansion to, it is up to me to bring the kitchen to life. I navigate the darkened space, trying not to run into food prep tables, soy sauce buckets, or other numerous obstacles as I fumble for the light switch at the back of the kitchen. The ventilation fan above the woks starts up with a groan and provides some circulation, a much appreciated breeze especially during Memphis’ sweltering summer months. Garlic needs to be chopped, sauces are to be made, and I have to decide what to do with an employee who has not shown up again today.

As the rest of the kitchen staff arrives and the floor staff begins their own individual work to ready the restaurant, the only thing missing is customers. Fifteen minutes after the doors open, the kitchen printer starts humming with the first order of the day. The sound that a kitchen printer makes is one that always brings anticipation of the challenge ahead. After the order is finished, the ticket can be checked off and moved aside but not before the printer starts humming again and I have to wonder, what’s next?

What’s next is the constant uncertainty of the challenges that come with running a restaurant and the always present need to think fast. One of the line cooks cuts themselves and the injury must be properly documented and the area cleaned up. I’m told that a food critic is in the restaurant and the pressure to ensure that their order comes out correct while making the presentations immaculate becomes my current focus. The grease trap that collects the waste water and grease from the kitchen suddenly backs up and I have to rush to rent a machine to unclog the sewage lines. To get out large orders, I delegate some of the dishes to my Chinese counterpart and the line cooks, often having to use my broken Chinese and Spanish to get a point across.

When I am not in the kitchen, what’s next are matters pertaining to the running of a small business. Employee turnover in the restaurant industry is common and the correct process of hiring and firing employees is a constant concern. Managing the restaurant’s food and alcohol inventory entails day to day inventory management along with incorporating new items into our menus. These challenges have also taught me invaluable lessons and I have learned much about the legal side of running a business. Through the sale of a separate restaurant and the faulty contract allowing the continued use of restaurant’s name; I have seen first-hand the importance of properly constructed contracts. In a business where many of the day to day activities are controlled by various codes and statutes, such as health codes, fire codes, codes related to alcohol sales, etc., learning and complying with these rules is a daily concern.

For all of the challenges of running a restaurant, there are an equal number of experiences that make it worthwhile. The look of enjoyment a customer has as they taste a dish that I have worked hard to create. Another time it is a group of friends in a corner booth laughing while surrounded by the décor and the furnishings that I designed and built. Sometimes its the view of a full house from parking lot looking through the front windows on a cool fall evening. In managing my staff it’s the opportunity to hire someone that needs a job and a chance. It’s the applause one gets from putting on and pulling off an elaborate wine tasting dinner. These feelings of tangible accomplishment and having positive impact on those around me are feelings that were largely absent and something I desired in my former line of work as a political campaign manager.

Working in the restaurant industry has allowed me to obtain and fulfill those desires. It has also inadvertently turned an interest in law into a lifelong commitment to the study and practice of it. Before working in the restaurant industry, I did not understand the intricacies and work behind every order that came out of the kitchen. This same type of revelation has also been true of my understanding of the legal aspects and challenges of running a small business. For better or worse, I now see the real world implications of legislation passed within the political process that I was once a part of. While recent changes to taxation laws allowing restaurant’s to pay sales tax upon the sale of a drink have helped on the financial end of the business, new state laws and those proposed directed at immigrantion now have a personal face and could adversely affect a small business.

My experience in the restaurant industry personally underscores the need for great, well trained attorneys while also providing me with the scope and motivation to see the next three years through to the end and become that great and well trained attorney. Much like the piece of paper that the kitchen printer prints an order onto; the experience of running a restaurant has left an indelible mark on me and brings anticipation for the challenge ahead. I have chosen ____________ to pursue this challenge because………..
What’s now next is a challenging three years that I am well prepared for and a career that I am committed to and eager to begin.

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