Welcome back for another week of weird restaurant stories from around the country and around the globe. Last week’s post sounded more like a crime blotter than a lighthearted romp through the news of the weird. It ended with two pleas. The first was to stop committing heinous crimes at restaurants and return to acts of stupidity. The second was that someone in the West North Central region finally does something newsworthy to get on the scoreboard. I can declare this week a victory on the first request. The second, we will have to wait and see.
Let’s start with Omaha and a new tax aimed at restaurant owners. When the Mayor and City Council instituted this tax, many restaurant owners argued it was unconstitutional. In addition to fighting it in court, they also fought it in the court of public opinion. Instead of lumping the tax in with other taxes on the receipt, they added a line for “mayor’s tax.” Brilliant. (Omaha, NE)
Suzie’s Home Cooking has become a hot spot for senior citizens in Chattanooga because of its live gospel music. That was until someone pointed out that they were not paying royalties on the music. In order to avoid paying $900 a year for a permit, they are threatening to stop. This is not fighting “the man,” it is being too cheap to pay $18 a week for music that draws in their customers. The video deserves a watch. (Chattanooga, TN)
This week the LA Times wrote up a great article on restaurant employees who are forced to work when sick. It is worth a read, but not particularly newsworthy to those of us in the business. The only thing less newsworthy would be that sexual harassment occurs in restaurants. Which is only newsworthy when the EEOC sues a company. This week the EEOC sued several restaurants. Which raised the standards for newsworthy-ness yet again. So now it is only newsworthy if…
An owner decides that “Stupid B*@#$” is a job title (Phoenix, AZ)
A vegetable is used (Tullahoma, TN)
Or the owner is arrested for comments made seven-month period to a 16-year-old employee. (West Pottsgrove, PA)
Now just because this week is less filled with crime stories does not mean that everything was peaceful. Michael “Snake” Robinson, fresh off of finishing a long prison stay for murder, robbed a Waffle House at gunpoint. He was caught and charged with “especially aggravated armed robbery” which I assume is worse than standard aggravated armed robbery. Even when robbing a restaurant, attitude makes a difference. (Dandridge, TN)
Good thing he hit a Waffle House, because Pizza Hut employees shoot back. (Charlotte, NC)
Of course not every restaurant is robbed. In order to keep their skills sharp between robberies, cooks can practice on each other. (Muhlenberg TWP., PA)
As quickly as restaurants can prepare to defend themselves, criminals can adapt. Instead of running the risk of a cook with a gun, they are now robbing the restaurant owners when they get home. (Jacksonville, FL)
Keeping your cooks busy practicing to defend their restaurant does provide something constructive for them to do. This prevents them from distractions like cell phones, watching the game, or running a meth lab in the back of your restaurant. (Stoddard, WI)
And finally, the week would not be complete without someone driving a car through a restaurant. What set this one apart from the others this week was A) a manager with a sense of humor, B) police officers eating at the restaurant at the time, C) a great picture, and D) the fact that the restaurant remained open for business. I have worked through tornados, power outages, and flooding. If a car drives through the restaurant, I am running my checkout. (Des Moines, IA)
With a new dozen stories, it is time to head to the scoreboard.
Tennessee scores three times this week making the East South Central region the weekly winner. The South Atlantic expands its lead. The West South Central was completely shut out this week for the first time ever. The most important stat of the week though is the West North Central scoring at the buzzer and finally making the scoreboard. I guess my plan do driving a mobile meth lab through the window of a Chinese restaurant can be avoided now.
As for the US versus The World portion this week, we turn to Taiwan. In Taipei a restaurant owner is offering a reward of over $30,000 to anyone who can provide information on who started a rumor. It seems that for weeks now a rumor has been spreading that there is a dead body in their water tank. This is obviously bad for business. The owner held a press conference complete with a stack of money looking for the source of the rumor. While this is quite an interesting tale, I still think the meth lab in the back of the restaurant beats it, which is why I am giving the point to the US. This brings the score to USA 4 and The World 2
That is all for this week. Stop sexually harassing your employees, fight stupid taxes, and for the love of God stop making meth in the back of the house. I’m off to work a Saturday night shift. I am going to be extra nice to my cooks tonight. They have all the weapons on their side of the line.