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RAHiggins1

WTF was I thinking - My Waffle House Story

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Of all my past experiences, I'd have to say that the one I rue the most is my involvement with the Waffle House as a Manager Trainee and then Unit manager. From the very beginning the relationship cost me more than it was worth. I had just moved to Atlanta and had moved in to the spare bedroom of my brother's apartment.

As I was searching for gainful employ, I responded to an ad in the Atlanta Journal-constitution. I had at the time just separated from four years of service in the Marines as a Food Service Specialist (cook) and it was the base of my experience. The ad as it turns out was from AAA Employment. I had no experience with these kinds of services and quickly found myself being taken advantage. I interviewed twice, once with a management recruiter for Waffle House and then with my future division manager Jim H. We negotiated a salary and the fee for AAA was supposedly added to it. Once I accepted the terms and had started the training program, AAA contacted me wanting their money right away. Waffle House had pulled a bait and switch! I discovered after I had started, that the "Salary" we negotiated was simply the basis upon which a hourly wage was determined while I was in training and once I actually became a Unit Manager, I would make a base salary plus a package of bonuses. AAA was adamant when I tried to explain my situation to them that I had to pay them or I could not take the job. I should have taken the “or”. So the next six weeks of hourly pay, or practically the whole training period at “Waffle House University” went to AAA and I depended heavily on my brother's good nature. In retrospect I should have seen what was coming when I had to sign a contract that essentially made me financially responsible and accountable for all food and money in the restaurant.

The next chapter in this story opens with me moving out of my brother's place and into a one bedroom apartment in Lithonia, GA in order to be assigned to my first Waffle House as a prerequisite. The restaurant I was eventually assigned after working “Internships” at other Waffle Houses in Jim's division was unit #580 on Evans Mill Rd. in Lithonia. I showed up at 6:30am to discover I was replacing one of my management training classmates. I was instructed to send him to the district manager's other store which was on the opposite side of the interstate exit we were adjacent to. I then proceeded to meet the staff of my first restaurant as manager and worked the entire day with them. Unit Manager at Waffle House is pretty straight forward. You cook the first shift of the day, 7:00am to 2:00pm. You then change shifts, count out the sales from the first shift, replace the cash register drawer with the new shift, fill out a sales report and make a bank deposit for sales from the last twenty four hours. After which the manager inventories the food on the floor and replaces what was used during the last day from the commissary which is kept under lock and key.

My mistake as I would later learn was that I was not properly “Checked in” to the restaurant by the district manager that morning and had thusly assumed all responsibility blindly. The district manager “Darrel” showed up at the next shift change (9pm) to do a audit of food and money. As this was all new and exciting to me and I have a habit in general to trust people, found myself being taken to the bank. Darrel audited the cash which came out just fine. Then we went to the commissary and inventoried all the food, which also came out fine. BUT, when we came back to the office we discovered we (I) had not secured the cash in the safe and after recounting discovered five hundred dollars missing. I was afforded the opportunity to replace the cash personally or it would have to be reported and I would most likely lose my job on the first day and the money would have been deducted from my pay and a bill sent to me for the remainder. Thus was the nature of the contract I had signed.

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$500 is hardly pocket change or a counting error, and it disappeared from the room while you were in the presence of the auditor who had verified it was there... I would have thought that it would be a police matter and your mistake was not insisting that they be called immediately.

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Waffle "Hose" is right.

You definitely got hosed.

Yea I was young and dumb. I also had a huge blindspot coming from a place where superiors are above reproach and unquestionable as such.

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Waffle "Hose" is right.

You definitely got hosed.

Yea I was young and dumb.

I was young and dumb once too.

Now I'm older.

:rolleyes:

I hear you.

I hate to think how miserable I would be if I had to approach every situation with distrust.

I'd rather assume the best initially and be disappointed by a few than the alternative.

At least you received a learning experience from it.

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Waffle "Hose" is right.

You definitely got hosed.

Yea I was young and dumb.

I was young and dumb once too.

Now I'm older.

:rolleyes:

I hear you.

I hate to think how miserable I would be if I had to approach every situation with distrust.

I'd rather assume the best initially and be disappointed by a few than the alternative.

At least you received a learning experience from it.

Nah, I'm slow and thick like molasses. Part deux will be posted eventually, encapsulating the other lost 6 years of my life. Of course I'm not mentioning how I adapted and recovered or how even through it all I was able to elevate the restaurant's sales and profits.


Edited by RAHiggins1 (log)

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