Memoirs From Marugame: Working At A Restaurant – Day 1
It’s my first day working my part-time restaurant job from 10am-3pm and then my full-time job from 4pm-2am. I’m ready for the challenge!
My First Day Working At Marugame Udon: November 13, 2017
Since I live in North Hollywood and Marugame Udon is in West LA, I leave home by 8:15am and arrive at Marugame Udon by 9:45am. Showing up early is always better than late. We go over A LOT of paperwork and finish by 11:40am.
There’s no parking for employees at this restaurant. There’s also no parking for customers. Most people pay for street parking or valet. Free parking is located a few blocks away. The walk from my car to work is normally 10+ minutes.
After meeting with the HR representative, we start off by going over the paperwork. Lots of paperwork! It’s about 2 hours of paperwork because they sit there and make sure you read every page of the hiring agreement. Makes sense, I typically sign things and am ready to go.
The contract had so many details for just about every case possible. I skimmed through every page and read extra carefully about the details I found more interesting. The breaks are strictly 10 minutes and you get 2 of those on an 8 hour shift. That would be a 10 minute break, 30 minute lunch and then 10 minute break over the course of 8 hours. You get 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours you work. Whoa. Then just a bunch of other stuff regarding harassment and cleanliness. Got it. Be a clean and civilized person.
At this point I get a 10-minute break. I ask where the coffee machine is and they say that the store isn’t fancy enough to provide free coffee. I accidentally said “Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!?” since I was in disbelief that this place didn’t provide free coffee. Immediately hit with the reality of how good all my other jobs were. This is the first job I’ve had that didn’t provide free coffee. After the shock wore off, the manager directed me to a coffee shop just down the block. On a 10-minute break, I only had time to pick up an iced latte and drink a small portion of it before having to go back to work.
I then meet with the store manager she gives me a tour of the facility. During the tour, I’m learning a lot about the kitchen process. It’s very organized and everything has a very specific place for an optimized workflow. Anytime I’m learning something new or if it’s a new experience, it’s fun for me.
They handed me a uniform that I had to wear before starting work. The uniform was only to be worn at work and not worn when walking to work in the neighborhood. It’s weird having to wear a uniform.
That fun quickly wore off as soon as I had to start cooking tempura. The most painful part of that experience is the constant heat, smoke and fear of getting burned. They provided me these arm sleeves to prevent my arms from burning. Oil that splashed on to my plastic gloves still burned.
It was hard to keep up cooking multiple things, while prepping food to be cooked and making batter. It’s a lot of work and I won’t complain at a restaurant after knowing how difficult the job can be.
At first, I did an awful job at cooking tempura items. The batter was uneven on several things, the food was overcooked and I got batter all over the kitchen timers. I was ready to quit during my 3rd hour of work.
But! That’s what kept me going. It was challenging, unpleasant and most of all unnecessary for me to be doing this work. I like a good challenge so I kept going to really see what my tolerance was for doing this work.
At one point, the manager just started closely looking over my shoulder as I was cooking tempura. I started messing up cause I broke under pressure. Apparently I forget how to act like a human being when someone is watching me that closely.
I successfully completed a 5-hour day (2 hours of paperwork and 3 hours of cooking tempura) by 3pm. At that time, it was slow in the shop so the store manager then walked me through the food ordering process. My lunch was free so the manager recommended I try a lot of the different types of food.
After three hours of cooking tempura, I did not have much of an appetite. This surprised me too since I was barely able to eat any of the food.
I continued to my full-time job smelling like tempura and a body sore from cooking.
Day 1 Complete.