marugame udon los angeles

Memoirs From Marugame: Working The Register – Day 6

It’s my 6th day at Marugame Udon and today I’ll be working the cash register.  We seem to be deviating from the “learn to cook” plan.

Starting Work On Time

I got to work about 20 minutes early.  I’ve been working on not being late but the problem is you’re not allowed to clock in until it’s time for your shift to start.  After working in the corporate world so long, it’s crazy to think that I’d have to wait to clock in to start my day.  It’s a small thing that I haven’t really given much thought.  Having the flexibility of starting/ending work around your schedule is a HUGE benefit.

Since I’m 20 minutes early, I stop by a nearby coffee shop, Tomo Coffee.  I was thinking of ordering a hot latte, but didn’t have enough time to drink one in the remaining time I had left.  I went with an iced latte and finished it in 10 minutes.  Big mistake.  I was anxious for the next hour because of the caffeine.

Being A Cashier Without Knowing What We Sell

After clocking in exactly at 11am, I find out that today I’ll be a cashier/busser.  Absolutely not what I had in mind. I really want to level up my cooking skills.  My counting money and cleaning experience points are already maxed out.  There’s one other cashier and she’s showing me the process.

About 10 minutes after giving me a breakdown of the system, I’m on my own.  Uh oh.  Customers start coming up and I have no idea what they ordered.  I’ve only eaten at the restaurant once so I’m not familiar with what we serve.  There’s a bunch of different types of orders.  I asked them what they got and they said “The #2.”  That doesn’t help.  The cash register system does not go by order numbers, only dish names.

I’m also not familiar with how to find all the food items in the digital cashier system.  It was a whole lot of buttons and I was unfamiliar with the placement.  More and more people started appearing and my cashier sensei came back to take over the mess I created.

A few customers came back because they said I charged them for the wrong item, mostly because they were overcharged.  I absolutely did that.  At one point, I was pressing buttons that just said “udon” and had a charge next to it.  I have no idea what we sell here. It was a quantity over quality situation.  I was very anxious after that coffee and did not take care of the situation calmly.

After being walked through the process more (and the coffee wearing off), I was pretty comfortable at the cash register after an hour.  Things started making more sense.’’

Selling Booze

During my shift from 11am-3pm, probably less than 10 people had beers with their lunch.  It was only really old people or really young people.  I had to check the ID’s of the younger looking customers.  There’s an “ID checker” that absolutely doesn’t work at the restaurant…or I don’t know how to use it.  I just looked at the birth year and used math.  After a few young people had passed by, I realized I forgot to look at the picture.  The picture is critical!  Ah well, no undercover cops today.

Answering Stupid Questions

At one point, one of the customers came up to me and asked if we had any “better” plastic forks.  I couldn’t help it, but I smiled and laughed at the question while trying to say, “Sorry, that’s all we have.”  He then said the forks were very cheap.  Of course the forks are cheap, most meals here are under $5.  But the forks aren’t THAT cheap.  They were pretty standard for restaurants.


I learned a lot about the type of people who tip when purchasing the food.  Most rich people, do not tip.  There were some people who were dressed very well and had high end wallets, watches and purses who didn’t tip at all.  Some of them paid with cash and the change came up to less than a dollar in coins…still no tip.  About 1 in 5 people who purchased food there tipped.  Just about every tip though was less than $2.

Just for fun, I wanted to see if complementing guests causes them to tip more.  Yes, it does.  I threw out a few compliments about people’s clothes or whatever stood out a little.  That’s all it took to get a tip.  I won’t feel bad when not tipping for ordering a beer at a bar.  That is still absolute nonsense.

Mr. Marugame Udon

Lastly, there was Mr. Marugame Udon in the store.  At least that’s who I think it was.  No one really explained who he was, but he was a sharply dressed Japanese guy in a really fancy suit ordering the managers around the store.  He was really nice but he wore his emotions on his sleeve.  You could immediately tell when he was unhappy about something.  That something was the mess in the store that wasn’t being cleaned up right away.  Apparrently that’s part of the cashier/busser job that I forgot about.  Ah well.

Day 6 (but really day 5 since I called in sick) Complete.