Leaving the Restaurant Business
Today Is the Day
Today marks the end of an era. I am leaving the Restaurant Business. I have left Antonio’s one other time, but for whatever reason, the last time did not feel permanent. Maybe it was because my heart wasn’t ready. Maybe it was because the plans were not firm.
Today is my last day at Antonio’s and today it feels over.
My World Changed
I have a new job and a new goal. There is a learning of a new skill, and there is doing what I have done in the past: helping to grow a company.
At 53, is this my swan song? These are my feelings, not those of the people at Antonio’s or anywhere else. This is my heart, sometime full and sometimes broken.
My intention was always to finish my career at Antonio’s, but in the last 12 months the world changed.
Not just my world but the whole world.
The Covid Effect
Tripping Vittles suffered blow after blow with shortages caused by the political climate and by covid.
The restaurant business I loved so much became something I dreaded going to work in.
I saw the very best in some people and yet there was also the very worst.
For a few short weeks we were “heroes,” but then we very soon became the doormats for everyone’s frustration.
You somehow dragged us into your political theater of rights.
I am not just speaking of my job, but of those jobs my friends and I have done throughout this country in the restaurant business for the last year.
I Really Care, Do You?
As liberal leaning as I am, I’m smart enough to know that a virus does not care if you were for Trump or Biden. It only cares what kind of host you are and how it can use you to spread throughout the population.
We as an industry have been told over and over again: You don’t have to wear a mask, we don’t care. That became disheartening. I CARE!!!
If I can at all help it, I don’t want to give this to a customer and have them get sick or die. And people have died to the tune of over 400,000 in a year.
We were mandated and told how to do business. I worked for a woman who had the health department on speed dial because she cared about us, our business, and most of all you as patrons. She made sure we did it right, even when others did not. We did it right and we cared! Everyone I know in this business has tried to do it right because they care about you, about their business, and about the rules and the nation.
But too many customers did not care about those of us in this industry.
They have yelled, screamed, aimed their cars at us, suggested we go outside and fight it out. People have been rude and nasty and suggested how our procedures should be changed. They told us we were not doing it how they wanted, told us that the virus was not real, told us that we were paranoid. And even when we carried an order out to their car, in the heat, rain, snow, or freezing cold, so many could not even shoot us a $1 tip.
Many Customers are Angels
On the other side, there really are many, many generous, amazing customers who tried to make up for the empty tip line. I have heard stories and seen firsthand huge tips and gifts given. Customers care. Many of you all over this country tried to make up for the bad behavior exhibited by patrons, but the empty tip lines and outright anger and bizarre behavior have taken their toll. For me personally, I have been given an opportunity to go do something new and I am jumping at the chance. I want you all to keep eating the amazing pizza and food from Antonio’s, and tip all the servers, be it in the restaurant or curbside. They deserve it! I know I will — I can’t live without the Buffalo Chicken Pizza!
I Loved My Years in the Restaurant Business…It is a real job!!!
The funny thing about writing my honest feelings is that it comes out like I am bitter and angry. I am far from it. I’v made friends who are like family at Antonio’s. I have watched kids grow up into amazing adults. I have watched kids fall in love and get married.
To every teenager that ever came through those doors whom I had the pleasure of teaching and working with: you made me a better person. I loved watching you become firefighters, hairdressers, bankers, doctors, engineers, Marines, Army and Air Force members. I watched you come in quiet and shy, and develop personalities and go off to college and work. We have Fighting Irish and Buckeyes, Wolverines and Cardinals. Each and every one of you are going to make a difference in the world, and that is a legacy I could not be more proud of!
You all are my favorites
To those kids whom I still work with: I am going to miss you! You are going to go and do amazing things. I cannot wait to watch you. I have no doubt that you can do anything! You will be amazing!! You already are!
To Rita and Robert: all I can say is Thank You! You gave me a home and a place to be me. You saved me when I was drowning after the Boston Bombings. Fran and Sam started a legacy all those years ago on State Street, but you have continued it. Thank you for letting me be a part of that.
Off I go to start what could be the final chapter in my work career. I am about to step onto a rocket ship. I feel like I have been preparing my whole life for this ride! Backroom Coffee Roasters: let’s light the fuse and see how high we can fly!