This story is "How Tom Found the Wrong People."
This was in Tulsa, twenty years ago.
This guy overheard me in a bar talking about taking the bicycle club out for a forty mile ride to Jennings, Oklahoma just to eat some of the cinnamon rolls from this cafe on Main Street. He interrupted, said he was going to open a breakfast restaurant in Tulsa and would I mind coming by and trying out the food and service before the opening day? I said I'd be glad to and hoped he had a really good cinnamon roll.
So, on the appropriate Sunday morning, early, my then wife and I showed to up to breakfast. We had been riding bicycles in Oklahoma by then about a dozen years and had had many many breakfasts in many many little town cafes. We were experts on "two eggs over easy with biscuits and gravy, a side order short stack and coffee. Lots of coffee. Oh, and a cinnamon roll first."
Tom met us at the door. He'd invited about thirty other people to eat and, smart guy, asked if we could go in in separate groups, spaced out over the next half hour or so. We did and it went well. The orders were taken efficiently, the coffee brought without delay, the food arrived hot, but was nothing special. There was special dish on the menu which was Tom's attempt at a signature dish : picture hot cereal with a dollop of Bananas Foster over it. Yummy, but even for a cinnamon roll aficionado, too sweet.
We wrote up our thoughts on the little pads Tom gave us.
"What did you think of the waitresses?" Tom asked me as we were leaving.
It was then I noticed that all of the waitresses were, if not middle-aged, not youngsters. All of them were over thirty, some over that, well over that.
"I wanted to hire experienced help, so I only hired waitresses with at 10 years of work in restaurants." "Uh-huh", I said. "Interesting", I said. "Well, good luck, and we'll be back in couple of weeks. We're thinking about starting a bike ride from here, kind of a Pancakes and Waffle Tour. I'll let you know."
Three weeks went by before we could get our **** together for the ride and I went by the cafe to let Tom know he would have an extra twenty-five or so people the next Sunday about seven AM. I walked in and was immediately struck by the sight of five or six really young waitresses and a couple of young waiters.
Tom was at the counter and I went over and sat on a stool. "What happened to the experienced waitresses?" I asked after putting an order for a hot cinnamon roll.
"They're gone." said Tom, "I found out something."
"I found out that, if someone has been a waitress for ten to fifteen years, you can't tell them anything about being a waitress."
"How about that."
"Yeah, can't tell them how you want the dishes stacked because they already KNOW how they want the dishes to be stacked. You can't tell how you want the orders called in to the cooks because they've 'been calling in orders since before you were in the fifth grade.' which IS true, but you'd think they'd want to hear out the BOSS about how he'd like to run HIS restaurant. No. They didn't. Oh, and they didn't like my Sweet Home Al-banana cereal, so they refused to mention it when describing the specials."
"Yep," Tom said, "I learned that 'experienced' sometimes means
Joe(the cinnamon rolls were unchanged