Houston 2012: Day Twelve

(this is the seventh post in a series detailing my work trip to Houston.)

It’s hard to say goodbye.

I don’t even know where to start.

The role play days we had on Friday and Saturday were, to say the least, stressful. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. During the morning shift on Friday, my broil training partner Korrey (Appleton, Wisc.) and I had to jump in and bail out the cooks who were getting a little too far behind. It was an awesome moment, actually, getting to see the new guys somewhat fall apart and then Korrey and I swept in and in a matter of 10 minutes got them all caught up. Along with every server that walked by and saw us busting ass, they were really impressed with how we worked and got things done.

Other than the hiccup with the morning on Friday, the final three shifts of role play went by without a hitch. It was odd, actually, because after the first shift Korrey and I were questioning our abilities as trainers because we thought we had trained the staff as best we could. Seeing them struggle and need us to jump in really made me evaluate myself as a teacher. I didn’t expect them to get as far behind as they did and were confident they could pull themselves out of the weeds, but once we were given the word to step in we  didn’t hesitate and got things straightened out.

The hardest part about jumping in was first of all figuring out where they were and then getting myself settled in to get the tickets out as quickly as we could. Also, Korrey and I had never worked together so it took us a minute or two to get used to how each other operates, but once we figured it out it had seemed as if we had worked together for years.

Sunday was our day off before opening day, and I had a great day. While the entire team went down to the beach in Galveston, Texas, I decided to go to the Houston Astros game in downtown Houston at Minute Maid Park. Since the training team took the rental car, I caught a bus the 10+ miles to the stadium to enjoy the baseball game by myself.

Minute Maid Park from where I got off the bus.

Every home run ball from Jeff Bagwell.

Left field of Minute Maid Park. The train moves after every home run and if the Astros win.

The view from my seat, Section 116, Row 15.

Even though I went by myself I still had a blast at the Astros game. It was amazing getting to see and experience and brand new ballpark (to me). I ended up buying an Astros hat with the 50th Anniversary patch on the side so I could add Houston to my collection of hats. Even though the training team said they had a blast at the beach, I was glad I chose to go to the baseball game by myself.

Today, eight members of our 12-member training team returned home. Heather, Megan & Korrey returned to Appleton, Wisc., Vince and CeCe to Chicago, Tommy to Lansing, Mich, and Christina and Ashlie returned to Lake Worth, Texas. It was pretty sad having to say goodbye to them all since we had spent nearly all day, every day with each other for the last 11 days, but some of them were ready to go home. Before we went to bed last night we had done our nightly “koosh” ritual, and during that time everyone said that they hoped they’d see us all again. Saying that wasn’t good enough for me.

What did I say, you ask?

“Well unlike everyone else, I am not going to say I hope I get to see you all soon. I will simply say that I will get to see you soon. And, by the way it sounds, that statement will end up to be true sooner rather than later.

It was odd being at the restaurant today without them, but I know the four of us who remain will continue to instill the core values that is the Bennigan’s brand. We will also be there to help when they get busy (surprisingly, the first two days weren’t as busy as I thought they’d be, but hopefully that changes soon). When it’s all said and done, the training team is going to leave behind a very good group of employees and we’re all confident they’ll do just fine once we depart.


Keep checking back for updates throughout my travels and experiences while I’m down in Texas. I am going to try and post every day.

Until next time …


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