Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
3,200 Army soldiers fill the floor during the send-off ceremony for the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team on Feb. 17, 2009 at the Dane County Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Madison, Wis. The one-year deployment of the Wisconsin National Guard to Iraq will be the largest since World War II. Photo by Corey Wilson/ Green Bay Press-Gazette
Family members and friends stand for the national anthem during the send-off ceremony for the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team on Feb. 17, 2009 at the Dane County Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Madison, Wis. Photo by Corey Wilson/ Green Bay Press-Gazette
My Sunday morning regimen is pretty standard.
Wake up. Look at Sunday paper. Blog. Go to usher at weekly mass at church. Have late breakfast at Meyer’s Restaurant and Bar in Greenfield.
At Meyer’s, I’ve come to know the entire staff, from owner Larry Meyer right on down to the busboys. And yes, I call them busboys.
These two young guys are like well-oiled machines. Once patrons leave, they dive on the tables like Jason on a sex-craved teenager in, “Friday the 13th.”
BAM! Before you know it, the table is filled with new patrons.
I see the same lightning-quick attention at the Greek family restaurants like Omega at 27th & Morgan.
These busboys or bussers or whatever you want to call them may be lower than a gopher’s basement on the restaurant hierarchy, but they are extremely valuable. They not only clear dirty dishes and get tables ready for the impatient mob waiting in the lobby, they restock condiments, fold napkins, haul ice, clean the kitchen, mop floors, pour coffee and water. In essence, they free up the wait staff so it can take care of you quickly and more efficiently.
Some restaurants in Wisconsin and all across the country are making the foolish, but sometimes necessary decision to cut busboys. The ramifications add up to a much less pleasant dining experience for patrons. You will wait longer for a table. You will wait longer for your plates to be cleared. You will wait longer for your check. You will wait longer for a dirty knife or fork to be replaced. You will wait longer for that second cup of coffee or for that ice water you requested.
There is also the issue of the minimum wage. Last week, the state Senate approved an increase in the minimum wage. The Democrat-controlled Assembly may follow suit, possibly leading to the bill being signed into law by Governor Doyle. That will mean added expenses to running a restaurant business. Who will cut? Who will lose their jobs? Wait staff? Busboys? Both. And then what happens to restaurant service?
Culinary no-no: Understanding (as I have blogged recently) that times are tough for the restaurant business, why risk turning off the customers that are still showing up by firing busboys?
The Wall Street Journal has more.
CULINARY NO-NO EXTRA
I swear the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editors instruct their columnists to be as ludicrous and bizarre as possible because some of the stuff they write is just plain laughable. And that includes the food section.
Yes, I read the papers. The economy is in a downturn. I can’t even spell “lobster” or “filet” these days. But I don’t see people with coaster wagons in bread lines, like in the 1930’s, do you?
The fact is America’s so-called, by definition, “poor” have cars, TV’s, cell phones, stereos, iPod’s, leather jackets, and athletic shoes with fancy labels. Oh, and they eat, too.
Seriously, do you know of any family of four that eats the same meal three or four nights in a row? That’s what Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Food Editor Nancy Stohs is recommending. This week, Stohs thought she was doing a tremendous public service by suggesting ways to save on meals, including some nauseous slop called potato peel pie.
She apparently got the idea from her book club. That leads me to wonder what else they might be reading. Ptomaine for Dummies?
Stohs also wrote that rotisserie chicken can be spread over several days:
"First night: Serve chicken as your entrée.
Second night: Make pot pie.
Third night: Make soup."
For her next brilliant column, Stohs will tell how a family of four can actually make a rotisserie chicken purchased at Sendik’s or Pick ‘n’ Save last for an entire three days. In fact, I challenge her to attempt this at home if she honestly and truly believes this is such a wonderful idea.
“Gather round everybody! We’re going to take turns passing the carcass and picking off the leftover meat!”
It has to be an absolute miracle. How do we actually live from day to day without those wise sages at the Journal Sentinel.
NEXT WEEK: CULINARY NO-NO #100