At the end of April my brother opened up his second Waffles Cafe location, this one just off the Magnificent Mile near Ohio and Michigan. Since I was in the middle of a job search/getting my statistical consulting practice started, I had the opportunity to help a brother in need. I recall him saying something to the effect of, “I haven’t talked to any of the concierges at the hotels in the area. I want to start off slow to make sure we get everything right and hire the right amount of people before things get too busy.” Ha!
The wonut happened. It was an idea that my brother was kicking around for a few months at his Lakeview location. One blogger wrote about it in Thrillist. The same day the Huffington Post blogged about it. Two days later it was on Buzzfeed and I was answering all sorts of phone calls, most memorably from a reporter with the most British name ever at the Daily Mail, Sadie Whitelocks.
Mind you, I had never worked in a restaurant before. I’d done catering for a few weeks every summer in high school, I had worked in a couple of cafes, but never a proper restaurant. I went from no restaurant experience, to bussing tables and hosting, to waiting and managing the restaurant over the course of 3 days. While I would like to think my quick ascent up the organizational ladder was due to my tenacious work ethic, it’s probably more accurate to attribute it to the urgent needs required to deal with a viral media sensation… and knowing the owner pretty well. Within that month my brother went on a hiring spree and I took my super-awesome job at a tech start-up in the West Loop. While it was a great experience and I got to meet some really cool people, I decided that I should stick with the math, music, and politics and leave the restaurateuring to my Cordon Bleu-trained brother.
Stop by one of the locations. Try a Mexican chocolate wonut or the chilaquiles or the cheddar and short-rib waffle with a glass of fresh OJ; those are my favorites. Tell them Troy sent you! It won’t get you anything, but you can still tell them.