There is so much that must be said when running a restaurant, from the infinitely variable interchanges with guests to the more precise notifications legally required:
“Please inform the waitstaff before ordering if you have a food allergy”
“Warning: consuming raw or undercooked meat, poultry, seafood, shellfish or eggs increases your risk of foodborne illness”
“Starred items may be served raw or undercooked”
“Employees must wash hands before returning to work”
Before opening, we ran a facebook challenge to our friends and fans to generate haiku versions of the “employees must wash hands” warning, and our wonderful graphic designer laid out the menu warnings as if they were an e. e. cummings poem for our menu.
Our long-format menu faded away as the chefs changed the menu so often that cutting and assembling a new booklet for each menu was driving servers into madness and misery, but our bathroom haiku are still there. The haiku still rotate whenever I remember that someone coming in to dine wrote one for us. For all the jokes about having someone’s name on the bathroom wall, it really is fun to have people see their words up there, and now and again someone leaves us a haiku on their check. Some of our favorites have been:
Over your hands – so calming,
Employees wash hands.
What a pleasant thought that is.
And also the law.
Workers, wash your hands!
Release your stained, dirty past
And begin anew.
Charm friends and lovers,
while following the health code.
Washing hands does both.
Is disharmonious, so
Wash hands with gladness.
There are so many things to be said when running a restaurant, and having new voices is always welcome. This blog has been quiet for a while as I’ve worked on other things at Journeyman, but in the coming weeks, I hope to start having more staff members writing posts. If you want your name on the Journeyman walls, you can always write us a haiku or send in a question you’d like answered. The questions will be posted here, and the poetry will rotate across our bathroom walls.