From Somewhere, Virginia — 08/11/2008
I worked for CB for six years and I can honestly say after getting a so-called "real job" that I would rather be back there dishing out white gravy, dealing with bitter old people, running back and forth to get bread, pulling my hair out when we ran out of damn near everything damn near every night, and going home every day smelling like a deep-fried cigarette. It had plenty of problems (what restaurant doesn't?), but I miss the friendship and good times that I had with almost everyone I worked with. Maybe it was our store, but my experiences with co-workers, including management, were far more positive than the experiences others have described here. When I first started there I made excellent tips because the GM at the time preferred less servers, meaning more tables for everyone. He left about a year after I started, and the new GM had twenty or more servers working each shift. That meant three (sometimes two, if you weren't one of the gang yet) tables. And that sucked. Tips were never the same after he took over the store. The "guests" at CB are often less than desirable. While I did have a few great regulars and a lot of friendly customers in my years there, in general what we got was drunken redneckery, ghetto fabulosity, and people who thought they could eat for free. CB is terrible about giving customers free food for ANY ridiculous reason. The customer is always right even when they are obviously, outlandishly wrong. I think CB is too afraid of any more lawsuits to dare refuse a customer their free food. I also had to deal with a lot of walkouts because of CB's horribly designed, happy, cutesy "old country store," where customers can easily skip out on a meal right past the busy, overworked cashiers who can't pay attention to people coming out of the restaurant when they're cutting fudge, wrapping gifts for other "guests," and generally pretending like they're all in Mayberry. And let it be known that you the server will ALWAYS take the blame for a walkout, no matter what the situation. Three times during my employment, I pointed out to the managers what I expected would be a walkout, and when it happened, I still took crap from them and still had to write up a report about it. They eventually made a rule that if you had more than two walkouts in a certain period of time, you'd be let go. Because obviously all servers steal money from tables or just aren't paying attention to their guests, so much that guests will just get up and leave. It couldn't possibly be that some guests are outright THIEVES and know that CB is very well known as a place to get a five-finger discount on a meal. I also had issues with the PAR system hierarchy, a system in which there are way too many chiefs and not nearly enough indians. I was a "four star" server, and even I hated the way things worked sometimes. People with four stars always acted as if they, too, were management, when they certainly were not. There was a lot of favoritism played, and the person making the floorplans was almost always a four-star server who would put her other four-star friends in the best sections. If you didn't stick up for yourself, you would be in the back of smoking every day you worked there. Going to management did little to help, as they always had more important fish to fry (literally, sometimes) than worrying about where some piddly new/unliked/insignificant server would work her shift. Okay, enough bitching. Like I started out saying, CB had a lot of issues, but all in all I seriously miss working there. Being there as long as I was, it eventually felt like my second family and we all cared about each other. I saw plenty of instances where everyone came together to help a fellow co-worker who had fallen on hard times, be it due to a death in the family, financial issues, health problems, and so forth. Even management could act and talk like real people after a busy Saturday night when everyone started goofing around during sidework after the doors locked. I never had a job like that before working there, and I doubt I will get another one like it. You could say I came of age during my time there, working there from the ages of 21 to 27, getting through school, getting married, etc. I still consider getting a part time job with them. Once you work there, especially if you stay a year or more, you will have a hard time leaving.