Help Your Teammates
The sun is shining through the large windows of Raymond’s restaurant on Church Street in Montclair. It’s eleven thirty in the middle of Sunday brunch, their busiest time of the week. Servers, bussers, runners, hosts, and baristas are all scurrying around the restaurant trying to make sure that everyone is happy and satisfied with their drinks, meal, and time at the restaurant.
Charmaine Carosus, 33, of Fort Lee, is a petite Filipino woman. She stands just above 5’2, wearing a long colorful sweater over black leggings, her short brown hair pulled back in to a nub of a ponytail. She is the manager and overlooks everyone in the entire restaurant.
She smiles a toothy genuine smile to the customers that have no problem waiting forty five minutes for a table.
The restaurant is buzzing. Everyone’s conversations are bouncing off the walls and it makes it almost uncomfortable. However, this is nothing new to Carosus.
She seems to almost float about the restaurant, checking to see if meals are satisfactory, running drinks to tables, making sure the register has enough cash, making sure the kitchen is getting food out in a timely manner, and helping servers with their side work.
Carosus looks around the restaurant one more time before stepping into the back, where the bathrooms, back door, and door to downstairs are located.
“I always try to be happy and go lucky at work,” Carosus says, “I have an eye for detail and I am always happily in charge of the well being of my crew. If I’m negative, I know that it’ll affect everyone around me and I can’t have that. This place can be a hectic hot mess, but I have to keep a level head.”
Carosus likes to stay home and have friends over for dinner rather than going to a club.
Carosus has a 36 year old Korean boyfriend of four years who currently lives in California. His sister has a daughter, who Carosus already considers her niece.
Carosus keeps an eye at the door, making sure no one needs her. It’s clear she is itching to get back on the floor.
Carosus was born in the Philippines and was 14 years old when she came to America.
Carosus is a graduate of Ft. Lee High School and Montclair State University, her degree in English.
“I know this sounds really weird,” Carosus comments, “But I am so good at reading people’s moods. I think it makes me an effective manager. It also bleeds into my home life because I gauge people’s moods and then I am very calculating in the ways in which I can get what I want. I’m so bad.”
The door opens and her head shoots up. A customer looks inquisitively at her, “Ladies room?”
“Right here,” Carosus responds. She gestures with an open hand at the two large wooden doors marked “Restrooms.”
Carosus sees this as her out to escape back to the floor. “If you want to follow me,” She says while opening the door with her game face on.
Immediately a server walks up to her. The uniform is black shoes, jeans, white button up collared shirt, a tie, and a large denim apron. The server hands her a receipt with “pancakes” written on it.
“They just changed their mind. They got the breakfast burrito instead.” The server explains with a thick Spanish accent. “Could you void this, please?”
“Of course,” Carosus responds. She walks to a computer and is finished within seconds.
She scans the floor and looks at two servers talking to themselves. “Help your teammates!” They quickly disperse. She gives one last look to the customers before she looks at the servers’ station. There are ketchups and syrups piling up waiting to be cleaned. This is a specific server’s running side work.
Carosus walks over to the ketchups and rolls up her sleeves. “I love to clean the shit out of everything,” She remarks, “Ketchups are my jam. No one cleans ketchups like I clean ketchups. I’ll help my kids out with their side work when they’re busy like this. It keeps me chill.”
After cleaning two bottles she looks up to see two customers giving the host a hard time. She rolls down her sleeves, puts on a smile and walks right over to rectify the problem.