Gratuity Ingenuity

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Sunday, January 6, 2013

About Me

     What can I say? I'm a former Waffle House Grill Operator. I originally trained in Nashville, TN at what we called "Waffle House Bellevue". I had an excellent manager there by the name of J.W. Northrup, Jr. A short while after I started there, I was put onto 3rd shift with Gina Daniels and Sue Ellen Drinkwater. (There were others, but they are the ones I remember the most... I miss them.) They were some of the best waitresses I have ever had the pleasure of working with. I was hired in at $7.00 p/h (this was in 2005), but got a $.50 raise with my very first paycheck. I assume it was because I learned so fast and was so meticulous about sending out good food. Food cost was pretty high at first, because I would burn up eggs or bacon trying to get used to doing things "The Waffle House Way", but the customers were happy with the results. Sue Ellen and Gina whipped me into shape as far as being the 3rd shift cook. Boy, did I need it! It was insane to see how many people could fit into such a small restaurant between 9pm and 7am... There were some nights that I could never get away from the grill for hours. I remember one night, Gina said "Rugg, can I call this order?" (That was my nickname.) I told her "Sure, but you gotta do me a favor. GO PEE FOR ME!" It was a long night, just like many others, but we all had a good time. I'm grateful for my experience at Waffle House, especially in Nashville. It taught me (and some of my crew members) that even though you get frustrated with each other or even with the job, you can still clock out at the end of the day knowing you had friends with you the whole time. Not only were most of my coworkers friends of mine, but we had a lot of VERY regular customers. Some of them I had memorized, too. There were two different "Mr. James's" that came in at different times in the morning. They both got eggs and bacon, but one got over-light and the other got scrambled. There was Gavin, who would usually come in drunk from either the bar or strip club and drink coffee until he sobered up. Sometimes he would eat, sometimes he wouldn't.
     I didn't get to work there a full year, which I regret. I ended up moving out of Nashville due to some marital issues. J.W., about three months after I started working there, had given me a nice raise (Jim Shaw III was the owner of the franchise and took care of the employees that took care of him) and told me that a year from that day he wanted me to be his district relief manager. I was the only cook in the district to have keys to the office/safe and commissary. Other cooks in the district would run out of eggs or waffle batter or something else important, and they would come to me to "refill", leaving a receipt for the manager so he could get the same thing back when the other store's truck order came in. I always came in about twenty minutes early so that I could count down the drawer and let him know what sales were, do my own pull (get things stocked for the night) and get down to business. I found out that things were very different here in North Carolina, though. But that's a different story.
     I'm currently a father of one boy, a step-father of another (although I still say "my son" when I refer to him), and his mother and I are expecting a child in June or July. We're hoping for a little girl. We're thinking of naming her Amira, but we haven't really DECIDED on anything yet. It has a nice ring to it, though. Amira Apperson... As for work, I'm currently unemployed. I had someone convince me to leave a different Waffle House back in May of 2012. I was making $7.70 p/h at the time, living in a small town called Randleman. They wanted me to travel from there to the other end of town, two towns over (REALLY not as far as it sounds, but the 40 minute drive wasn't worth the pay. She offered me $10.00 an hour to work for the same construction company she did, so I took it and quit Waffle House. Ended up working for only $8.00 an hour for about a month, then got fired for smoking a cigarette in the wrong area. A couple months later, I was offered a job doing labor work for the same construction company. Things were going fine, but when it got cold outside, I got laid off. Now I've been out of work for about two months and it's driving me insane. I hope to find two jobs very soon, though, and I've already got a plan that will enable me to retire within a year if everything goes well. Right now I'm living with my mother and kid brother until I'm able to bounce back. My wife is living with her father about 45 minutes away due to a lack of space here with my family (that and her whole family thinks I'm some sort of dead beat white trash with an education). They just don't realize that just because I don't HAVE a job, it isn't for lack of trying. I just can't wait for the day I can say "Jennifer... """THIS is what happens when you bring TRASH home"""" She said that to my wife once, which amazed me, since I had done nothing wrong and was getting ready to go to work for the construction company she also worked for. Oh well. One day my plans will be put into action and when I'm sitting in the house I've bought and retired before I'm 35, I'll be able to make her eat those words. Never judge someone because of the situation they're in. Sometimes they could just happen to be a victim of circumstance.
     Thanks for reading, everyone. I apologize if that last part seemed a bit like ranting, but this is About Me, and I don't feel like I have to hide anything from my readers. I hope you all find this blog useful, or at the very least entertaining. If there is anything you would like to know about me or Waffle House, simply post your question in a comment and I'll be more than happy to answer that question. Or you can e-mail me at adayinthelifeofawafflehousecook@yahoo.com and I'll get to it as soon as possible. I would also like to hear from employees (current or former) and regular customers! Share your stories with me and I'll be happy to post them here on my blog! Have a wonderful day, and again, thank you all for reading!

Matt Apperson

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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Historical marker ordered up for Waffle House | The Biz Beat

 I've been trying to get customers to give me their own personal feedback about their experiences at Waffle House. Unfortunately, no one has e-mailed me or commented with their stories. However, I DID find a nice article about Waffle House at this website, and I've decided to share it with you. If you read through the article, you will find a list of comments beneath it from Waffle House customers. I found their feedback very interesting. Some of the stories were happy ones, touching on how they began "Waffle House Traditions", and others were negative, commenting on either the staff or the food itself. However, I've been trying to make this blog as non-biased as possible, so I have no qualms about sharing this with you! Enjoy!

Historical marker ordered up for Waffle House | The Biz Beat