Westlake, Ohio,
14:20 PM

At TA Bloomsburg It Was All Hands on Deck, and Some in the Dishwater

It all began before 8 a.m. on a Thursday when Mike Reeder, a technician at TA Bloomsburg in Pa., walked through the restaurant, learned that both servers were out and saw the guests lining up outside the door. He said to Andrea Garcia, restaurant manager, “Do you want to open?” She chuckled and asked Mike to call general manager Carey Musselman.

After talking to Mike, Carey ran from her office to the restaurant and saw the hungry guests waiting for the door to open at 8. She felt there was no choice but to open for breakfast. Dee Ferguson, the line cook, started getting the food out. Mike, Carey and Janelle Campbell, the shop manager, instantly became servers, table bussers, traffic controllers, and Mike did a stint as dishwasher, too.

Even with COVID distancing, there were about 50 guests seated at a time. Not knowing the numbers signifying each table, our “servers” were saying, for example, “The pancakes with bacon go to the guy in the corner with the red shirt.”

When Alicia Hunter, assistant restaurant manager, came in to work, she jumped right in and helped the others. Carey said Alicia was so patient with the questions and lack of experience of the other three. The guests were also patient and even laughed at the comical scene. After many requests for syrup, one guest decided to put jam on his pancakes, just before three frazzled servers each brought him syrup.

Every time a table was bussed and reset it was immediately occupied. After four hours of what could be called a successful morning, Carey said, “It was epic. Everybody realized we’d be much more effective working together. Some of us were doing something we had never done before. It was wonderful to see what my exceptional team could do.”