Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Gdańsk Friday's Flashbacks

I used to work for T.G.I. Friday's many, many years ago.  The first time I was ever in Poland was back in 1998 when they sent me over for a month to open a new restaurant in Gdańsk.  I remember being so excited as this was my first international opening.  It was a lot of hard work with 12 - 16 hour days, six days a week.  But it was so much fun.  
Setting up the bar

This is how openings worked backed then.  A 14-person team was sent over to set a new site.  Usually we walked in to a construction zone and did PUNCH - physically unbelievable number of cleaning hours.

Gdańsk bar training in 1998
Gdańsk Friday's in 1998
We had to scrub everything from top to bottom, figure out where everything would go, receive all of the deliveries and set things up.  By all deliveries I mean everything...plates, glasses, silverware, tables, chairs, kitchen equipment, plus all of the food and liquor.

Then there was normally over a week of training all of the staff, followed by almost a week of mock service where the new staff got to practice.  There would then be a grand opening and we would stay for another week or two in order to make sure that things all ran smoothly.

Scandic Hotel in 2016

The Gdańsk store was part of a Holiday Inn hotel.  Or it was supposed to be.  When we left they were still building the hotel.  I wanted to stop by a visit the restaurant but unfortunately it closed in 2008.  And that Holiday Inn is now a Scandic Hotel.
The bar today

Here's the kicker...we're staying at the Scandic this trip.  What used to be the main dining room is now where the hotel serves breakfast each morning.

Bar trainees on opening night - 1998

I'm having all of the flashbacks each morning over breakfast.  I was sent over as the bar trainer and now the bar in the lobby looks quite different.

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