Area Restaurant Implementing Controversial Ideas in Effort to Go Green

8 03 2010

Elmer Huggest, owner of the restaurant, O’Grady’s Garden in Indiana, plans to do his part to save the planet by implementing some new policies at his eating establishment.  Some are pretty basic; others are a little more radical.

“It’s time we take a stand and do the right thing,” Huggest stated.  “There is so much food and energy waste in restaurants in this country, and I’m going to do something about it.”  Huggest, a retired gold prospector purchased the restaurant in 2005 and has been trying to come up with ideas to “go green” ever since.

O’Grady’s Garden will be closed this week as the staff makes major changes to the place.  The first work done will be to change all lighting to energy-saving flourescent bulbs.  The restaurant will also use significantly less lighting.  Huggest admits that some patrons may complain the restaurant is too dark but believes his customers will understand once they are informed of the new “green” policies. In addition, all the cooking and refrigeration appliances are being replaced with more energy-efficient models.

Other changes, however, may be more noticeable to customers.  In an effort to save paper, menus will be printed on small, playing-card sized menus.  Huggest realizes that these menus will be more difficult to read but believes this will not be a problem because a magnifying glass will be placed on every table to assist customers.

The napkins are changing as well.  Huggest proudly proclaimed, “We were fortunate enough to find a supplier in China who makes edible napkins.  They are made of some sort of plant fibers and come in two flavors:  Banana and Plum.”  This will cut down on washing costs and may also serve as a sort of replacement for dessert for our patrons.  I tried one, and they are very filling.”  Along the same lines, silverware will not necessarily be washed after each use.  “We’re going to have our staff inspect each piece of silverware when a table clears, and pieces that are deemed to be ‘not that dirty’ will simply be wiped once and placed back on the table.  This is a true ‘green’ innovation.”

Huggest also believes that restaurants waste energy in the form of heating and air conditioning.  “We’re going to go as natural as possible.  The heat will only come on if the restaurant temperature goes below 50, and the air will only be used when it’s above 85 in the dining room.  We think this can be comfortable as long as customers dress appropriately to the season.”

Servers will save paper by no longer writing down customer food orders and instead will be required to memorize them.  “We’ll probably have a few more mistakes on orders in the beginning since most of our servers are young and from the local community college,” Huggest admitted.  “I realize some of them are not the sharpest tools in the shed, but it’s all going to be worth it once they get the hang of things…eventually.”

Huggest also is removing the restaurant’s sound system meaning there will be no light music for ambiance.  He believes that is a waste of energy but has other ideas to provide a pleasant dining experience.  “My 14-year-old daughter plays the piccolo and will be available to sit in the corner and play most evenings.  Also, we’re very proud to announce that Corey Hart will play in the dining room on the first Thursday of every month.”  Corey Hart had the 1980′s hit song, “I Wear My Sunglasses at Night.”

Previously, O’Grady’s had a policy of handing out coloring paper and crayons to children diners.  This will be cut out, but children will have an opportunity to play in a large sandbox in the middle of the dining room while waiting for their food.  “I think they are going to just love that,” Huggest said.

Not all of the noticeable changes will be confined to the dining room.  Public Restroom policies are also being affected.  “The water faucets have been programmed to provide running water for only two seconds.  When it shuts off, it will not be able to be turned back on for a full minute.  We’re very proud of our efforts to cut out the unnecessary waste of water.  We also ask that our customers follow the old addage, If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down.”  Huggest added that the restaurant is considering having servers check the toilets immediately after customers use them and reserve the right to evict anyone from the restaurant who flushes “only urine.”

There will also be some big changes relating to the actual food.  For example, the restaurant’s signature steaks will no longer be available “well-done.”  Huggest stated that cooking meat for an extra couple of minutes to get them “well-done” is simply a waste of electricity and will not be allowed.  “We feel that medium is plenty done enough.  People will get used to it.”

Drink spills by customers will be handled differently as well.  Servers will quickly try to “scoop” any amount of drink that can be saved back into patrons’ glasses.  There will be a “fine” added on to the bill for every ounce of drink that cannot be saved.

“Fines” will also be applied when customers do not finish all their food.  The price of the “fine” will depend on the type and amount of the food.  Huggest says a reduced “fine” will be applied when customers ask for take-home boxes for leftovers.  “It’s all well and good if they want to take leftovers home, but we can’t be sure they won’t throw the food away at home or even accidentally leave the carry-out box on top of their cars when they drive off.  Therefore, a small fine is in order.”

Huggest believes that children are the biggest wasters of food.  He is changing the kid’s meal as a result.  “The kid’s meal will now consist of a few slices of prune, one saltine cracker and a 1.5 ounce juice box whose container is made completely of recycled material.  Since the meal is a lot smaller than it used to be, customers will be happy to hear that we are reducing the price by ten cents.”

The restaurant will also attempt to reuse some food left behind on customer plates.  Huggest realizes this idea is “different” but believes it is necessary in today’s world.  “We’re going to cut out any bite marks and inspect food to see how much can be recycled.  We’ll then put it on our ‘second chance’ buffet which patrons can eat from for a reduced price.  We think we are pioneers and that many, many other restaurants will be doing this type of thing in the near future.”

When asked if this is sanitary, Huggest stated that the restaurant is committed to providing a healthy environment.  “Since we will be reusing some food, it will be necessary to take the temperature of every customer as they arrive.  Anyone with a fever will be denied entrance.  Also, our host staff will be taking a good look at every customer who is trying to come in, and only clean-looking people who look like they don’t have any diseases will be admitted.  Additionally, servers will go around the dining room and spray hefty doses of Lysol every ten minutes.  We want our customers to know we care about their good health.”

Finally, the restaurant’s popular frozen margaritas will no longer be available.  “It just wastes too much ice,” Huggest said.

Jenna McQuire, a long-time patron of O’Grady’s is not happy about this last change. “If I don’t get my Friday night mango margarita, I’m going to kill someone,” she ranted.

Customers are certainly in for some changes at the establishment.  “I think they’ll understand in the long run,” Huggest said.  “What good is a restaurant if we end up living in an post-apocalyptic world where people are beating each other with sticks trying to get at the last drops of water on earth.  Now you think about that.”





Oops, Did We Forget to Mention…You’re Fired?

14 06 2008

There are several key ingredients for a perfect Friday the 13th. All of these were present here yesterday.

  • A severe thunderstorm with plenty of lightning – check
  • A few more medical bills arriving in the mail – check
  • Tons of major road construction combined with traffic jams near the house – check
  • Finding out from a random pharmacist that you were terminated from your job two weeks ago – check

I might have had a better day if I had been running through Camp Crystal Lake being chased by a hockey-masked guy named Jason (“It’s got a death curse!”). At least there would have been scantily-clad female camp counselors around, although they do not look quite as good when disemboweled.

The day started out pleasantly enough. I dropped the little kid off at her daycare and made my merry way to Walgreen’s for one of my routine, expensive trips through the pharmacy drive-through lane. I received the standard pharmaceutical greeting from the speaker and said something like, “I’m picking up yet another prescription for Licensed to Blog.” The drug-giver on the other side of the thick glass typed in some fun words/numbers on the keyboard, looked puzzled (never a good sign) and voiced through the crackly speaker, “Do you happen to have a new insurance card?” You can guess where it went from here. I no longer seemed to have valid insurance. The medicine would be something like four billion dollars without it.

I returned home an eternity later after encountering a sudden storm with lots of exciting lightning bolts landing nearby and crippling traffic problems on the first two routes that I tried. Eventually, I reached the vice president of my now former employer, who was absolutely mortified to find out that no one in the company had informed me that I had been terminated two weeks earlier. (I have been on FMLA due to the crazy swelling that I have boringly detailed in quite a few blogs on this site, and they decided they had waited long enough for me to get better.) I want to add here that I completely understand the termination. The doctors have not been able to pinpoint exactly when I would have been healthy enough to return to that job again. However, after almost 7 years in very good standing and a with a fine reputation in the schools and community agencies that I visited for my job, my bosses neglected to let me in on the secret firing. From what I was able to gather, neither of the primary bosses wanted to be the one to tell me, and each thought the other was doing it. Jason is more professional than that.

I am not shedding any tears over the loss of this job. There had been many recent changes far too boring to mention here, and the office had even been moved to a different town. Still, I had never been fired before in my life, and it leaves kind of a “pit in the stomach” feeling.

More importantly, I had no idea that I could have spent the last two weeks working on Cobra to keep my insurance as up-to-date as possible. (The notification is apparently “in the mail” but has not yet arrived.) So, there I was, needing one of my anti-kidney-rejection medications and scheduled to see a new specialist in St. Louis in three days without any valid insurance.

Back to the vice president. She worked her tail off yesterday afternoon to insure that I would, at least temporarily until the Cobra kicks in, be officially back on the insurance as of Monday morning so that the St. Louis appointment will not be affected and medication can be obtained without taking a 2nd mortgage. She also tried to purchase a few days’ worth of my medication for me on the company credit card. I believe there will be an angry meeting or two next week about the proper process of letting someone know they are fired.

Things would have been much clearer if I had been working for Donald Trump.

Or this guy





Food and Sex: Pure Marketing Genius

19 01 2008

Marketing and advertising, though admittedly garish and annoying, are also fascinating. I remember studying subliminal marketing in college. Supposedly, cigarette smokers are obsessed with fingers and holding objects in them. According to the professor, who was armed with numerous slides, marketers used this in print ads by picturing smokers who had one or more fingers “missing” by having them obscured behind an object, or curled into the palm, etc. I don’t know if this is actually true or if it made people buy more of that brand of cigarette, but it was a more interesting class than World History.

I am more certain of another technique. If you are over the age of 8, you are fully aware that sex sells, and marketers are not at all shy about using it. I find it most interesting when it is used in naming food items.

There are some obvious examples of this and some that are a little more subtle. Here are a few of my favorites:

HoHos. Who thought this was an appropriate name for a snack aimed at kids? Was the brand Floozy Hookers already taken? Someone should start a boycott. I’d do it, but I’m far too busy blogging while watching tennis on tv. (My inspiration for this blog came from allimac. Check it out.)

Bourbon Balls. Now this sounds more like a medical condition than a food. Don’t try to tell me that I am reading too much into the name. They could have just as easily called them bourbon ovals, but no.

Wieners. Please. Can’t we all just call them hot dogs? Actually, it might not be fair to other meats that these particular items are referred to as hot. In today’s society, you don’t want to offend anyone. The poor polish sausages in the meat case might feel unattractive if everyone keeps calling the wieners hot. (I don’t even want to think about the self-esteem issues of cold cuts.) As if the term wiener wasn’t blatant enough, someone thought it would be a good idea to sometimes put the word cocktail in front of it just to add a little more innuendo. Even better, someone else thought there should be foot-long wieners. This is very insensitive. Some guys out there are made to feel very inadequate around these things. Other items that make a guy feel he can’t measure up include: Green Giant, “Big Gulp” sized soft drinks at convenience stores, and LONG john donuts (cream-filled for good measure). While I’m on this subject, it’s just wrong to make a guy say “super size me” or “make mine a whopper” while standing in a busy line at a fast food restaurant.

Donut Holes. That is just plain dirty.

Cheese Nips. Are these snacks more noticeable when it’s cold outside?

Extra Virgin Olive Oil. How does something get to be extra virgin? I’m thinking there is no virgin oil used when making Easy Mac, Wild Cherry Life Savers, or Pop Tarts.

Oh Henry! candy bars. I’m not sure exactly what Henry is doing, but he should write a book so that we can all get such an enthusiastic response.

Lay’s Potato Chips. Sad, just sad. At least their slogan is not, “When is the last time you got LAYed?” (Not yet, anyway.)

Pound Cake. Is this a noun, or a verb?

It could be worse. That candy with the slogan “melts in your mouth, not in your hands” could have been called S & M’s with just one small letter change.








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