When I first started working at The Guernsey Cow, it was the last year the business was run by Horn & Hardart (my grandfather still owned the property but had leased the business to H&H in 1976. More about the history of the business to come in a later post.)
My grandfather continued to walk around the place like he owned it and ran it. In a sense, he owned the legacy of The Guernsey Cow and protected that legacy by ‘advising’ management and staff alike. As a busboy/dishwasher/counter jockey there were a few simple rules that my grandfather imparted on every visit or walk-through:
- Keep your hands out of your pockets.
- Do not stop moving. Barring anything else, there is always cleaning, restocking to be done..
- When wiping tables clean, wipe the sides as well as the tops. The sides face the customer as well as the top.
My mother returned from a recent visit to my grandmother with the three-page memo written in 1973 by my Uncle Joe “Pep” Puliti (Polite), then president of The Guernsey Cow. [Click the thumbnails at the end of this post to see the full page memo.] In it he lays out a challenge before all employees in the face of the impending Exton Square Mall opening.
At that point, the mall construction had already changed the face of Exton and West Whiteland by gobbling up what were once corn fields on the Zook property. The Zook House was raised up and moved to preserve it and make it part of the mall property (It was moved again in the mall’s expansion completed in 2000) .
Along with the increased traffic flow into Exton, the mall would also introduce the area to chain fast food restaurants. When it opened, the mall featured the area’s first McDonald’s. Shoppers would have no need to venture outside the confines of the mall walls in order to get a bite to eat.
It’s a treat to read the straight-forward direction given by my uncle about the actions each individual could take to make the business successful and the workday smoother. You can still see evidence of this level of care and consideration in some locally-owned eateries and other businesses and a lot less of it in the chain restaurants and bigger places.
Next time you are out to dinner, take a look around and see how many of the staff are standing around or chatting idly rather than seeing things to be done and doing them.
[Click the thumbnails below to see the full-size page of the letter.]