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A Summer Fling With Burger King

April 18, 2005

More awesome old journal entries, I found digging in the archives.  🙂

April 18, 2005

Sweet sixteen. Maybe for you.  I worked at BK.

As you probably guessed, my first job was for none other than Burger King. How did I end up there? Rated on my Dad’s 87′ Sentra, State Farm seemed to think I owed them $87 / month. I needed work. Anywhere would do.

Dave — My BK Insider

No one ever gets a job the right way — you have to know somebody on the inside. My contact was Dave, who just happened to be restaurant manager. How did I know Dave? I used to live outside and one of my main hangouts was a basketball court about a block from my house. The court is owned by a Baptist church and Dave happened to be their youth leader ( I think ). Anyways, Dave, accompanied by Freight Train, Jeff, Mark, and the rest of the “Spring Creek Ballers” were always there late on Wednesday and Sunday nights sponsoring their own unique style of hack and slash basketball. It wasn’t uncommon to see people innocently tackled during a lay-up. I should probably write about that too, but this is about BK. That’s how I knew Dave, and he got me in.

The Broiler

As all BK newbees, I started the corporate ladder at the broiler. The big steel conveyor-belt that runs slowly over a hot grill, cooking the raw frozen hamburger patties. I had the joy of standing in extreme heat as I’d place and watch each one of these raw frozen hamburger patties dance across hell’s flames. I cooked hamburgers — no talent, no skill — just put the stupid patties on the steel-belt and watch em’ cook. Whenever they reach the end grab a bun and put them in a steam-hamper.

Friers

Work hard at BK and they’ll “promote” you. I was moved to bigger and better things — in charge of the friers. Just as hot, but now add stress and burns all over your hands. Fries, onion rings, chicken tenders — anything that’s fried I had to cook it. There was never and end to the stress. Not only did this grand position cook the food, but also has to prepare several of the sandwiches — the chicken sandwiches. My luck never seemed to run out — RIGHT when I was “promoted” to the frier station BK had it’s big promotional for 99 cent chicken sandwiches. As the world enjoyed Will Smith wickey-wickey Wild Westin’ in the BK commercials, I was making the stupid sandwiches.

You can’t imagine the stress. I’d never been so worked in my life. “Drop fries” — buzzers going off, stupid girls screaming telling me to hurry up with sandwiches — running in the back freezer grabbing more fries and chicken patties.  Then while you’re fetching those golden potatoes, 20 sandwiches have piled up on your cute little computer screen.

All Done?

After the madness ends, grease is everywhere. It’s on you, the counter, the floor — everywhere. Absolutely disgusting. You now get to clean it all up. Disgusting lard layered inbetween the cracks of that tiled floor. Get the mop and bucket, clean that up and you’re ready to start your next slew of crap before night crew comes in.

Taking out Trash

There’s two different types of ‘trash’ at Burger King. There’s the trash generated by customers in the restaurant area, and … the MASSIVE shared trash can in the kitchen. This is where life became unbearable. The Massive kitchen trash can was too big for anyone to carry or move around — it was on wheels, and for good reason. It stood about to my chest so I’d say it was around 4 1/2 to maybe 5 feet tall. It was massive in diameter and barely could squeeze out of a door. Pressed down, shaken together, and running over with nasty food waste, I was the lucky one to take it out every day. The BK dumpster lies beyond the parking lot and I’d drag this beast all the way there. It was heavy even to drag around on wheels. Then you’d get to the dumpster. You’ve all see the massive restaurant dumpsters — their tops are 5 1/2 feet in the air. Now here I am, supposed to lift this, massive trash can 5 1/2 feet in the air into the dumpster. Easier said than done. First off the grips are at the TOP of the can and unless you’re a LOT stronger than I am, you’re not going to lift that can with your shoulders up that high. You’re going to have to grab this can by the bottom and use your whole body. You have to bear-hug this puppy — and you don’t want to bear hug this can. It’s filthy, and over the years it has a nice film of nastiness all over the bottom and sides. Unfortunately, I had no other option, so I’d bear hug it and heave it up to the top. My shirt and sometimes even my face would get all this slimy crap all over it as I struggled. Then you’d get it up there, but it doesn’t end here. The dumpster has a decline near the lip so your can goes sliding right into the dumpster. There it goes and you can’t pull it out since all the crap is still in the can. I’ve had to literally climb in the dumpster to get this thing out. Burger King’s NASTY FOOD WASTE dumpster. You can only imagine. This is summer-time. It’s 100 degrees. Flies are buzzing everywhere and I’m climbing in this dumpster after this stupid can. After climbing in, half the trash ends up on me as I try to get the can out and I finally get it out of there.

It doesn’t get any worse than that. I’m covered in literal trash, and now I’m coming back inside to make your food!

Bring in the Buns

There’s a little freezer building outside of BK that holds the buns. They’re delivered daily to that building and I had to bring in the load to get ready for night crew. I wash my hands and head outside. You use these little mounts on wheels and and have to drag these ‘towers’ of buns onto the portable wheel mount. Then roll them inside. It was always a butt to get those stupid bun towers on the mount. The buns are stacked in these heavy-duty plastic trays in big squares. I’d say they weighed 50 pounds. Nothing like the trash can but these could easily tip over and you’d have buns all over the ground. I was fortunate enough to have coordination and never tip a tower over — that would be horrible and I’m sure it’s happened to a lot of people.

Clean Everything but Yourself

After the buns it’s time to clean literally everything in the building — bathrooms, sweep/mop restaurant area, sweep/mop kitchen floor, wipe of all counters, etc. That’s a job, but definetely a nice change of pace. Way better than being back in the kitchen. I’d always milk that job for all it’s worth. I’d take as long as I could get away with.

After that I’d get to clean all the windows — inside and out.

Next was sweeping and cleaning the parking lot. You’d go around the parking lot with this little portable hand-held dust pan and sweep and gather all trash in the parking lot. After sweeping and picking up trash you had to get the hose and spray off the side-walks. You were supposed to use this custom cleaning solution and nozzle deal but I never bothered. I wasted all the time I could and just let water go — spraying that stupid sidewalk and cooling myself off with the mist of the hose. I never thought about it but I’m sure the customers sat there watching and noticing as I sprayed the same section of side-walk for 15 minutes. If they knew what I’d gone through, they’d have sympathy.

Mow the Grass

Once a week I was THE guy to cut grass. Using their crappy push mower I had to cut the grass by the highway and the little strip of grass between BK and Pizza Hut.

It Just Doesn’t Stop

In the beginning I was foolish and busted my butt. A person should have work-ethic shouldn’t they? Not at BK. You’re not rewarded, but punished for finishing early. The first time I completed everything early I sat on the frier counter just relaxing. The manager came up to me (not Dave — he wasn’t that cruel) and told me if I had time to sit I had time to clean. Then he literally made me clean the wall-floor tiles with my hands and knees, scrubbing them with a little sponge/scratcher deal. I never made that mistake again.

Break Time

Many times you’d have to work the full 8-hour shift. BK featured a nice 15 MINUTE meal break that was subject to be given whenever your manager felt like giving it. If things were busy, you didn’t get this ‘convenience’. Come on — you don’t even get to eat! I do remember one break though. Food wasn’t free. A massive 20% discount off awaited you. Anyways, I ordered a BK broiler (a broiled chicken sandwich). So stupid — I had to go up front like a customer and order my food. Then this 40 year old woman fills my position making chicken sandwiches. There was noone there. It wasn’t busy at all. I couldn’t believe it — that stupid lady SLOPPED my sandwich together like she was in the middle of the lunch rush. I mean, slopped — like she was trying to break some record or something. I was pissed. The only break I get and this stupid woman slops my sandwich together for no reason. There was no reason — there was no drama going on — no bad vibes. No reason. Just some idiot woman.

Stay Away from the Food

Here’s a neat one. I don’t know how many times I’d make sandwiches up and they’d sit for an “extended” time. After, I think 15 minutes you had to discard the food. BK policy strictly prohibited employees eating the food that was to be thrown away. They’d rather throw away food than let you eat it. I remember one time I made up a batch of beautiful chicken tenders. Those things were awesome. There was a whole container of them, cooked and fresh. Fresh to me anyways — 15 minutes old. Lunch had ended and there was quite a few left. I went to grab for one then that STUPID woman — that SAME woman that slopped my sandwich, screamed something and dumped that entire container of perfectly good chicken tenders into that nasty massive trash can. I said “I’m hungry and could’ve eaten those!” Then she said something and tried to get me in trouble. OOOhhhh. I’d had it up to here with these people. I whipped up a big bunch of those chicken tenders and purposely knew that batch would go bad too. Then I stuffed my pockets and hid-out in the walk-in freezer. That was the place to get away from it all. You could sit in there for a good 10 minutes without getting caught. Problem was, if you hung out in there too long it got way too cold and frost could accumulate on you from your sweat freezing.

There was also the fish-sandwich incident. In extreme hunger they refused to give me a break. Things may have been busy but I just decided that the trash ‘needed’ to be taken out. It was about 1/4 full, nowhere near needing taken out but I had other plans. There was a fish sandwich that just expired and I wasn’t going to let it go to waste. I hid it under my shirt as I dragged the barely full trash can out to the dumpster. There I took my own break and ate that sandwich back in the parking lot near the trees behind the dumpster area. Forget Burger King — freaking starving me. There has to be laws against that. I’m justified in my action.

More To BK Than Your Job

Every job is more than just the job you’re doing — you get to meet the staff you’ll be working with. The BK crew wasn’t exactly people you’d want to hang out with. Not to be crude, but these people were just a downright bad influence. The only stories I can remember is how they would tell me how they couldn’t wait to get home and get wasted. Then they’d always talk about some hardcore alcholic beverage they were concocting.

A Pep talk from BK Executives

One day we were asked to come in for an employee meeting. This manly looking woman — strong, stout, short-hair, etc. — apparently a low-end executive from Burger King — came down to our store and started a BK-hype lecture telling us great things awaited us with a career with Burger King. She’d been there 13 years, “Look at me now! After 13 years of blah blah blah” — If she made it through 13 years, she definetely deserved something.

An End to BK

There’s a proverb that says all roads lead to Rome. I’m sorry, not that one. After a whole day of madness — the $33 bucks just doesn’t cut it. Forget BK.  After I saved up enough money for a new computer I was out of there. I just didn’t show up again.

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