Herald correspondent Monique Brand spent the afternoon with Bobbi Clingerman at Black Meg 43 in Harker Heights. This is the fourth in a series of articles on “A Day in the Life” of various Harker Heights occupations.
On a cloudy and humid Saturday afternoon, I was greeted at the double doors of Black Meg 43 by the manager of the day, Tray McIntire. He introduced me to the employee I would be shadowing, Bobbi Clingerman, a 20-year-old Heights resident who has worked at the restaurant for almost three months.
2:45 P.M. SHIFT TURNOVER
The crew had been there for a few hours before I arrived, exchanging information with other cashiers from the previous shift and making the usual preparations for the evening.
As I walked into the cashier area, I almost slipped on the floor, leading Clingerman to tell me the reason employees wear special shoes for work.
The floors can get slippery from the cooking oil, she said, which flies through air and lands on the floor as it fries food.
Plus, the last crew shift had just cleaned the floor. Clingerman handed me a Black Meg hat that all the employees wear with their company T-shirts.
3:25 P.M. CALM BEFORE THE STORM
On a typical Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m., the restaurant is in a “slow-down” mode, McIntire said. So there was time to re-stock, show me the point-of-service register and tell me how to use the system. It almost brought me back to my high school years as a cashier at Papa John’s in Los Angeles. But as reality kicked in, so did the customers.
4:19 P.M. IT’S HAPPENING
With the turn of a hamburger patty, the restaurant suddenly went from completely empty to a packed house. Staff members kicked into high gear as they worked to serve customers.
“You have to always pay attention to details with everyone’s orders,” Clingerman said. “Messing up anything can cause a dent in the POS register and of course your dependability.”
Clingerman was in waitress mode, clearing out items on the order screen that shows what needs to be served to whom. Other employees helped as well by working the registers and putting orders together.
5:27 P.M.: NO SIGN OF SLOWING DOWN
New and old customers lined up at our register. Clingerman pointed out one particular customer — Shamari Miller — who has been a regular since the Harker Heights location opened in February.
“They greet me with kindness and good service,” Miller said. “And Bobbi knows exactly what I want every time. ... Gotta’ love it.”
Another regular, Terri Norris, also raved about the restaurant. Norris’ family drives from Killeen to the Heights location when they can, Norris said.
“I love it. I am so thankful that it is affordable.”
6:30 P.M. GOODBYE
As my shift came to an end and I headed home for the night with sore feet and an aching back, I felt a renewed sense of appreciation for people who work in the restaurant industry.
I was happy to be on the eating side of it and not the serving side.
Monique Brand - Herald correspondent