Rockaway At Work

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Katy Grey, General Manager of Bungalow Bar

 

Have you ever wondered what people do all day at their jobs?  I have, and that’s the basis for this column, Rockaway at Work

What does the general manager of a restaurant do?  A lot of everything, apparently!  Katy Grey, general manager of Bungalow Bar, told me she is responsible for guest relations, food service, training of staff, health inspections, scheduling, disciplining, and the overall daily operations of the restaurant. But I needed to observe her at work to see what that actually means. 

When I arrived, the computers were down, and she was working on getting them back up. Then Grey met with a family helping them select food for their wake. She explained to an employee what to set up in the tent for the buffet, for the Fishing Tournament. Then she found the scale for weighing the fish. She got a call from a boater asking her to ask other boaters to pull up on the pier; they needed room to dock. She called waitresses at home, changing their schedules, based on the weather and last-minute events. She cleaned off a table, checked the kitchen, talked to the staff at both bars, and answered questions from a waiter. She explained to the bar staff and the hostesses what to expect during the tournament later that day. This is only a small list of what she did while I was there.  

I was fascinated watching her eyes. She was talking to one employee, and at the same time she was scanning the restaurant, watching and assessing; and then on she went to deal with the next problem or person. 

Grey has a great deal of expertise dealing with people. It is evident she has a warm relationship with her staff, and they had no hesitation going to her with problems or concerns.

Grey also has a great relationship with the guests. She does what she calls ‘touching tables,’ going from table to table, talking to guests.   Guests came over to her, and kissed her on the cheek, and talked to her as if they were friends or family. Indeed, she says the most rewarding part of her job is meeting new guests and “having them become regulars, because they become family.”

Bungalow Bar and Restaurant, with its magnificent garden and breathtaking view from the outdoor seating area on the water, is a beautiful place to work. Grey works six days a week, about from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m., usually 45 to 55 hours, “sometimes more, very rarely less. As hard as it is, it’s extremely rewarding. I am very fortunate to have bosses who don't mind getting dirty, no job is too small for them; and they are hands on with the operations”, says Grey of the three owners, Dee Tubridy, Terence Tubridy and Ryan Whelan.

Katy does all the hiring, except for the kitchen staff. “I love the fact that we hire locals, and get to watch these kids grow up. It’s very rewarding to see the progression of the work ethic in the people who work for us.  Because their job is not easy. Many of the people who work here have worked for us for many years. And they all work so hard,” says Grey.

Grey’s B.A. degree in Mass Communications, with a minor in Business, from SUNY Oneonta, led her into fashion sales. But then she went back to school for a Certificate in Culinary Management from the Institute of Culinary Education. She worked for the Institute and Shake Shack, until she moved back to Rockaway.

Grey says her job is “orchestrating the flow of service from the back of the house to the front of the house. It’s like putting on a theater production every single day… with many moving parts.” Her words beautifully summed up what happens every day at Bungalow Bar and Restaurant. And she makes it look so easy… even though it’s far from it. Rockaway works hard.

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