Bistro Short Staffed

On the students side it’s long lines, waiting and growling stomachs, but for the bistro ladies it’s short staff and frustration. Bistro employee Brenda Moreno wants students to know there’s a bigger story behind the bistro line.

At the bistro I help with everything that gets done except for the back because there’s only four of us so two of us are in the back and two of us are in the front,” Moreno said. “Because we’re understaffed, what we do to release stress is just to go home. From the very minute we get here until we leave we’re always working.” 

As soon as they arrive at the school bistro employees start preparing and making the food for breakfast and getting ready for third lunch. If they could be here earlier they would since they are so short staffed and have to be ready once the students step through the doors. The first bistro manager gets here at 5:45 a.m. She would get here earlier if she could, but she doesn’t have earlier access to the building.

“As soon as she gets here she’s got to start making cookies, because we have to let him cool down so then we can pack them because by 8 a.m.,” Moreno said.  “Everything has to be ready.”

A routine is crucial for the bistro. However instead of normally having eight staff members there are only four this year, and they have established that one person stays on the register, one heating food, one in the back making food and one stays making the drinks. Every so often the employees will switch from the register to the back making food, but they keep the employees heating the food and making the drinks.

“Lunch, like I said everything’s ready because we all have to have all hands on deck,” Moreno said. “They just stay there [in their specific area] because then your routine becomes faster, so they get faster and they all have their own routine on how to do things.”

Because they are so short staffed there isn’t room for a real break for the bistro employees. The small breaks they do get they use for bathroom breaks but are rushing to come back. After fifth lunch they are ready to pack up and leave for the day, but some of the employees have another job besides working the bistro.

“By the time we think we can have a breather, here comes fourth lunch, and then comes fifth lunch so we don’t have breathers,” Moreno said. but by the time we’re done we go home and we just relax. Now two of my ladies have another job, so they really don’t relax. They might have like an hour to relax, and then they go on to their other job.”

The bistro staff advises students not to get in the line with friends if they aren’t ordering and to be ready to order because the staff wants the line to move fast just like the students. A big problem they say is large groups of friends in line with only one or two students actually ordering.

The bistro employees say they are “in it for the kids” and are making the best out of the staff they have for the students to get their food and drinks.

Another problem Moreno sees is students cutting in line.

“There’s some really quiet students in the back,” Moreno said. “They’re not going to say ‘these 20 kids cut in font of me.’ Then 20 of them go to the line and only one buys, that’s also messes up [the line], because then the line looks like it is huge but it’s not really that long. It’s  just that 20 of them go through the line, only for one of their friends, and then they’ll stand there 10 of them and the person who actually did buy something cannot get to the straws, can not get to the drink, because they’re all standing there.”

Moreno has a solution for this problem.

“When we see the line is a little bit small one of them is like ‘I got to go to the restroom’ and the other one takes over and it’s just a lot of stress,”

— Brenda Moreno


“Whoever is going to buy, go stand over there,” she said. “That would be perfect you know.” 

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