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Where A Kid Can Be A Kid

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how does your store make magic? [Jan. 1st, 2007|10:08 pm]
Where A Kid Can Be A Kid

chuck_e_cheese

[mistopher]
[Current Mood |exhaustedexhausted]
[Current Music |o.c 4 beck - scarecrow]

Ok so this question stems from a couple of commentversations in both cec communities I posted in, but since every cec is different and does things a little differently i was wondering what do you do at your store that you think works really well that you think all the cecs should do or that would help other stores out just small things that you might do to save time. like for example here's some things we do at ours.

when we had walkins we used to tell them they can get a free ice cream at the register but now we give all parties a bday tent and the game room takes out a ice cream sandwhich with a candle in it. it saves cash time and its better for hospitality. ( i think most store already do this though)

instead of having to blow up new balloons way in the back everytime we give one away at kid check we keep a couple extra blown up just inside the kitchen door so we can replace them faster when we are busy the kidcheck person can get them and still see kid check..

at night when the closer takes down the salad bar we used to dump the ice into a bucket and then dump that bucket in the prep sink but that takes 3 or 4 trips so now the kitchen person leaves one of the big garbage cans with wheels on it empty so we can fill it with all the salad bar ice in one trip then we dump it in the mop sink. way way faster!!

I cant think of other short cuts that we take right now but what do you guys do? anything that i might be able to use at my store?
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: rapidtrabbit
2007-01-02 04:39 am (UTC)
Well back during the days when my former store was a franchise operation, we had Chuck E. walking around the store every day, and he even came out at request of guests if he wasn't immediately visibly present.

On the days I was working, I was allowed to and in fact kept Chuck E. out and about literally all day, sometimes from open to close. I voluntarily did one-hour sets when feasible (as opposed to 15-20 minutes like everybody else). Conditions permitting, I would make sure that Chuck E. got to greet all guests of all ages, even bouncing from table to table in the dining room, playing games in the gameroom, and welcoming the first guests at the front door and bidding them goodnight at closing. We had a big parking lot and often I would escort guests to and from their cars.

I remember that our managers would always get compliments when I was around, saying "Gee, Chuck E. is really very friendly today!"

Sadly those days ended when corporate took over our store, forcing pretty much everybody from the franchise days to quit. They don't particularly seem to care that Chuck E. only comes out to do the Birthday show then quickly disappear back to the pizza assembly line. In my day, I was allowed to devote my entire attention to Chuck E's appearance...nowadays, even if corporate had rehired me, I wouldn't be allowed to perform fully as a "professional" costume character performer because it is not "cost-efficient".

I wish CEC corporate management would endeavor to do more specific hiring for costume character performers (like Six Flags and other theme parks do) instead of just lumping the performing duties in with all the hourly work.
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[User Picture]From: mistopher
2007-01-02 04:52 am (UTC)
yea corporate won't let us do anything like that all we ever hear about is labor labor labor!! i remember one day for some reason our gm was in the suit an he ran all around and out in the parking lot and even tried to climb into his car (the head was to big) and all the kids loved it.but we cant do that now theres not enough people. I wish i had worked in a franchise store i bet it was tons of fun! i mean we have alot of fun too but you had a lot more freedom. but i do have to say that although we don't have the freedom to play around with Chuck e a lot our store is really really clean we get compliments on that all the time from guests one came from VA the other day cause she said ours was the cleanest cec she'd been to. thoose compliments make it worth it plus i really love the people i work with. corporate makes sure we stick to the cleaning list and upkeep on the store. i mean i like that its clean but if we could slack just a little on that and e able to have chuck e out more i but guests would be happier.
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[User Picture]From: theseeker07
2007-01-02 04:54 am (UTC)
We have a guy on weekends who was hired specifically as CEC. Even though he is not supposed to, he is in the Chuck suit almost his whole shift. He even helps out by running pizzas and helping kid check if they are swamped. Hes even a breakdancer! :-D Hes awesome!
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[User Picture]From: mistopher
2007-01-02 05:03 am (UTC)
do you guys have any special suit or something so chuck e isn't so hot? even if we had labor people would over heat if they had to stay in there long.?
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[User Picture]From: theseeker07
2007-01-02 05:06 am (UTC)
No....lol he just doesnt wear a shirt and he puts his shorts on....he is seriously a freak of nature...he also found a way to drink water while in the suit without putting holes int he mouth...i know...crazy...he stands in the walk in for about 5 min though....lol
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[User Picture]From: mistopher
2007-01-02 05:23 am (UTC)
first omg i love you for using the term freak of nature kick ass!

second dude yes he is!! whenever i did chuck e afterwards i would sooo be in the walk in it's so hot but i'm always hot by nature.

third i added you as a friend on lj.
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[User Picture]From: theseeker07
2007-01-02 05:31 am (UTC)
lol he is a freak of nature!! i swear!

lol he gets so hot that he actually steams...i mean...steams....and hes HOOOT lol

yay! i will add you too
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[User Picture]From: rapidtrabbit
2007-01-02 04:29 pm (UTC)
There were times in my store that I would freak out other cast members when they walked into the break room to find me resting up a bit...with the head and entire costume still on! Some of them thought of me as the "real" Chuck E.
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[User Picture]From: mistopher
2007-01-10 12:32 am (UTC)
Theres a guy at our store who does cec so much that some times if you call chucky!he will turn around to answer you haha we always make fun of him!
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[User Picture]From: thegloryocristi
2007-01-02 05:24 am (UTC)
its not that hot.. lol. you make it sound like its a sauna in there. the costume person just wears like a tank top and gym shorts to keep cool. we have an ice vest but no one ever uses it because its not that bad in the suit. they just take rest breaks every 20 minutes to drink water, and sometimes sit in the walk in.
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[User Picture]From: theseeker07
2007-01-02 05:27 am (UTC)
are you kidding me? lol that suit is sooo hot to me... and to him. But he is everywhere in that suit too, for like hours at a time...he dances all the time and runs pizzas and helps at merch and omg he is amazing lol...he goes outside and all that like you were saying. but he says its hot in it...lol
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[User Picture]From: thegloryocristi
2007-01-02 05:31 am (UTC)
well of course its hot, but its not like.. unbearable. i used to do costume a LOT back in the day when i first started.. 6 years ago.. and it wasnt that bad. no hotter than like, a regular workout.
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[User Picture]From: theseeker07
2007-01-02 05:31 am (UTC)
that is true...i GUESS lol :)
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[User Picture]From: mistopher
2007-01-02 05:38 am (UTC)
i dunno i guess i just get sick if i get really hot so it seems worse to me.
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[User Picture]From: theseeker07
2007-01-02 05:39 am (UTC)
yeah...or when your nose itches....lol
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[User Picture]From: mistopher
2007-01-02 05:41 am (UTC)
omg i HATE that lol!! but i love to see how excited the kids get.
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[User Picture]From: theseeker07
2007-01-02 05:43 am (UTC)
So do i...sooo much...or lol... idunno if you have this problem, but because I am short, the straps always fall down in the middle of a live show and I probably look very funny swining my arms around trying to get them back on my shoulders lol
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[User Picture]From: mistopher
2007-01-02 05:48 am (UTC)
ahahah i'm tall but thats funny as shit i have such a mental picture!!
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[User Picture]From: theseeker07
2007-01-02 05:53 am (UTC)
hey be nice to us short people! :-P

to solve the problem I tie the straps really high and say screw the buttons...
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[User Picture]From: mistopher
2007-01-02 05:34 am (UTC)
it is like a sauna in ours lol!!! but that's probably because everyone who is chuck e just has to wear their cec uniform in the suit no one wears shorts or a t shirt or anything cause no one ever knows who will be chuck e.
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[User Picture]From: theseeker07
2007-01-02 05:40 am (UTC)
we highlight the names on our schedual for whos gonna be chuck e. so you have a fair warning...but personally i enjoy doing it once in a while
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[User Picture]From: mistopher
2007-01-02 05:43 am (UTC)
that would be so much better if they did that i'll have to mention it to Liesbeth but she will probably say that it doesn't matter cause no one is ever in chuck e longer then 10 minutes.
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[User Picture]From: theseeker07
2007-01-02 05:45 am (UTC)
Yeah...then like...if someone needs Chuck E at any time of the day, they can just look on the board and know whos gonna do it. Most of the time its our kid check person or gameroom person who does chuck e.
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[User Picture]From: thegloryocristi
2007-01-02 04:54 am (UTC)
well dont feel too down, i'm from a franchise store, and we do still keep chuck e out all day. so its not all stores that are going down the tubes.

lets see...

my store has walkie talkies. pretty much everyone wears one. it makes communicating between positions super easy, because if you can't find the game room attendant to let them know a game is broken, all you have to do is walky them to the game. phone calls, manager calls to cash, problems in the kitchen, anything you need we are always in constant contact. it makes me wonder how we ever ran business without them. they are such a staple now. they were expensive, yes. but SO worth it.

we bring so much stuff to kid check to be done on thier slow times. towells to fold, aprons to untangle, boxes to fold, paper work to cut and clip together. kid check hardly ever just stands there. they are given things to do all day, because our kid check never leaves the stand. ever. ever ever ever. for any reason. we dont even let them walk up to the cash counter. thats too far.

and i know my store closes salad bar differently than most stores. we dont flip crocks. at the end of the night, everything from the salad bar is put in plastic crocks and refrigerated over night. then in the morning, all brand new stuff is put out in the bar, and the crocks from last night are used as understock, so the salad can be filled throughout the day from that stock. it ensures proper rotation, and it makes me salad bar look more pristine at open, because we dont just pour ice over last nights covered crocks.
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[User Picture]From: theseeker07
2007-01-02 05:05 am (UTC)
When we close salad we dont flip either, we just put saran wrap over the crocks, then int eh morning i get unused, cold crocks, and fill the bottom with a little new stuff, then put the old on top so that its "flipped" and then we clean the crocks and put more out..did any of that makes sense? lol
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[User Picture]From: mistopher
2007-01-02 05:21 am (UTC)
yea that makes sense but id rather flip at night because i have soo much to do in the am that would take longer. and there aren't enough unused crocks so id also have to run them through the dishwasher in the am and i never have time.
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[User Picture]From: mistopher
2007-01-02 05:13 am (UTC)
omg last year during busy season i brought in my own walkie talkies i only had 2 but i kept one and i gave the other to my manager so i never had to leave cash no matter what i could just tell her and she handeled it they were my own like 60 dollars from walmart. i would be doing that now but my stuff is still in NY. I'm going to get it tomorrow though and they are SO worth it you are right!! where did you get yours and about how much? i doubt they'd ever let us spend the money but maybe if we all pitched in cause God it would be sooo much better!! during first quarter sometimes you go a whole shift without seeing someone.

i like the way you do salad bar Liesbeth (the sr manager) and are like the salad bar nazis lol we want the salad bar looking perfect. and we sell alot of salads because of that. i dunno if i could get her to do it that way. do you do extra prep too though? because our under stock from the last nights crocks wouldn't be enough we would run out. but if we did it that way i'd never have to go behind my cashiers to make sure they are flipping right. did you come up with that way on your own?

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[User Picture]From: thegloryocristi
2007-01-02 05:23 am (UTC)
i suppose it would just be easiest for me to explain how we do salad as a whole.

at night, we do a final fill of everything around an hour before close. then at close, we dump all the stuff into plastic crocks that get put onto a cart and put into the walkin. in the morning, we get clean crocks, and fill them with all new stuff. we fill the bar with 6 buckets of ice, then shimmy the crocks into their holes through the ice. then we bring out the cart of crocks from last night and put them in the salad fridge up front. throughout the day when things need to be filled, we just grab the crocks from the fridge and fill things up. once those plastic crocks become empty, we throw them onto the cart and take a trip to the walkin, where we keep all the extra prep, and fill them up. then we bring them back up and put them in the fridge.

and yes, the walkie talkies were very expensive. they are motorola brand, similar to the kind that police officers use. we have 16 of them and if my memory serves me correctly, they are around $250 a piece. plus all the batteries, chargers, and hand mics. they were a huge investment but are so helpful.
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[User Picture]From: mistopher
2007-01-02 05:32 am (UTC)
i like the way you do salad bar i think it would be a lot better then the way we do it. and you wouldnt have ice and water in the crocks from saran wrap.

we would never be allowed to spend that kinda cash on anything for our store even the tech has trouble staying under budget.
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[User Picture]From: thegloryocristi
2007-01-02 06:08 am (UTC)
oh i know. we are a franchise so our owner can decide to buy anything he wants. he's usually pretty good on getting us anything we want as long as its a good investment for the business. and i would say they have paid for themselves at least twice over with the added efficiency it gives our shifts.
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[User Picture]From: my3pagefiction
2007-01-02 03:16 pm (UTC)
At my Cheese,
We do the crock switch. Completely empty the bar of all ice and water (absolutely dry, the entire thing) put the crocks in the walk in for the night.

Our CEC comes out hourly, regardless of parties or not. Every :30 for at LEAST 15 minutes.

Our Kid Check is usually very adamant (except for the new girls.. don't get me started), we also multitask with cleaning cheese and peppers shakers, tents, and other things on the tables, including napkin holders so they 'shine like the top of the chrysler building'... 'where is that?' sorry, store insider :)

Our store has a strict "No Cell On Shift" policy. Though most of us use our cellular devices only for the respects of time, a few bad apples who would literally stand there and yab on their cell in the middle of the gameroom or kid check floor WHILE THERE WERE GUESTS WAITING FOR THEIR ASSISTANCE...they were banned. Our cell phones now have to be securely in our bags or in the office (we've been victims of peer theft, which absolutely sucks). We get randomly cell phone checked, and if we are found to have the cell phone on us... it is in the office until the end of the shift or something else bad happens, haha. Also, being on the floor with the cellphone (like talking on it or texting) is warrant for a minor suspension. I think this rule is good, but I think the old kids (I've been there for almost 3 years) can have their phones on for strictly time telling purposes. I showed my manager how Airplane Mode works, how I can recieve no calls or texts but can still read the time. The jury is still out, however.

PS - I hate merch.
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[User Picture]From: mistopher
2007-01-10 12:31 am (UTC)
we used to have the no cell policy we had to hand it over before clocking in but the managers got sick of doing that so we are back to having them on us but most people don't make them a problem just the new people make it an issue with always being on the phone.
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[User Picture]From: ___aarrg
2007-01-24 11:38 pm (UTC)
I don't understand how people can use their phones at work anyway. There is always too much to do, and it's just rude.

I used to stay in one spot when I was kidcheck, but then I started doing cash, so everytime I am kidcheck now, I feel like I have to help the cash and merch, and take pizzas, and I kinda wander off. I'm working on it though.
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[User Picture]From: mistopher
2007-01-25 04:07 am (UTC)
yea like the people who have been there a long time arent a problem with cells i mean a bucnch of us even the managers use them to txt all day but its only the new people who dont know when to stop. us old people never let it get in the way of the job or do it where guests can see, if a new person is using the cell to much they will be written up.
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