MY MOTHER WAS MY FIRST BOOKKEEPER, AND I HAD TO LET HER GO

“Bet you’d sell your mother, you can buy another”

“The Wall Street Shuffle” by 10cc

Note that my mother would have got a kick out of this lyric.

Everyone teased me that I fired my mom. We all know business can be cruel and once you start involving family, you can get yourself into a pickle without trying. This sounds worse that it was.


I needed help with my bookkeeping right now

I thought I could run the office daily duties when I started the restaurant, but the basic bookkeeping required too much grunt time that I didn’t have.  Working with money, it was only natural I’d want to employ someone I could trust. I figured if I couldn’t trust my mother… 


This isn’t a Ma & Pa operation

But we were a busy restaurant and although my mother had done some bookkeeping and office management, this was a bit out of her league. I could see she was struggling with the volume and detail, so I “suggested” that we replace her. It was for her own good. Really.

Besides, she wasn’t being paid anyway as she refused compensation. This sure sounds like I’m trying to justify what I did. She thought she was letting me down and I thought I was getting her out of a difficult situation. 

My trust was tested, though, with the next bookkeeper as there were some improprieties. I did fire her after a short stint. I then hired an office manager and she turned out to be a gem. She also loved getting out of the office and assisting at the front station during busy lunches. Good staff is so important.


Things seem to work out in the end

Nadine Thompson and her grandson Jared.

It actually turned out for the better as my mom ended up babysitting my newborn son when my wife went back to work. This was a job that she was overjoyed doing and did so well. My son benefited, to say the least. And if anyone was going to take advantage of her, it would be her grandson.


A mother needs to feel appreciated

Undaunted, she decided to provide the restaurant with baking – her Grand Marnier torte was legendary – and the servers loved telling customers that the owner’s mom supplied a special dessert that evening. I once suggested that we use a cheaper version of the orange liqueur and she just glared at me as only a mother can. She never compromised on quality.

I did compensate her for the ingredients and comped her and her driver, my dad, meals & drinks in the restaurant or lounge whenever they dropped off her creations. The staff treated them like royalty.

It was my mother who sparked my interest in food at a young age. Her curiosity in various cuisines was so infectious, it enveloped my brothers and me. Assuredly, her personal involvement in the restaurant was now fitting.


As for the rest of my family

I still had two older brothers that ran the kitchen though. There is trust and enjoyment working with family but beware. Working for a little brother can be challenging at best. Luckily, there was respect and trust and our relationships didn’t suffer but flourished.

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