Saturday, July 16, 2011

1979 Parade Float

As far as I know, this was the only Franklin's parade float to ever have been hauled through a parade route.

Since we were new to downtown Wilkes-Barre, we participated in the 1979 edition of the Wilkes-Barre Christmas parade.
Paul Kutney as Ben Franklin
The pictures were taken in the shadow of the Pepsi warehouse on Hill St., as the parade participants were being lined up in the proper order.

If you look real close like, you'll notice that Ben Franklin has a Marlboro in his fingers. These days, you'd probably be arrested for daring to light up anywhere near a parade. Or should I say, near the children.

That's Fred DuRoss sporting the reindeer costume. And if you've ever laid eyes on him, you know it was a good decision to cover him from head to toe.

I could name just about every employee in those pics, but I will take a pass on doing as much.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Franklin's link

By the way, I, we, whomever...we are not alone out here in the Internet ether...

A Facebook fan page: I worked in Franklin's Family Restaurant in Hazleton,Pa

The excerpt:  A page for all Alumni to sign , join , and just keep in touch!


Hazleton Water Authority's 25% cutback

I never worked a single shift at the Hazleton Franklin's.

But I did attend a few district meetings in the back dining room.

District meetings were always fun. At district meetings, the District Manager would point out in stark, resounding and grotesque terms how completely the attending General Mangers sucked. And then we'd have some lunch.

While once attending one of these necessary annoyances at the Hazleton unit, I was repeatedly raked over the coals for something or other than escapes me now. All the while, I purposely had my fingertip pressing down on a profit and loss statement illustrating the fact that I had just turned a 26.9% pure profit during the previous month...January. That's "pure" profit.

And if you're a current or former restaurateur, you know that a 26.9% pure profit in any given January is pretty much unattainable. And especially in those days, when operators such as ourselves were not publicly traded and reduced to cutthroat practices to assuage the whims of the investors.

Christmas passed, everybody was tapped-out, and as a GM, your mission was to get through January and February without having too much of a profit-and-loss hole to dig yourself out of for months on end. Still, 26.9% in January, and there I was having to eat more needless bullspit.

And with that, you have yet another insight as to why I bolted from the hospitality industry.

Anyway, having never worked in Hazleton, my memory is very fuzzy on this one.

What I remember is that the Hazleton Water Authority was facing some sort of serious dilemma. And as a result, the Franklin's in Hazleton was forced to reduce it's water usage by 25%, meaning it's dishwasher was put on standby.

And with that, the paper plates and plastic utensils first appeared.

Personally, I can't even imagine how such an unthinkable thing was even remotely possible. And I'm glad that Emil had to live and work through that, and not myself.

Managing a restaurant without an operable dishwasher?

Yeah, you can count me out.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Big Ben hand puppets

Ah, the plastic Big Ben hand puppets.

Throughout my Franklin's career, I probably handed out tens of thousands of these popular trinkets. Perhaps even hundreds of thousands. And all by design.

When you plunk down hard cold cash at a table service eatery, the very last thing you want is some screaming brat seated anywhere near you. And since most parents seem incapable of controlling their kiddies, we sought out to do it for them. Or, at least, to keep those kiddies somewhat amused and quiet.

At the point of being settled into either a booster seat or a highchair, the kids would be treated to kiddie placemats replete with things to color with the 4-pack of crayons we provided. We also provided saltines to nibble on, balloons to blow into and Big Ben hand puppets with which to play with until the food arrived at the table.

And for the most part, screaming brats were a rarity at Franklin's.

Well, mostly.


Hazleton Franklin's pic

This is a picture of the Hazleton Franklin's, taken after Friendly's had the store's interior remodeled.

The date escapes me, simply because I did not work there at the time. Let's say late-80s.

Near as I can recall, all of the folks in that picture were from Franklin's, with the guy third from the left--John Collins--being from Friendly's.

If you knew me after Friendly's had purchased Franklin's, you know that Collins was lucky I never flipped out and assaulted him. Although, there was that one Sunday morning and that one mop handle that whizzed past his face.

I will never forget these hoddog and ice cream experts making with the profitablity routine 24/7.

Collins: Why do you need two hostesses?

Markie: Waiting line in. Waiting line out. You figure it out.

Standing in the rear and to the right was the long-time general manager of the Hazleton Franklin's, Emil Polchin.


Danville--the unnamed bus-boy

I can only remember being in the Danville Franklin's a handful of times.

It's a Friendly restaurant now, and it was located just down the road a ways from the Route 81 exit, and just a ways before you arrive at the intersection of Route 11 where the high school sits.

In this picture we have the unnamed bus-boy from, in all likelihood, the late seventies or early eighties.

I love pictures such as these, the pictures that show the grunts at work. You know, the unheralded grunts that worked for minimum wage and constantly had overbearing assholes such as myself climbing up their backs most of the time.

At my store--Kidder Street, Wilkes-Barre--they got next to no respect. In fact, the short-order cooks called them "dish pigs."