Hospitality, Pride and Relationships Make Ray’s Special

by Cindy Howard, Seasonal Cafe Manager

Our longest-term crew member, Cindy Howard has worked at Ray’s for 35 years!

Time flies when you’re having fun!

Thirty five years ago, I started my job at Ray’s Boathouse.  It was the place to work in the 70’s and if you made it through the grueling four-interview process, you were among a very select and eclectic group of healthy, intelligent, active, and a bit full of shenanigans, people.  The pride the crew felt working at Ray’s, was over the top and from day one, I observed mutual respect from owners and managers.

Within the first few days of training, I could feel the loyalty and passion among those working, and we instantly became one big happy family.  My new family worked together, played together and always took care of each other.  This was so unique to me as I had worked in many other restaurants around Seattle and there was nothing like the camaraderie at Ray’s.

In those days, it was not uncommon for the crew to start their lunch shift with a shot of tequila, with one of the owners at the helm.  No, this did not go on everyday; it was more like a toast to “bring it on” before we got our butts kicked with the high volume of guests lined up out the front door.  The lunch shift was fast and furious and of course filled with the high profile Seattle celebs and their martini lunches.  Being one of the hot spots in town, we attracted all the movers and shakers in town and was the place to go, to be “seen”.

Flashback to our 10th birthday in 1983!
Flashback to our 10th birthday in 1983!

At the time, the bar upstairs (now the Cafe) was a hangout for fishermen after they came home from crabbing with their pockets full of money and other items I won’t mention…remember, it was the 70’s and 80’s!  In the summer, we held our pre-shift meetings on the deck and would occasionally”‘flash” a fishing boat going by on their way to Alaska.

I knew most of my guests by name and what they drank.  Many came in several times a week and some, daily.  We had a little window in the bar where we could look out to the parking lot and see who was  coming in.  It wasn’t unusual for me to have their drinks waiting on the table before they arrived.

After several years of waiting tables, I was promoted to manager.  With that responsibility, I quickly learned that the name of the game was all about mutual respect, hospitality and relationships.  Nurturing guests, crew and vendors was, and is, my passion.

Never dreaming then I would still be at Ray’s today, I am grateful to the owners for trusting in my leadership and showing me the road map for success.

With our 40th birthday party today, I look forward to seeing many of those same people that were joining me in that shot of tequila, 35 years ago…cheers!

Mo Shaw Covers a Lot of Ground at Ray’s

by Dave Saunders, Catering Chef

momegaphoneIt’s baseball season and our longtime General Manager Mo Shaw will imminently be departing. Both have been on our minds of late. Why do I conflate the two? Is Mo an aficionado of the summer pastime? I can’t say. But I do know that she’s a fan and a champion of her employees and perhaps there’s a lesson of the baseball diamond that relates to Mo’s swan song.

I played shortstop as a youth, softball as an adult. A major principle of the position, as of all the infield positions, is to charge a ground ball hit to you. Go get it. The reasons are twofold. One – get that ball as soon as you can to increase the odds of throwing the batter, or a runner, out.  Two – get the ball on a good hop. If you wait it out, the ball may take an extra bounce and careen away. If it’s a three-bounder, collect it at two and a-half and make the play. Perhaps that ball is opportunity.

To many of us, Mo has been a coach, a teacher, a (cheer)leader, a coworker. She “covers a lot of ground” in the cafe when the rush is on (and even when it isn’t). I think she has an MBWA degree – that is, management by walking around. She knows the field, knows the turf, and knows what’s happening in all departments simultaneously. She’s plugged in.

Baseball lineups change, batting orders change, business employment rosters change. More infrequently, the leader who writes that roster changes. We’ve been fortunate to be led, instructed, advised, taught, reminded, cheered, and celebrated by Mo. It’s time to celebrate her, and to welcome our new GM Doug Zellers.