===Today my employer's young granddaughter, who works bussing dishes at our cafe got chewed out by a customer.===
First off, any customer that chews out the busser is a low life scum
If there were any problems, they should have been directed to the manager, who isn't there until later in the day if I remember correctly....
====My server is 'older', hard of hearing, I can barely read her handwriting, gets offended when I ask her to translate, snaps at my daughter about the toast being too light or too dark (when we're pretty much at the mercy of the toaster, takes the wrong food to the wrong table then complains that I missed the order...that kind of situation. Four pieces and the toaster doesn't let them GO until it's done...not good when you have 10 tables waiting.====
I worked at one place where in the basement were the remains of previous toasters. I called it the Crypt of the Dead Bread Burners...
You should try to find a equipment catalog and see if the owner is willing to invest in a new one.
Call it a test. If they won't pay for that, there are plenty of other things they won't invest in. I'm guessing that they don't have the cash and were expecting to make this place work with what equipment it came with.
I know one thing. You definitely will not get a new grill anytime soon.
==== My boss is aware of this 'problem' but unfortunately the server is a 'friend' in a fashion.====
Seniority has its privileges for those that have reached their highest level of incompetence. She isn't going anywhere and probably feels that you are nothing more than a long line of cooks that have passed on through while she will still be around.
Much like many of the replies here that you should move on, she isn't going to do that. Nor do you have the ability to fire her.
Have you tried to have a real heart to heart discussion with her about this? Do you think that a talk about these issues will help? It may be difficult, but worth trying. Maybe at the very least, she will improve her penmanship.....
===I, on the other hand am somehow assuming the position of breakfast kitchen manager.====
This is the most telling sentence. Your problem can take many forms. One of them is that it seems that you came as a cook, but are assuming control of the day shift with its inherent problems. I'll bet that you are not being paid much more than a basic cook wage.
I am laughing at some of the responses of how you should be treated like you as a chef, are the be-all and end-all for what goes on in a restaurant. My impression is that it seems you are just trying to find a job working in a functional enviorment where you can be comfortable. A little creativity would be nice too...
While you may know what needs to be fixed, your advice may be threatening to the owners who do not care for someone who knows more that them. I will also stick to my thoughts that there is nothing that they can do to improve things at the moment.
===I'm not sure how to handle this one. I suppose I could let it go along and see if it improves or if it falls completely into the toilet?... ...Any similar situations that you'd like to share (or vent about?)====
Deep breathing works for me..... I could go on for pages about bad restaurant jobs. I could on on for just as long about the good ones. It has been my faith for the future and the remembrance of these good ones that keep me going.
I think that you may be taking jobs with the idea that you -can- make it work with what you have. Other members have asked if you even check out what is going on before you accept these jobs.
I don't think they realize the the hidden problems that can surface after taking these positions.
One question I have learned to ask is what does the owner think is the biggest problem that needs to be addressed. If they say "Nothing", then they are lying.....
I have a feeling that you live in an area where the restaurant pickings are slim. Is this right?