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Increase sales and profit for your restaurant with a professionally trained wait staff.

Susan Ross
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At the Risk of Repeating Myself…

 Many newsletters ago I talked about the high cost of loss.  Well, the question keeps coming up as a huge issue among owners and managers.  “How do we instill responsibility and accountability in our staff?  They just don’t seem to care!”

 Unfortunately, many of them don’t.  I would start with the hiring process – but that’s another newsletter and another repeat!  After you’ve hired conscientious people, then you have to show them that you value them.  It’s not enough anymore just to give someone a job.  People want to feel valued and part of a greater cause.  And the greater cause would be…feeding people your fabulous food!  Ok, well, that may be your bare-bones goal.  Let’s flesh it out.

 Your guests are coming in for a dining experience, whether you are a fast-paced breakfast and lunch diner or a nice, slow-paced, quiet dining room.  You probably hired someone to design and decorate your space; you hired a great kitchen staff to prepare tasty food.  What you didn’t plan for is the revolving door that your service staff likes to use.  You don’t remember that in the blueprints!

 Servers use it as soon as they decide they don’t like working for you and your clientele.  And other servers are using it to enter as they spin out of another revolving door, maybe from across the street!

 In “The High Cost of Loss,” I talked about sharing with your staff the cost of the every day items in the restaurant.  Make a chart of all the things they take for granted every day.  Build on that idea and create another chart that includes all the costs of running a restaurant.  Show them the profit made on every dollar and where the rest of it goes.  Most service staff has no idea of the costs of running a restaurant; they believe you, the owner, are making a ton of money – sometimes on their backs!

 Incorporate this information in a mandatory meeting.  Give yourself the luxury of a long staff meeting where you are the keynote speaker!  Let your managers speak and explain the changes that are going to occur in order to make everyone accountable for their tools.  After all, we are talking about their tools to run their little business in your restaurant.  Forks, plates, ramekins, paper products…all the necessary items that your staff takes for granted every day.  What if they had to provide those items at their own expense?

 Most independent sales people do have to pay for their own tools.  And if you think about it, your servers are independent sales people; they are talking and selling to those people who responded to your advertising.  You can’t be with them every step of the way.  They’re going to do and say things that reflect your business image.

 In the earlier newsletter, I suggested a payment system for every item lost and then found in the garbage.  The system included the dishwashers as an integral part of the plan.  They would be paid a set figure per item found – by the service staff.  Hold a brainstorming session with your management team and come up with a fair monetary system.  I’m not talking about many dollars here; I’m talking about cents that add up to dollars quickly.

 You might find a way to include your team in the creation of the system so everyone feels they had input.  You will have created personal accountability and responsibility.

 The other loss that is rarely mentioned is that of quality servers.  How do you hold onto them?

 Some owners have included stock options, benefits and 401(k) to entice and hold onto quality employees.  Those perks come when staff members have reached a pre-determined level of longevity, usually a couple of years or so.

 Hold staff meetings where their opinions and thoughts are taken into consideration before making changes.  Treat them as part of your team, not just their own team separate from management.  They are, after all, the ones who will implement the changes and improvements on the floor.  They should also have their fingers on the proverbial pulses of your guests and know what they’re going to like and dislike.

 And let’s not forget why many are attracted to this business in the first place – the flexible scheduling.  Reward those who show up on time and truly care about their service with flexible schedules, within reason.

 One last thing – say “thanks” every day to those who work for you.  Sometimes a pat on the back with a smile and “thanks” is all someone needs to go the extra mile.

 Have a great and prosperous new year!  Start it off right with the resolution to hold your staff accountable and responsible for their actions!

Training and information is the key!  Contact me, Susie, at Waiter Training, either by phone or email.  My business number is (720) 203-4615, and email address is Susie@waiter-training.com.  Web address is http://www.waiter-training.com.

Excellence is an act won by training and habituation.
We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence,
but rather we have those because we have acted rightly.
We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.

-      Aristotle

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