At the Risk of
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
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
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
Excellence is an act won by training
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.
Learn more about training here
Susie for more information.