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May 06, 2006

Comments

Silverbrow

Rather than trying to get them to correct incorrect behaviour, why not reward them when they do it right? I realise we might be veering into McD's employee of the month, but you could tailor it so it suits your restaurant best.

For example, why not have a monthly vote amongst the staff who they think has done the best out of their peers. The winner gets something they'd value, a couple of bottles of wine, more money, dinner at a restaurant of their choice etc. That way, you can't be accused of favouritism and it is blindingly obvious who is well regarded and who is not. The slackers might be incentivised to pull up their socks if they know that their colleagues are watching them, rather than just the boss.

johng

I would agree with SB. You're going to find out soon enough as a parent that carrots work just as well as sticks, and that their use has less potential to come back and haunt you years later.

But I wouldn't hold it up to a vote. I'd do it myself, and I would more like they do at Hoggwarts. Add points for something done perfectly. Take points off for leaving that wine list or an app plate on the table.

johng

oh, but if you do have to use a stick - here's one that will work. Require all the servers to come in on their days off for training sessions. Make it clear which servers are making this neccesary, and also make it clear what kind of stuff is causing the problem. Your strong waiters will make your weak waiters shape up, or your weak waiters will quit.

Kudzu

This may be totally off the wall, but I offer it anyway. My son the actor has worked at his profession for a long time now. A very real aspect of each job (ie, each show) involves ---- "notes". During previews the director reads them aloud and in front of the cast, God and everybody. This means that each person is aware of how his/her performance affects the whole production. Later, during the run, notes are left in your dressing room. You become very aware very quickly what is amiss....And, on the other hand,praise DOES happen and good things are recognized.

This seems to work as a constant reminder to everyone about how important each and every performer and technician and company member is to a group effort.

In the restaurant biz, maybe you could do a group meeting once a month with follow-up notes along the way.

Do I hear Ethel Merman in the wings?

Kudzu

Giving my seniority away here, but it was Truth OR Consequences. Doubt whether anyone else remembers, but I am a stickler.

haddock

Thanks for all the input. The truth is we give them so many carrots as it is that we might as well open a stand at the farmer's market. We're good at carrots, not so good at sticks.

I like the off-day meeting idea. It's true, there's nothing like peer pressure to shape someone up.

We have a couple of reward systems in place and we used to have one that included points off for these minor infractions. The problem is this made us into exactly what I would like to avoid. Being a cop. I don't want to have to go around with a notebook recording good deed and demerits. I'd like to look out in the dining room, see a stray wine list on the table and "know" that it is there because the customer requests it be left because our staff just wouldn't leave it there otherwise. Or that a breadbasket was still on the table at dessert because one of the customers at the table wanted to nibble on bread rather than have something sweet, not because it was simply neglected.

And my dear Kudzu, I remember well the show Truth OR Consequences. I was playing off the name, trying to imply that this is NOT a case of one or the other, but that both are important.

steph

Since you mention the wine list repeatedly, perhaps you just need a post-it near where they are kept reminding staff to fetch them? Maybe you need to reduce the number of wine lists by just enough to keep the tables covered (remove 1 a week until it hurts (well almost)) so they are forced to be returned.

haddock

The problem isn't that they don't BRING the lists to the table, it's that they don't REMOVE them after the order is taken.

Admittedly, some guests want to keep the list for the entire meal, especially if they are matching glasses of wine to the food. Additionally, the desserts are listed on the back of the beverage list and some guests want to study the list to decide what they're having for dessert. I'd just like to be confident that the lists are remaining on the table for a reason, not because of negligence.

Sal Towse

Additionally, the desserts are listed on the back of the beverage list and some guests want to study the list to decide what they're having for dessert.

Maybe the solution is to have the desserts on a separate list then. No? I realize it's an added cost to do that, but maybe when you factor in the aggravation that all this is causing you ...

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