Close your eyes and pause for a moment as you look at the restaurant and team from within your head. As your mind’s eye roams around the restaurant, your lack of vision will require you to utilize that brain you were given. One by one you will look at each person on the team and ask the $10,000 question:
"If sales were 30% higher TODAY, how effective and skilled would they be? Would they have the ability to keep their cool, work with the team and maintain execution?"
As you think more deeply about the various types of staff you have working at your restaurant, you may begin to recognize them:
- Grumblers: This isn’t the way it used to be. When I was hired, we were doing way less business. I should get a raise since we are so much busier.
- Worriers: I will never get out of here on time. How come it is so busy? I just don’t know how I am going to keep up.
- Avoiders: If I work in the slower section or earlier shift, I won’t have to do as much and get paid just as much as everyone else.
- Pass it On: Since I have seniority, you have to do what I say. I have been here after all for five months longer than you. You have to do extra cleaning since it is so busy.
- Fakers: Oh good, it is so busy. I love it when things are busy. (Who then sneaks off to a store room for cleaning/organizing or off to any other distraction other than taking care of business)
- Incompetent: Yes boss, I can handle it. Yes, I know it is a bit new but I will try my hardest to do a good job for you. Yes, I know there have been complaints. I will do better.
- Blamers: It would be better if the managers weren’t so lazy. They just don’t know how to do it right. If I was the manager, all this business would be much easier to handle.
- Lazy: We are so busy. If I don’t go full speed, no one will expect me to do more than I can do. They will wait for months before they do anything and they have bigger problems than me. I will do just enough.
- Unaware: Oh? We are busy? I was just thinking about last summer when the cute busboy would always walk me to the car. Oh! I think I just saw a shooting star! La-tee-da-tee-da.
- Intellectual: Let me stop for a moment or two and analyze why we are so busy and think about whether this will continue. If it continues, I need to think about what is necessary to do a good job.
- Flustered; Oh my gosh! This is unbelievable. Oh no, I dropped it. Nobody saw did they? This just isn’t going right. Don’t talk to me right now. I am too flustered.
- Tired: I need to get more hours at my other job. This one is wearing me out so much that I get too tired and it is affecting my other job.
- Ticked Off: You are so wrong. I am very ticked off that about everything. It doesn't matter what you say, I am mad and will stay mad as long as I want to.
Many managers (and owners unfortunately) are afraid of dramatic increases in sales. There are too many unknowns with the staff. In fact, many managers are already well aware of the characteristics of their staff without the need to pause and ponder. They have already accepted the marginal potential which in essence eliminates any potential for dramatic sales growth.
It is believed by too many restaurant manages and supervisors that dramatic sales increases equates to more work, more surprises and more problems. Based on the team above, the managers would be right. The reality is in fact that more sales equates to a better operation and less work for the management team.
The Cure: Interview. Interview every week. Don’t go a week without considering the possibilities. Build the team. Marginal performers attract the same in kind. Stars on the team will attract other stars.
Yes, the rest of the equation is related to people development. While there is not a magic bullet, given time, the worst can and will become your key leaders.
By thinking more deeply about each staff member, you can more easily ask yourself: “Will they be on my team when sales are 25% to 50% higher?” Do they have the skill and will to get it done? If the answer is no, start interviewing today.
Without the right team in place TODAY which can still rock with a 50% sales increase, the sales will never come and you can expect perpetual mediocrity. This of course goes double for management teams. The marginal leader will only attract more staff like those on the list above.