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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Personnel Supervision is Job One

Ralph said...
Great answer. I know you focus in on cost control, but it seems to me personnel supervision is the #1 cost control issue...but it also the #1 revenue generator.

In this economy, I believe restaurants overlooking the obvious.

I'm still eating out. Just not as many places. I make it an occasion, and still spend a fair amount of money.

But I only go where the food AND service AND atmosphere AND value...are all excellent.

I'm believe many of the restaurants could thrive in this recession/depression by focusing on these items. I know these items make up more than 1/2 of the costs of running a business. Why wouldn't business owners focus their energies on this?

But instead I keep seeing chefs/owners reducing the wrong items: food quality, food freshness (localness), portions or service.

I was just in Vegas. All of the casinos and restaurants and employees have gotten the message. Every single person was extremely helpful and grateful for my business. I thought I was going to get a kiss for just a $2 tip. I loved the service from the waitress to the pit boss.

I would ask every restaurant owner: do you have the best possible server, captain, busser, hostess working for them? Are the best possible trained employees out front positively representing the restaurant?

Are you unequivocally proud of every single employee?
If not, then your employees are driving your business into bankruptcy.
Now ask yourself the same about atmosphere, cleanliness, quality and value.
Am I the only person in the restaurant concerned about these factors?

We are definitely in sync Ralph! Employees make the guest experience. They produce the top quality menu items, served guests with a positive, friendly attitude and help keep your restaurant spotless. They also help you make money by following portion control guidelines and making sure both the quality and serving size are consistent.

During my most recent trip to Las Vegas in October, I had two excellent dining experiences.

If you really want service, take a trip to St. Kitts. The Royal Beach Marriott has several restaurants. At every meal, the management and staff came by at least five times to check on my satisfaction. Most of these people wanted to know if I was able to explore the island and they each mentioned their favorite spots. I asked my client if there was a course all resort employees were required to take prior to work. He said the entire island is sensitive to the needs of tourists. The whole population recognizes the importance of the industry.

When you contrast these tremendous service experiences with the mediocre efforts at many restaurants and hotels, there is no reason to return to a poorly managed operation. Over on , a recent review of a famous hamburger spot in Connecticut points out a serious attitude problem:
Posted by Joan Keating

What a letdown! We made a special trip to name left out just for the great burgers. We walked in and found it packed with first-timers like us, standing in a confused mob inside the door. The counter-person (owner?) and the cook, standing next to each other at the counter, neither acknowledged nor made eye contact with ANYONE in the line for an annoying 20 minutes or so. FINALLY the counterman said, "OK, who has to order?" Not, "how can I help?" or anything cordial. He then took orders for about a dozen or so burgers from six or eight people, and was surly at best during the entire process.

No menus, no explanation, not even a list on the wall to explain protocol. We ordered based on hearsay, and waited an excruciating 40 MORE minutes (for a total of ONE HOUR) to get a mediocre, dry burger; and the order was wrong! If it was supposed to be a cheeseburger, there was so little cheese it was a hint at best. "The works" were forgotten, and it was NOT the default medium-rare that is supposedly served unless otherwise requested. It was flavorless, dry, and boring, on white toast with not a drip of ketchup or other condiment, and NO SALT OR PEPPER either!

The icing on the cake was the FU attitude from the owner and the chef, who sighed and rolled their eyes at anyone who asked a question or made a special request. We are SO disappointed at this bum deal. Worst of all: it cost roughly $30 for four lousy, dry, overcooked burgers, a half-cup of potato salad, a bag of chips, and two sodas. What a RIPOFF!

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