Obstacles for Restaurant Managers


Even the most effective restaurant managers encounter stubborn personnel obstacles—ones that won’t go away, but continue to block the flow of business and give rise to staff-training issues. Many leave you wondering how something so simple can cause so much confusion. Here are a few common examples, including solutions, that can help you turn the situation around.

Obstacle No. 1: It ain’t my job.

Have you ever watched a member of your staff step over debris in your entrance, not even bothering to pick it up? Are your employees regularly at odds with each other? Do you have to pull teeth to keep the tables clean in the dining room?

The solution: If the answer is yes to any of the previous questions, you may have teamwork shortcomings. Establish an incentive that rewards employees for taking initiative. You be the judge. Award dollar bills or some other prize for cleaning something without being asked, pitching in to help someone else, going beyond the call of duty — anything worthy of recognition.

Obstacle No. 2: I don’t know how.

It’s amazing how often this excuse crops up. Try not to respond with: But I already told you how. Down the road, the obstacle will only evolve into I don’t remember how.

The solution: Locking up, cleaning the microwave, running the P.O.S. system — tasks that require in-depth training warrant, at the very least, a three-part approach:

  • Tell the employee how to do it.
  • Show the employee yourself how to do it.
  • Then have the employee do it. Follow up regularly to make sure he or she remains on track.

Obstacle No. 3: I misunderstood.

It’s frustrating and time consuming to give an employee an assignment, only to discover later that he or she wasn’t clear on what you wanted. What do you have to do — draw a picture?

The solution: A picture isn’t necessary, but it’s a good idea to have employees take notes as you make the assignment, then repeat back what you said. Both sides win. You can make sure that your instructions are complete and that your employee is clear on how to proceed.

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