Sunday, February 2, 2014


Yesterday, My Beloved and I stopped into a local steakhouse for dinner to celebrate our twenty-second wedding anniversary. Thank you, thank you. No applause please. It was fairly busy, odd I thought for two o'clock on a Saturday, but the wait was short. As we waited, another family came in, hubby, wife and two kids. They weren't there a minute before I hear the wife; they seem disorganized. Then she sighed.

I was surprised. I know I shouldn't have been because I deal with this on a regular basis. A customer comes in and makes a snap decision about something they likely know nothing about. Perhaps she was peeved that she had to wait more than a minute. Whatever her reason, she does the staff of this restaurant a tremendous disservice. How would she know if they are organized or not? Has she ever run a restaurant? Doubt it. I am making my own snap judgement, but I'm guessing she doesn't work with the public, does not work in a service industry, and thinks because she knows how to eat at a restaurant, she knows how to run one.

Her reaction would be no different to me walking into a CPA's office at tax time and looking at papers and files laying all over the place and thinking, wow, what a disorganized mess. No, it's an organized place during the busiest season of their year. They know what is going on and where things are. Just because you as the customer don't understand things, doesn't mean there isn't a plan or organization.

Perhaps this restaurant had a person call off. Perhaps they have twice the customers they planned on. Planned on, you asked? Of course. Staffing is planned based on historical customer counts and trends. If you plan on having twenty tables occupied, you staff for that? What? You don't staff for having all the tables occupied all the time? Uhm, NO! It doesn't work that way. No service business can afford to pay all those people standing around doing nothing. It's called running a business on budget and payroll. I have to do it. All retail stores have to do it.

Guess what...if staffing goes up without reason, prices go up. If you think things are expensive now, wait until you have to pay all those people standing around just in the off chance you show up to buy something. Staffing isn't a science, it's an art. Managers need to juggle dollars with insight. Most of the time we get it right, sometimes we don't. We can't see into the future. I can't ask Jeff to come in and work for an hour on Tuesday at one o'clock because I'm sure Mr and Mrs Telerski will come in for fifteen minutes to shop.

Before you make those snap decisions on your next visit somewhere, ask yourself, what would someone walking into your business think? Don't make excuses; they can't see the reasons for something you see. They just see, YOU don't have someone there for THEM. They don't care what the reason is.

Well, at least I don't work for an airline. I'm sure it's the staff's fault that Chicago was shut down by a blizzard and you can't get to Bocca.

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