My wife and I walked in to a place the other day, a full hour before they close, still at least half-filled with customers. We had a bit of difficulty getting the attention of the bartender, because he was busy wiping down the liquor bottles.
I appreciate the need to do that, it does bring a nice added element to the ambience when everything is all clean and shiny. But, that is an end of the evening job. I mean, I want to get out of work as much as the next guy, but not at the expense of the customer.
It didn’t stop there
We were eventually able to order some drinks and some food, but I watched as the cook on the line was busy wrapping up product for the night, wiping down the doors to his reach-in, and a bit too involved in that to start cranking out our food order.
Owners and managers are probably the most guilty of this. They can’t wait to get off the floor to reconcile their books for the night, because the sooner they get on that, the sooner they get to go home.
Is it the owner insisting you get off the clock?
It does send a bad message to the customers who still happen to be in the joint. I mean customers sit there and watch, and wish the employees would put the same amount of effort into the service or cooking the food.
Customers (at least observant ones) notice everything. Are you really in that much of a hurry to get out? That glass of wine will still be waiting for you when you do get off work.
Does it always have to be about labor?
I have worked at my share of corporate restaurants (believe me, you prefer to work for the independent operator). I have seen managers, owners, even 22-year-old hostesses constantly reminding the employees to “get off the clock!”
Labor is most often the biggest expense in a restaurant. I get it. But, if that remains to be the main focus, there will not be customers to be annoyed by…