I once waited on a lady who had obviously struggled with this one in the past. When I approached the table for the first time, she asked, “Are you my waiter?” When I responded with “Yes”, she replied, “Good. I don’t want to see anyone else coming to my table.”
Now, let’s face it, this particular customer was a bit whacked. But sometimes her point can be valid. Now, I don’t really ever care who my server is, or if it is a team effort–as long as the job is getting done.
I have had plenty of wonderful dining experiences where I never saw the same person twice, but did not care because they nailed it. It is like a symphony when all parts are clicking like a well-oiled machine. Sometimes, however, when the job is not getting done, I can be like that lady.
When employee after employee walks by my table with out stopping to greet me, or to see if I need anything, it can get annoying.
Now, the opposite can also be true. It is a beautiful thing when all things come together and the staff all help each other out, working for the greater good.
I have written on this subject before (quite recently and probably will again):
It is important that all employees are willing to do anything they can to help out a co-worker, but the thing that a lot of restaurant employees forget is that it is all about the customer.
If you are able to set this culture up in your restaurant, you are most of the way there (no, I am not going to reference my post on culture).
If you are able to remind your staff that you all exist for the customer, they will not have any trouble being part of a team, and therefore will be helping to create happy customers. Do what you can to create this…
Somehow find a way to make everyone feel like they are part of a team. Not just any old team. A winning team.
Now, of course, this is not easy to do. Especially in the restaurant business. People who have never worked in a restaurant have no idea how hard it is in that environment. There are so many crazy, demanding customers out there who, for whatever reason, have forgotten about things like civility. Forgotten how to say please and thank you.
Forgotten that not only is it the right thing to do, but that it is also a lot easier to get what you want if you are nice.
You can make that team thing happen. Again, it starts with you. Make the work place fun. It is actually possible to whistle while you work. If the leader is having fun….
And the other usual stuff
The joy will spread. Especially if you are doing all of the other right things. Feeding them, buying them a beer after work, chatting them up….