Who’s the Boss?

Actually, this post should be called, “Where’s the boss?” It’s sad, but too often restaurant employees are left to fend for themselves. That is not how to run a successful restaurant. Or any business for that matter.

We probably have all had this happen in our working experience: The owner comes around once a week. Not to help run the place. Not to help manage the place. Not to inspire the employees. But, most likely to just pick up the week’s take. And, of course, some free food.

My poor niece

I have a niece who has been a server at a couple of places over the last few years, and has recently found herself in this hellish world. Scheduled to do things by herself (often without the proper training), and then getting in trouble for not doing it ‘the right way’. With absolutely no support from the owner, or a manager.


How annoying

Nothing quite like working your tail off on the floor, only to have the owner show up from nowhere–whether just coming down from the office, or finally showing up at all–and start barking out orders and demands. Without any positive reinforcement. Yikes.

Who wants to work for that guy?

Restaurant owners: Be present. Help out on the floor. Gain the respect of the employees by knowing their job, too. By having a bit of work ethic yourself. By showing them a little respect by knowing and using their names. By having a little empathy for their situation.


Hmm, I’ve never said that before. But, c’mon, if you are going to be that kind of owner who only shows up once every blue moon, at least give your staff a fighting chance by giving them a little training. Or a lot of training.

Show them the ropes. Then if you want to be a jerk and come down on them for something (and I never recommend doing that), at the very least they have been shown how to do things.

It is horrible getting in trouble for something you were never taught how to do in the first place. That is the worst feeling. It also sends the message to the staff, that when it comes down to it, you really don’t care. About them, or the business.

Don’t throw them to the wolves

Remember, these employees of yours are really your life-blood. They are the ones who the customers interact with. Not you. I would be willing to bet that more than 90% of your customers couldn’t pick you out of a police line up.

So, treat them with respect, train them properly, and then offer support. Whether that is you, or a manger hired to do the job.

By the way, my advice to my poor, dear, niece: Start looking for another job.


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