Every business has room for error. Or at least it should. Mistakes are going to happen. There is no way to avoid that. How one handles the mistake is the key.
Be a cool boss
By being a cool boss, I am not suggesting that you try to be everyone’s friend. That is not what employees want. They want a boss that they can count on. They want a boss who is going to provide a work environment that is organized, efficient, and fun.
They want a boss whom they can turn to when the chips are down. A boss who shows them some proper respect. That cool boss is the one they can tell if they made a mistake. If they screwed up and brought the wrong food to the wrong table, they want to be able to tell their boss without fear of being yelled at.
Be that boss
Let your employees know that they can turn to you if there is a problem. You are not the kind of boss who hides when there is a problem. You are not the boss who yells at his employees for making a simple mistake.
If you are the mean kind of boss, you will never gain control of your dining room, or your kitchen. Employees will attempt to hide mistakes, turning them in to bigger problems, instead of reaching out to you for guidance.
If you don’t set this up correctly at the start, your employees will start to make choices based on how they think you will react.
Let me share this recent experience with you:
I am out with friends. 8-10 of us. The bartender comes by and puts an order of fries and an order of tater tots on our table. Without thinking, many of us start nibbling on the goodies. The bartender comes back in a few minutes and says something like, “Hey did you order those?”
How the hell should we know? Some of us are over playing pool, some are in the bathroom, some are over there talking….we don’t know if one of our group ordered them or not. That’s your job. He now tells us that he brought them to the wrong table, and we are going to have to pay for them! The people who did order them are really mad, he tells us.
You are the one who f’d up, dude, not us! He says if we keep eating them, we will have to pay for it. “What if we stop eating them?” “What are you going to do with them?” “Throw them away,” he replies!
Wow. A big, giant, wow. Now everyone in our group is in an uproar. Let’s see now…you are going to lose 10 customers, basically for life, and anyone they feel like sharing this story with, over a couple of dollars worth of potatoes? And a mistake that you made?
This is what I am talking about
If he happened to work for a boss who was cool, he might have had permission to comp the few bucks. Instead he was a complete accusatory you-know-what about the whole thing. The result was no tip from my tab (and believe me, that is hard for me to do), and no tip from any of the other tabs.
My friends were upset, but I tried to tell them that it was probably the manager’s fault. It usually is. Like I said, if he didn’t have to cover his mistake, this whole thing never would have happened. I am pretty sure the total food cost on our table for those items was less than $1!
So, be a cool manager. Don’t force your staff to make decisions that will ultimately work against you.