While the Boss is Away…

It is an interesting phenomenon. As soon as the boss goes home the employees start to get in to mischief. You are being naïve Mr. or Ms. owner if you think otherwise.

I was out at a place the other night, and as soon as the manager left, I watched the bartender start to pour shots. For the cooks, for the servers, for his friends at the bar. And of course, the music was turned up a few thousand decibels. Forget that there were still paying customers in the place–it is suddenly not about those customers, but the inmates who are now in charge of this asylum.

Obviously, if this particular manager was really paying attention, at least to the numbers, this would be a more difficult thing for the employees to get away with.

She’s not paying attention

In this situation, it is clear to the staff that the boss is not paying attention.  Not watching the numbers. Not controlling the liquor costs. And above all, does not have any systems or controls in place to manage product or employees.


A few gems

With the boss gone, things start to fall apart. “Gee, I don’t know how I messed up your order, ma’am, I’m sorry.” “Wow, how did I overcook that steak?” “Sorry, I didn’t see you when I crashed in to you carrying all of those plates…”

It’s fascinating

With no one there to constantly remind the staff that they are there to serve the customer, things can go to hell in a hurry. Even if you think you have the best staff in the world.

What to do about it

This is a tough one. Clearly, the boss can’t be there 24/7. Even if you have multiple bosses, there are going to be times when there is no boss around–either having gone home, or maybe up in the office.

The only way to avoid most of these pratfall, is to be sure to have plenty of systems and controls in place. Do inventory regularly. Lock up key items like steaks. Wine. Or definitely liquor.

If you are doing regular inventory on food and on beverage, then the employees will have a harder time taking things that will go undetected. If you are locking things up, and limiting who has the keys, it will be a much greater challenge to pilfer.

One main key

Don’t be naïve about it! Know that it is happening, just take steps to lessen the impact. And be present as much as possible! That means don’t hide out in the office. Oh the stories I could tell you of my younger days when the boss was away. Like the time I thought Wolfgang was out of town but showed up and caught me with a cigarette in my mouth, a bottle of wine, and a blow torch…


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