The Restaurant Blog
A recent email addressed the topic of how to deal with the after Labor Day staff shortage. Once the holiday arrives and a large chunk of your staff heads back to school you are usually left out on the limb. Every year I hear the same sorry song from many owners who do not realize that nothing changes if you do not change anything.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Of course this never makes sense because we all believe that something has to change. And, if e do nothing to solve the problems and obstacles at hand, change is inevitable. Usually the change is for the worst.
I never took summer precautions and yearly, right after the autumn chill hit the patios I found myself scrambling for replacement staff to fill the gap Jenny, Pete, and Buffy had created by booking their before school European backpacking trip. Now it wasn’t that I begrudged the young trilogy of waiters the right to up and leave, in the middle of Mrs. Pillsbury’s party- but couldn’t they have given me notice?
Of course they could. And, they probably did tell me they were leaving that one June night we were all sitting around after the McKay party had ended. I do recall someone saying that “
And, from the first summer I lost all of my waiters to travel, until the last summer when the waiters lost me to travel, I never solved the dilemma of after – Labor – Day – loss.
Looking back I should have taken various precautions to make sure that I wasn’t left holding the guest checks for section 17 on a busy Saturday evening. Those procedures seem so clear now.
A simple vacation request form or a return to school form is essential for any good operator. This not only proves true for the Labor Day exodus, but also for other holidays when everyone expects to be able to see their families.
And even though few people like to ask the question during an interview, inquire about any future plans that a new hire may have already made a commitment for and cannot cancel. Finally, cover your vacation, days off, and early exit policy in your employee manual. It will clarify a lot of questions both for you and those who work for you- even if only during the summer.