One of the most important characteristics of a successful restaurant is consistency. Consistency in food, style, ambiance, cleanliness, appearance, personality and staff frequently take the skills of a master juggler with an eye and an instinct for smoothness. The value of a steady and consistent staff is the main support factor in any food operation.
At times, though, it is difficult to keep employees who have numerous opportunities through out the industry. We have all used the carrot in front of the rabbit technique. Promising on continual occasion that things will get better, business will pick up, and that the lazy waiter on the weekend shift, or the manager that doesn´t know anything about the business will soon get the boot are excuses that seldom hold water or staff that is ready to leave.
Nothing hurts a restaurant more than constant staff turn over. However, seldom do owners think they have anything to do with employee losses. That is a fallacy. Owner´s have everything to do with the loss of employees. Especially the good ones. The owner´s are the ones holding the carrots.
At this time of year it is especially tough to keep qualified employees who have been merely promised future compensation from leaving an operation that may be on shaky ground. It is however imperative to try to keep your top managers — for they are the ones that keep the customers coming in, the company moving forward, and the bus full.
There are a number of ways to do this.
Be open with your staff. Let them know what it will take to turn the corner and grow your business.
Communicate with your staff. Tell them what your plan is and stick with it.
Don´t ever let vendor calls get to your staff. Nothing ruins the morale of a company faster or more permanently than a staff that constantly has to deal with threatening collection calls.
And, more importantly, owners that ignore the signs of deterioration of a once steady staff are just kidding themselves into thinking that every thing will be fine. It may be time to face the reality of business. Intelligent owners listen to those they surround themselves with who have more experience, knowledge, and vision for the business.
More importantly, once staff begins to get off the bus, first, one at a time, and then in groups, it´s time to change the route or the driver of the bus. A damage control expert may be needed if things have gone this far. It may also be time to go to the vault. Reward those who have stuck by you and begin the season anew. Remember, a fresh carrot is cold, and crisp and full of vitamins. But a stale old carrot, one that bends like rubber, and has lost its snap, is not even food for a fledgling little rabbit.