Most restaurant owners are interested in only one thing- building sales. And, there is no better way of doing that than setting an example for your staff by staying involved in the business on a daily basis. It would be unduly pleasurable if every owner’s locations ran without any glitches or bumps. Modern technology would allow us to view the operation from afar- preferably a beach, or mountain stream, and have our checks wired into our PayPal accounts. Blissful thinking at best. One of the key elements to success is keeping the staff excited, motivated, focused on professional customer service and caring about their jobs. And, if we care about our position and responsibilities, the results, hopefully, will trickle down to everyone on the payroll and each will work towards building sales.Involvement means more, though, than just walking through the restaurant on a Friday night shaking hands and greeting customers. It means being in the trenches, on occasion, performing the jobs others may frown on. A few weeks ago I was a wine tasting for a local eatery. At the end of the night, one of the owners was walking from table to table picking up wine glasses. For a short while, he was a busser. He didn’t realize it at the time, but he set a great example for his employees.
I stopped in to see a friend last Wednesday who owns one of the most famous eateries on the West Coast. I spoke to him while he was loading the dish rack. He just gave his dishwasher a short, well earned break, and earned a lot of respect in doing so. That’s one of the things that make him so successful.
Owners also have to know what example and level of involvement they should set. That is a very important tactic to learn.
One of the most effective examples an owner can set is the clean bathroom routine. I used it frequently. A restaurant can serve the best steaks, the greatest Martinis, and the most consistent food in the country, but if a woman sees a dirty bathroom, it will be the last time she, or her husband, frequent the restaurant
Clean bathrooms should be a priority for every restaurant owner. And, nothing tops the "let´s make a point list" than to clean those bathrooms, on your hands and knees with scrubbing little bathroom bubbles and a brush, periodically. You can do this at any time of day, it’s best to do it just before you open on a Monday morning. That’s when the bathrooms, filthy from a busy weekend, and the staff slow an sluggish from a busy weekend, need it the most.
In 1992 I had just opened a restaurant in Wayzata, Minnesota. I asked one of the waitresses if she had cleaned the bathroom in the small, Bistro. She said she had but it still appeared to be a mess. When I explained I was that happy with the cleaning job she told me that she didn’t even clean the bathrooms at her house, she had a maid.
I told her that I was pleased to hear that, and that she could bring her maid to work with her if she needed to but her job, that particular day, was to clean the bathroom. When she explained she really didn’t know how to do that, I showed her.
While scrubbing the floor, cleaning the toilet, and polishing the chrome on the faucets so they reflected the image of the person leaning over them, I could see that she was astonished I would do that. Don´t think she went home and fired her maid. And, I don’t know if when the lesson was over I taught her how to clean a bathroom as well as my mother taught me, but I learned something. If you want to earn the respect of your staff, and motivate them, and get them play on your team, set an example by getting involved.
And, you’ll always have clean bathrooms.