When was the last time you really thanked your staff for putting up with all they endure? I am not talking about a pat on the back, or the “thank you” that you may have offered them in passing after a tough night, I am speaking about a get the "family together for some bonding" type event letting them know you care.
This month´s "back story" section in San Francisco Magazine highlights Roscoe Skipper´s impromptu staff appreciation night. Skipper is the co-owner of Rivoli Restaurant and was featured in the mag as one of the Bay Area´s top wine director´s. At the photo shoot for the feature, a 50-pound roast pig was used as a prop in the middle of a bacchanal. When the shoot wrapped the pig, although roasted, was homeless.
Skipper loaded the porker into his BMW´s trunk and set off for his restaurant where Chef Wendy Brucker turned the pig-prop into a Mexican —inspired feast. The meal was served to the bussers, the waiters, the hosts and the kitchen staff after the last customer left.
That was a tremendous gesture on Skipper´s part. The first people he thought of, deserving of the feast, were the very people tat helped make him successful.
Unfortunately, caught up in the whirlwind turmoil that keeps us pointing the fire hose behind us, we frequently forget the importance of those who keep the engine running, even though at times the ride is rough.
However, the family meal is not the only way to reward those who bust their hump for you. How about a bowling tournament? The front of the house plays the back of the house. A canoe trip down the St. Croix or the Russian River.A picnic at the beach or the lake would even top the list of those who think you do not appreciate their hard work.
Let’s face it, owners can be brutal. And, at times it is imperative to realize we shouldn’t take our frustrations out on those who are doing the best they can with what we give them. And, don’t put this off becaue you think the event has to be big, or lavish, or expensive. It has to be sincere. A hot dog on a grill at the local Buick Dealership on a Saturday afternoon might work if you want to add some humor to the day. At most of those dealerships you can have as many dogs as you want. And although not a pig roast in the style of Skipper, it is still pork.
Whatever you do, keep Skipper´s actions in mind. It is a great way to show staff appreciation. And, it also gives the staff a moment or two to forget about the stress of the job.
It is the small things in the business that are the greatest to remember. On any given day in San Francisco´s Chinatown you can watch an entire restaurant staff sit together and enjoy a meal before their shift begins. It´s a way of showing appreciation. It´s a way of keeping the family together. It´s a way to become "one of the best" at what you do.