Walking the talk. We have all heard it, and possibly even said it. More importantly do we practice what we preach? Do we set the right example for our employees so that they do the right thing for the customers? Or, do we just expect our employees to read the mission statement and the employee manual and follow it to the letter while we pay it no mind at all?
Restaurant owners are like parents in many respects. . We have a brood of people, from all walks of life that we must persuade to all follow the same direction to get to the same point. It is a tough task. And, just like parenting we need to lead by example.
A perfect evening in the dining room and the kitchen is often celebrated with a house drink for the staff at the end of the shift. And, then, after the staff has their drink the owner sits and drinks more, and more, and more. You set a bad example.
How about that time that the customer sends the steak back and after the check was picked up by the house you went on a tirade about what a jerk the customer was. You set bad example.
Let´s not forget when one of your best waiters left for another gig down the street because his tip check was late in being cut. Remember how you berated him for not being loyal to the company and when on to say that he wasn´t that good of a waiter anyway? Still, you set a bad example.
It is difficult to always be on your best behavior. But behavior, and how you handle situations, whether it be paying a phone bill, or cutting a termination check, or promoting someone who is deserving, when dealing with a group of people, is one of the most important responsibilities of your job. We expect our staff to be on their best behavior can we honestly stray? Restaurateurs lead by example and built staffs by example and grow companies by example. It is easy to let your guard down and forget about walking the talk. It happens to most of us. But it should only happen on occasion.
Do you think you walk that talk? Over the next week carry a pad and pencil with you and write down everything that you did or said or thought that you would not want your staff to say or do or think in front of a customer.
If at the end of the week the pad is empty you do walk your talk. If there are jottings on it, it may be time to think about the example you set for the staff that you lead.