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Author Archive | Ken Burgin

Casual Dishonesty: Any of These Need Your Attention?

Restaurant Management TipsEver seen staff help themselves to food, drink or cash, and they seem to think it’s OK?

You call it shrinkage, waste, ‘unders’, discrepancies or theft. What do they call it?

It’s the grey areas that cause problems: drinks or food for friends and family, sloppy work that results in waste, or taking home left-overs. Grey has to become black or white. Does the culture you’ve created reward honesty, or overlook those who break the rules? Do the consequences encourage the behaviour you desire?

Don’t beat around the bush – make it clear what’s not acceptable. And let’s tell the truth – sometimes it’s the boss’ shortcuts or bad example that encourages staff to make the wrong choice.

What would your ruling be on these situations?

* Free drinks or meals for friends or family who come to visit.
* Special prices for staff visiting from other hotels, cafes or clubs.
* Staff drinks at the end of the night that go one more than the rules allow.
* Sloppy writing up of the Stock-transfer Book so the stocktake makes no sense and is disregarded – again.
* Cook allows something to burn because she won’t get properly organised.
* Beer lines contaminated and keg wasted because cleaning procedures not properly followed.
* Using the computer at work to write up your resume to apply for another job.
* Using the ‘Open Key’ on the Cash Register because it’s quicker and easier. As a result sales count figures at the end of the week are invalid and stock usage can’t be checked.
* ‘I’m just putting the money in the till while we’re so busy – I’ll ring it all up later’.
* A staff member says ‘I won’t charge you for that because I know the service you got wasn’t very good’. A better tip follows…
* Kitchen worker asks the bar ‘can I have some beer for my buddies in the kitchen?
* The Till is ‘over’ – so it must have been a tip that we forgot to take out.
* Employee overstates hours or changes times because the hard work she’s been doing is going unrecognised.
* Signing for lesser quality meat or produce and ‘we’ll fix it up on the invoice next time’ – which we forget to do.
* Personal phone calls received or made in work time.
* Keeping free samples from vendors eg food samples, bottles of wine or liquor.
* Serving adults at junior or senior prices ‘because they can’t afford it’.
* Chefs or bar managers expecting personal gifts from suppliers to secure an account.

Code of Conduct – it’s one of the important sections of the Staff Manual you can download from the Staff Management Forms and Downloads. In Word format, you can modify it as much as you like – it’s a solid start to prepare this essential policy document.

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How to Give Customers the Extra Information They Want

Tourists Love Helpful Info From Restaurant StaffBeyond recommendations about food & beverage, there are many other questions that locals and tourists ask. Use this list to build your ‘fact file’ for staff, and quiz them regularly to check they’re offering correct answers.

#1 issue for most managers is ‘staff motivation and attitude’. The interesting thing is, when staff are helpful to customers, they receive positive feedback and reinforcement. Food & beverage knowledge is one thing, but local information and recommendations can really make a difference to the customer experience. Build up staff local knowledge and their ability to assist, and everyone will smile more.

Make sure your staff can respond to questions like these:

  • When did the business start, and who were the first owners?
  • If there have been other owners since, what has changed?
  • This place is unusual – what’s it about?
  • Do you do takeout, catering, functions etc?
  • What’s the website, phone number, fax number and email address?
  • I want to come by local transport – what bus, train etc do I use?
  • Phone number and website for transport information.
  • Are taxis easy to find – what number do I call to make a booking?
  • Best place for parking – long and short stay (including insider tips that only the locals know).
  • How much does it cost – described in a way that makes it sound affordable.
  • If parking is difficult, best way to tactfully advise this without losing the booking.
  • If they are worried about security for their car, what would you advise?
  • Where is an ATM teller machine?
  • Where is a local bank and when is it open?
  • Where is the post office or where can I buy a stamp? How much does postage cost on a postcard or letter?

Local attractions and points of interest:

  • Places that would appeal to a family with young children.
  • Places that would appeal to people that like shopping.
  • Places that would appeal to a group of seniors who are out for the day.
  • Places that would appeal to a group of sport players who are staying locally for a competition.
  • Places that would appeal to people who like walks and outdoor activities.
  • A well-known tourist attraction – hours of opening and costs etc.
  • Local bookshops, fashion shops, music shops, gift shops and department stores for browsing.
  • Where’s a shop nearby where I can download the images from my computer onto a CD?
  • Is there an internet café nearby?
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