The Great Hall
What has happened to the work ethic? The Great Hall: What has happened to the work ethic?

By Chefrick (Chefrick) on Monday, September 11, 2000 - 01:11 am: Edit

Hello everyone,
Just thought I would put a personal gripe on the table for discussion. Is it just me are there fewer people out there with an "old fashioned work ethic? We go thru alot of people,the jobs are production positions no real skills needed,just wanting to work.average pay is around 6.50hr,40hrs a week,paid holidays,insurance,paid vacations.Good working environment,scedueled breaks,employee meals,50% discount on foods taken home to the family with no restrictions.By the way, 5.50hr is the area standard for the same positions. We screen new hires,check referances ect. they come to work for a few weeks,then it starts-- calling in sick,comming in late,goofing off/riding the clock,no shows,every now and then a quality worker comes along,most would rather stay at home and collect food stamps and goverment aide. I am starting to become bitter on the whole scene( also we offer help getting a G.E.D./college tuition rembersment programs.

By Ramodeo (Ramodeo) on Monday, September 11, 2000 - 09:24 am: Edit

It is not just you!!!!! I am astounded on a daily basis at the lack of drive in many of the young people who work for us. I've started to think maybe my expectations are too high, but all I really ask for is for them to show up, on time and ready to work, and then to work til the job is done and done right.

We really have gotten some good people since we opened a month ago, but I just can't seem to get enough work out of them. The best of them all have other jobs that they have to run off to. Most of them will work hard while the restaurant is swamped, but as soon as business lets up a little, you should see the leaning that starts up. One person leans, and one by one the rest of them slow down and start leaning and's a constant battle to keep them moving.

We have one server who has driven me crazy. We had him come in for a trial day, and he seemed fine, he knew the basics, caught on to the menu, seemed pretty observant and intelligent, maybe a little slow, but it was only the first day....well, we thought those qualitites indicated the potential for a pretty good worker. Little did we know that we saw ALL his good qualities on that first day, and there weren't any more! He never got any faster, he is whiny and sarcastic, he's lazy, and we've had customers tell us he walks aroun like he's got a load of lead in his pants. The real problem is that I don't even have a warm body to replace him with.
This guy, after being completely bored by the training session on our new cappucino machine, (cuz he apparently knows everything there is to know about making espresso drinks) actually asked me (the owner and his boss) while I was cashing someone out on the register, to make 2 double lattes for one of his tables. Not an unreasonable request if he is busy and I am not, however, I said no, I was too busy. He comes back less than a minute later and asks if I can do it now. So, instead of blowing my top at him out in the dining room, I make the drinks. And what does he do while I am making the drinks? Clear dirty dishes from an empty table? Refill coffees and waters for customers? Help any other server? Noooooo, he stands and watches me work while chatting with the woman who is waiting for me to cash her out at the register!!!!! Grrrrrrrrr!! Needless to say, even as a warm body, he's a liability - to my sanity, at the very least.

By Chefrick (Chefrick) on Monday, September 11, 2000 - 06:28 pm: Edit

I know,I know,thats why I hire low skill,repetitive jobs from the labor pool at the state school/MHMR they require a little more attention,but they always are on time,do high quality work(they are just so happy to be needed by someone).The way we used to weed out the slackers in the waitstaff was to train them in every position in the kitchen for one month,including dishwasher,scullery,and porter the ones that last have a better idea of what happens in back of the house and don't whinne as much. by the way- HOW MANY WAITSTAFF DOES IT TAKE TO CHANGE A LIGHT BULB? THE ANSWER IS NONE- THEY WOULD RATHER SIT IN THE DARK AND WHINNE ABOUT IT!!

By Bakerboy (Bakerboy) on Monday, September 11, 2000 - 11:51 pm: Edit

Well people, the reason people want to rest a little is because they are working hard when it is busy. It shouldn't bother you that they lean after physically exhausting work. Anyway, they could go somewhere elese and make a lot more than $6.50 per hour. Think about it. Everyone needs rest and sleep. If you don't get sleep and don't get your rest after physical work, the quality of your work goes down- almost as if you are drunk. Dateline even did a show about driving tired and compared it with driving drunk. They people that drove tired did just as bad as the people that drove drunk. In fact in Japan people have beds and "sleeping rooms" where employees can take a nap if they want, often all that is needed is 20 minutes of deep sleep. I'm not saying you should let them be lazy, but leaning on the counter for a few to catch your breath? What is wrong with that?. $6.50 is not much to work for with the economy so good in the united states and all. $6.50 is squat...Its almost a slap in the face! How many people do you know can survive and pay rent and bills with $6.50 an hour?. If your paying that much you should expect a little slack anyway. People are gonna take the job as temporary until they find something better that pays well. You are gonna lose employees to the big companies that are gonna pay better and give better benefits. Thats where your work ethic went too...

By W.DeBord on Tuesday, September 12, 2000 - 08:23 am: Edit

In order to get paid more, you need to have a skill worthy of more pay. We are talking about U.S. of freedom, hey go after that 7 figure salary all you top notch over skilled $6.50 employees. No one is holding them to work in these dead end low paying jobs.

We keep hiring adult males who have lost their drivers liense who are divorced for the 4th time (with children all over the place) who can't hold any job for more than a few months.

As to standing around work (really their waiting for someone else to do the job before someone pins it on them) that behavior has NOTHING to due with lack of sleep! If it does, it's because they've partied the whole night before.

I bust my butt all day everyday and never take more than 15 min. for lunch with no other breaks. I'm a over-weight, middle aged ex-smoker who doesn't require "leaning on the counter for a few to catch my breath" from an hour or two of hard work and I can't believe someone half my age needs to either!

By Rubble (Rubble) on Tuesday, September 12, 2000 - 12:50 pm: Edit

Just like that previous thread about an employer's obligation to help employees that are dealing with stress/mental illness, there are many answers to this question of the declining work ethic.

I agree that $6.50/hr is crap. I agree that you can't earn a decent living earning such a low wage. But it's not only $6.50 an hour, but most jobs include paid time off, health insurance and opportunites to earn overtime. Overall, not a bad package.

But I think most people have a sickening sense of entitlement in which they believe, despite their lack of skills or experience, that they deserve better... and they believe that better things should be handed to them without working for them. Who knows how they got this way? A spoiled upbringing (from either family or government subsidy), poorly developed personalities, the American school system's poor job of educating students on productivity and work ethic? Who's to say?

In my workplace (a financial office), we have low-paying positions where the job tasks are menial and boring. Despite the positive reinforcement and benefits, we expect high turnover; so we adapted the job tasks to accomodate the revolving door. It's just something that we've become accustomed to.

(At the risk of sounding discriminatory (and I am not), I find that my hardest working and most productive employees are always those who have immigrated to the US from other countries. Here again, I don't know why this is -- but they always perform better and acquire promotion quicker within our organization.)

By chefkramer on Tuesday, September 12, 2000 - 02:35 pm: Edit

Hi, poorly developed personalities... low pay... much work .. these are realy all the ideas you got?
I can understand that everybody, owners and patrons are very busy, but your empoyees are your best investment and must be treated as such . Support them instead of harrassing themi dont say all , but most people are looking for a nice enviroment and good treatment. It may sound funny as all of we are "grown up" and - shoulb be -self motivated, but look into yourself and youll find out that you need this most for yourself too. You are looking for the appraisals from your customers by getting many guests and when the on top tell you that they are satisfied , doesnīt give you this the lift that you need for your work ? So does everybody . Money is not the motivation that will keep up your place. Treat your employees as friends and the will look after you .
give it a try.

Positive vibes need to overcome all stress.
greeting to all of you.

By Dpconsu (Dpconsu) on Tuesday, September 12, 2000 - 04:05 pm: Edit

If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys!

By Dpconsu (Dpconsu) on Tuesday, September 12, 2000 - 04:09 pm: Edit

PS. If the local Mcdonalds will pay $7.00 or $7.50 per hour, why do you expect to get a better class of employee?

The work ethic is a two way street my friend.

By Rubble (Rubble) on Tuesday, September 12, 2000 - 04:30 pm: Edit

Chefkramer - No, this is not all the ideas I have. As I stated from the beginning, the problem of declining work ethics can be attributed to many, many things.

As I stated, the solution in my workplace is similar to yours: provide positive reinforcement and good benefits and perhaps they will stay. For those in the lower-paying positions, I have found that we have a high turnover. So we continue to provide the positive atmosphere, but anticipate and adapt for high turnover as a result of our experience.

As for treating my employees as friends, I don't agree with that. Hiring someone who you believe will contribute to the success of your business is an important investment and quite a committment. But if your employee decides to become lax, sloppy and negligent in his work, for me, that shows a disrepect to the committment. Becoming a friend to an employee like this wouldn't change his behavior -- in fact, the employee would probably take advantage of me more!

For me, the rules of work are simple: There is a job description with job responsibilities. If I think the employee performs these duties well, notonly will they be paid on a routine basis, but the employee is valued and offered opportunites. Just respect me, respect my other employees and respect my property/equipment. It's the same for everyone, yet so many people complicate a simple situation with many needless personal issues (such as entitlement).

By Chefrick (Chefrick) on Tuesday, September 12, 2000 - 05:25 pm: Edit

Just to clear things up a bit,in this end of Texas there is a high precentage of people who for one reason or another dropped out of high school to help suport thier families ie.,teenage mothers,migrant farm workers,older children having to go to work to support thier younger siblings ect.The economy is not booming here as it is in other parts of the country. 6.50 may not be squat in California and many other places,but here in my neck of the woods it is above average,plus throw in the benifits we offer and a person can scrape by,while going back to school to better themselves,by the way not many take us up on our educational support program.It boils down to this: if you take a job, for whatever the salary,you should give an honest days work for an honest days pay!you took the job,you knew what you were going to get paid,you knew what was expected of you before you signed on,hold up to your end of the bargin,it's that simple.We treat all employee's fairly,with respect,empower them to do the tasks at hand,train,retrain,stroke,encourage,promote,allow them to make mistakes with out fear of losing thier job, because it is a part of the learning process,we allow them to be human,they are not repremanded in front of fellow employee's,we look for things done right,not for things done wrong.we follow the old school rule of treating people as we would like to be treated,all to no avail. it just bees dat way sometime

By chocaholic on Tuesday, September 12, 2000 - 05:39 pm: Edit

Chefkramer- that philosophy only worked in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory,it does not work in the real world.

By Bakerboy (Bakerboy) on Tuesday, September 12, 2000 - 06:09 pm: Edit

The reason the immigrants work harder is because it is probably the only job they can get. A lot of restaurants hire immigrant dishwashers and pay them less money for cheaper labor because the immigrants don't know any better and don't know they are being ripped off. For this they should be rewarded, not punished. As for they money issue, maybe $6.50 per hour is alright for a teenager working after school to earn money to buy Cd's. Though for an older person with more job experience, even if its not in foodservice they deserve more because they are not kids and are going to be more reliable. It is degrading to work for that much if you are not a teenager. W.debord, maybe you don't need a break or don't think you need to have a break and catch your breath, but your quality of work suffers regardless. It will catch up with you one day and ravage your health. That doesn't make you perfect either. Employees are human beings regardless of what you think. They need food, sleep, rest, and an ocassional trip to the bathroom. If you don't agree with this, and people in the foodservice industy don't start treating people with more respect and diginity....Someday we will lose our jobs and it will all become automated!!! HAhaHAhaHA!!

By raine on Tuesday, September 12, 2000 - 06:19 pm: Edit

You can pay a slacker 10 times more than they are worth and they will still be a slacker. They just want the pay check. They will hang around doing as little as possible, as long as you are willing to pay them. When you become too demanding, or actually expect them to work, they leave and continue on to the next job. How they came about this attitude will remain a mystery to me. But I can asure you they will put the blame on someone else, like the school system, or their parents, or having friends with a bad influence. It's a load of crap. I have dealt with all of that, and still go to work and do the best job I can, AND do the job of the resident slacker also.

I give all new emploeyees a chance to show their worth. I am more than willing to retrain them as many times as it takes, as long as they are making an effort to TRY and get it right. I will remain friendly with them as long as they do the job they are hired for. I go to work, to work, not to make friends.

By Rubble (Rubble) on Tuesday, September 12, 2000 - 07:25 pm: Edit

Bakerboy - I disagree with your many of your assumptions:

1) "that adults, because they're older, will be more reliable in the workplace and therefore deserve more money." That may be true for some adults, but I work among some pretty immature people with really poor working habits. These are the frustrating people that inhibit the productivity of our businesses and they're a pain to deal with!

2) "that adults deserve more money becuase they have more job experience, even if it's not in the foodservice industry." WHAT??!! So I should mention during my pastry worker interview that I deserve to get paid more money because I have over 15 years of financial experience? OK, I'll try it! (I just hope your idea works because I hate being laughed at...)

3) "it is degrading to work for $6.50/hr if you're not a teenager." I know that situations arise in life where we are forced to do what we need to do in order to get by. But I'd say to any adult applicant or employee who was bitching about their wage to either shut up or leave! It's not that I don't care -- it's just a waste of time. Whiners like that need to take some responsibility for the dissatisfying deisions they make and stop wasting other people times with their complaints.

By Ramodeo (Ramodeo) on Tuesday, September 12, 2000 - 09:08 pm: Edit

Bakerboy - in regards to the leaning issue - I have no problem with the line cook who just busted his a** for 3 hours straight during a rush (after prepping for 2 hours) without hardly even looking up, taking a breather for a few minutes and leaning on the counter talking with a customer - people who sit at our counter like that - it's part of the environment we want in our bkfst/lunch cafe.

It's the employee who just got thru that same rush with as little effort as possible, only arrived at work 2 hours before, dragged their behind at a snails pace the whole time, gave customers poor service....they DON'T deserve a break at that point. Especially when they're only scheduled for 5 hours work to begin with.

As for pay - we are paying these people as well or better than the competition, which is no easy task for a new business, but we know it's worth it for good employees. But raine is right. A slacker is a slacker, and I personally don't have time to baby them thru their "issues" if they're not even giving me an honest amount of work for their pay.

We have one line cook who we pay $9/hr, give him full time plus overtime even tho he's only 20 and has no schooling and only a little experience, but he's honest, he works hard, keeps his cool under pressure, and the customers love him. He's worth it, and he's responding well to the challenges we give him. Today we even offered him an advance so he can pay off his parking tickets and not be thrown in jail for driving on his suspended license.

We also have a server - the good ones we have can make $14+/hr including tips (that's in a restaurant with a $6 check average) who actually said that this is his kind of job cuz it's so laid back, and you can just hang around and talk to people and not have all that pressure like he had in his telemarketing job. Needless to say he's history. He's not even worth the $3/hr as a warm body.

By Chefrick (Chefrick) on Tuesday, September 12, 2000 - 10:44 pm: Edit

Abe Lincoln once said" It is better to sit quietly and be thought a fool,than to open your mouth and remove all doubt".Was he just early in adressing the subjects in which you profess absolute knowlege?

By Kaosfury (Kaosfury) on Wednesday, September 13, 2000 - 09:03 am: Edit

Alright, this is a real issue in many workplaces. I happen to work in a foundry with a VERY low turnover rate, and I own an mlm business that is showing some results. The reason that I have found that immigrants work harder is that they are not used to having the great opportunities that are provided in this country. On the other hand, people that were born here often take their liberties for granted.

Also, on McD's paying more, they don't give you paid vacations or free (or greatly reduced price-wise) health insurance. The insurance they DO offer is only available to people that work 40+ hours per week. And overtime in fast food is almost a myth. It costs less to hire a new person and reduce the number of hours that each person works than it does to pay overtime.

If you treat your people with respect, pay them a decent wage _for_the_area_, and offer real benefits, you should be able to expect work from them. If they don't work with you, they can't work for you.


By chefkramer on Wednesday, September 13, 2000 - 10:22 am: Edit

Hi, again to all of you .
Sorry to get these responses , I didnīt mean to insult anyone, but my suggestions di not only work in mumīs chocolate place , but around the world, where I worked in different mgmt levels to now. maybe someone ever heard of Cornell university, which I was very lucky to have contacts and training with some 15y ago.
I can realy tell you it DOES work believe it or not.
Mournig alone doesnt change a thing.
When i said "Treat them as a friend " it was not even hard enough ....Treat them as your family and wive(husband) .
Hope you are not doing it this way to īthem though.
Establishments that I have worked with range from 5 to 650 employees with a max of 200 under my supervision .
peace and love

By W.DeBord on Wednesday, September 13, 2000 - 10:32 am: Edit

Bakerboy your attitute is similar to the slackers.

I work hard because it's what I love to do, I enjoy the challenges of my job and feel good at the end of the day that I had both a mental and a physical work-out. This is my attitute regardless of what job I work. At times I've been over worked but working thru those times has made me soooo much smarter and better that I now look forward to those challenges. You grow so much from having that level of intensity, very few other events in life can teach you so much about yourself other than tragidy.

Not all immigrants are great workers,they're just like every cultural group. Although many of them have more responsiblities to family which creates the hard worker in them. Bakerboy you have never talked to an immigrant. You think they take the positions in restuarants because they don't know any better? Because they don't speak your language doesn't make them stupid, lazy or not streetwise to employement opportunties!

By Dpconsu (Dpconsu) on Wednesday, September 13, 2000 - 01:13 pm: Edit

Responce to Rubble,
Yes, there are temp agencies who will provide day or temp labor. BUT, you will pay at least 12 dollars an hour for an employee who gets minimum wage from the agency, and who has no commitment to work hard or learn (in general) after all, he/she will not know your menu or methedology and gets put into bussing table or dish/pot washing.As the owner will ove him or her to the vacant line or dinning area position.
Even the so called "line cooks" that you might get are usually of the Denny's , Waffle House or IHOP caliber.Who have only learnt how to do things that way and are often hard to brake the bad habits learnt there.
It is a true rarity to find a worthy employee this way that you would want to offer a full time job to, and then the cost to the agency Usually at least a month salary is way too much for the average family style restaurant to handle.

In my experience, ( in 17 countries over 29 years as a clasicaly trained executive chef and now as a consultant), I have learnt that only a conserted evalutation by the employer of a prospective employee's resume and thier real abilities by, first a job related questionaire and only after that, a personal interview to weed out the liars and the dross and then followed by a reference check, will give the employer the best chance of gaining good team members and keeping them, benifits help a lot if the employer can swing the costs therein into his/her budget. The cost in time alone for, retraining and re-advertizing for new employees to replace fired or no shows over the long term pays off with sound interviewing skills and gut feelings gained in years of hireing and firing staff really does pay off.
Part of what I do for my clients is write those questionaires for the positions that the client will be hiring for, wether it be managers or line or front of house staff. Most of my clients have kept 81% of their original hires due to this method for three or more years.

It does cost more in time and money to hire this way, but the long term benifits are better by establishing and bonded team who works whith the employer and not for him/her. And I do not mean that he/she should pander to whinning, or go out and drink with the crew after session, but to establish a set time to dine with the crew, both front of house and the back of house, to eat a meal together prior to shift, you could maybe serve the specials of the day to ensure that the servers will really understand them and promote them since they have eaten it, and will then sell it! this helps keeps the war down between front and back of house too as they all just sat down together.

Above all, never degrade a poorly working staff member in front of the others, keep your mouth shut, untill after the service and then take him/her outside for a smoke break or just away from the earshot of others and calmly put forth your views and your expectations. Tell him/her to shape up and become a team player within a set time limit, and you can use the pocket as your big stick, limit the hours of the poorest workers and cover their postions with your most valued staff until the not so hot worker either shapes up or leaves due to unsurvivable pay, show no preferential treatment to any worker, establish an evaluation plan and internal documentation to be added to his/her file for review every four months for a raise or reduction in hours or termination as the case requires. Never ever show anger, firmness and total fairness in the employers dealings with his/her staff will always work better.

Well thats my twenty cents worth.

By Bakerboy (Bakerboy) on Wednesday, September 13, 2000 - 02:19 pm: Edit

Dpconsu, finally someone who knows what they are talking about...

By Chef Mars on Wednesday, September 13, 2000 - 04:30 pm: Edit

From my experience:
1-many persons are talked into a job, given a false picture of what actually goes on and what will be expected of them and when they realize what is up, they begin to exhibit what you call a failure in the "work ethic".
2-poor filtering at the hiring desk
3-no motivation from the company that hired them.

So from my experience I have learned that the answer to the problem of keeping your human resources productive and just plain keeping them lies not around the corner but on your own door step. If you think you are not the problem, bring in someone from the outside to take a third party perspective on what the situation is.

Does this problem also exist with your chefs and higher paid staff?

Culinarily Yours,
Chef Mars

By Bakerboy (Bakerboy) on Thursday, September 14, 2000 - 12:51 am: Edit

I just think some people expect too much for $6.50 an hour. There may be bad employees yes, but you hired them in the first place. There are also bad employers who don't treat you like a human being, just a robot drone thats suppose to follow orders when commanded. Anyone can go to a bigger company and get better pay and benefits and be treated fairly. So don't be surprized when your employees slack or even quit because there are better opertunities out there for them. I am saying that Foodservice employers in particular are very selective in there hireing process. They should be able to weed out the bad future employees, but in other fields they are not as selective. However, they treat you better and give you better pay. If you like foodservice, than that is great, but you should hire someone who is really into it. Its not all about the pay, but be reasonable and treat your employee with respect and courtesy and you will get it back..If not you made a bad decision to hire the person, face up to it. The whole foodservice industry has a reputation of being just a job for people that drop out of high school and have no other choice but to wash dishes or work in a restaurant. It is up to Employers in this industry to change that outlook.

By chefkramer on Thursday, September 14, 2000 - 03:09 am: Edit

to dpconsu:
Thanks for your ideas, these perfectly match mine.
Tribute to cristos salvaris of Cornell who teach me these principles at in house trainings in the caribeean.
....maybe you chefs that have serious staff problems should also try to make some training in mentioned university or similar organisations...look for motivation and leadership seminars...these are NOT at all foolishness for people who have noting else to do. large hotel chains and operations wont waste their money if it wouldnt make sense.

By Ramodeo (Ramodeo) on Thursday, September 14, 2000 - 05:47 am: Edit

Everyone's ideas about not hiring slackers in the first place is soooo helpful.....if you actually get several people to choose from for each position. The labor market here is so tight that we are lucky to get one response from a Sunday newspaper ad. We got lots of responses to our sign in the window during renovation...and the average age of the applicants was about 14.5 yrs. Finding qualified grownups who don't already have other jobs has been nearly impossible. (Although now that we are open, and have been very successful, we are begining to get a few more applicants thru personal recommendations.)

I would love to fill all our positions with someone "who's really into it", but we can't provide a high paying, career track position to every employee. We need part time servers. We need part time dishwashers. These are not jobs where the applicants come with resumes looking to make a career move.

We are perfectly willing to provide our employees, whether full time line cooks or part time bussers, with a fun, healthy, positive and supportive work environment and a fair wage for our area. The problem that some of us are expressing here is that the general pool of available restaurant workers contains a lot of young people who simply don't come to the job with the work ethic that used to be standard.
Sure, there are tons of thing you can do to motivate them and nurture them and try to make good employees out of them, but when they come to the job not even expecting to have to work hardly seems worth it.

By Dpconsu (Dpconsu) on Thursday, September 14, 2000 - 10:37 am: Edit

Dear Ramondo,

Where are you based? prehaps I can put you in contact with an agency nearby, at least they have checked out the work references of their staff and all you have to do is interview and see if he/she will fit in as a team player. I do understand the difficulty in getting adult part timers, after all it would be pretty tough to survive on 24 to 30 hours per week at $5 to $7 per hour before taxes and social security deductions, especially if you hire a single parent that also has to pay for day care, clothing, food, rent, utilities, car expences and insurance, a phone ect.ect. Also there are real risks in hireing older men as dishwashers as most of them tend to have a real drinking problem that shows up after the first pay check.They do good when sober, but when they get paid !!! you are lucky to see them again for three days at least.

I used to run one of the largest resort hotels in the Glasier National Park, where due to the agreement with the Black Feet Indian Nation, we had to employ 50% of our labor from the reservstions. After a while I learned to stagger out the paychecks throughout the month out among the Indian employees, so that I would have some sober workers all the time, but the first couple of months were pretty hairy with a full hotel of 250 guests and only three of us in the kitchen to do all the prep and ala carte service for 3 meals sessions per day plus room service.

I hope that you have better luck with hireing staff in the future, and perhaps you could do better with those that you do get by following the advice from me in another letter in this same string.


By Ramodeo (Ramodeo) on Thursday, September 14, 2000 - 09:23 pm: Edit

Dpconsu - So far, we have seen no evidence of alchoholism in our dishwashers. Low IQ, yes, and that seems to be the main problem. Actually, it's probably that we've hired a couple who's IQs are low enough that they *are* career dishwashers, but high enough to resent that fact. An importamt lesson learned.

I'd be curious to know more about what your questionaires are like. And do you have any advice on how to attract applicants in the first place? We have done newspaper ads, signs in the window, networking thru everyone we know - friends, family, other restaurant owners/operators, our local culinary school...(we are so tempted to go out to eat and start slipping notes to every good server we encounter, but that's not really the kind of reputation we want to get just starting out... :-) ). We have resisted agencies because the cost isn't in our budget right now, but that might change...

By W.DeBord on Friday, September 15, 2000 - 08:25 am: Edit

Ramodeo is in the Mid-west as am I dpconsu. Ramodeo has a limited budget, but where I work they offer over $10. (plus insurance to full timers, we can offer free housing too) to start and still we can't get people to apply. When we get a few good people they feel overneeded, which makes them act more powerful, almost cocky. Eventually they throw temper tantrums and quit because they didn't get their way for the million'th time. So unless you have a steady stream of good applicants your business is held in a continual blackmail position by employees who know how badly you need them.

We rely on temp.'s all the time, but they aren't a solution. Mostly they bring our people down because they refuse to handle more than 2 tables (with buffet service) and will do NO side work. As far as attracting the good temp.s to stay and work for you, we try, but those people like the freedom of the temp. service and can't be pryed away.

By Raine on Friday, September 15, 2000 - 06:10 pm: Edit

Damn, W. Debord, all that and you STILL can't find help? Sheesh, I knew the pay in the south was bad, but damn, now I feel cheated.

By Peachcreek (Peachcreek) on Saturday, September 16, 2000 - 02:38 am: Edit

I have been following this discussion, and would like to share my experience. I manage a very busy lunch cafe, with a small, but highly dedicated crew. Our turnover is negligable, at best. My lead cook has been with us since the beginning. We believe that employment satisfaction comes from three components: compensation, experience, and work enviroment. We have found that supplying at least two of those three components, that our employees are happy. We pay minimum wage, and share tips equally among the people who work the shift. Our fulltime employees receive insurance and limited benefits. All schedules are set. Overtime is not encouraged, as is working a second job. Everyone gets two days off in a row, no exceptions. We are closed on all the big holidays. We also support frequent vacations. The printed menu is small, and we have a large chalkboard menu, that we change daily.
So, our employees can actually support themselves, have a life outside of work, and get some maybe decent restaurant experience out of the deal. And, I, as the manager, what do I get? Zealots! We love our work and it shows. And guess what,WE ARE SWAMPED! We actually get together everyday morning to stratigize the lunch shift, because all of our $5.15 an hour employees have figured the connection between happy customers and good tips. And everyone happily multi-tasks themselves to death in fear of me hiring another person,hence another person to tip. And since I am not a tipped employee, my help is always appreciated.
When we are at work, I expect 110%, and get it. And then I turn around and give it back.
It works for us.

By Ramodeo (Ramodeo) on Saturday, September 16, 2000 - 07:40 pm: Edit

That sounds great, and we would love to acheive such a situation. Hope you don't mind if I pick your brain a bit....I'm really excited to get any information that will help us....

How was the crew put together in the first place? How long did it take for this crewto get settled in? What are the ages of your employees, and what are their life styles?(students? single adults? parents?) Are you only open for lunch? You pay everyone minimum wage??? Or do people move up a pay scale with seniority? How many staff for how many seats, and how many turns per day? And what exactly is "negligible" turnover?

Thank you for your help!

By bonzai bob on Saturday, October 14, 2000 - 02:09 pm: Edit

Why don't todays employees have the same work ethic I had when I was growing up?

Because, now that I have advanced to the management ranks I......

1. don't walk my talk
2. play favorites
3. treat employees as servants, not equals
4. trust no-one
5. communicate standards only after they haven't been met
6. say thanks so rarely that doesn't sound genuine even if it is
7. bribe employees to do undesirable tasks
8. make deals with staff to accomplish goals
9. become drinking buddies with employees that I like
10.initiate change by blaming other or upper management for the decision
11.justify compensating people less not more
12.discuss other employees in front employees
13.threaten to quit if things don't go right blame rather than take responsibility
15.create excuses, not solutions
16.make it known to everyone when I am hung over
17.throw things around the kitchen when disgruntled
18.cuss at everyone and everything.

Perhaps I should go back to being line cook.

By Chefrick (Chefrick) on Sunday, October 15, 2000 - 02:07 am: Edit


I hope I never work for you!you need to get with the program,that old school thinking does not cut the mustard.with that line of thinking,line cook is too much for you to handle,maybe I could find you a place as a dishwasher trainee.

By Panini (Panini) on Sunday, October 15, 2000 - 07:08 am: Edit

bonzai bob,
Surely you jest, but I get your point.
I have had great success with just a few simple things.
Build your family one child at a time. Yes you have to take on foster kids as you build , and they too will find homes with businesses that settle for mediocrity, franchises?
Compensate as a whole and not individually.
Give ownership to each job function.
TEACH THE VALUE OF A DOLLAR!Show them that all owner are not lining their pockets at their expence.
Treat your family well,let them go to school, give them lunch, let them have have play time, and most of all teach them.
You know its not easy, today I bought 37 tickets to Disney's Beauty and the Beast. All our familie4s will go 12-20 Wed. BAD TIME!!SWAMPED!!
We will dine, go to a show, get home late, but I guarentee everyone will be in early to cover for the things not done that night. I don't even have to ask.
Just my thoughts.

By Chefacsc (Chefacsc) on Monday, November 06, 2000 - 11:48 pm: Edit

It seems as if there are a lot of owners and managers out there that are totally out of touch with reality. Treat them righ, they'll trat you question about it.

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