The Great Hall
No-show tactics The Great Hall: No-show tactics
By Foodpump (Foodpump) on Sunday, March 20, 2005 - 06:50 pm: Edit

Yup, Spring is in the air, and staff are going crazy again. It's frustrating really, the no-shows. At first it used to bother me, then I got the hint from a t-shirt: If it feels good, do it! So I decided to make myself feel better about ball-less staff who don't show up. Take for instance last week...:
Preparing for the spring rush, I decided to add to my list of prep-monsters and catering cooks, and interviewed some potentials for occasional catering prep-work. I homed in on one guy, whose resume looked good and handled the interview well. Told him I had a few larger parties next week, showed him photos of platters that were popular, the kitchen, etc. We agree on a salary, the time hge'd start the following day. He shakes my hand and says he's looking forward to working with me. In the morning, I see the blinking light on the phone answering machine, and listen as far the time stamp (2:30 am) and "um, I've really thought long about this, but I.." I didn't have the stomache to listen further. I called in my back-up staff, but I was still ticked, and knew I would still be for a few days if I didn't do something for myself. So that afternoon I took a Invoice sheet with the company's logo, and invoiced the guy for $25 for wasting my time, $25 for shaking my hand when he had no intention of showing up, and $100 for leaving a crappy message on my machine at 2:30 am. As I licked the stamp and stuffed the envelope in the mailbox, I felt a lot better. Then again two weeks back I had a delivery driver quit on me in the middle of his shift and demanded his paycheck. I told him if
he quits, by law I don't have to pay him for
another 3 days. He goes ballistic and threatens
world destruction. Now, I'm a good listener, I
know where he works part-time as a waiter, so I
paid him a surprise visit that afternoon. Took
a 4" cake box, put a new napkin in it, the kind you don't wipe your face with, stuck on a post-
it note reading "For your heavy days. Your
cheque will be mailed to you, don't ever come
back", tied it up with gold ribbon left over
from the christmas fruitcakes, and left it with
the hostess, instructing her to give it to him
when his shift started.
Crazy? Evil? In bad taste? I don't know, but it sure made me feel better. So now I'm curious, how do you other guys handle no-shows?

By Chefjoannam (Chefjoannam) on Monday, March 21, 2005 - 12:38 am: Edit

I *LOVE* the idea of sending an invoice... but not so hot on the napkin idea. :-/

It hurts when people pull a no-show. It happens to me more than I care to say. I tend to take things like that personally, but I know that they're not flaking because of me. I've had my better servers COMPLIMENT ME on how I run a smooth shift and tell me that I am a fair boss.

Beyond not showing up for the job, I can hardly even get them to show up for interviews! I've had to go to group interviews so that if 1 or 2 of the five people don't show... (sometimes, it was as many as 4 of 5 who didn't show!) ...I wouldn't be wasting an hour waiting for people to show up. It's just ridiculous how people can be so rude and inconsiderate.

I think that the problem is the nature of the job, in general. Someone said to me, "if they were good, trustworthy employees, they'd already have full-time can't expect GOOD people to just be waiting for you to call them. All my people work part-time, all on-call. It's the nature of the business. It pains me when they just don't show up for a shift, even after I call them THAT DAY and remind them of their shift.

I'm in Los Angeles. All the waiters expect to get $20+ an hour, plus tips, and if they don't get it from you, they can (allegedly) get it from anyone else. Besides that, they tend to bail on you because an audition came up, and they will avoid paying work to either prepare for it or go to it.

On the other hand, I have a few people on my roster that are "older" adults, not as photogenic but certainly not as flaky, who are grateful to have a few extra bucks in their pockets every couple of weeks, when they're available.

I'd love to have a solution. I have thought long and hard about having someone be on standby with a "uniform" in their car, ready to drive over to wherever I'm working. What would be enough incentive? $25/night bonus, whether they work or not? First dibs at working the next gig? (I send out an e-mail, and staff "first-come, first-served" by who calls back first.)

I can't afford to simply have an extra person on staff for each event as insurance if someone flakes!

By Santamuerte (Santamuerte) on Monday, March 21, 2005 - 05:15 pm: Edit

many years ago, i started a job in a kitchen that i really wanted to work in. well organized, good people, plenty of space, etc. first day, about 2 hours into my shift, i reach to about head level for a big box of (i think beef), and as i lift it off the shelf, my back "goes out." this happens once or twice a year, and it's absolutely impossible for me to so much as walk for about 1-2 weeks. then one day, i'll wake up, and it will be gone, just as if it never happened.

well, i about passed out from embarrassment, and i was so sure that these people were going to think i was some kind of scam artist -- you know, like the grifters who fall down the stairs in department stores and sue -- i couldn't think what to say. it seemed to me that there was no way i could explain myself without being thought a liar at best, or a con artist at worst.

so i quietly slipped out the back door, got into my car, drove home, and laid down on an ice pack. i never called; they never called, and that was that.

actually, they were lucky; i saved them a lot in worker's comp: i was laid out for a good two weeks that time.

so, it's not always a case of being inconsiderate or irresponsible. sometimes, a person just doesn't know what to say ;-)

By Grwall (Grwall) on Tuesday, March 22, 2005 - 05:01 pm: Edit

Tough situations these.

2nd one (easiest) first. When existing staff don't show, they've quit, pure and simple. Paychecks are ready on payday and not before regardless of threats or whines. Like I owe you a favor for leaving me stuck? right. About the only recourse you have is to give a poor reference if anyone calls - unlikely.

1st one - you hired someone who doesn't show. Again not much you can do. Remember though, while you're interviewing him to see if you want him, he's interviewing you to see if he wants the job. Most people don't have the stones to come right out and say "not what I'm looking for but thanks" so it's easier to just not show up. Generally, I'll pass off that I have a couple of other interviews booked and that I'll call them the next day (or two) for another interview. If they come back, they're probably interested for real. I may lose a good candidate from time-to-time but this leaves the potential hire an easy out if they don't want to work for me. And saves wasting a week or so while they are giving notice. NEVER hire someone who'll quit a job without notice to work for you - they'll do the same to you for sure. And of course if you insist someone quits another job without notice to work for you, you won't be getting much.

Hiring and keeping staff requires IMHO taking the long view.

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Tuesday, March 22, 2005 - 06:24 pm: Edit

Not a no-show, but maybe close.
I walked in on my first day of work at this place and walked into everyone doing lines in the kitchen. I walked out. Charged the chef for one day of work. Which he paid. cash.
This was after I got sober, had it happen before I most likely would not have walked.
In New York
I did have 3 chefs all want me at the same time and at the last min.(I think the day before I was suppose to start)called one chef and told him I got a better offer. He was bummed, only because he HATED working in the Pastry shop.
I did offer to help him and stop by everyday in the afternoon until he found someone, but he declined the offer.

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