As the pandemic neared the end of the cycle people began to return to their jobs in offices, construction and restaurants to name a few. The Federal government had doled out so much money via grants and loans that some workers in the restaurant industries had decided to remain home or change industries. The Gig economy had started.
Restaurant owners were left looking for new workers to replace those who they had lost and that meant re-training the new people and trying to keep them long term. So many jobs remained unfilled that robotics companies began feverishly promoting their labor-saving robots to “not replace humans, but to help humans” The replacement has not hit yet. Still jobs went un filled and those who were working were jumping from restaurant to restaurant at will based on salary and working conditions. How to you keep them long term? became the cry of owners who had to deal with rising food costs and shortages from all suppliers from all over the world.
Restaurant consultants are devising ways to cut costs and reduce labor but the jobs remain open. Owners need to find the right button to push to keep their staff and reward their super stars.
I remember reading a study several years before the pandemic that stated people were motivated by things other than money. Sure, money is the number one motivator for a young worker starting their life out but how does an owner turn them into long term professional waiters or waitresses like in the restaurants one operating in New York and Los Angeles. Customers had their favorite servers and would return to the same table to dine once or twice a week and the servers earned a good living, but that doesn’t exist anymore.
According to David Scott Peters a well-known restaurant operations speaker and John Tschohl, a Customer Service Specialist, whose columns appear in Today’s Restaurant News, employees need recognition and appreciation. (Dec 2022 Jan 2023) Tschohl stated,” That fact is that money will get employees through the doors of your business, but it won’t keep them there. What will? Recognition. Praise. Feeling valued. Let’s face it, most managers and supervisors have had no training in how to effectively recognize employees. Many were simply promoted to their positions without being provided the training necessary to interact with—and motivate—employees.”
Peters suggested, “Find someone doing something right and call them out for it. It’s so easy to find someone doing something wrong. Like wrong, wrong, change, change. But when you go out of your way to search for people doing something right, and then in front of customers or other employees, call them out for it, and tell them what a great job they did and why this customer has one of the best servers you have, or why everybody on the team should emulate this person, you’re showing them how much you appreciate them”
Both experts are stressing the point that employees should want to come to work for your restaurant because they will be appreciated, trained properly and recognized when they do the right job. It’s supply and demand and the jobs are in supply but the demand is no longer in the hands of the employers.
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