Leave it to the Professionals


Do you have your best and most experienced staff manning the restaurant while you’re gone?

Restaurant operators should beware of leaving their units in the hands of poorly trained novices who have little regard for the bottom line.

Recently a friend and I wanted to try a new place in the neighborhood that served salads, bagels, sandwiches and light fare.

We ordered, collected our food and sat down to eat about 8:15 in the evening.

At that point in time four people were working in the unit, and two of them were busying themselves removing all the salad ingredients and sandwich fixings. No one appeared to be in charge and, worse still, all of the employees seemed oblivious to customers coming and going.

During the course of the next hour, I witnessed a minimum of 25 people who came in, looked around and left without buying a thing.

At one point I asked one woman behind the counter what time the restaurant closed. She quickly replied, “9:30.”

Clearly, these foodservice employees had one thing on their minds: getting out of work the moment the clock hit the witching hour.

These workers’ collective attitudes struck me as a real disservice to the owner of that new business that was trying to make a go of it in hyper-competitive New York City.

Obviously poorly trained or, worse yet, not trained at all, these employees may have been well meaning, but they cost the owner plenty that night. It surely didn’t seem that the business got off to a good start, and what kind of future would you expect? I know I won’t be returning.

Not only did the employees fail to acknowledge any of the potential customers who walked through the front door, but they also were blatantly removing the food a full hour before closing time.

It seems unthinkable, especially given the fragile state of the economy. Hospitality should become even more important, not MIA.

You don’t need an MBA to know this total lack of hospitality doesn’t bode well for this business. The paint was barely dry on the walls of this new restaurant and staffers were signaling to customers, “Go away; we don’t want to be bothered.”

The customers, without exception, obliged and made hasty exits. Not one of them ever looked back. 

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