Who's in charge of your restaurant?

Charlie said….. Marla said….. Patrice said…..

He said, she said. It’s a game that gets played in a lot of businesses. Not having a defined “pecking order” that is understood by every person in your organization can lead to a lot of unneccessary headaches. Here’s a quick lesson about avoiding this business pitfall.

Who is in charge when you’re not in your restaurant? Who is your second when you are/aren’t there?

Every good business structure includes a management tree. At the top is the owner(s). Just below, the CEO or General Manager. Underneath may be assistant managers, shift supervisors, trainers, tenured employess and new employees. Any which way the hierarchy of your restaurant shakes out, it’s very important that your entire staff understands who is in charge at any given time.

Not having a set chain of command leads to confusion. To a new employee, any person in your business is someone to be obeyed and learned from. As I’m sure you know, different employees of yours have different methods for doing the same thing. One may be better, one may be worse. Either way, the only way things should be getting done is yours. This is only possible with accountability through creating a chain of command that allows you to police your systems and correct errors within the system.

When creating a system of hierarchy, avoid this one common mistake; do NOT give equal, shared authority to two different employees. Sharing authority equaly creates stalemates and sets you up to lose track of who is accountable when the wrong decisions are made. He said, she said.

Create a management tree. Don’t split authority. Hold your staff accountable.

Brandon O’Dell
O’Dell Restaurant Consulting
Office: (888) 571-9068

2 thoughts on “Who's in charge of your restaurant?

  1. Wow, your philosophy is way off base, using the verbage , “policing” and ” obeyed.
    If you own a restaurant you can be sure your staff is stealing from you. I would like to leave you with a philosophy. “The Employee comes first.” Take care of your employee, your employee will take care of the guest, the guest will take care of you. Give everyone the opportunity to take ownership and they will not steal from themselves

  2. I appreciate your input Barbara. I don’t think you took the “policing” and “obeyed” for what they were though. Actually, the words were “police” and “obey”, and they weren’t used in the context of “policing” employees or making them “obey”.

    In reality, a system that is not policed is not a working system. While you may not like the verbage, that is exactly what it is. A system must be managed. People not following the system must be coached. Failure to create accountability most often results in the complete failure of the endeavor, which is the norm in the restaurant world.

    I don’t dispute the importance of respecting employees, and taking care of your employees. However, without a system of accountability, most restaurants end up without the resources to care for their employees.

    “Ownership” is not something you can give to someone who doesn’t have a stake in your business. There is only one owner, and no matter how much you care for your employees, they can never understand ownership until they are owners. The best you can hope for, with some good coaching, is empathy.

    Employees who work within a system where expectations are clearly stated, attainable goals are given, measured and rewarded when reached, and where they are held accountable for poor performance, are much happier employees. The same system also allows for more prosperity that can then be shared with all those that helped create it.

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