Customer Service in Restaurants

That’s Not My Job

A while back, I went to lunch with a friend. It’s a local place and it had been on my radar and I was excited when my friend suggested it. When we got there, it was just after 11am, just before the lunch rush. Like many restaurants, we were greeted with the “Please Wait to Be Seated” sign. No one was there, so we waited. And waited. And waited. The restaurant wasn’t busy. At all. No one was in sight. No one, except for three employees in the kitchen. I could see them. They could see us. But, not one of them said, “hey, someone will be right with you,” or, “go ahead and grab a seat” or even “hello.” Nothing.

Do you know why all three of those employees failed to said anything? Because they were all thinking, “that’s not my job.”

If you have “that’s not my job” people on your team, they are killing your business. They need an intervention. If you ask me, I see this as Job 101 stuff. You know, the kind of thing I expect people who come to work for me to know. Like showing up on time. But, as an employer, I also know lots of people don’t inherently get this. The answer? You have to train it. You also have to model it.

As the boss, you show up on time. You do what you say you’re gonna do. You pick up trash in the parking lot. To quote Mission Impossible bad guy, Owen Davian, “You can tell a lot about a person’s character by how they treat people they don’t have to treat well.”

Then, you train on it. “Here are XYZ Corporation, we treat others the way we want to be treated.” You kick off team meetings with your mission statement, and by restating your values. You make it part of mandatory training during employee onboarding. It’s in your handbook, and on your website, and on your menu.

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