why restaurants can’t stay alive

Thursday, October 17 2019

I knew it had something to do with the “face” of the company. The people running restaurants, making the real decisions, have often never stepped foot inside them. They are entirely removed from the day-to-day issues of an employee’s life.

I’m coming to understand that the less you do at your job, the more money you make. Or at least, this is a theory. I know this is true in restaurants. There’s always a sacrifice. Servers make more tip money than bussers, but they have to take shit from the customers constantly. Floor managers get a more consistent schedule, but they are stuck enforcing rules that they KNOW are not working – the rules made by the kings in the sky, the corporation. They take shit from the servers.

It seems odd that a business would even EXPECT to thrive when it consistently treats its “face” like animals. Hostesses, servers, bartenders, bussers – all these are crucial players in the success of the restaurant, yet they are given long, inconsistent hours, tip-dependent paychecks, minimal-to-none breaks, and very little support in the way of handling customer disputes.

This hierarchy really screams “upside-down” in the way of compensation, to me. Those who earn the most, enjoy breaks, perks, power and good ol’ R&R also happen to actually DO the least. We’ve got the under-paid, under-slept, under-appreciated front-of-house employees smiling, cleaning, serving food and we have the happy, well-compensated and well-dressed employees in the BACK, sitting in a glorified broom closet doing paperwork!

Why are we hiding our well-groomed and contented general managers and chefs in the corners of our restaurants and shoving our literally starving servers out there to schmooze?

This is a priority issue. This whole model was built on how to win an investor’s MONEY, earn back the MONEY, and then continue to EARN MONEY. I’m not trying to sound like an old stick-in-the-mud. I don’t have to spell out the insinuation here, but I will, just so I feel better.

Why can’t the focus be on the quality of food and service, like the lovely employee training videos claim? Are we going to continue to pretend that money isn’t the ONLY objective here while our restaurants collapse around us in a great real-estate gambling venture? Most importantly, who will provide this wake-up call to the industry, and who, on behalf of the industry, will be there to receive it?

This has been a post. I’m starving.

Next post will either elaborate on some solutions I’d like to cook up or it will be about how I’m certain that I’m certainly on the Asperger’s spectrum (and how that’s so awesome).

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