I’m sure you have experienced this a million times….
I’m going to share a story from my days bartending in a very busy mountain town.
Spring break was one of the busiest times of the year. Two-hour waits for dinner and up to an hour wait for lunch. No real break between the shifts because we got the apres ski crowd after a busy day on the mountain.
During March, there would be a lot of cash just burning a hole in our pockets, like most ski town residents we would need to unwind at the end of the night. It could sometimes turn into a 4 or 5-hour process and would inevitably make the next lunch shift pretty rough.
It was always a bad idea when all of us would go out together because now instead of 1 or 2 of the staff operating at 75%, we would have 90% of the staff operating at 50%.
Never failed, every time that happened we’d get an early lunch rush. Side work was half-assed, tables weren’t set, outside heaters weren’t on, umbrellas were down, snow on the front patio. You get the picture. If you are a restaurant manager (or have been one in the past) your blood is boiling now because you know that this shift is your worst nightmare.
We’d ingest as much coffee as we could stand and GO TO WAR!
The service was horrible because you are trying to complete side work while serving guests. Drinks took forever because there weren’t enough glasses at the soft drink stations, not enough lemons cut, it was a disaster. It hurt our tips and certainly hurt lunch sales.
Anyone who has ever managed a restaurant has worked a shift like this. You walk in the door and your staff looks like the slept in their uniforms and don’t get me started about the smell, like a damp cellar.
Instead of proactively managing your shift, you start your day putting out FIRES.
Instead of walking your dining room and checking it for readiness you are herding CATS.
It’s impossible to grow sales in this kind of environment, you are just doing everything you can to get through the shift without a customer screaming and firing the whole wait staff.
In the spirit of this story, we’d like to share our FOH Readiness Checklist. Click here to download it for free!
Even if you have a FOH Checklist, you should take a minute and check out ours and compare it to what you are doing as you may find something useful. On the flip side if you notice that we are missing something we’d love to hear from you so that we can add it to ours.