The Telephone Game.

So I’m the General Manager of the restaurant I work for.  That means I’m the boss.  In fact, my boss who’s name is on the front of the building will tell you that in the hierarchy of things I’m his boss.  I get to tell him what to do, ask him to clean up his act, and make him tow the company line.  It helps that I like him.  In fact I like him a lot.  He’s been to our house several times for dinner.  I have hung out at his house.  We can talk for hours.

Back to my point.

I’m the boss.  The buck stops with me.  I am paid to be the bad guy.  And for the most part I let my managers off the hook and I’ll be the one that delivers the punch.  Whether it’s a scolding or actually firing someone.  I’ll do the heavy lifting.  Because of this most of my staff is a little scared of me.  I thought I would mind it but I don’t.  Sometimes it can be a little fun if I don’t say so myself.  That being said, I think most of them respect me although sometimes they don’t agree with my decisions.

Last week I let a server go.  He’d been giving me attitude for a several weeks.  He kept having issues with guests.  Unfortunately when he was on he was an amazing server, gave pinpoint service, and his guests liked him.  When he was on.  Unfortunately I pay people to be on every day.  Not just when it’s convenient for them.  Last Monday I asked him to do a small task that needed done.  And he told me no.  He told me he didn’t have time.  If any of you who read my blog know me at all you can imagine how I reacted.  It was not pretty.  I told him I didn’t care whether he had time or not.  To do what I told him to do, do it now, and to stop giving me attitude.  This caused him to mouth off even more.  But he did what I asked.  I retreated to my office.

And the more I thought about it the more pissed off I became.  And the more pissed off I became the more I realized that I was done with him.  So I called another server in early to cover his shift and I let him go.  He actually thanked me when it was over.

For the staff though they didn’t get it.  They saw a great server who was good at his job, and couldn’t understand why I did what I did.  Of course I can’t discuss it with them.  I can’t tell them that it had been coming for weeks.  I can’t tell them that yes he was good at his job, but he was a bad employee.  To make matters worse they don’t come talk to me about any of this.  They talk to each other.  And the two assistant managers.  One of which is my ears and tells me everything.  I can’t respond to it, because they don’t know she tells me.

So they’ve all been on pins and needles since last Monday.  For no good reason.  None of them are in trouble.  Most of them do a great job.  And to be honest we can’t afford to lose any more servers.

So flash forward to today.

The manager of another restaurant was in today for a drink and a snack.  He was waiting on a friend and so we chatted about 15 minutes or so.  About the season.  About how short staffed we both were.  I mentioned that we needed to “hire” 6 servers.  4 for breakfast.  2 for lunch and dinner.  I told him if he knew anyone looking to send them my way.  And the conversation was over.  And I walked away.

Ten minutes later I’m in the office working on payroll and my manager who is the ears comes in and says that Ashley had come to her because she was convinced that I was going to fire her.  Ashley went on to say that the bartender had overheard me say to a guest that I was going to “fire” six servers this week. Seriously.  I’d barely sat down and every front of house employee in the restaurant was convinced that six people were on the chopping block.  I told my manager this time I was going to speak up.  I went employee by employee and explained that the idiot bartender (she really is an idiot) needed to clean out her ears.  I’d said HIRE.  NOT FIRE.  No one is getting fired.  I need to hire 6 servers.  Then I went to the bartender and told her if she was going to spend rumors she needed to have her facts straight before doing so.

Then at pre-shift I asked all of them to speak up and tell me what they’d done they think they’d deserve to get fired for.  Are you stealing?  Were you not sick last Tuesday when you called in?  Have you been drinking on the job?  Do you leave without doing your side work?  Are you rude to the guests?  I explained that no one in my restaurant has ever gotten fired for no reason.  So you actually have to do something to get fired.  Not just show up to work and do a good job.

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3 thoughts on “The Telephone Game.

  1. Bonnie September 8, 2014 / 10:43

    Maybe you should start a rumor and see what it is by the time it gets back to you.

    PS – I hate office politics!

  2. javabear September 8, 2014 / 15:43

    I’m not cut out for management. I respect those who do it well.

  3. larrymuffin September 8, 2014 / 21:09

    So you live in Maine now, I was a little confused while reading your About me where you say I live in NYC and am a waiter and light designer. It makes more sense now.

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