Friday, June 17, 2011

It doesn't work the way you think it does.

I'm getting really tired of CL's threats about adding more people to the floor. Every goddamn shift I work with her, I hear her bitching: “Come on, ten servers on the floor! This food (that's been up for five seconds) needs to be ran! Do we need to have more people on the floor? Come on!” and she throws her hands in the air and stomps away … rather than running the food she's soooooo worried about.

We'll be out of silverware after three extremely hectic hours, and she'll start screaming. “Come on guys! We need silverware! Come on ten servers on the floor! Why don't we have silverware!” Um, maybe because we've had a wait for two hours, everybody's section is packed, the kitchen in going down in flames so we're all running damage control, and if we were rolling silverware she'd be screaming about running food or refilling drinks or cleaning tables or any of the other million things that need to be done!

Because here's the thing she doesn't get: No matter how many servers are on, there are always going to be problems. She has this idea that the more people are on the floor (and so the fewer tables we all have), the better our customer service will be and the better we'll be about running food etc. Yeah, not so much. Here's what actually happens.

Everyone comes in to work and is immediately pissed off at their miniature sections. Because we have so few tables, we all spend more time trying to suck up to them, meaning more time at the table so less time doing all the other shit she's so freaked out about (well, except me and a few others who get our tips by doing our jobs well, rather than by trying to flirt with the middle-aged dads who come in with their families). So then we're still out of silverware after heavy rushes, food isn't always run the exact fucking instant it's ready, etc.

And then there's the fact that it doesn't matter how many servers are on, we can't change the laws of physics. Neither can the cooks. Food comes out at a certain rate, and when the food isn't coming out of the kitchen because the cooks are fucking up, or because it's just one of those periods where things are bottlenecked in back of house, pissy customers look around wondering where their food is. And what do they see? A freaking flood of people in restaurant uniforms, standing around talking to tables, or talking to each other, or walking in circles around the restaurant trying to find something to do. And since the average customer doesn't understand that we don't have futuristic replicators in the back to immediately create their food, they assume the delay is because the servers aren't doing their jobs. So much for the idea that more servers means better customer perception of service.

And then there's the fact that we all come in and know we're not going to make shit. Why should any of us hustle and bust our asses, why should we have any sense of urgency about filling ice or getting more creamer, when our income has been halved (if not more) by CL's stupid policies? If I were still making a hundred-plus bucks on a first cut Friday, I'd be a hell of a lot happier and a hell of a lot more likely to create that sense of “urgency” CL wants. But when I know I'll be lucky to make $80 on a second-cut shift, why should I do anything extra? Why should I roll silverware snappily? Why should I pace with energy around the restaurant, rather than listlessly wandering because there's nothing to do? Sure, sometimes there is, but the most commonly heard sentiment among the staff the last few months is “I'm so bored!”

I keep hoping the pendulum will swing back the other way. I keep hoping the labor costs will be too high and so they'll go back to scheduling in a sane way. I keep hoping …. but my hope is running out, and I don't think I can take it much longer. I should not be making a scant $300 a week working 40 fucking hours. Not while closing Sunday/Monday, working a second cut Thursday/Friday, and being a first cut on Saturday. Not in a restaurant as busy as mine usually is (the last month being an exception) – we're this chain's busiest restaurant in the fucking state! And we're in a town with a population of only about sixty thousand. This is fucking ridiculous.


SkippyMom said...

Perhaps they need another person to run the food so she doesn't go into conniptions every time food sits for a second.

More servers are not going to make a difference, busy or not - it is what it is - I still can't believe there are 10 on at a time. How big is your restaurant. wow

nativenapkin said...

It's the only thing I remember from Economics Class in college: The Theory of Diminishing Marginal Returns which says that as you add factors of production to a job you get increased output, but at a gradually decreasing rate. Thus, the more servers you have on, the less work that actually will get done, for precisely all the reasons you state.

Rachel said... we work at the same restaurant? My management went on a hiring spree a couple months ago, hired WAY more people than they actually needed, called a meeting, crowed that they had more people than they needed, and told us that if we didn't do our jobs well enough, we wouldn't get hours...because everyone can't get hours.

Only a group of people as daft as they are did not see it coming when: (a) all the experienced staff quit (b)2-3 people call in 'sick' on weekend nights, and (c)thanks to their frantic hiring spree and inability to call references, most of the newbies (who they are now stuck with, because the experienced staff quit) are shiftless, lazy idiots who can't do crap. If I weren't leaving at the end of the month, I'd have quit already.

It really doesn't take a rocket scientist to tell you where that stupid strategy will lead. 2.13 an hour does not buy employee loyalty, and employers who abuse staff like that shouldn't be surprised when the staff cuts & runs.

watergirl said...

CL needs to have a management class or three, and then have she needs a few swift kicks to the ass.

Sounds like she needs a rectal craniectomy to have her head removed from her backside. If that fails, an abdominal plexiotomy might do the trick, as it installs a plexiglass window in her abdomen so she can SEE where she's going while she has her head up her backside.

;D Much love!


purplegirl said...

SM, I can't even tell you how many times people have suggested that we have a dedicated food runner. But they'd have to pay that person minimum wage. For the same pay they can get two servers who have to do it -- because they don't fucking care if we're making any money or not!

Nativenapkin, you're exactly right.

Rachel, all the experienced people at my restaurant are reading to quit too. Me, Mistress J, Cali Girl, Work Wife ... all the senior servers except Fud and Accent Girl. We're sick of being run down!

Watergirl, I'd love to give her a craniectomy with my FIST! :)