Respect cannot be imposed; it must be earned. Many restaurant managers do not grasp the basics of management. They flout their presumed privileges and pounce on opportunities to exercise their authority. These actions are self-serving and undermine the environmental integrity of a restaurant. Managers should embody the virtues which inspire an efficient staff: selflessness, integrity, and loyalty.
Recently, I was at a busy Italian restaurant for lunch. Everyone was in a hurry, and the food was running late. A tense manager was stalking around, glaring at the waiters as they passed him. The tension came to a head when the manager followed one particular waiter into the kitchen. Once there, I could hear him scream, “I hate you! What is the matter with you!” followed by a steady stream of expletives. The screaming seemed to last forever and ended with, “You’re fired!” Within a few seconds, the young man slumped out of the restaurant looking shocked. Nearby, I saw one of the waitresses visibly shaking as she processed an order in the computer. She grasped the table in front of her and continued to press buttons, seemingly without success. She stared off into the distance for a couple of minutes and took a few deep breaths. It was obvious she was trying to regain her composure; however, she was still visibly shaking. After ten minutes of this struggle, she simply drifted out the front door, and I didn’t see her return.
My waitress had been solicitous, competent, and friendly throughout my meal. She was a stark contrast to everything else I had witnessed that day. As she walked away with my dessert order, the manager came up to her and took her notepad and pointed menacingly at it while saying something to her in a harsh whisper. The only thing I could hear was her respond, “I’ve got it. Don’t worry about it.” She was struggling to veil her annoyance, and her manager snapped. “Get out of here.” The waitress looked dumbstruck. Her manager repeated slowly in her face, “You are done here.” I couldn’t believe what was happening. This restaurant was falling apart and the manager was firing a competent employee. I felt like I was on a reality television show.
This is an extreme example of faulty management. However, many managers adhere to the same practices to a quieter degree. A competent manager takes responsibility when setbacks occur; they don’t look for scapegoats under their direction. Further, a competent manager expresses the same amount of respect for their subordinates as they would for their customers. It is insane to think that your employees will not reflect, at least to some degree, the treatment they receive from their superiors. Lastly, a competent manager does not need to flaunt their authority in order to maintain their position. The best insurance a manager can invest in is to foster a loyal staff through genuine solicitude for their well-being.