• Lucy Warman

Chapter 4 - A problem with Marco….

So, it’s a Friday morning and Sarah the Restaurant Manager is at my door waiting before I’ve even had a chance to unlock it. She’s been on the early shift for breakfast so has been grafting since the rest of us were still in the land of nod. “Lucy, there is a problem with Marco, that new Waiter” I open the door, and welcome her in. To cut a long story short, it seems Marco, after a great start, has made a few mistakes. He’s a bit slow. He’s not talking much to the guests. He doesn’t know the menu, the list goes on….

I ask Sarah what additional on job training Marco has had since his initial induction training with me. After a short pause, she tells me that he was buddied up with Thomas, who was looking after him and showing him how things work. Thomas that is, who has been off sick for 7 out of Marco’s first 14 days. Sarah shrinks a little in her seat when I point this out. OK, so problem identified, Marco hasn’t really had much support at all. He has been left to get on with it and find his own feet as the restaurant has been busy and hit with a sickness bug. Marco has been expected to step up and perform like the rest of the team, who have been with us for months/years. Sprinkled with a bit of the ole “JFDI” (just *** do it) style of management.

I know how it is, I’ve been there – I know the challenges a restaurant manager faces when short staffed and you’ve got new people and you’re busy. Sarah knows this, which is why she feels comfortable talking to me about it. However, the outcome is often sink or swim for the newbies and it’s generally only the Michael Phelps of the world that come out the other end unscathed. The challenge, I tell her, is to step back, to look from the outside in and realise that as understandable as the situation is under the circumstances, we’ve sold poor Marco short. The fan fairs and whistles of his first day have long faded into the distance…. His constant questions have become an irritation, so he’s stopped asking them and also stopped learning… He’s unsure what he should be doing, so what he is doing is making mistakes. His uncertainty has affected his confidence so he is working slower than the rest of the team. Nobody has taken the time to talk him through and taste the menu so he can properly talk to the guests about it, so he serves the food and runs away, just in case they ask him any questions.

So poor Marco, after a comprehensive induction, can tell you where the noticeboard is, what the process is for booking holidays, what to do if he is sick and where how long a break he is entitled to. He can tell you how to lift a heavy box safely, and what to do if he comes across a fire in the corridor, but he is struggling to do the job he is paid for.

I discuss with Sarah the benefits of creating a suitable training plan for Marco to help him do his job better and with less dependence on others. I explain that he will need a lot more hand-holding and support without a good solid training programme which is in turn a false economy. I talk her through the various other ways we can support him:

  • on the job coaching - Sarah working alongside Marco for a shift

  • mentoring – catching up with him at the start and end of each shift to talk through issues

  • delegated tasks – talking Marco through room service, then sending him up with an order

  • reading assignments – recommending a book or web article on restaurant service

  • attending internal briefings – a menu tasting with the Chef

  • special responsibilities which require obtaining new skills – putting Marco in charge of breakfast set up

  • video – pointing him to some engaging service videos on You Tube

  • e-learning – setting him some e-lessons to help with wine knowledge

  • supplier visits – a visit to the wine supplier to increase his wine knowledge

  • attachment to other teams - a shift in the kitchen, to experience being a Chef

  • job-swap – a shift on the bar to increase drinks knowledge

  • shadowing – buddying him up with someone else if Thomas is still off!

We agree to catch up in a week to discuss how it’s going and if I can support her further.

Next time……. A visit from Marco….

For bespoke support with induction and training, give me a call or drop me a line.

07713 069050

All Things People

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