Blog Archives

Makin the Old Man Proud – Keys to Impress Your Boss

It’s the weekend and I am posting this Blog article. I wouldn’t want you to get caught reading helpful information while you are on the clock. This post may be relatively short because it really is just common sense. However, so often it’s just a matter of following simple steps that shows  your worth to the company you work for that you are more than just a body in a spot. The majority of the people who read the first two sentences of this post and click away are those people you may pass up for a promotion someday because you hung in there. I promise, it won’t take long.

Since it’s the weekend enjoy this example of exactly what I won’t be talking about in this post

Bloom Where You Are Planted

Bus Staff, Concessions Workers, Hosts, and Maintenance this one may ring true for you. Some may think that these are some areas in a company that you would make the least amount of impact to those who  visit your establishment. I want to tell you that this is the furthest thing from the truth. While your pay rate may not be the highest it can be a stepping stone to some place you want to go. The person who learns everything there is about their job and does the best at it they possibly can will get noticed. I can’t think of the number of times I have wished as a server that there had been an effective and well engaged Host  at the front. Some may think that is a very easy job – I have even heard it referred to as Monkey Work, but to be really effective there it takes skill and an ability to see the big picture to make you really great at this task. How many people would think a guy who sells Hot Dogs at a baseball game could move up in the world? Do you know how many people you brush up against in life when you do that kind of work. If you are good at what you do; opportunities will happen.

Look Up

This one is going to get under your skin just a bit, and I am sorry. The person who is the most important while you are in a service oriented position is the person right in front of you. They aren’t on your cell phone, and they won’t be the server that is trying to flirt with you so you will give them more tables. The person you greet who walks through the door, or you see in the hallway when you are cleaning the room has the ability to really be an asset to you if you make them happy. A corporate praise can go a long way for you, and certainly a whole lot further than what a complaint will because they saw you smoking outside the building when the area around you is a disaster.  Refer to the Manager’s frustration  in the last post to understand my position.

Yes, I Can

You manager is often forced to be creative because he is in a pinch and you being willing to slide into something new is always going to work in your favor. Even if you really blow it, you were willing to try. A willingness to jump in will go a long way for you in anything you are involved in.

We didn’t have a guy to make salads on a busy night one evening and we asked a new host if he would step in. Well, that night we found out that the kid that was “filling in” was doing a better job than the guy who did it all the time. The fill in found him,self on the Expo line and now is a Server. Rob is a Diamond in the Rough. You never know what can happen.

Be On Time

I can think of so many times as a Manager that I would have really appreciated someone walking into the door that works for me when I got a sudden rush of business. It’s amazing how endearing you can become to your supervisor if you are there to bail him out. 15 minutes early is always appreciated.

The key to this one too is coming in prepared to work. In uniform and ready to clock on. A supervisor will grow tired of someone who clocks in before they put their coat away.

Smile, it’s the Best Part of Your Uniform

It’s amazing how much more what you have to say can change an impression if you smile. There are so many reasons why this is a good idea, and it’s so easy to do. Just take the opportunity and I assure you that it will make a difference in the people around you. I almost didn’t put this in because it seems so simple, but it’s essential. People like working with people who smile.

Like I said, this is a very short post and isn’t  Earth shattering information.The key here  is you need to do the common sense things because there are a lot of people who won’t. Keep it simple and stay true to the basics that will always be the best practice. Even if it doesn’t seem exciting, if you do your job with interest and grace it will reflect well on you at some point.

Thanks for reading!

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If You Build It They Will Come

We all dream of something better. When we take on a position as a Manager we have hopes to build something no one can resist. We have dreams and desires. I find myself drifting to this movie clip when I think about that.

I post this blog in many groups I am a part of on LinkedIn and I have gotten some great feedback. Something that was said in reference to my last post  made me think that he may be a bit frustrated. I am going to post the message and tell me that you haven’t felt something similar as a manager.

Dirk; the experience of a guest begins when they pull into your driveway and continues long after they leave. From the flowers by your front door to the cigarette butt on the sidewalk. From the valet who runs to their door to the bell hop texting his girlfriend instead of offering his services, they notice everything. The experience is everything the guest see’s and how you make them feel added together, upselling, having excellent Menu’s (not as easy as you may think) in your restaurant, awesome housekeeping and a functional front desk area must work seamlessly together. As a manager how many times have you heard from BUT guests, everything was great BUT, the room was perfect BUT, the hotel was excellent BUT. Unluckily the human condition makes it easier to remember the BUT’S than it does the excellents. Putting your best foot forward or Knowing who the best employees are has always been easy for any manager. Taking the average employee and through training creating the NEW best employee that is what good management is all about. To Take an average hotel or resort and through training, leadership, personal contact and example turn it into an exemplary establishment is what great managers accomplish. Maya Angelou said ” People may forget what you said, People may forget what you did, BUT they will never forget how you made them FEEL”

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If you haven’t felt some of these same emotions then you haven’t been in management long enough/ Like in the movie clip we brush up against positive and negative influences everyday. We have to decide how we will deal with it.They key to remember is that your staff will be a reflection of you because you are their leader. You will be the benchmark your staff compares everything to. Chances are, you will also be the measuring stick your Supervisors will judge things by as well. Regardless of how fair you may think the circumstances are you will be accountable for what you make of the situation. For some people that paralyzes them when they know they are being watched, but for others it’s something different.

It’s important to seek  “Buy In” from your staff, bu it’s important that you know what it is you want them to jump into. Do you know fully what your supervisors expect from you in your role, and do you have clear goals reflecting that? If so, are you familiar with your company’s philosophy? Does your philosophy reflect that of the company with the team you manage? These are questions you should be asking yourself often so that you don’t lose touch with what it is you strive to achieve with your staff. When you do or say something does it reflect your company in a positive light? Back to the benchmark thing – your staff will take cues on how you support your company’s ideals by what you say and do. I don’t think I will really touch here in your off-work life, because I am sure that it will appear in a future post. Remember, everything you do will be put under a microscope at one time or another.To acquire “Buy In” from your staff you will need to show them an example worth buying into. Ask yourself in every situation if you have truly done everything you can over a given situation. Then your example will dictate the direction of your crew.

I was a Manager with McDonald’s for three years, and most of that tenure was primarily nights. I called my night crew “The Island of Misfit Toys> They were primarily young and I handpicked the majority of them. We were all a little crazy and definitely unorthodox. However, we held to one thing all the time. We held ourselves to the standard of providing food the way we were supposed to do it when we were there. I always said to them that it was easier to learn to do the right thing and get good at that as opposed to cutting corners. Did we goof off some – oh yeah, but we came together like a well oiled machine when it was time to do what we did. The kids I had didn’t all seem like everyone’s first choice in the regular world, but it was amazing to see them grow up as young men and women.The one thing I learned from my first supervisor with McDonald’s, Ralph Lawrence, is that they need to see you pick up a mop before they will respect your asking them to do so. Ralph showed me a great example of Servant Leadership. I try to make that philosophy mine where ever I am. He also said, “It’s not about you; it’s about the business.” I have to remember that a lot; When you put yourself before the company and if someone isn’t trained to fill in for you in your absence then you aren’t doing what you need to do to protect the business. It’s always important to duplicate yourself in someone else; not because they can’t live without you but because you need to leave the place better than you found it when you got there.

If you work hard to reflect the company’s standard and show your team the best example of a sold out leader for that team as you can be your team will notice. It’s so much easier to hold your crew accountable when you are a person of integrity. Then you don’t have to try and backtrack or even worse deal with a do as I say and not as I do moment.  That’s a death knell to your ability to keep your crew’s respect. Unfortunately, I have learned that the hard way.

Most importantly your staff isn’t going to care how much you know until they know how much you care. This will be reflected with your crew and the guests you take care of. If you keep that key element in mind you will do more good than harm wherever you are.

As Always, please feel free to shoot me feedback and I will be happy to help or listen however I can.  I really appreciate the opportunity to interact with people of many industries.

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Keep Calm – They Go Back To Where They Came From – Part Two

In the last post I suggested that the ability to hold composure throughout stress and adversity in your job is key. It’s the ability to relax through the stress that wins you the opportunity to build relationship with your guests.

Whether you are a Server in a Restaurant, a Front Desk Agent in  a Hotel, or a Police Officer there are going to be instances when you are required to stare into the face of someone that is generally unhappy, and you will have to decide in a split second how to handle that situation. There are some key things to remember when this opportunity arises. Yes, I called it an opportunity. Danny DeVito said –

“In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.” 
The key to all of this is to remember that whatever is going on in front of you it probably isn’t about you. Initially you can take refuge in that fact because to a certain extent the pressure is off. The sweet thing about such a situation is it gives you an opportunity to do exactly what you are there for. I know that they may be there for food, or to return a blouse they don’t like; however, in most cases we get into service related fields to help people.

Take the incident from the last post where the guy had been chilly to me when I greeted him at the table. I guess something inside me made me give him a chance to vent in addition to getting the drink orders for him and his wife. He had an opportunity to tell me about his situation. I had recently lost my Grandmother at the time so it gave us both an opportunity to share a little through the process of the dinner. Long story short, it was a rewarding opportunity for both of us.

The other thing to remember is the big picture is always a baseline for you to fall back on. What I mean is, you aren’t the case of this problem, and in many cases you generally have a supervisor to assist you if you have any questions. Regardless you have opportunities to make a bigger impression that your position sometimes presents. There is also another f actor to this bigger picture concept. It can benefit you to be considerate. There is a Nicholas Cage movie called, “It Could Happen to You” that is a story about a Police Officer who offers to split lottery winnings in lieu of a tip. Monetary rewards don’t always come and I suppose I would hope that wouldn’t be the expectation, but you never know what can happen. I did receive a very nice tip from the couple I took care of and they also gave me a great review to my manager. To be honest, seeing the guy and his wife leave smiling and knowing I may have helped some was a really big thing to me.

Regardless of what you are faced with people are generally always faced with stuff as well.  Opportunities come in all shapes and sizes, and we need to remember that to keep perspective on the big picture. Know that whatever is in front of you that looks like it can get ugly probably has little to do with you. Shine, and show those people that see darkness there is hope.

Keep Calm – They Go Back To Where They Came From – Part One

I am sorry in advance, but this may be one of the best excerpts from a movie to be used to show the flavor of what I am trying to get across in this post. I will warn you it’s not a G Rated edit; none of the cuts that were G Rated were edited cleanly. However this clip from Roadhouse may be one of my favorite training scenes for the Hospitality Industry. Enjoy!

The one thing that you will find out in the Hospitality Industry is that not every guest that you deal with will have an appealing personality; as a matter of fact, they may be nasty and crass at best. This presents a couple of potential dynamics that you have to deal with. The first thing that can easily occur is you can let that customer cast a tone upon the experience that you may find yourself mirroring shortly thereafter. In addition to that, you may find it has a tendency to taint your disposition for part or even all of your shift. If you aren’t careful it can even bleed over into the rest of your week. These are issuers that you need to learn to tackle to keep it from getting into your mind and eventually your money.Part of being really good in the  Service Industry is being able to shine when those situations arise.

This is such an important subject I am going to cover different aspects over the next post as well. In this post we are going to talk about your guest and their demeanor. This might give you some insight into the myriad of reasons you may be getting bombarded with a cold chill from that icy guest.

Did You Get the Number of That Truck?

I remember walking up to a table and introducing myself. Most days I have no problem keeping a smile on my face when I greet my guest, but this time I was blindsided by a snappy tome. When I asked how they were that evening they said, “You  don’t want to know.”  I was a bit taken aback and could have just tried to get a drink order and let it go; I am sure that the uncomfortable feeling would have ended as soon as they left. I opted for the other option and I simply responded, “If I didn’t want to know, I wouldn’t have asked.” Turns out this guy had just lost his Dad in a horrible accident and they had just dealt with that fiasco. In addition to that their car had broken down on route so they were dealing with that as well. They had a horrible few days and he was taking it all particularly roughly.

In Branson, as in many Tourist destinations, people get great deals on vacations from a Vacation Club or Time Share organization. Being in that industry in the past giving Front-Line tours I know that you work someone fort 90 minutes to earn the next 90 minutes. The guest that sits down at your table may have been the proud recipient  of one of these touContemporary rendering of a poster from the Un...rs and unbeknownst to him he also had the opportunity to sit for three hours or more through this 90 minute tour only to be told he didn’t love his wife and family enough to give them wonderful vacations, and that his Grand kids didn’t deserve such a legacy. With this being said, the mini-vacation he thought he was giving to his family may have just become an attack on his manhood in general.

What about the lady who uses the restroom before she comes through the lobby and drops her cell phone in the toilet, and then when she stands to retrieve it the automated flushing mechanism sucks her valuable communication device into oblivion? (Yes, this did happen while I worked for Olive Garden in Branson, MO) Talk about crappy reception.

There are two things you will find in all of these examples. First, these were all horrible experiences. Next, none of this was your fault. This is something I want you to carry with you into part two. In the post that follows we are going to deal with your side of the equation and how it all factors out for you in the end.  Maybe it isn’t quite the cliffhanger you are looking for, but I hope you will find part two helpful.

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