TIP OF THE DAY
That moment when a difficult customer wants to complain and asks for the manager, and YOU are the manager. #RudeCustomers
GREAT SERVICE STARTS WITH A GREAT TEAM HUDDLE!
A daily team huddle (or a pre-shift meeting) is probably the single most effective meeting that you can have with your team. The key lies in the purpose of the meeting and keeping it short under 10 minutes. The goal should be to check in with staff about what your day will look like, great customer services, and how well you want the shift to run.
“Great food, great atmosphere, horrible wait staff. If your waitress is going to talk about the chlamydia she got from a coworker and personal relationship problems while I’m eating, I’ll be sure to take home the tip. Thanks again Leah! Disgusting.” — Mike L.
Being a barista is a heavy burden sometimes: the early morning hours, the cranky customers, and the precision with which you need to make the customers’ drinks makes a difficult job even more difficult. Occasionally, I would get an afternoon shift and would get much easier customers. However, I wanted to quit when I got morning shifts two weeks in a row and then, on my day off- I was sitting at home one morning sipping my coffee when my phone rings. I had to come into work because 2 people called in sick. Noooo.
I come into work and there is already a line out the door when I arrive. I get behind the counter and start taking drink orders. I finish two orders out of a probable 12-15 orders and my milk frother starts smoking. So I had to do an emergency shut-off of the milk frother. About ten minutes later, my manager and I realized that our dark roast of the day did not taste right. We were wondering what happened and then saw a bag by the dark roast. We read the label “Ethiopian Light Roast” and looked inside. Sure enough, we had a light roast in our dark roast tin, but also mixed with another bag of coffee. Then, a customer screamed, “HURRY UP! We don’t have all day!” At that point, I was ready to lose it. All I wanted was a nice weekend morning with my fiancé while I enjoy a break from Master’s classes and an off day from the coffee shop. But no, I had to come in, get screamed at by customers, and deal with the previous day’s silly mistakes. I finished this customer’s order and it took an hour or so but we got through the rush.
Two other people came in who were going to be working the afternoon so I went to my manager’s office before leaving to express my frustrations. I had had it up to here. I was about to say I quit when my manager said, “Wait two days and take a deep breath. I will be hiring more people tomorrow and this will not happen again.” I left with his words in mind and decided that I would not quit at that point. Because, yes- my manager did hire two more people and things smoothed out a bit after that.
Those rush hour days though? They made it very tempting to quit, but I am glad I kept the job to finish paying for graduate school out of pocket.
Serving is a dangerous profession sometimes. The amount of sharp, flaming, or otherwise dangerous objects I have to carry on a nightly basis is astounding. I am grateful that our staff is well-trained. However, we have had some accidents occur and some nasty trips to the Emergency Room. This story is the worst of those experiences and it happened to my best friend. Luckily he lived, but this story is a reminder of how fragile life can be.
The night starts as an average night, tips are okay and the pace is steady throughout the night. About an hour before close I hear a crash and the sound of something hitting the wall. I walk briskly to the back to see what had happened. My friend had collapsed on the floor and there was a knife lodged in his foot. He was screaming in agony and there was so much blood. I have never seen so much blood in my life. We called for an ambulance right away. The ambulance took awhile to get there and I started thinking, “in an instant a night at the restaurant can change, as well as a friend’s life.” The ambulance arrived and said my friend had suffered from exhaustion to the point of passing out and dropped the knife on his foot by accident. Luckily the knife wound in his foot was not infected or more serious. He made a full recovery and thank goodness for worker’s comp.
ER trips are scary at any time, but especially at work, because of the quick adjustments needed to help alleviate the situation. However, if a staff is well trained, a medical emergency can be a bonding experience, even in the midst of great trial.