In the environment in which I work, we do our best to serve great food and provide excellent service to our guests, but sometimes problems come up in the service, cuisine or the way the dining room was left from the shift before.
I work in a senior living facility where we take care of senior citizens in an independent, assisted living and memory care environment, and our staff does an excellent job in providing the needs of this unique group of people. The meals are tasty and well presented; the staff is trained to recognize the specific dietary requests of clientele (i.e. food allergies, sodium, diabetic and mechanically altered diets), serve the food professionally and to clean up and get ready for the next shift or go home.
Pretty simple stuff-prepare the food, cook the food, serve the food and clean up, because it is only food.
However, problems do arise. The meal was not perfect, the waitress didn’t get my ice cream fast enough, you ran out of pie, or the soup was too salty. This happens and a little understanding and diplomacy goes a long way in alleviating the problem, and you can usually make things ok if you listen and show sincere empathy. But sometimes you just hire people who are not suitable for the position they are in.
But then somehow the powers that be get involved and things get blown out of proportion and paperwork needs to be filed and policy and procedures need to be re-written and the wheel needs to be re-invented.
Meetings are scheduled and new”action plans” are implemented instead of addressing the mistakes and keeping the employees in the department aware that these mistakes cannot be made and there will be consequence if you continually repeat them.
We are so afraid of litigation and are so driven by being politically correct, that our hands are tied when trying to produce a good group of employees to do the job. You need four reams of paperwork in a personnel file before you can terminate bad employees.
My favorite example of idiocy was when the corporate geniuses changed the whole dining concept to be more competitive. Our company already has a high profile for excellence in the community so my first thought was “why do we need to change? Maybe the competition is trying to be like us.” My concept of this industry is to do something great, and do it right consistently. Everything else will fall into place. But let’s spend thousands of dollars and invaluable time with consultants instead of tapping the never ending well of expertise and knowledge coming out of our own dining staff.
But I digress.
We see logic being pushed aside in favor of drinking the corporate Kool-aid. The people who should be making the decisions for their departments are being advised by out of touch HR people who have never stepped into a kitchen or dining room and performed the duties of a chef or wait staff (and I don’t mean for one day or a shift). We see impractical use of critical thinking to solve an issue when five minutes of common sense could have worked.
I love what I do and the people I serve and work with, but I get irritated when over-reaction occurs to the wrong thing and complacency happens when real issues need to be addressed.
Because in my world it is relatively easy-you prepare the food, cook the food, serve the food and clean up after wards.
It is that simple.