I think you have to keep a fair balance of the two. On one hand if you dont put the customer first you wont be able to pay your employees (because they wont come), and on the other you wont have customers if you dont put your employees first(because your employees wont treat the customer correctly). I think its about which customers and\or employees you choose to put first. I will not put my bottom 5% employees before my top 5% customers.
No question, the employee. Employees are your business and without setting the proper training, standards and philosophy with them, the customer will suffer ultimately. Besides, you had to have employees before you could accept customers.
If employees come first how come most business customer service train say the customers are always right and two how come most restaurants feel that front line employees are disposable and treat them that way?
Employees do come first in my book. Happy staff=Happy guests. I am not part of the philosophy that the customer is always right. We just tell them that and then make fun of them or curse them later. It seems that no one has the balls to tell a guest anymore that they indeed are wrong, stupid, ignorant, unreasonable, whatever the situation is. This goes for most FOH people from the host up to the General Manager. Some people just don't realize how a restaurant works and expect us to bend the rules just for them. These are the people that, for example, will make up their own food and then complain "it doesn't taste right." Well gee I wonder why? Even the simplest of recipes are tried and tested to make sure it tastes a certain way, yet maintains a little bit of differentiation if you were to order that same thing somewhere else. Many more examples or stories I could relate where the customer is "right" per se, but we all know they were actually "wrong."
Front line employees disposable? Don't know why managers do that. Maybe because restaurant people are a very transient bunch and they don't find it worthwhile to establish good relationships when that person will probably be gone in six months. Maybe they have so much else on their plates when they become managers it's just one of those things that goes to the waste side cause your boss is on your ass about labor, your schedule, your inventory, and any number of other things. Maybe your managers are not that much smarter than some of your staff. We have all worked with people that have been managers for years but are really clueless idiots. Maybe they're worried about favoritism. Maybe they just want to establish that boundary between employer and employee. I'm your boss not your friend mentality. Who know's why? These are questions that there are a million answers to, but not really a solution.
The employee without a doubt. They are the heart and soul of your of your store. you take care of them and they will take care of your guest and then you get taken care of. Training, direction and support is the key to success. You will not be able to please everybody all the time but if you take care of your staff they will please more than the orther guys.
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