Integrity vs. Cost of running a business

You come into work and are organizing your walk-in, you come across several out of date products.
What do you do?
Do you re-label it
Do you put it on "special of the day"
Do you cook it up and serve it to the employees
Or simply do you toss it.

I ran across a situation the other day where I found product that was out of date. I informed my superior of the problem and asked how does he want to account for the product. He reacts by not throwing it away, running a special on the items, and having someone change the labels. I questioned his actions and his reply it is the cost of running a business.

What’s your thoughts?

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Comment by Tracy Redmond on April 26, 2008 at 2:41pm
Jeffrey, I think you summed it up perfectly!
Comment by Stoligirl on April 26, 2008 at 10:51am
Tracy said, "Once the expectations have been set and are clear and understood, that's when integrity is the issue and accountability needs to happen."

I agree completely with this. While some managers would never serve expired product, some feel there is an amount of flexibility with shift life.

It reminds me of years ago during bar optimization. Only the freshest garnishes at the bar, which meant cutting fruit throughout the day. The old-timers squeamed, the trainees at openings didn't know anything different, and finally, managers knew what a Bev 7/Bar line check was all about. But the best part was raising the bar to a level of higher quality and consistency for our guest.

But what do you do when not everyone wants to embrace that way of thinking? (The freshest ingredients available, using the least amount of product, and a favorable guest perception of bartenders.) They are comfortable allowing bartenders to continue to cut endless amount of backup, and don't feel they've compromised a standard by placing a new label on the sliced lemons that were covered in the reach in, not utilized the night before.

They don't understand that they are sending a message that contradicts the quality and brand we are trying to uphold. -Andi
Comment by Tracy Redmond on April 26, 2008 at 9:19am
This is a great discussion!
Situations like this do arrive all to often and it's an opportunity for managing up, as well as training so it doesn't happen again. Once the expectations have been set and are clear and understood, that's when integrity is the issue and accountability needs to happen,
As Brandon said, it comes down to: does it effect the brand, food safety, and/or the guest. So it's important to make sure the manager is aware of what this could lead to.
Does the manager know all of the possible results from the decision and how much more money it could cost if something were to happen?
Does he want the message to be that it's okay to not follow policy? Who makes that decision? How will he be able to hold his staff accountable if they make decisions like this?
Are the prep list and pars set or is the p-mix being used? Does he know how to utilize the p-mix?
I agree that you need to get to the root of why it is happening first.
Comment by Andy Swingley on April 25, 2008 at 4:57pm
Kevin, we will just have to agree to disagree. In the case Brandon sites from the original post his boss (this is a national chain with solid training) told him to do something outside the guidelines. He spoke with his Regional Training Manager and they also stated to do something with no integrity.

This is pure and simple a case of leadership with a lack of integrity and a loyal, subordinate employee is caught in the middle of a values dilemna that he shouldn't be, his boss should be above reproach.

This was never about someone not knowing what to do, this was about knowing what to do and trying to make more money with out of date product....straight and simple - integrity.
Comment by Brandon M Kidd on April 25, 2008 at 12:18pm
thanks andy
Comment by Andy Swingley on April 25, 2008 at 11:57am
You know what to do Brandon. Throw away the bad food and fix the process that is going on so it doesn't happen again. Don't make this about waiting for your boss to solve it, come to the table with the solution and implement it. Don't wait for some else to make you great, be great on your own
Comment by Brandon M Kidd on April 25, 2008 at 11:47am
I have been taught to always fight the good fight.
Does it effect the brand? yes
Does it effect quality? yes
Could it harm someone? yes
I went thru the proper channels to inform them of the situation that was going on. My AD hasnt contacted me my RTM sent back an email stating if we were to toss the 12 packs of 9s out and the 15 NY strips out the cost would be $$$ and if you are comfortable selling them, go for it. When I go in tonight and walk into the walk-in I know I am going to see the same out of date product that was there on Wed.
Comment by Edan MacQuaid on April 25, 2008 at 10:32am
It seems that management is to blame, why is food being prepared in excess in the first place? Who is responsible for the prep schedule? Who is keeping the maintenance schedules for the refrigerators and hot holding units? Integrity should be first and poor managers should not subject their employees to demands of questioning their own.
Comment by Andy Swingley on April 25, 2008 at 7:51am
I believe it is as simple as passion and enforcement which goes back to the originality of this post.

Because the boss Brandon refers to allows the standard to be compromised everyone behind the boss now sees that the rule can be compromised and unlead people, like water, will take the shapes of their containers.

I have lived in Arizona where the Highway Patrol coverage is weak at best and the Interstates see very high speeds and fewer tickets. I now live in Ohio where there is a Highway Patrolman ever 10 miles it seems and traffic doesn't test the boundaries of the law near as much.

In Maricopa County in Arizona, the Health Department standards are some of the toughest in the nation. In those restaurants they hold a higher standard of execution because they have to or they would be closed.

We would never serve a raw hamburger to a guest on a Friday night at 7pm because the guest would complain and the manager would be appalled. Until our supervisors, bosses, owners, and trainers take a stand on all the rules, regulations, and standards as they do the raw hamburger analogy we will always have these compromising of the standards.

As you probably know, training standards are often compromised and the training shorted or not executed to their fullest...it is because the boss doesn't find it important and thus the trainers don't (a generalization, of course)

Find a strong boss and leader with unfailing regards for the standards and you find a busy restaurant full of happy employees and guests no matter what the economic trends of today.
Comment by Stoligirl on April 25, 2008 at 7:18am
While you or I may not make those kind of decisions, I have observed that behavior in the past. I think it's in our best interest to discuss why they make those kind of decisions, and start talking about it.

Mark Twain once said, "I tell the truth. That way, I don't have to remember anything."

I feel that way about following spec.

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