Currently, I'm working FOH in a busy restaurant with a small service staff. We had about 7 full time servers and the servers really own the floor. Management is helpful but the pooled house selects servers as the top of the food chain.
My question / concern is with staff morale. This past Saturday night, management seemed to be on a warpath with the waitstaff. Forgive my bias, but I don't think we do a bad job. We were nominated best new restaurant in the NE b James Beard last year, and have a whole wall of numerous accolades that praise our service and restaurant. The problem I had was disciplining waitstaff prior to service. Any thoughts on this?
It's my thinking that discipline matters should be saved for the end of the night. What resulted on Saturday night was a non-cohesive, non-fluid waitstaff that barked at each other and became "order takers" rather than servers. I hated Saturday night. I tried to pull my team together right after the meeting and explain to them that we were going to go out there and do what we do best, which is make money and provide amazing service. My efforts proved futile.
Management took 2 waitstaff into the office pre-shift and disciplined them for different reasons. Then at our pre-meal meeting, several issues were brought up. As waitstaff also brought up a few issues, management turned them around and blamed us. We entered the night feeling bad about ourselves - how do you snap a staff out of this funk when it's coming from the top? Staff morale was so poor.
I need some advice. I always think of things in terms of if I had my own place. I would never "slam" the waitstaff minutes before I wanted them to go on the floor and sell and dazzle guests for me. I'm having a hard time understanding why they did this? Any thoughts, comments, concerns, stories, etc would be helpful. Thanks.