Category Archives: managing chaos

Managing Chaos- Eliminating Road Blocks

On your way to work, you encounter a bit of traffic, and find yourself arriving to work about 15 minutes after you had originally expected. To most of us, this is a small inconvenience, but for others who may be depending on you to get there on time, you may have just cost them a deadline. The traffic is a literal example of what many of your managers may experience on a daily basis.

Place yourself in their shoes, after you arrive to work there is a ring at the back door, and the delivery cycle has begun. Your manager spends almost 1 hour receiving deliveries for the day because there is no real receiving assistance or system. After the deliveries being accepted, you would like them to be stocked away, rotated, logged, price checked, and any credits pursued. The only catch is that the storage locations are spread throughout the building, the computer is upstairs, and the phone is a corded phone near the bar or host stand. If any of this sounds familiar, I promise you, that your manager(s) is working twice as hard to do the job right. Typically we would applaud a manager who perseveres. But in situations like these, conditions such as I suggested, wear down a traditionally “A” team player to a mid to low “B” player. In the worst of the cases, you find the much dreaded “Burn Out” occuring throughout your staff.

To correct or prevent these issues, you can begin by speaking with your staff. Your managers would like to spend time being more productive rather than searching the building for a box cutter; and as a result, will likely have already thought of solutions. A quick fix for this example, would be to create an area near the receiving area to collect all of the materials and order guides needed for proper receiving. If space is at a premium, and we know it can be, then maybe a cart or a small shelf on the wall near the back area would be possible.

Another example of this could be a situation where your culinary talent would like to try out some special dishes, but your financial departments and subsequent processes require so much paperwork, that your culinary staff just goes without. This can be corrected by creating a spreadsheet for all new menu items, and parameters that your staff can follow. Maybe they are limited to pricing specials d no higher than the lowest existing menu item. If that is an option, then that is one less approval step in the process of bringing new dishes to market.

Think through your operation the next time you are stuck in traffic, and try to evaluate potential roadblocks for you and your staff. Anything from the POS being programmed more efficiently, to new table lighting that is easier to maintain may clear the roadblocks in your operation and make everone’s job easier and more enjoyable.

Mark Ladisky
Restaurant Consultant