How to Use a Trivia Quiz for Restaurant & Pub Training, or to Keep Customers Connected

A good Trivia Quiz is a great way to lift the spirits and stretch the brain, and in the time of Covid lockdowns, it’s also an excellent way to stay connected with customers, staff and friends.

Staff Training: I’ve had a lot of success with quizzes lately, using a Trivia Quiz to train staff in a new business product – an otherwise very dry subject. Technical details had to be learned, and there’s a limit to how much you can ‘teach’ adults when they’re not excited by a subject. It’s important to assess their knowledge because they need to give accurate information when customers ask a wide range of questions.

Sound familiar with some of your staff training? Teaching new staff about menu and wine knowledge, safety procedures, rules about attendance and behaviour, service procedures – topics that are hard to make interesting. Let’s remember the old saying ‘what we learn with pleasure, we never forget‘ – how can we bring some fun to the process? I find the best method is to mix serious questions with some light-hearted ones – from sport, general knowledge, Disney, Marvel and Harry Potter; about 80% serious and 20% fun.

Need to keep laid-off or working-at-home staff connected? A weekly trivia event can be just the ticket, mixing a little product knowledge in with a lot of light-hearted general knowledge, pop music and movie trivia. Ask people to take turns designing the questions – there’s a lot of hidden gaming talent!

Keep customers connected. If they’re not able to visit because of lockdowns or capacity restrictions – hold your regular evening event online, and let them continue their winning streak, bringing pub trivia to their lounge room or sofa. Choose the questions according to the demographic of your audience – you’ll find hundreds of examples for every topic just by Googling ‘trivia questions for…’

The system I use is the online system AhaSlides, where you create a Quiz or Survey presentation right on the web, writing the questions you want to ask. You can use it free for up to seven people, or for a small fee for more. It comes with dozens of pre-made Quizzes, Surveys and Training examples to practice with or use. Participants join on their phone, by scanning a QR code or following a link to cast their vote or send a live reaction – results are shown instantly online.

Managing a Queue: need to keep people entertained while they wait in a line? Set up a Trivia Quiz and make it ‘self-paced’ – they can start it whenever they scan the QR Code you display. Here’s how to do this.

Surveys and Feedback: you can also use AhaSlides for more serious events – running live Surveys, or submitting Questions for a panel or trainer to answer. The results are instantly displayed on your slides as charts, or in any other interactive format of your choice like graphs or word clouds. No more awkward waits for shy people to share – everyone can be anonymous on their phone. You can also upload your Powerpoint presentation to show the slides in AhaSlides, and add some short quizzes after each section – ‘let’s check on who has been listening!’.

Covid-19 Vaccination Issues – Resources for Cafes & Restaurants

There’s a great deal of fear and uncertainty about Covid-19 – the effects of catching it, and the efficacy of vaccination. Businesses that have re-opened are confronting many new issues – life has become a lot more complicated. Here is a list of resources to assist, and we will add new material as it becomes available…

📍 Find a Vaccination Clinic near you in Australia with this Directory.

Explaining the Issues to Staff and Customers:

Legal Issues with Staff and Vaccination:

Other useful information…

  • Add proof of your Covid vaccination to Apple Wallet (or Google) – here’s how.
  • Add the Express Medicare App on your phone – good for general medical assistance, here’s how to download it. Setting up this and a MyGov account can be a bit time-consuming, and needs several forms of ID – can someone on the team be a digital assistant with this?

🤚 Check the weekly discoveries on Hospo Reset – information & inspiration for restaurant, cafe & foodservice operators.

What’s the Net Easy Score (NES) for your restaurant or cafe?

You’re probably heard of NPS or Net Promoter Score, a simple measurement of how likely people are to do business with you again. Another way to measure your business is with the Net Easy Score or NES. Based on work by Sue Barrett, it looks at all the ways your business is easy, or difficult, to deal with. Here’s a version for restaurants, cafes and foodservice.

Score your business on each of these factors from 1 to 10 – 1 for very difficult to deal with, through to 10, which is for being frictionless, delightful, and extremely easy to deal with. To keep the list manageable, some points contain a couple of service factors.

  1. Finding the business on Google or Apple Map, or a Google search – clear description and useful information with correct opening times, useful photos and website links. How does the search work on a mobile phone? Parking and public transport access to the business is easy to find and close.
  2. Phone calls get through to someone who can help me straight away. Phone messages and email inquiries are returned promptly with useful information. Texting is used for quick responses.
  3. Online reviews give me a clear picture of the business. Google, Facebook, Trip Advisor etc. The main social media channels are informative and friendly.
  4. The website is informative with accurate menus, opening hours, directions and a good impression of the business.
  5. The menu is easy to read, and can be accessed in advance online and on a phone. There are good explanations of the food and beverages. It’s easy to get food for my dietary needs eg vegetarian, vegan, gluten free – doesn’t feel like the choice is very limited.
  6. It’s easy to order online for delivery or pickup – menu on familiar ordering platforms, easy to understand. Simple payment including Apple/Google Pay to avoid the ‘get off the couch’ issue – when you need to go to find your card. Booking is easy to do via online booking system or with a phone call
  7. Speed of service, response times, welcome, ordering, delivery and finalising the account – this cuts through most of the items on the list. The speed is appropriate to the situation – not rushed for fine dining, definitely speedy for drive-through or takeaway. Never frustrating.
  8. Helpful, efficient staff who can answer questions and give prompt, friendly service. When things become complicated, how easy is it to sort them out? Walking in to eat or drink, it’s easy to obtain a table, and the system is clear – all the seats are in good locations.
  9. Toilets are accessible, clean and safe. Obvious attention to cleaning, hygiene and Covid safety routines.
  10. Payment is easy and safe at the counter, or when I’m ready to leave – cash or card, tap and go. If there’s queue for service or payment, it moves quickly.

How did you go? A score above 80/100 puts you in the Nice & Easy category – a preferred place to do business in today’s difficult climate… we will definitely be back!

🤚 Check the weekly discoveries on Hospo Reset – information & inspiration for restaurant, cafe & foodservice operators.

How to Use Google Alerts for Restaurant and Cafe Marketing

Google Alerts is a content change detection and notification service, based on the Google search engine. It sends emails to the user when it finds new results—such as mentions on web pages, newspaper articles, blogs, or research. It’s a great way to find out who is talking about your business, and it works away in the background, automatically. Over time, you’ll find the Alerts that are most useful, and ‘train’ it to create profitable opportunities. Let’s get started…

1. Watch mentions of your name or your business name – go to Google Alerts and set up your business name – most places have two or three words in the name, so make sure to include them in double quote marks eg “Cafe Troppo” – that way you will be alerted for the exact expression. Choose if you want the alerts to come daily, weekly or ‘as it happens’. You can also choose the region to watch (eg your country) and language.

2. Create Alerts for Sales Opportunities. If you offer catering or meeting space in an area, set up an alert for: catering OR conference OR meeting huntingdale (notice the use of joining words like OR, AND etc – they’re called Operators and help make the search more useful. Learn more here).

To track future weddings, engagements, anniversary, birthday parties in your town of Huntingdale, set up an alert for: wedding OR engagement OR engaged OR anniversary OR birthday huntingdale. These could turn into attractive party bookings with the right follow up.

You may get better results by making sure the words ‘new’ and the type of business are next to each other in the items Google finds. This can be done by putting quotes around both words: “new insurance office” huntingdale

If you sell catering or services to other businesses in Huntingdale, look for the words new, the type of business you sell to, and the name of your local area: new insurance office huntingdale

Another great way to find new businesses that may need your products is to look for the phrase “opening soon” eg “opening soon” shop huntingdale

Any business that is expanding must be doing something right. Try finding these as a source of new customers: expanding business huntingdale

To be alerted to how coupons or discounts are being described on the competitor’s website, use the relevant words for your alert term: coupon OR discount OR deal site:cafezero.com

New menus, services or promotions can be found with words like: new offer OR accouncement OR special offer OR new menu Café Zero

3. Watch the competition – set up alerts for: Site:[competitors url], or the business name, plus common phrases that might be used eg “I think” [competitor name] and “Has anyone tried” [competitor name]

4. Monitor Discount and Coupon Programs – they may be offered by competitors can be monitored by searching for words like coupon or discount plus a business name: eg coupon OR discount OR deal Café Zero.

5. Watch leading local businesses and people – just as you’re tracking your own name and competitors, set up Alerts for local businesses that provide you with customers or opportunities, so you know what’s happening. You can also create Alerts for well-known local people – set up the Alert for ‘As it Happens’ so you can send congratulations or a friendly message.

6. Track local news and events that could have business opportunities, sometimes called ‘news jacking’. Eg if there’s a well-known local product, celebrity or sporting star, an Alert for their name will remind you every time they’ve done something newsworthy. Then add a post to your social media or newsletter, reminding people of the link – it won’t take long for people to wonder if you have a secret source of information!

🤚 Check the weekly discoveries on Hospo Reset – information & inspiration for restaurant, cafe & foodservice operators.

Plan B for when the next COVID lockdown hits your cafe or restaurant

As COVID controls and vaccination helps business return to some type of normal operations, government policy in Australia and New Zealand now seems to be using selective lock-downs to control spot fires and outbreaks.

Your Lockdown Plan B needs to be permanently at hand, so you can move within hours to protect your business, and alert customers, staff and suppliers. Here’s a bunch of areas where you need to have emails, social posts and communication at the ready – almost like a putting the fire drill into action…

  • Alert your customers – through email, text message, social media posts and signs on the window. Hopefully you’ve been steadily building your email and SMS list (here are 10 ways to do that quickly). Spend some money to boost your social media posts in the local area, so you make a greater impact. Use Canva to design catchy signs – look sharp and professional.
  • Alert staff about roster changes and different work needs – through group email, texting, their private social media group and the messaging service. Stand down those not needed, and understand your rights in this situation.
  • Contact function & event bookings, if there are restrictions on group size or service style. Your event contract should now allow for rescheduling and deposit arrangements in the event of health-related restrictions.
  • Increase delivery and takeaway – expanding the services you are already using.
  • Simplify the menu and reduce stock – most operators are now much savvier with their numbers and cost of goods. Use your digital system or menu app to slim down the offer. Is there equipment you’ve delayed purchasing that will be part of your backup plans? Eg fridges and freezers. If equipment needs to be shut down, follow the correct procedures.
  • Alert suppliers about reduced needs and hours of operation.
  • Alert finance companies about what’s happening, You may not be delaying payments, but keeping them in the loop increases trust in case you do need to negotiate.
  • Alert landlords – they’ve been through the wars in 2020, and although they don’t love the idea of rent reductions, your regular communication can prepare them for possible concessions.
  • Build your diversification – it’s not an instant change, but the more you can diversify sales and add multiple income streams, the stronger you will be. Here’s a great list of options.
  • Prepare reopening promotions – it’s called Disaster Recovery Marketing, and there are lots of options using the communication channels you’ve developed. Move quickly and sound positive.
  • Strengthen your administration system – many operators have a new appreciation for working from home. Is your PC or Mac up to date, with a good backup for data? Is it time for a larger screen or a better office layout? Do you have POS integrated with bookkeeping, rosters and payroll?
  • Encourage COVID vaccinations for everyone – led by the owners and managers! Show staff how to book for their ‘jab’ and arrange for time off. Maybe even a bonus for doing it?

Fingers crossed this remains theory! 🤞

🤚 Check the weekly discoveries on Hospo Reset – information & inspiration for restaurant, cafe & foodservice operators.

Social & Environmental Issues Calendar for your Cafe or Restaurant

There are special days and months all through the year, to celebrate and commemorate important themes and social issues. There may be ways to include them in the calendar of events at your cafe or restaurant, on social media or just as a reminder to staff. Customers respond very positively to your support for social issues.

January – suggestions welcome.

February – suggestions welcome.

March
March 8 — International Women’s Day. Here are some ways to celebrate the women you work with.
21 March – Harmony Weekcelebrating the diversity of cultures and races in Australia.
21 March – Clean Up Australia Daycommunity campaigns for reducing litter
22 March – World Water Dayhighlighting the importance of sustainable water supplies.
Share the Dignity Month – giving those experiencing period poverty the dignity they deserve. Twice a year the public is asked to donate pads, tampons, period underwear, incontinence pads etc. to Dignity Drives across the country.

April
April 22 — Earth Day, supporting environmental protection.

May
May 9 — Mother’s Day. Celebrating the mothers who raised us, mothers who work with us, and the women who raise children in the face of difficulties. There are many ways to celebrate this throughout the week.
11 May – International Nurse’s Day – on the birthday of Florence Nightingale, founder of modern nursing
17 May – Day against Homophobia and Transphobia
31 May – World No-Tobacco Day. Highlighting the health dangers of tobacco, and an opportunity to support your staff to Quit. Hospitality workers smoke at more than twice the rate of the general population.

June
27 May – 3 June – National Reconciliation Week – a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements
June 20 Refuge Weeksupporting the needs and achievements of refugees in Australia and internationally
Pride Monthsupporting Gay, Lesbian and Trans Pride with events and celebrations

July
4-11 July – NAIDOC Week. Celebrating the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders in Australia.
Dry Julysupporting people to go alcohol-free in July, and raise funds for cancer support.

August
Share the Dignity Month – giving those experiencing period poverty the dignity they deserve. Twice a year the public are asked to donate pads, tampons, period underwear, incontinence pads, menstrual cups etc. to Dignity Drives across the country.

7 August – Aged Care Employee Dayhonouring the people who look after our family as they grow old

September
September 5 — Father’s Day – celebrating the fathers who raised us, other fathers in your family and the many fathers who work in hospitality. Make it more than just a day for a packed booking diary.
September 9 – RUOK Day. Supporting mental health, when people are urged to support colleagues and friends struggling with life’s difficulties by asking ‘are you OK?’
September 21 — International Day of Peace, supporting the end of war and violence.

October
Breast Cancer Awareness Monthraising awareness and funds for breast cancer support and treatment.
7 October – Teachers Day in Australia, often extended into Teacher Appreciation Week. Dates vary internationally.
19-25 October – Gambling Harm Awareness Week. Talking about the harms associated with gambling and the effects they can have on communities, families, friends, workplaces and individuals.
31 October – Grandparents Day. To celebrate the bonds between grandparents and grandchildren.

November 2021
Movember monthgrow a moustache and raise funds through sponsorship to raise awareness of men’s health issues and suicide.

December
1 December – World AIDS Day. Raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic, and remembering those who have died from the disease.

We will keep adding to this calendar, and your suggestions very welcome. Many more dates are listed on the Social Justice Calendar and the Health Events Calendar.

🤚 Check the weekly discoveries on Hospo Reset – information & inspiration for restaurant, cafe & foodservice operators.

Smarter Forecasting to Boost Restaurant Sales & Stop Cost Blowouts

With smart ‘future-watching’, you can adjust staff and purchasing to reflect expected business much more accurately.

Caterers work with 100% certainty for much of the time – they get low food and wage costs because they work with exact numbers, not guesswork. So how can a café, restaurant or bar also forecast more accurately?

  • Keep daily logbooks & diaries: record customer numbers, weather, special events, the pattern of customer visit etc. Logbooks are more informative than a blank diary page. The immediate past is often a good guide for the coming weeks or months – use a printed diary or online system – many available.
  • Make sure staff understand the numbers you talk about. For example, how many more customers to expect if the bar will be 10% busier than last week, or 20% down on last month? Rephrase this as a number – ‘we’re expecting 120 people instead of the usual 90-100’ so everyone gets it.
  • Predict the effect of TV and sporting events. Your staff TV and sports fan can monitor these – some events mean more trade, some mean less. If you know football means a hit in trade, organise an event for ‘everyone else’ eg a wine dinner. What about Married at First Site or The Bachelor – good for trade or not?
  • Watch for local events that will boost business. Adjust your opening times accordingly, eg popular concerts and local festivals. This can be a great time to open especially and catch the crowds. The local tourist information office and internet will have information – subscribe to relevant newsletters.
  • Use a good weather app and track regularly eg Yahoo Weather, and TV weather channels will show up to 7 days in advance. Will you need extra staff for the weekend?
  • Track the effect of changes in temperature, snow and rainfall. Many bakers adjust the cooking of hot snack items like pies to the temperature and have become quite exact with it as a money-making exercise. What’s your equivalent product?
  • Develop more flexible staff schedules and rostering systems. Explain how changes are decided, so it’s not ‘unfair’ when shifts are increased or decreased. If you are developing a new workplace agreement, take this into account. Online rostering systems allow you to put out urgent calls for more people – make sure everyone knows how this works.
  • Develop a staff standby system. If someone is on-call, pay them an agreed allowance to be available, and also pay it if they are called in. You will build staff loyalty and overall your costs will be lower, even if you occasionally pay someone for just being home and watching TV.
  • Reduce ‘just-in-case’ over-staffing. Prepare your Plan B for an unexpected rush – it may be more profitable to maintain normal staffing levels but institute a smarter queuing system and ways to turn over customers more quickly.
  • Work out the ‘strike rate’ for product demand. For example, if 100 people dine out of 500 visitors to your club or bar, you have a strike rate of 20%. This will be a guide for when you are expecting 200, 500 or 2000 visitors.
  • Develop a standby order system for the weekend – you want just enough stock on hand, and be able to cover an unexpected rush. Emergency runs to the supermarket are expensive – what alternatives can you set up?

    In the longer term:
  • Watch population changes in your area, both residents and workers. Census data can help but this is only updated occasionally – local observation may be a more reliable guide. This can also give you a guide to negative events that may be looming, eg a business relocating from an office block may mean the loss of hundreds or thousands of potential customers.
  • Watch industry trends to keep your business ahead of the game. Faster service, table ordering, healthy options, the obsession with ingredients and new flavours, legal regulations, the ageing population – all changes that can have a significant effect on the type, preferences and number of customers you see.

🤚 Check the weekly discoveries on Hospo Reset – information & inspiration for restaurant, cafe & foodservice operators.

How to become ‘Employer of Choice’ for local Hospitality Teachers (and help solve your staff shortage)

Short of young staff? Hospitality is a very popular subject in secondary schools, and there are many students looking for opportunities. Here’s how to make the right connections:

  • Get to know the careers counsellor and the hospitality teachers. the counsellor works with every school student on their career and training plans and is keen to meet local business operators who have genuine opportunities. Once they know you are honest and fair, they can often give you the ‘inside running’ on the best students.
  • Offer to be a guest speaker for hospitality students. Think of it as a Q&A session rather than a prepared speech – it’s less nerve-wracking. Take one of your young staff along, or send the chef along to help a teacher with the dessert class, meat preparation or knife skills. Or your sharp barista to give the finer points on speedy latte production.
  • Sponsor an Award for School Speech Day. There are usually ‘Best Student’ awards for most subjects. Why not sponsor one with a Gift Voucher for the local kitchen supply shop? Knives and kit are always needed. Add some fun with a restaurant voucher for them to come and visit with their family. This is a lot more exciting for students than the dusty History Prize! If the school is hesitant about private sponsorship, organise it through the local Chamber of Commerce, who should be involved anyway.
  • Sponsor a school activity. You may be asked to help with excursion costs or sporting equipment, but focus on events that lead straight back to your business. The sponsorship may not be money, but it could be a celebration coffee back at the café. You may also hear of kitchen equipment that the school needs. Sometimes they’re well-equipped with heavy stoves and refrigeration, but missing out on utensils or a food- processor. The parent association is another group looking for support, and your donation of a dinner prize for the raffle or coupon book will be much appreciated.
  • Create a cookery or coffee event for the school. Put on a cooking show, and make it more than just fancy pans and flames.
  • Focus on nutrition, food safety and safe work practices to help teachers cover those essential parts of the curriculum.
  • Run a barista workshop at your cafe. With growing chef shortages, we have to do everything possible to show cooking is a fun and attractive career. Jamie Oliver has done great work with young students turning around their perceptions of ‘healthy food’. Watch his short videos, in which he shows students exactly what is in chicken nuggets. It’s a good format for how to do an engaging cooking demonstration in a short time (alhtough it’s not about cooking as a career).
  • Help students with an assessment event. Find out what dishes students must master for their assessment, and bring your insights to their preparation. Include a discussion of how you manage temperature, storage and quality. Recruit some student assistants and leave them with a souvenir for helping – a fun certificate or the restaurant’s postcard, cap or t-shirt.
  • Remember, schools have changed. Education is now more focused on career skills, and students are much more ‘worldly’ and assertive. They may be asking you things you’d never have discussed back when you were at school, and the language may be as colourful as in your kitchen! Relax, and be guided by the teacher on what’s OK and what’s not.
  • There’s a strong emphasis on protecting students – it’s part of modern work training. You may even be asked to obtain a ‘working with children’ clearance if you will be dealing with students over a period. Don’t be offended – schools are required to be very vigilant about keeping predators away – you see the news.
  • Relationships in action. Michael Fischer built up long-term relationships with schools in Parramatta, Australia, when he had Barnaby’s Restaurant. After building bridges with schools and developing trust, he was able to be more insistent that the students sent along for work experience were those genuinely interested in hospitality as a career, not just a soft option for school. He had many of these students continue on as apprentices and floor staff. Word gets back to teachers and other students if the workplace is fair and the opportunities are worthwhile. It was not only hospitality ‘lifers’ that he needed, but people to work weekends and regular casual shifts. Maybe they are training to be an engineer, but during the four years of their course, if they work for you most weekends and holidays, that’s long-term employment in this industry!
  • Is this all worth the effort? We all prefer to do business with someone we know and trust, and it grows over time. As you build the relationship with principals, teachers and students, you are the natural recommendation to the best students who want a career in hospitality. In a labour market with fewer and fewer choices, here’s to your unfair advantage!

🤚 Check the weekly discoveries on Hospo Reset – information & inspiration for restaurant, cafe & foodservice operators.

C.R.C. – 3 Words to Get Much Better Results

If your staff management, menu updates, and marketing is inconsistent, these 3 words will get you back on track. They create much-needed discipline in an industry that’s often ‘hit and miss’, and they also show staff and public that your business is professional and reliable.

Calendar + Reminders = Consistency. And consistency is what makes the difference between smart ideas, and the implementation of them that creates results. Consistency is what your competitors rarely achieve – on again, off again marketing, staff who don’t know what’s happening, unhappy suppliers – it weakens them.

What does Consistency look like, from the outside?

  • The email newsletter goes out on the first Monday of every month.
  • Members of the Birthday Club always get a text message on their big day.
  • The Summer Menu starts… on the first day of summer!
  • Post a photo on Instagram every. single. day. (so fans are more likely to see you)
  • Loyal suppliers are paid on time, just like you promise.
  • Food cost figures available for the chefs every Tuesday morning.
  • Maintenance is organised for less expensive times (e.g. fridge checks in winter), so fewer breakdowns and less cost.
  • New staff have a review scheduled 7 days after they start, without fail. And if they’re unsuitable, the issue is handled quickly.
  • Regular staff have an organised ‘how’s it going’ review every 6 months – it becomes a positive part of their job, not something unknown and scary.

A Calendar creates the system – when you put a date on an event, or a deadline for preparation, it’s much more likely to happen, specially when you set up Reminders. Set it up your calendar with an online system like Google Calendar that can sync across your PC, phone, iPad etc – wherever you are the calendar is the same. It’s easy to set up automatic repeats, and notifications for multiple people – if others know, there’s less chance of a miss.

Add Reminders so that the tasks are not forgotten – these could be an email, or a phone notification. Or a project management system (e.g. we use Teamwork.com) that sends reminders and can be accessed by others in your team. Or a person who is tasked to prepare some documents or newsletters so they’re ready on the agreed time and date – they don’t just remind you, they have the essentials ready for you to send.

Now you’re creating Consistency – people see you and the business as organised, reliable and true to your word – qualities we all admire in a business. Our example: the Hospo Reset newsletter goes out every Wednesday morning. It’s empowering to have deadlines – they add discipline and strength to the often chaotic world of hospitality.

What’s first for your new calendar?

🤚 Check the weekly discoveries on Hospo Reset – information & inspiration for restaurant, cafe & foodservice operators.

9 Ways Staff Will Take You For Granted – if you let them

You’re a good manager – fair, not too emotional and you care about the staff.

But over time they’ve taken more and more for granted – feeling entitled to extra favours, and assuming you make so much money it doesn’t matter. Why did this happen, and how can you make a change?

For most people (like your staff), if you don’t give them rules and reasons why things have to be done a certain way, they will make up their own. If you don’t provide guidelines, they’ll ask someone else, or base decisions on what they did in the last job – and many of these assumptions will be wrong.

Here’s a hit-list based on businesses I’ve visited – do any of them need your attention?

  • Left-overs taken home. Funny how there’s always extra left over when that’s allowed. Food safety regulations might be one way to close down this lurk, or just a change of rules related to a ‘food cost review’. I’m all for offering staff meals, but not take-outs – a clear Theft Policy may be needed.
  • Endless roster swaps. No one loves organising this, and it’s very easy to let people make fixes and changes themselves… and fairly soon there’s chaos. Swap to online rostering where it’s handled digitally with much more control. It still needs ‘parental supervision’, but the process is much easier for everyone online. What do the rules say now?
  • A staff drink at the end of a busy shift has turned into a free-for-all. Toughen-up the policy on ringing up staff drinks, or take a deep breath and go dry at the end of the night. Either way, a written Drug & Alcohol Policy will help to standardise the rules. Staff drinking and smoking is often the elephant we don’t want to look at.
  • Lateness. Texting ahead that you’re ‘running late – sorry!!!’ does not make it OK. Is it time to give someone an official warning? Everyone knows who the offenders are, and wonder why it’s tolerated. See the Memo example.
  • Mobile Phone Use. Where do we start with this?! It can be brought under control, even though for some staff it’s like taking away a child. Share the rules and make sure there is secure storage for phones not being used. Do you have rules set out clearly?
  • Scrappy grooming – you’re told it’s the modern way. For men, the daily shave now seems to be optional – hey, if you’re growing a beard, let it grow. But if you only bother to shave every third day, it will now have to be daily. Your staff manual may need more explicit guidelines, with pictures and clear examples of what is OK and not OK. Discreet facial studs and rings are also common, but our role is not to alarm the customers – do you need to tighten up on blue hair, big rings and crazy studs? It’s not ‘discrimination’ to restrict appearance that turns off your customers.
  • The place is untidy, and it’s not busy. The famous slogan ‘time to lean is time to clean’ needs regular reinforcement – what’s the standby list? Develop your list of Jobs for When It’s Not Busy and have it on the wall.
  • Coffee for the boss? I met a cafe owner recently in her own business and she had to wave down a staff member to order coffee for us – not a good look. Some staff are thoughtful, some are not – the standard instruction should be ‘if I’m meeting with a visitor the closest server should always ask if we’d like a beverage’.
  • Playing off partners and managers like they do with their own mum and dad. As kids, we all knew who to ask for certain things, and when. Same happens in a business – you don’t need a 10-page Policy on everything, but there need to be clear written directions to give certainty. If you and your partner have been played, put a list together and write up the standard response. Maybe just for you two, or put it on the noticeboard.