Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Poor management scheduling

Today we were fairly busy at my Red Lobster store. The management scheduled 1 person short of a full floor plan for lunch, which is probably 5-6 people more than a normal day. But rather than stocking the rest of the store with staff to accomodate their projected business, they tried to save labor hours and left us short handed in other areas. If we are busy enough to require that many servers, we have to have kitchen and bar staff, and host staff and bussers to keep up. Not a single busser was scheduled, though we were told there would be bussers on every shift. Only one bar tender scheduled, yet nearly a full floor plan. Only two hosts scheduled, though they seemed to keep up fairly well with the help of a manager. The big bottle neck was our kitchen. Almost everything we cook at lunch takes less than 10 minutes. We ring our food in with that in mind. Our job as wait staff is to make sure our customer's food is paced properly, and today that was impossible. Our average ticket time (time from being ordered to time food is finished) between 11:30 and 12:30 (our busiest period at lunch) was 31-37 minutes. Our food was taking OVER a half hour to cook. Lunch shifts are tough to begin with, because the menu prices are half that of our dinner prices, and we rarely sell appetizers and bar drinks and desserts, so our ticket totals are considerably less. Our only hope of making money is moving people in and out quickly. Today that was impossible. I was on the floor for 45 minutes before I got my first table, and then within 10 minutes I got all three tables filled. Those were the ONLY tables I had. My sales for the day were less than $100. I made $12. It takes me 20 minutes to drive to work, I was at work for 2.5 hours, and I made $12 stinking dollars. And Red Lobster wonders why they have retention problems. Rather than taking care of their existing good quality servers (certainly we have bad ones as well) they will spend their time and money training new people. The revolving door continues to rotate, more people are reaching their limits and are on their way out. I said goodbye to another person today who it was their last day working with me. They couldn't make ends meet under the new system and moved onto a better paying place. This is a person with 3+ years of rock solid service to Red Lobster. All that talent, training, and time wasted, down the drain. Customers really liked her, staff really liked her, management really liked her, but Red Lobster doesn't care about her. She's just another body filling a slot on the floor plan.

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