Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Last night at close...

Last night at close, we had 4 waiters on the clock, and 3 tables in the store. I was a closer, but didn't have a table the last 35 minutes of the night. The other closer had the last table, and the other two servers sat and waited for their last tables. In the old days, I could have gone home, as the other closer is enormously competent in her abilities and can handle easily 6 tables (I've watched her do it many, many nights). But because of our new stupid system, if two guest walked in and didn't want to sit at the same table, she would have had a full section, so they couldn't cut me. So there I sat, burning up hours on their clock. Red Lobster's labor hours have gone in the crapper with this new system. States that require full minimum wage for their servers are really socking it to Red Lobster at the moment.

More stupidity: At 5:00 PM we went on a wait. We had a 20-30 minute wait (yes, on a Monday) for the next 2.5 hours. All but one person on the floor last night had the capability of carrying 4 tables in their sleep. We had 4 of our 6 server trainers working, and each could comfortably take 5, and 6 would only JUST make them busy. I had a trainee in her 5th night of training, so she was taking all my tables. All I do is follow her, answer questions for her, and fine tune her skills. We easily could have taken 2 more tables, I could wait on them, and she could carry my other 3 with my supervision with very little extra effort. For the previous 7 years of my career with Red Lobster, that is what would have been done, and honestly we would not have gone on a wait all night long. A few more tables for each of us, 25% more income, guests happy because they don't have to wait to get into a half empty resturant. Instead, we had guests sitting in the lobby for a half hour getting steamed, giving the host staff all kinds of grief for doing their jobs. By the time they get into our sections, they are pissed, and very hungry. Not the happiest kind of customers, and certainly not the best kind of tippers.

So to reduce our wages they have:
1) limited our guest counts
2) pissed our guests off
3) have unskilled bar tenders waiting on 3 tables almost nightly, taking customers from servers
4) required that more servers be on the floor at all time, because if every server has 2 tables, you are only a couple of guests from filling your resturant, no matter how many open tables you have, or how skilled your service staff is
5) required servers to wait longer for drinks at the bar

To Cost themselves more they have:
1) required more servers to cover the same number of guests
2) required more servers to stay on late or come on early just in case we have a few more tables than expected
3) required servers to wait longer for bar drinks, slowing down their ability to turn their tables, therefore reducing through put of the resturant

Way to go Red Lobster corporate "leadership"!

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