Monday, June 26, 2006

New asinine corporate directive...

My current Red Lobster is in the lowest (ranking) 100 stores in the USA for tracking our uses of condiments. That means at the end of the month, we have far less actual than theoretical products. We basically should have 10 tubs of butter but only have 4 tubs of butter. How does this happen? It is because we are giving good service to our customers. How does Red Lobster see it? They think we are wasteful, or if we aren't wasteful, we must be stealing it. Really though, after spending a night being coated in filth from tartar sauce, drawn butter, and ranch dressing you don't want to take any of it home. So the solution is that we have now been told that we must ring in everything extra. Rather than just allowing a manager to go ahead and divide the missing amount by the number of ounces per serving minus an acceptable amount of waste (stuff dropped on floor, bad product etc.) they require us to log onto the computer system and manually enter each of these things. I suspect that there are 40ish waiters in our store (I'm too lazy to look it up at the moment. On any given night I am asked for a MINIMUM of 25 "extra" things, but to be conservative let's just say it's 10 for the average server (accounting for fewer "extra" requests at lunch). That is potentially 400 new transactions at our computer terminals. Even the fastest of waiters will require 10+ seconds to complete each one of these transactions because to enter these new "extras" you must go through 4 different computer screens and then find the condiment you want and enter the correct quantity. 4000 second = over an hour a day more where servers will be standing at computer screens instead of giving service. This also worsens our problems with already congested computer terminals. We have 5 computers for our servers to use, and on a busy night it is not uncommon to wait a minute or two before you are able to get onto the computer because of the servers ahead of you. This is further worsened by Red Lobster's insistence on a "Ring it then bring it" order of service, we are not supposed to bring the stuff out until we have first rung it up (which is mostly logical, I'm not complaining about that method). Now remember, there are over 650 stores that may eventually be impacted by this. If only 25% have to do this - say 160 stores - you have wasted 58,000 hours of your server's time as a company. I suppose if they paid us more than a percentage of minimum wage as our hourly wage it might be more expensive for them.

This is what happens when corporations are led by people (see picture above) who have little to no first hand experience, or are so far removed from their actual experience that they no longer understand the ramifications of arbitrary stupid assed decisions. Rather than trusting your local management teams to do the math and to run a tight ship they choose to dictate impractical things that sound good on paper but never live up in practice.



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8 comments:

Paul said...

Any corporate-type executives who make decisions for their retail locations should first be FORCED to work a minimum of six months on the floor. One particular bookstore chain instituted this policy and, within a year, they cut worker attrition by 30%. Why? These so-called excutives saw the real-time impact their "cool ideas" had on morale, and they stopped making 'em. Maybe Red Lobster should take a clue.

Duckie said...

Every restaurant I've been to charges for "extra" condements, it's not out of the ordinary for me. But then again maybe Canada is different. I do agree that company's make really idiotic choices though! XP

reillyp said...

Heres a shocking idea - dont ring the shit in. Its not like you need a ticket to get the butter.

- Jon

Peppers waiter said...

Corporate doesnt see things the same way, obviously. Its a balance between cost and customer service. They saw that the waste by not charging extra does not outweigh the good customer service. To them, giving free extras does not make a customer come back. What they dont see is that charging will make people go away.

I would probably do what reillyp said, dont ring it in. I would tell the customer we charge now but Ill give it to them free this time. It might give you a better tip and/or drive people away. I agree that the computer wait sucks. But what are you going to do? I say but a computer and charge per use of it :-p

reillyp said...

Theyre not charging. Theyre simply making the servers ring in when theyre getting extra stuff. THAT is what makes this fucking stupid.

- Jon

stef said...

I used to be an accountant under the big Yellow Sign (Waffle House) and while there were a lot of things that I disagreed with, Joe Sr and Joe Jr insisted that everyone who in the corporate office work at least one day a year in a unit (Restaurant). It was usually a very gruelling (sp?) experience and the waitresses loved to give us the gross jobs like cleaning the bathrooms, but it gave us an appreciation for what they did and helped us see the entire company as a whole. It gave us a new perspective.

Rouxtheday said...

I completely agree with your point about the idiocy of corporate - it's for this reason that I don't think I could ever bring myself to work in a corporate restaurant again. It seemed to me that the Peter Principle was in effect and that they just got stupider as you moved up the ladder. Case in point: one regional manager, while visiting my former place of employment, decided that the floor was too dirty and decided to start mopping the main traffic area of the kitchen in the middle of the dinner rush. Chaos ensued, and I escaped with a three inch gash under my chin. Fucking idiot.

Back to this specific policy, though: if you actually care about your manager not getting his/her ass chewed over food costs, I'd probably ring, e.g., 25 extra butters on my early or late table when I had time to stand at the computer for 5 minutes. This assumes that the extras don't print on the check presented, of course. Knowing the moron quotient at corporate, though, it probably does. Which means that you'll be spending the next several weeks explaining to tables who can't read the numbers associated with items on their bills that no, they have NOT been charged for the 4 sides of ranch they're seeing.

I'll say a prayer for your sanity.

IMJAF said...

tartar sauce, drawn butter, and ranch dressing? they think you are STEALING these items? What for? Is there a big black market for condiments?

Honestly, I'm not in the resturant business except as a consumer. I have no idea how many TONS of condiments one could potentially steal. Or why.