Part of being in a corporate restaurant means that we are basically always hiring. Employees come and go more frequently than most bachelors change their bed sheets. The good ones often stay for a while, though some move onto better places. The mediocre stumble along, some figuring out how to make it work, others just struggling to get by and eventually burning out or walking out. Some simply never get it, and never will.
I have trained people over the years in numerous restaurants, and in a variety of other industries as well. I have learned that in about 8 out of 10 times I can tell you within an hour (often less) the long term prospects of a trainee. Presumptuous on my part you might say? Long term experience has shown a pretty high level of accuracy on this. Other people train with regularly (in virtually any industry) will confirm this.
One of the worst things about being a trainer for any corporate restaurant is that I am not in on the hiring process. So I basically get to regularly attempt to polish a turd some green manager hired because they are too ignorant to be able to weed the good from the bad. These are the days I go home thinking somebody has spent the evening jumping up and down on my head.
But every now and then you get one of the good ones. Someone who is gifted, or someone who has honed their skills elsewhere and all you have to do is introduce them to the system. Those nights go by in a blink, with nary a problem. How I long to be in on the hiring process to increase my chances of good trainees.
I could go on for days on some of the people I've had to train. I've had burned out coke whores who struggled to remember my name. Stoners who could wait tables in their sleep. The high strung lady who I suspected might have an aneurysm had she not gotten out of the industry when she did.
You would think I would have learned by now, but I haven't. It still amazes me how some people have little to no self-awareness. They have no clue they are the problem, or that they need to move on because they have no future here.
It almost makes me miss the Gong Show. I want one of those big-assed gongs that I can bang on to shut people down. I'm gracious. I'll let you make mistakes as long as it isn't costing me too much money and as long as I think you are learning from them. But there reaches a point, some reach it far faster than others, when I need to bang that gong. Instead, my only option is to bang my head, and plow on. Hoping the next sacrifice the managers offer up to the server gods is one of the good ones.