Wednesday, January 02, 2008

When customers complain

This isn't about legit customer complaints. There are certainly times where customers have a very valid complaint. This is about that other 10-15%.

It cracks me up sometimes when I hear customers complaining. The other night I witnessed a manager pulled to the side by a customer. This manager then had to listen to an inappropriate and out of place diatribe by this nutjob customer. The manager then had to placate this idiot. Thankfully it was one of the "good" managers - by good I mean someone who doesn't buy into the corporate Gestapo like mind washing that the customer is always right. This customer was an asshole and an idiot. So our good manager walked over to the server whose skills were called into question, talked to them for a minute informing this server that the customer complained about how she was doing her job correctly, thanked her for doing her job correctly, informed her that said customer is a complete tool, and then went onto other manager duties. It was really, really funny. Too bad there aren't more managers with the sack to take one for the team. I've seen corporate robots (aka Lobsterbots) take complaints on things that the server did correctly, then turn around and berate the server because the customer bitched. Even though the server did their job right. Anybody else see how this is not motivating to the crew?

It is simply amazing that having people skills is not a requirement to become a Red Lobster manager. It is even more tragic that spinelessness is a valued trait in this corporation. Our company needs to grow a sack, take it's balls back, and empower the local management teams to actually use common sense once again. Red Lobster used to have some good managers, but as the years have passed, fewer and fewer of them have come through the system. The pay is competitive, so are the benefits, so you have to suspect that it is something else that is keeping the quality leadership away (and those remaining fleeing!) from this company.

The problem is leadership by BOHICA. Bend over here it comes again. Red Lobster managers are trained that BOHICA is their way of life for 60 hours a week until they die or leave. That is a quality corporate environment (sarcasm). And those who get really good at it and have perfected the second tool in the managers arsenal - the ass kiss - then get promoted to General Manager. Once you have refined your ass kissing technique, they then begin to consider you for other leadership positions in the area, region, or on the national corporate level.

What a screwed up system. Give me 4 managers who know right from wrong, their heads from their asses, and I'll give you a quality leadership team that will run a store the right way. Having quality local management would lead to better staff throughout the restaurant. This would lead to better service, happier guests, increased profit and bonuses for all. But somehow Red Lobster has decided this is too costly. They'd rather chew through the incompetent managers. They'd rather train the quality ones and watch them walk to greener pastures elsewhere.



Steve said...

I agree with you as far as corporate management level goes, generally jellyfish, no backbone. I am interested as to why not give management a try?

Eric said...

Hey LB.
Have a great New year I read you all the time and never comment but I do enjoy it.

Former Line Cook

Paul said...

hey...I was a manager at red lobster and quit after 6 months...Love the true

The O.G. Waiter said...

I've been lucky to work in restaurants with some good managers, but there were always a few that were totally incompetent, lazy, and downright mean.

Just gotta say, I love your blog! Here's to managers with spines! (However few there are left)

Queen Of Clean said...

A lot of what you say is true, the 'best' managers, the ones who can actually see whats going on under their noses always leave corporations such as yours because they like a challenge, thrive on the buzz of a good product, if they are made to conform to the 'image' and the constraints of the corporate identity, it stunts their growth and they go elsewhere.


Yes well in BowlingGreen ky we just got the biggest corporate tool you could ever hope to have I hate him with a passion his name is Scott Mcellan and he is from Michigan hes been a Gm for 20 years but never advanced because he has no mind of his own he runs around with a darden rule book in his back pocket literally and if you are trying to establish a "guest connection" he will stand right by you and will listen to every thing your saying and then tell you what you "need to say" I have worked at this rl for two years before that i served five years in an olive garden until it shut down and I have never seen a more overbearing piece of corporate crap in my life!!!!!

nmanning2984 said...

I am new to this Red Lobster blog, I am a newly FORMER employee who couldn't take the "BOHICA" have it all right on target and I wish so bad there were more people like you. This made my day! Thank you=)

Anonymous said...

Amen! Here it is 2013 - January. Since 2008 when this was posted, sounds like you could still possibly get lucky and have a competent "old school" manager. A manager that developed and coached an asskicking team of servers. Now, no way. My managers(3 female, 1 male) seem to create confusion, gossip, backstabbing. There is no teamwork, except maybe when a Red Lobster higher up is in the house. Example: Some people sit on their asses until they get a table, the same few people are stuck with sidework, some can keep their cell phone in their pocket and use anytime, others get yelled at when using theirs, the same few people work large parties, get great schedules and sections, I could go on & on. There is no fairness. Its if a manager "likes" you, your job is big money for not much effort, if your not a favorite, forget working big money parties, have a great schedule, and getting an asskickin station These last few years things have changed so much, and not in a positive direction. Time for me to move on. This Texas "ManagementTeam" are the most unprofessional group of people I have ever worked for. Come on Darden - where do you find these narcissistic assholes!!?? All I have ever asked for is to be treated fairly, evidently that idea is no longer an important issue with Darden.