Hotel Online Special Report
Employees Are Key To Success
By  Tom Shanahan -  Professional Speaker / Consultant 
"Labor Shortage Restricts Restaurant"
"MUFSO Focuses on Human Factor" 
"Operators Feel Labor Pinch"
The restaurant industry trade magazines all headline the same topic; that the key to restaurant success is the people who work in the restaurants. What a novel concept! People have always been the key to a successful restaurant, many operators just didn't seem to realize it. 

Unfortunately for restaurateurs, demographic realities can no longer be ignored. Fortunately, this situation will force restaurant chains that want to expand to develop leaders instead of operators. 

Making this transition will not be an easy task. One hurdle the industry faces is the fact that we have always promoted the best technicians rather than the person with the best "people" skills. (Restaurants are a people business, not a technical endeavor.) Chains often make the invalid assumption that doing a job requires the same skills as managing those who do the job. And the single biggest hurdle to changing this model is the belief that 'practice makes perfect'. 

Practice makes permanent, not perfect. (How could you expect someone to perfect the skill of managing if you never gave them any management tools?) We confuse experience in a job with expertise in that job. How many of us have hired either "experienced" hourly or managerial staff who proved to be disastrous when it came to performance? 

Most of us have heard the saying, "If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got" or, put more directly, you can define insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Were it no so sad, one could almost laugh at the recent Nation's Restaurant News headline stating that operators had discovered "the human factor." (As my eleven year-old son would say, "Duhh!") 

Thirty years ago, Bob Dylan told us that "the times, they are a changin'." Well now, the times are a changin' at breakneck speed, so unless operators "wake up and smell the espresso they will soon be the dinosaurs of the restaurant industry. 

Tom Shanahan
The Professional Speaker to the Hotel, Club and Restaurant Industry
13058 10th Ave. N.E.
Seattle, WA 98125
email: [email protected]
Also See: Employee Turnover: It's Keeping Me From Having a Boat! / Kirby D. Payne
Retaining Employees in Turbulent Times/ Dr. Marc Clark / Sept 1998 

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