|By Tom Shanahan - Professional Speaker /
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.
"Labor Shortage Restricts
"MUFSO Focuses on Human
"Operators Feel Labor Pinch"
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