How to be the big cheese

I have spent the majority of my work life managing and teaching, mostly in the quick service food business and mostly with new managers.  Being a QS manager can be a great first “real” job for people-it certainly was for me.  Most of the time QS managers are simply the people in a restaurant who demonstrate the most responsibility, they show up on time and do their job well.  They never have formal Management 101 training.  Here are the keys! You are now in charge!  Good luck, kid.  We in the restaurant biz are notorious for ignoring the need for good teaching and training.  Trial by fire-literally.

My role usually  comes in after these newbies have been doing their job for a while.  They kind get it but it is a daily struggle.  The owner or upper management comes to me and asks for help.  “Johnny lets people walk all over him” or “Suzy is so mean to her people” or “I just don’t understand why they can’t get me the numbers on time” or “why on earth would they hire that kid.”  I could write a thousand quotes here.  I have heard them all and I sympathize….with the poor, new manager.

I have read a million management books in my life and am always looking for something new to teach these people.  I was reminded today that good management is really just about being a good person.  Once you win the people game, by practicing good person skills, the rest is easy and not just in restaurant management.  This works for everything.

Smile at everyone and for no reason at all.  Feel how that smile feels on your face.  Walk around with it on, aim it toward others and take in all the smiles you get in return.  It is magical and a game changer-notice it.

Take time to listen and be interested in people.  Ask about them.  Step outside of your own little world and learn something about someone else.  People are amazing!  Share yourself too, but sparingly.

Be kind, be real and be honest.  You can change behavior permanently by keeping these three things in mind.  Don’t yell, don’t condemn, don’t be nasty.  You do not change behavior but beating anyone to death.  Kind, straight forward, honest words will get them to do what you want.

I think this is the answer.  Seems simple enough.

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Author: Eileen O'Toole

A quick service restaurant vet who loves food, teaching, learning and being a single Mom. Believes that waking up each day with a positive attitude and a smile on your face can change the world.

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