As a restaurant coach and consultant, I get paid to produce results. Nothing is more frustrating for me then to waste valuable resources. Trust me, when you are on a week long survival exercise in Iceland and you only have food for 4 days, you appreciate the resources you have……big time.
I did a consulting project recently and the so called “director of operations” was not schooled in resource allocation. For a few hours I went along with his time wasting requests and then I reminded myself what a consultant’s job is: to protect the owner’s investment. Sometimes we also need to protect people from themselves. In this case the owner had no background in the food service industry. Let’s just say he had a more medical background. Now, I’m a big believer in “support the team you play for or play for another team”. Owners also need to subscribe to the belief that “if you don’t trust the people you hired to do their job, hire people you do”. So I had the what I call the “consultant’s reality” talk.
I explained how his operations director was tearing apart his operation and gave supporting data on the turnover and unrealized financial opportunities overlooked by his upper management team. The directors “old school” management style was not getting positive results. Sometimes the problem when companies bring in an outside consultant is some managers feel I’m there to show them up. The truth is I am an impartial observer there to get their operation back on track. The issue is one that is prevalent within the hospitality industry, they don’t think they need to change their behavior or management style. Unfortunately most managers are still using techniques that were designed for the 1990’s worker.
During the 1990s, several trends influence the way American managers did business. At the beginning of the decade, rounds of layoffs led to sweeping reductions in employee numbers. Positions were eliminated and managers were told to increase productivity instead of hiring someone for the vacant spot. Somewhere along the way, either because of excessive efforts to retain workers or because of the excessive elimination of organizational structures, managers lost their ability to lead. In an effort to remain profitable corporations asked managed to make do with what resources they had. This has led to the high burnout, turnover and low satisfaction ratings the hospitality industry is currently experiencing.
In the end, the owner of the restaurant could not see past the friendship and incompetence of his director of operations. I finished the objectives that we had established for the consulting contract and was asked if I wished to extend. It would have been easy just to stay and take the money. Unfortunately, I am a big believer in getting paid to produce results. When you take a job or a commitment, remember you’re getting paid for results. To deliver less is not fair to the owner or yourself.