Workforce Blues seems to be the biggest complaint from restaurant owners all over the country today. What happened to the youth of America is a common question shared with me from others in the industry. Employers have watched the quality, integrity, and desire to do a good job go down the toilet these past few years. Personally, I remember starting a restaurant back in the early ’90s and how different it was! We were in Staten Island New York (one of the 5 boros of NYC) and “it was so different then” said my brother Scot., “People would come in every day looking for a job and the kids would keep checking in to see if any jobs opened”. I remember that also and the kids at that time had great initiative and took great pride in doing a good job and not having to be told what to do or ordered to do the job constantly. Creativeness ran high and the staff was excited to come into the Original Goodfella’s Brick Oven Pizza and be part of a great scene.
Founders Marc and Scot Cosentino front of Goodfella’s Pizza
Flash forward to 2019 and the workforce has become a “give me”, “it’s not my job”, “as soon as I’m done texting” “I can’t make it in today my goldfish died” insanity. What happened? I don’t think I have all the answers nor do the experts but some things are obvious. We live in society that despises the word responsibility. Spychiatriac school curriculums and the media have destroyed simple ideals such as doing the right thing, being proud of a good job and working hard to make a living and have made the good guys into the bad guys. Police are bad, religion is bad, successful businessmen are bad. What is good now-hating your country, phones, video games, all kinds of welfare, drugs for every made-up disorder under the stars moon and skies and working as little as possible?
Despite this we must go on producing and providing jobs for the current workforce we have, but how does the little guy cope? Several things stick out. One is hiring fast and firing fast if they don’t work out. Another important thing is to constantly have the ads and signs up for hiring and keeping a good stock of applications. In the workplace, you have to have VERY Clear policy on what is acceptable behavior-like no phones while handling tables or cooking, lateness, and replacement for shift coverage. Even more basic may be common manors that have gone out the window.
You as the owner set the policy and standards, it comes from the top down and your example says volumes. Giving praise for a good job goes a very long way to keeping morale up. Rewarding production is another way of getting production and moral up (quite the opposite of what our government is doing by constantly rewarding people that have become a permanent victim class).
Look for the happy, bright and energetic employee and think about training them instead of hiring a miserable person with “Experience” a little extra work with an eager person may outweigh the old pro.