The Biggest Cause of Complaints in Restaurants

Updated: Dec 15, 2018

Every restaurant in the World receives their share of complaints. Customers’ complaints range from slow service, to cold food, to dirty bathrooms. I believe the real culprit behind 80% of all customer, employee and owner complaints is MISSED SHIFTS! That’s right folks… missed shifts are killing you and your business.

When a restaurant employee calls in sick, we have three choices:

  1. Do without them.

  2. Replace them with someone less qualified.

  3. Call in someone who really needed the day off.

Missed shifts create frustrated employees and a less than stellar performance.

The story is the same in every restaurant on the planet and it goes like this. You or your manager answer the phone and it’s Joe calling to say he can’t come to work today. Or sometimes, it’s the dreaded “by the way, I just decided to quit my job” phone call.

Could you imagine the New York Yankees playing the Boston Red Sox without a third baseman? That would never happen because the stakes are too high, and there are thousands of people who would kill for the job.

I know that 20% of the time when someone calls off work it is legit, but 80% of the time, it’s some bozo who doesn’t care about our business, screwing us over.

The sad thing is that it’s usually the same people who screw us over and over, week after week.

The sadder part is that most restaurant managers and owners can’t or won’t do anything about it because they don’t have qualified replacements to run the place. The saddest part of this story is that we usually have to cover the missed shifts ourselves or call in (old faithful) the person who really needed or deserved the day off. Missed shifts create excessive stress and serious burnout.

This problem is much bigger than most restaurants owners and managers think it is. I recommend you start tracking missed shifts to see how often they happen and who the real problem children are. The big question is – What are we going to do about this huge problem?

Here are some ideas:

  • Define what a missed shift is. (When you are on the schedule and miss work for any reason.)

  • Sit down with every employee and have them sign a document that states how important it is for them to work EVERY shift they are scheduled for and what will happen if they miss.

  • Ask for a two-week notice when requesting a regularly scheduled day off.

  • Post your schedule in two-week increments.

  • Become a better recruiter.

  • Hire and train more people than you need.

  • Schedule an On-Call Person for every shift.

  • Stop hiring un-dependable losers.

  • Fire people for missing work and killing your business.

Here’s a fun game you can play:

Hang a sign in your kitchen that posts the number of days since the last missed shift. I will bet that 80% of all restaurants cannot make it to ONE WEEK without some bozo breaking the streak.

Tell your staff, if they can make it to 30-days without a missed shift – you will throw a PARTY!

30-Days without a missed shift would be an amazing accomplishment to most restaurants in America. Reward the behavior that you want to manifest.

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