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Managing Cafe Employees

How to Manage Cafe Employees

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A good front-of-the-house manager at any café or restaurant must know more than just the restaurant business. He or she must know how to manage people effectively, as well.

Managing Café Employees

Good managers write everything down. They write clearly defined job descriptions with reasonable expectations and attainable boundaries. For example, a busser may be expected to clear and reset tables, but not to serve coffee. Also, wait staff are still responsible for turning their tables even if a busser is on duty. A good manager clarifies a server must not wait for a busser to turn his or her table if he or she can do it.

A good manager also clarifies in writing the tip out policy of the café. For example, each server may be required to pay each busser 5% or 10% of his or her tips.

Hosts and hostesses must have clearly defined job responsibilities. For example, it is probably the job of the hostess to answer the phone, to chart the reservations and to seat people. It may be her responsibility to bring water and bread to a table. Job descriptions are written down so employees can reference them when there is confusion and questions.

Hosts and hostesses usually receive a tip out. If you are the café manager and you act as host or hostess, you have a conflict of interest when deciding upon tip out policies. Managers should not take tip outs from staff. (In some states, it is illegal to do so.)

Dealing With Problems at the Café

As café manager, you have to take care of your staff. When controversy arises, have an appropriate system in place for employees to express their grievances. Avoid and do not tolerate staff members acting out their feelings while working.
  • Be available. Allow staff to request time to speak with you.
  • Listen to staff grievances. You need to understand what is happening to make an appropriate decision.
  • Be firm. You met with staff members, listened, thought about the issues, and you have made a decision. Staff members are required to abide by your decision if they wish to continue to work with you.

Professional Behavior

Reward professional and appropriate behavior among your staff. People who are cooperative and efficient should get the shifts they want. Prove that refusal to follow directions can lead to a loss of shifts or loss of good shifts.

By writing your expectations and staff responses down, you protect yourself when a staff member complains about loss of shifts. For example, a staff member complains: "Hey! I always work Saturday night!" You respond: "I told you to help clear your party of twelve, but you let the busser do it by herself. You did not cooperate and you did not follow directions."

When you have valuable employees working for you, take care of them. Thank them for a job well done. Ask them how things are going. Offer them a drink after work. Have an occasional staff party. Make good workers feel appreciated and they are more likely to stay.

Written by: Beth Taylor

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