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(Please Note: Often times links point to "current" articles. The link was correct at the time, but new information may have replaced it. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.)

E-Mail Newsletter
**** Issue #169 ****
April 5, 2005

In This Issue

* Feature Article: Woe Is We!
* 13 Steps to Writing a Fool-Proof Schedule
* Job Board: Head Chef
* Tool Kit For Running Your Business
* Bulletin Board

****Please forward this issue to friends and
colleagues in the restaurant business****

****You can appear in the next issue of the newsletter. Write in with comments/questions. Submit an article. Place an ad. Email us...****

- By John R. Hendrie

We in Hospitality have lost touch and share the responsibility for consumer cynicism, angst and ennui.

For my generation, as Baby Boomers, allow me to wax philosophically. We remember road trips, anxious for the sight of that orange roof and brand hot dogs and fried clams. We remember uncomplicated television, actually once the new frontier, now the wasteland. We recall trips to Bermuda, resplendent with easy smiles and odd driving patterns. Vacations in New England at the elegant grande dame resorts, the energy of New York City, Spring Break in Ft. Lauderdale. Dial phones were the standard, gas was under 50 cents, and Walter Cronkite reigned supreme. Simple and reliable times, but a benchmark for our generation, as we sharply assess the Hospitality Industry, which is caught in a time warp, of sorts.

There is little remarkable out there, rather the mundane. Our Destination marketing organizations strive to bring traffic to our areas, and then the Visitor is thrown to the Hospitality community. The Visitor hopes that the reservation is correct and held, the room is habitable, the food is hot, the attractions and stores are clean, and it does not rain. They do not expect a smile, eye contact, words of welcome, attention to their needs or even thanks for their business. Gosh, what has happened?

I think we have been lulled into this Hospitality "trough", because we are tired, beaten up. We are continually looking at our numbers, our staffing, our marketing, our covers, complaints, A/P, legislation - the list goes on. Yet, Hospitality is a true calling. We really do want to take care of the Guest. We feel deeply about service, our operation, standards, our results and our reputations.

The current model does not work, and what you have in place is not sustainable. You know this, too. What to do?

Firstly, challenge your Destination Marketing Groups - your CVBs, CVAs, TDCs, lodging and restaurant associations, your chambers. Marketing goes beyond promotion; there should be programs in place to support and advance your business and your practices. Do not let them acquiesce from the mission! Some get it, like Myrtle Beach. Without the infrastructure, the Guest will suffer, and bad news travels quickly, as we know.

Secondly, take a fresh look at your business. "If it ain't broke…" does not make it, for you have then embraced the philosophy of Planned Obsolescence, the Detroit auto manufacturing credo. Consider where they are now! A change in direction is not a curse; it is an investment.

Your paradigm shift to Remarkable Hospitality is a readjustment to Guest focus, where it belongs. If you do not care, they surely will not either. There are several Key ingredients, which drive this shift:

  • Product/Service: What did you present to the Guest? You start out with the most fundamental building block - Quality. Is your operation clean, safe, secure, comfortable, and in good condition? You build from there, establishing your distinction.
  • Delivery on Customer Service: Hire for attitude. Everything else is trainable.
  • Technology: Back of the house systems allow you great efficiencies and reporting capabilities; front of the house amenities, such as WiFi, create your competitive stance in the marketplace.
  • Reward and Recognition: Staff members, your messengers, who provide performance excellence, demand a suitable response from Management.
  • Communication: Information empowers those who represent your interests.
  • Marketing/Promotion/Advertising: Review your mix and the means you have selected. Be consistent and passionate with your message.
  • Guest Satisfaction: If you do not know what your Guest desires, how can you possibly meet those needs?

Rather than bemoan the obvious, take the initiative. We can fashion dreams, we must frame expectations, and we should deliver memorable experiences. Start the journey to remarkable Hospitality!

John Hendrie is CEO of Hospitality Performance, Inc., a full-service hospitality consulting company.

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13 Steps to Writing a Fool-Proof Schedule
- By David Scott Peters

Wasted time spent on a weekly basis writing schedules and forever correcting them is no fun. Early in my career, I discovered that writing a schedule could be as easy as putting a simple puzzle together. You just need all of the pieces. I want to share with you the 13 steps I developed to writing a fool-proof schedule. With this system you can teach any manager how to write great schedules from the beginning.

1. Staff Order
When you list your staff members on the schedule, list them in the following order:

    A. Lead Server
    B. Server Trainer
    C. Seniority
Why this order? For starters, your key people such as your Leads and Trainers need to be listed first as a sign of respect and responsibility. Then list your servers by seniority.

2. The Busiest Times Require Your Best People
Schedule your strongest people for the busiest times. It's imperative that you place the right people in the right situations. For instance, if you schedule all new people for your busiest meal period, you have mayhem and confusion.

3. Everyone should have Opportunities to Make Money
Make sure your new, less senior, staff get at least one money-making shift. If you just take care of your more senior people with the money-making shifts, you will have high turnover and a majority of poorly performing staff, because there is another job across the street that will give them an opportunity to make money.

4. Everyone should know the Day Shift
Have all staff work at least one day shift. Doing this allows you to make sure less senior staff have an opportunity to work money-making shifts. It also allows for a stronger lunch shift, which in turn increases sales and ensures that lunch will go well so that busy business people will come back.

5. The Backward Scheduling Priority
Number your days by scheduling priority and schedule back to the lowest priority. A common mistake a manager makes when scheduling is to start writing a schedule on Monday and finishing with Sunday. We have already talked about the pitfalls to utilizing this strategy. From here on, I want you to number your days, 1 being the busiest to 7 being the slowest. Then start scheduling backward, from 1 to 7. This will ensure you have your strongest people in your busiest shifts.

6. Give them Personal Time
Schedule two days off in a row whenever possible and avoid split days off. If you split-schedule people's days off, they never get the day to just relax; they only get to do their to-do lists. Giving two days off in a row improves employee morale. When morale is up, so is productivity.

7. Close/Opens, the Quickest Way to Mediocrity
Stay away from scheduling close/opens. What is a close/open, and why not schedule them? A close/open is when a staff member closes the night before and is scheduled to open the next morning. Sure, this is one way to fill in the manpower gaps, but it is your ticket to mediocrity.

8. What to do When You are Over Staffed
If you have more staff available than shifts to fill, give shifts to your full-timers first. Part-timers and/or your weakest staff lose shifts first. If you find yourself in a situation where the seasonality of your business has you with too many servers for the sales you have coming in, take care of your full-timers first. Make sure they continue to have the opportunity to make money, for they are your backbone year 'round. Start to trim shifts from your part-timers.

9. Staff Up, Not Down
Always have two more Full Time Equivalents, FTEs, than you need. A Full Time Equivalent is whatever number of people it takes to equal one full-time person. Hourly workers like the ability to change their schedule from one week to the next to take advantage of vacations, events, friend and family in town, and parties, to name a few. With this in mind, even the most perfect manpower plan can be thrown an unexpected curve.

10. A Request is a Request
Remember, scheduling requests are just that: requests. The needs of the business must come first. When staff put in for a day off, you need to find a way to give it to them, while reserving the right to say no. If you say no, they will most likely take the day off anyway and find a job where they can be more flexible.

11. Management is Required
Any schedule changes must be initialed by a manager. Look at hours worked and stay away from over-time. Start by writing your schedule in pencil. When you have your final version ready to be posted, photocopy it and post the photocopy. This way any changes to the schedule will be apparent. Next, make sure all schedule changes are initialed by a manager. When the request is made, go to the schedule and look to see how many hours or shifts the person taking the shift has or will work that week.

12. Post Quickly and Consistently
Have the schedule written and posted by Thursday at 4 p.m. Have you ever had a manager post the schedule on Sunday at close for the next week that starts on Monday? The staff cannot plan their week and the restaurant often finds itself in trouble because staff is late or a no-show due to the lack of notice. Have respect for your employees' time; accept scheduling requests until Tuesday night, write the schedule on Wednesday or Thursday, and post it by Thursday at 4 p.m.

13. Use a Scheduling Key
When filling out a schedule, x-out the days people can not work, place an R in the days people have requested off, and place a V in the days people have requested off for vacation. Then start scheduling shifts. If you take the time to prepare for the scheduling process, you will eliminate opportunity for errors and will demonstrate to your staff that you CARE, that you have Concern And Respect for Everyone. Following these steps will keep employee morale high. And when morale is high, so is productivity.

David Scott Peters is the founder of Smile Button Enterprises, LLC, a hospitality systems consulting firm that trains restaurant owners and managers on the appropriate skill sets and SMART Systems—those that are Simple, Measurable, Applicable, Repeatable and Trainable—to realize their dreams in the competitive restaurant business.

More Articles by David Scott Peters...


Head Chef: Travaglione's Ristorante Italiano (Shelton, WA)

Seeking experienced head chef with knowledge of Italian food and menu planning for quality destination Italian restaurant/catering company.

Full Job Post Online:

Contact: E-mail with resumes/inquiries

For current job listings or to post a job opportunity go to:


Publicity Tips for Restaurant Owners, Chefs and Foodies

Teleseminar CD with publicity expert Joan Stewart, The Publicity Hound. Joan shares insider secrets on how to attract publicity and get your restaurant promoted in the media.

Restaurant Operators Complete Guide to QuickBooks

Written exclusively for restaurant operators, in a jargon free and easy to understand style.

Unlocking the Secrets to Analyzing Cost of Goods Sold

Restaurant Report hosts operations expert David Scott Peters. David shares what it takes to get COGS under control and how to make your restaurant more profitable.


**Next Post - Re: Chef Contracts

Can you tell us where we can find a basic but good Contract/Agreement for Chefs?

Thanks very much.
Ed -

**Next Post - Re: Tip Out Ideas

I would like some % or $ number that is given to the bus people or runner helping the servers do their job better.

**Next Post - Re: In-Home Restaurant

We live in a small western Canadian city with very few choices for ethnic cuisine. We love Mexican food and have nothing in our community to support our taste buds. We love to cook at home and have been thinking about starting a small in-house restaurant. We would only cater to private parties / functions in our own home. (We are both teachers by trade, great cooks by heart.) Do you know of similar ventures? Can you point us toward any good resources for information.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

**Next Post - Re: Pepper Grinder

Where can I find a plug in commercial pepper grinder to use in a banquet/catering kitchen?

Pam -

Note @ the Bulletin Board: If you can lend advice/assistance/comments etc. please respond to the individual directly and cc: us here at We'll summarize and post responses we receive that would benefit the group.


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