Mother’s Day Restaurant Debacle

We took three Moms to one of the nice steakhouse chains for brunch Sunday. Mother’s day is traditionally one of the biggest sales days of the year for restaurants so you would have thought that they would be geared up and ready to go. Nope!

The car hops were rude. The hostesses were snippy. The waiters were grim and over-taxed. And . . . wait for it . . . the food was cold and tasted mediocre at best.

This is a management issue. For everyone in the service chain to be so stressed out and angry, it had to go right up to the local manager who must not have prepared the staff well enough and/or was understaffed for the occasion. Either way, I could see by looking around that a lot of customers were frustrated on a very important, family day and that is going to have a terrible ripple effect on this restaurant’s reputation in the marketplace.

We talk mostly about sales in our columns, but an inept manager can torpedo the whole enterprise no matter how good the sales and customer service team aspires to be. Unfortunately, a bad manager can hang around a long time . . . people are afraid to confront him/her or let other senior executives know there is a problem. The best companies have systems including things like 360-degree reviews and confidential feedback loops that can short circuit a bad manager before too much damage is done.

I felt bad for all the sour-faced workers at the restaurant that day. I know they WANTED to provide good sales and service. I am sure it was an even longer day for them than it was for us.

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