By Marie Beachdale
Sunday, August 19, 2012, Surfside Beach - After a series of negative events where I work I took a step back to reflect for a moment, because as servers we sometimes feel like we have it rough, but what about management?
When you’re a server and have a problem, a competent manager can be relied upon to straighten it out for you.
Disorderly customer? Tell the manager.
Made a horrible computer mistake? The manager will fix it.
Is the cook way too stoned to function? Have the manager make your food.
I have realized why, for the most part, every manager I have had while I’ve been a server has been somewhat of a grumpy asshole sometimes. While I was under the impression that all a manager did was sit in an office and enforce rules, I have come to realize that a good manager does everything.
First of all, I’ve noticed that sometimes the manager plays the part of a glorified babysitter for a bunch of whiny servers. When a handful of employees come in for the day, some hung over, some just flat-out not wanting to be at work, it’s the manager’s job to get us all on track, focused on customer service and ready to work. That is a major feat all by itself.
I’ve also realized through the years that as servers do for customers, managers also play psychiatrist for members of their wait staff. Even I am guilty of having bad days and stepping into the manager’s office to have a good cry, telling him or her my personal problems simply because I needed to get them off of my chest before I started my shift.
The best managers I’ve ever had have always been ready with words of encouragement, motivating me or someone else to do our best.
On top of being motivators and friends, managers also have to be the bearers of bad news. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for someone to face a friend and tell them they no longer have a job-- but members of management do it all of the time.
Sure, I have had some pretty crummy managers who have come into work, locked themselves in the office and enjoyed a six-hour Valium-induced nap while employees busted their butts to keep the restaurant running smoothly. On the opposite end of the spectrum though, were the managers it was a joy to work for-- those who took pride in the restaurant and did everything from panting the building to unclogging toilets.
It was those managers who helped instill a work ethic in me… who transformed me from a 21-year-old party girl who didn’t really care about work at all, to the Sassy Server that I am today.
It’s easy to think that, since as a server you have the majority of customer interaction, the restaurant would fall apart without you. But the next time there’s a crisis of some sort, pay attention to who handles it.
It takes a different kind of person, one with an immeasurable amount of patience and drive, to be a restaurant manager. But they are, without a doubt, the backbone of any restaurant.
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