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The Labor Shortage


synaesthesia
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I assure you he's aware of the comments.

Whether or not he's in a position to take corrective action (i.e., has managerial control), I don't know.

I would add to that, according to the WaPo article about two or three weeks ago, and an article that Tim Carman is planning to publish either this or next week, good help is EXTREMELY hard to find in this town, even at the finest restaurants. It's hardly a lucrative profession. And often not rewarding when jerks like us give them a hard time all the time =D. Like that diner's bill of rights in the LA Times.

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I would add to that, according to the WaPo article about two or three weeks ago, and an article that Tim Carman is planning to publish either this or next week, good help is EXTREMELY hard to find in this town, even at the finest restaurants. It's hardly a lucrative profession. And often not rewarding when jerks like us give them a hard time all the time =D. Like that diner's bill of rights in the LA Times.

You know, I'm sure that's a fair point, but anecdotally, I've had better service at a number of spots over the past several months than I've previously experienced. Who knows why, but I've been pleasantly surprised by great service at spots on the hill - Locanda as soon as it opened, this past weekend at Sonoma (where I'd not been overly impressed by staff previously), at Westend on official day #2, and the Restaurant Eve folks continue to expand and hire new young staff who are well versed and friendly. I guess it's easier when you are part of the Eve group and I'm sure it is hard to find and retain good people for not-so-high paying jobs, but some places are doing it well. I suspect the places that do care enough put a lot of effort into it, but I've had more positive experiences over the past year than I have in any prior. Is this an anomaly or are other people finding that the overall quality of food service in this town is improving along with the caliber of the food itself?

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Well Westend, Central 2941 and Le Paradou have found good front of the house folks. They are there you just need to pay them what they are worth.

So...restaurants should just advertise that they pay a ton of money to their waitstaff? I'm sure that would attract every single "good" server and keep all of the "bad" ones away. :blink: (Not to mention that this would mean quite a hike in prices for the consumer thus slowing down sales and eventually leading to a close.)

Honestly, management at Bebo (and many other places around town) just needs to put further effort into the interview process (hello...reference checks!), ongoing staff training and presence on the floor during service. Hanging out at the host stand is a cop out. It's a piss poor mistake to hang out up front with the hostesses and say "Hi" and "Bye" to people. Get your butts on the floor and be involved in service!

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Great service is a result of managerial discipline. It is created and fostered because of good hiring practices and training, training, training.

I imagine the reason that Eve has generally great service is as much of a result who they DON'T hire, as who they do. Many restaurants take a glance at an application, see a list of high end restaurants and think "GREAT", "train" the new hire for a couple of days ("here's a copy of the menu", "have you ever worked with Micros before?", "follow Stephanie today"), and then turn 'em loose. I am making a huge supposition here, but I would imagine a slew of high end restaurants on a resume submitted to Eve is taken as a negative.

Look at GAR. They have what, 10 restaurants? With several hundred waitstaff? They are pulling from the same pool but seem to miraculously field a staff of young, informed, enthusiaistic, and attentive waitstaff. How do they do it? They have defined expectations for their employees (promptness, dry cleaned uniforms, teamwork, etc.), are unwavering in their adherence to their core beliefs, and train, train, train. If they can do it at a group of restaurants that have a $35 check avg (I am guessing), it can be done at more upper-tier restaurants as well.

It basically comes down to how much do you, restaurant manager/owner, value service? And do you have the will to see it through? It certainly is not easy, but it is doable.

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I would add to that, according to the WaPo article about two or three weeks ago, and an article that Tim Carman is planning to publish either this or next week, good help is EXTREMELY hard to find in this town, even at the finest restaurants. It's hardly a lucrative profession. And often not rewarding when jerks like us give them a hard time all the time =D. Like that diner's bill of rights in the LA Times.
You know what? I just don't buy that. Good help may be hard to find, but good help comes from training, not from out of nowhere. DC's service is leaps and bounds above where Chicago's service is and we've got tons more to draw from out here.
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Honestly, management at Bebo (and many other places around town) just needs to put further effort into the interview process (hello...reference checks!), ongoing staff training and presence on the floor during service. Hanging out at the host stand is a cop out. It's a piss poor mistake to hang out up front with the hostesses and say "Hi" and "Bye" to people. Get your butts on the floor and be involved in service!
I can speak from front-of-house experience here. It's a no-brainer that management should be on the floor during service, schmoozing with guests, making sure service runs smoothly for every guest in the dining room of any restaurant. Not in the office, not by the host stand, but actively involved in service on the floor, at the bar, etc. That is one of the great rewards that comes with the business, the satisfaction of ensuring guests are having a wonderful time. Make personal connections with the guests to ensure you remember them the next time they drop in.
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It's not DC, but at Bern's in Tampa, servers have to work for a year at the restaurant before they get to wait on a table. They work on the farms and the wine warehouses and in the kitchen and tail other servers and all that crap for one solid year before they get their own table. You know what, it works. Lots of the servers at Bern's have been there for 20 or 25 years, they make a damn good living because they paid their dues.

Now, I don't expect every restaurant to do that, but I simply came up with a rule...if I ever go to a restaurant where I pay more than $50 for two people and I get bad service, I simply never go back. I don't care if the food is wonderful or not, I am sick and tired of $300 dinners where I get treated badly and the server still expects a 20 or 25% tip. This is obviously not a hard and fast rule, but everyone has their own breaking point, that is mine.

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You know what? I just don't buy that. Good help may be hard to find, but good help comes from training, not from out of nowhere. DC's service is leaps and bounds above where Chicago's service is and we've got tons more to draw from out here.

I can't tell if that is one hell of a condemnation of the service in Chicago or that you have just had much better experiences with servers in DC than I (and apparently many others). :blink:

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I'm not sure how many of you saw 60 Minutes last Sunday, but this report on the new generation entering the workforce was extremely interesting and illuminating. Take a second to either read through it or watch the video.

I thought this was the least researched, most crass and overly-generalized piece of "reporting" I've seen in a long time. I mean, I love making fun of 'kids these days' as much as the next guy, but this is a bit much. Where is the empirical support for any of this?! Such gross stereotyping is never helpful. I tell ya, reporters these days! Back when I was a boy, they used to actually do research and not just dreg up old stereotypes to exploit societal disdain for the usual characters...

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I'm not sure how many of you saw 60 Minutes last Sunday, but this report on the new generation entering the workforce was extremely interesting and illuminating. Take a second to either read through it or watch the video.

Personally, I find this article a little insulting. Maybe people in their twenties are lazy and self absorbed. I am getting old enough that I am not entirely sure what people in their twenties are up to. But that's not the point. The point for me is that the culture of work in corporate America sucks. A lot. It used to be that you paid your dues, worked hard and you were eventually taken care of. (At least that's my impression of how it went.) Now you pay your dues, work hard and you get laid off because the company needs to bump up their earnings. And if you're lucky enough to still have your job, have fun doing the work of all those people who were just laid off. Increasingly employees are seen as business assets rather than members of the team or family and are being asked to make tremendous sacrifices in their personal lives for the sake of the company's bottom line. If young people are resisting this I say they should be applauded not chided.

Rant over.

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And more and more businesses are responding, offering free food, fun and flexibility to keep their employees happy

"You can't be harsh. You cannot tell them you're disappointed in them. You can't really ask them to live and breathe the company

"These young people will tell you what time their yoga class is and the day's work will be organized around the fact that they have this commitment. So you actually envy them. How wonderful it is to be young and have your priorities so clear.

"They have climbed Mount Everest. They've been down to Machu Picchu to help excavate it. But they've never punched a time clock. They have no idea what it's like to actually be in an office at nine o'clock, with people handing them work.

The boomers do need to hear the message, that they're gonna have to start focusing more on coaching rather than bossing. If this generation in particular, you just tell them, 'You got to do this. You got to do this. You got to do this.' They truly will walk

It's a future of sweet talking bosses, no more "Pay your dues just like I did." If this generation knows anything, it's that there are more jobs than young people to fill them.

"We're not going to settle. Because we saw our parents settle," Dorsey says. "And we have options. That we can keep hopping jobs. No longer is it bad to have four jobs on your resume in a year. Whereas for our parents or even Gen X, that was terrible. But that's the new reality for us. And we're going to keep adapting and switching and trying new things until we figure out what it is."

"We definitely put lifestyle and friends above work. No question about it," Dorsey tells

Millennials 8-Boomers 0

Don't hate...

The way I see it every generation says "I want things to be better for my kids than it was for me". Many of our grandparents were immigrants or lived through the Depression and spent a good chunk of their life dirt poort. They said "I don't want my kids to struggle and have a family of eight in a one bedroom apartment with no running water like I did." So they focused all their parenting to accomplish that end. This didn't mean encouraging kids to have fun (waste of time!) or to be creative (waste of construction paper!) but instead focused solely on instilling a work ethic that would make sure their kids were financially secure.

And it worked. That generation grew up, had a nice three bedroom house in the suburbs, a 4 year old station wagon and a small amount of money saved up, but they were still unhappy. They worked at jobs they couldn't stand, for faceless corporations with chaveunistic, condescending supervisors who made them stay late (even though they told him two weeks ago that their daughter's school play was tonight!), knowing full well that they were never getting that promotion and what's worse, they knew that even though they had been a faithful employee for 20 years, if the stock dropped 2/3 of a point they would be kicked to the curb in a heartbeat.

But they couldn't leave, that would be irresponsible! They had mortgages, car payments and that annual summer vacation to pay for. So they spent most of their time daydreaming about what would have happenned if they had chased down that high school dream of being a sports announcer or what it would be like to drop-kick their Bill Lumberg of a boss. Of course if they ever tried to talk about any of this to the previous generation all they heard was "What a bunch of crybabies you are!! Look at your life, you have a 3 bedroom house, a car and take a vacation every summer! So what if you don't like your job? I worked 22 hour days and my boss use to punch me in the face and dock me a day's pay if I made unsolicited eye contact with him."

So right then and there they decided that their kids weren't going to have to put up with all of this. "They are going to college and chase after that dream job! They are going to put their own lives and happiness over the good of their employer! They aren't going to have to miss family dinners and little league games because the boss wanted them to work late! They won't bust their ass for 20 years just to be replaced by a kid fresh out of college who will work for half as much!"

And voila! Here we are. Enjoy the fruits of your labor. If you don't bitch about us being lazy too much maybe we will show you how to collate those spreadsheets 3 times as fast. Just make sure and shower us with praise when we do. Or else we might walk...

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I would add to that, according to the WaPo article about two or three weeks ago, and an article that Tim Carman is planning to publish either this or next week, good help is EXTREMELY hard to find in this town, even at the finest restaurants.

Never having worked at a restaurant, I found Tim Carmen's article "Server Trouble" educational and entertaining (I couldn't wait to get to the end to see how things turned out for Tim.) :blink:

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It's hardly a lucrative profession. And often not rewarding when jerks like us give them a hard time...
Servers might not hardly be the impoverished ones of the food-service industry.

Nonetheless, restaurants are not infinite vending machines and “anger” distilled from petty service issues in casual restaurants such as plates served to opposite persons and gripes of water/iced tea/coffee not being directly filled eternally reflects a garden variety foot-pumping inflated sense of self-entitlement and the narrow reasoning of pumping car horns in traffic. Diners are guests and a few hour's pay in exchange for the convenience of pizza and service does not grant haughtiness nor buy a courtesy ransom in lieu of shit happening.

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Servers might not hardly be the impoverished ones of the food-service industry.

Nonetheless, restaurants are not infinite vending machines and “anger” distilled from petty service issues in casual restaurants such as plates served to opposite persons and gripes of water/iced tea/coffee not being directly filled eternally reflects a garden variety foot-pumping inflated sense of self-entitlement and the narrow reasoning of pumping car horns in traffic. Diners are guests and a few hour's pay in exchange for the convenience of pizza and service does not grant haughtiness nor buy a courtesy ransom in lieu of shit happening.

And that's when they spit in your food... =D

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Any other restaurant insiders care to chime in? Does this thread have any merit according to those working in the industry? I don't like to make generalizations, but I assume that (with a few additional gems of fine-dining choices) DC has acquired a few hundred more seats than were available a few months ago, and thus the "labor shortage."

(Edited for Clarification) My apologies if I was unclear; I was actually trying to avert from the "Millenials" piece and get back to the "labor shortage" in DC restaurants.

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