A New Restaurant’s Biggest Crisis

Two weeks ago, I faced a crisis of great magnitude at my restaurant.

An employee turned out to be a little different than I expected. After several warnings from me, and many more foolish decisions on his part, this person had to go. The problem was, he has helped me hire nearly all of my staff. Some of my chefs were related to him by blood. My floor staff envied him— the countryside kid who conquered Bangkok. But really, when it came down to it, he wasn’t worth it. He was a liability.

For those of you who think restaurants are all about serving good food, come inside and make yourself comfortable. You’ll see that most of what I do as a restaurant owner has very little to do with food at all. The bulk of this job is a balancing act— I spend a great deal of time negotiating with my staff, attempting to meet their emotional needs while encouraging them to satisfy my own professional ones. My average kitchen helper, at the moment, lasts exactly one day. New servers usually last two (and one if they start on a Friday). Still, I have managed to retain my opening team by being sensitive to their needs. This is not easy. It is my greatest concern, save the satisfaction of my guests.

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