Why Restaurants Are Short Staffed

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From years of working in many different restaurants, being short staffed has been a problem at every single restaurant at some point in time. There are a few main reasons why these things happen, which we will cover in detail here, starting from the most common reasons to the least.

Restaurants often have to work in a fast paced manner when they make their food, even when there aren’t that many customers at hours where they aren’t so busy. This is because of the pressure that customers place on them by the demands of the consumers. This eventually can end up leading a restaurant to become short staffed and in need of hiring more employees. However, hiring more employees is sometimes not an option that is available for a restaurant.

Other factors dealing with customers and things within the restaurant effect this too, which we will discuss now..

Social Interactions Within The Restaurant

Restaurants not being able to keep employees, is the most common reason why restaurants are short staffed. The restaurant can’t get new and old employees to stick around. There are a plethora of reasons why employees end up leaving the restaurant, which 50% of the time is actually the restaurant’s fault. The other 50% is usually due to bad customer experiences, employee to employee relationships, lack of pay, work load, and many other reasons.

These bad customer experiences aren’t always instigated by the person working at the restaurant. Many times they are actually things that the customers say or do to employees that the employee at the restaurant has no control over. For example, I have been sexually harassed by female guests ordering from the restaurants that I have worked at many times. One of the situations, a woman offered displaying her body in exchange for free food items. She mentioned it as a suggestion while she was ordering the food. This of course ruined the rest of my day for my work shift, as I was obviously not entertained.

Another incident involved a group of goons coming in to order food, that were openly expressing their sexual interest in every single female working at the restaurant by gawking at them inappropriately and through verbal expressions. This has happened on more than one occasion. One of the female employees from another similar incident had to hide herself from a similar encounter with one of our guests.

These things make both the males and females unwilling to work at their jobs, and afraid to go out and serve those guests when these things happen to them. In these situations, managers have to swap positions with the employees to try to properly handle the situation.

Other experiences involve dealing with individuals heavily influenced by drugs ordering from the restaurant. Some of them are already making scenes before they have ordered or received their food. These individuals often do the most unexpected things, which sometimes can put restaurant employees in a dangerous situation.

In these situations, a restaurant employee dealing with bad customers like this, is expected to act professionally, even to the point that they can’t tell a customer truly how they feel about their obscene behavior. Sometimes the customers that do these things know that the employees at restaurants are placed in a vulnerable position where they can do these things with little to no consequences, so they take advantage of the opportunity.

Other reasons why restaurants are short staffed and can’t keep employees involves things in that person’s personal life that make it difficult for them to handle working in these environments at a restaurant. This things combined with relationships between other employees socially, combined with bad interactions with customers, eventually leads to the termination of that employee or the employee leaving.

Many of the individuals working at restaurants don’t necessarily have the best social lives, so they eventually turn to their fellow co-workers (managers and superiors too) to try and develop one on a day to day basis. However, sometimes these social interactions don’t go so well, as restaurants can sometimes have borderline discrimination-like work environments if the superiors of the restaurant let it happen.

These behaviors can be as simple as treating an individual working at a restaurant more harsh or indifferent than other employees, just because of personal reasons of not liking that person (because they don’t share similar or all the same personal interests). It even happens to individuals just because they are less attractive. I wish I could tell you that this is a rare experience from working at a lot of different restaurants, but it is something that has happened in every single restaurant, except for one.

Restaurant’s employees often set up environments that inevitably create atmospheres where only people that have socially made it into “the circle” get treated like normal, while the other individual(s) do all the harder or less desirable and stressful jobs, instead of working together as a team to make these duties a piece of cake. This of course eventually leads to those employees being treated this way, along with the other stresses of working at the restaurant, quitting their job.

These type of things should have been left behind after people graduated from middle school, but they continue these things in the workspace as they matured into adults. No, we not just talking about young adults either that are just doing this. Some of them have grandchildren. Also, gossip and talking about the bad things that they don’t like about so and so (their fellow co-workers), is a common (and even daily) pleasurable activity usually done between woman to woman at restaurants. Good restaurants usually have to divide them and have them work in separate places during working hours.

Basically, if you combine these things along with a random day dealing with unreasonable face to face interactions with customers, then stress can get high enough that an individual literally has a meltdown; which I have seen on an occasion. Sometimes a manager getting too many demands from corporate or an owner, or giving too many to another employee can cause this too in a restaurant environment where things are always fast paced.

General managers quitting their job are a restaurant because of these things, is not something that I haven’t seen happen many times. In one particular restaurant, this was happening every month. The general managers kept quitting, aand so did the district manager. When managers quit, it usually demoralizes the entire staff, making them short staffed and causes them to work at a slower pace.

Work Load Is Too High For The Pay Given

Sometimes restaurants end up short staffed, because the employees feel that the amount of pay that they are receiving for their stressful job, just isn’t enough. Honestly, sometimes these employees are right about what they are saying when they say these things, but honestly most of the time they aren’t. When a restaurant isn’t short staffed, and there is enough people dedicated to do the work for the day, most of time the job is pretty easy if there is no drama. Even on these days these same people saying that they aren’t being paid enough for their job are still saying the same thing.

However, sometimes the owners or corporate of a restaurant can make poor decisions to pay general managers and managers more money than what they should, which leaves less funds available to pay an appropriate amount to the crew members. The truth be told, sometimes crew members work harder than the management, while they just sit back and watch or count down the cash drawers at the end of the shift. However, it can be vice-versa too, and the managers deserve more.

I have been on both sides, working as a crew member, and opening up a restaurant as a manager with my iwn set of keys to tell you that this definitely is the case sometimes. A manager at a restaurant has the responsibility of working as hard as the crew members, and managing and closing their shift for the day, because they get payed more.

Unfortunately, a few of the restaurants that I have worked for have treated the crew members as expendable; therefore putting all their hope and trust in the managers. Usually these are franchises that do this. This makes the employees feel like leaving (like they should), which leaves over payed shift managers to run the short staffed restaurant.

Sometimes restaurant owners or managers will give false promises to a raise if the crew members work harder or “like they should”, which is a tactic to make them stay longer and do the work. Usually the crew members never get this raise, regardless of their work performance. It is just to keep them around for as long as possible to keep the restaurant from being short staffed.

Employees Frequently Calling In

A fault that is not of the restaurant, is employees that live on the edge of being fired at a job and not being fired, by calling in for work whenever they can get away with it without getting fired.

Restaurants operate by trying to train individuals to do multiple positions to counter an employee calling in and saying that they can’t show up. However, it doesn’t help if the restaurant just simple doesn’t have enough people working on the shift to do the job. They still end up short staffed either way. This also placed stress on the staff members that are working that shift, which could lead them to quit.

To make things worse, it isn’t uncommon for multiple people to call in and say that they can’t show up to work today. This kind of goes back to what was said earlier about the employees that make the social circles in the workplace. If one friend calls in, there is a chance that the friend of that friend will call in too. They could be doing these things for a number of reasons, but usually it is an unnecessary and unacceptable one. Many individuals that work at restaurants are frequently partying outside of work on their free time.

They will take the opportunity to do that if they can, instead of covering their shift. They will often lie about a relative dying or their son or daughter being sick or not being able to find a babysitter. Of course these things do actually happen, but they mess it up for the individuals telling the truth when they are caught at a party or elsewhere. Usually the ones that are lying will repeatedly use these same excuses to call in over time as frequently as they can, which leaves the restaurant short staffed.

When these things happen, restaurants can’t just hire new people to fill in the shift. They have to deal with the other person first that didn’t show up, else things could turn around to where they end up with too many people on the work schedule at a time. Sometimes they just have to work short staffed. This can also happen if a manager is going on a vacation, which puts them in the same situation.

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