December is here, meaning it’s the busy season for restaurants across the country. In New York City, the holiday season is especially crazed, as tourists and locals alike attend events and enjoy celebratory meals with friends and family.
All of the festivities, celebrations, and general busy-ness can quickly turn into burnout for restaurant employees who are taking care of guests. “The holidays are really special for everyone, including your staff,” says Terry Coughlin, director of operations for Maialino and Marta in Manhattan. “It’s important to remember that.”
As the leader of teams at two very busy restaurants, it’s Terry’s job to make sure that everyone is performing at their peak and giving the best hospitality they can. “You really have to be an empathetic leader to your staff and be empathetic to your guests, too.” says Coughlin. Here, he shares how managers can work with their teams to prevent burnout this holiday season — and what to do if you see it coming on.
Limit doubles. Even though the holidays are busy, Coughlin and his managers are adamant about making sure that employees have down time away from the restaurant. “One of the big things that we do is keep an eye on double shifts,” he says.
Since this is the time when front-of-house staff can make the most money, it can be tough to tell staff that they can only have one double per week, but it’s crucial in order to make sure servers are rested enough for each shift. “We try to keep them to one a week because it can be so busy.”
Agree on holiday schedules early. Every year, the teams at Marta and Maialino let their scheduling manager know which holidays they would prefer to have off and which ones they don’t mind working. “It ends up working out 99% of the time that we can accommodate their requests,” Coughlin says. This gives staff the chance to plan for holiday travel and know that they’ll get some time off to celebrate with loved ones. “It’s extra work for the scheduling manager, but it’s worth it.” [Read more…]