Kitchen Staff

09.08.2020 in Case Study
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Problem Statement

The organization has problems with effective work because of different disagreements between waitstaff and kitchen staff.

The Solution

The organization should eliminate all disagreements between train waitstaff and kitchen staff to renew team spirit and provide equal bonuses to both groups in order to stimulate them to work better and cooperate for reaching common goals.

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1. Did Gary’s new incentive system solve his primary problem?

The new incentive system for waiters aimed to solve the main problem that lied in the low sales and revenues of The River Walk Cafe. In the short run, the organization managed to resolve this problem, because employees started serving more tables. However, the system has some flaws, and it seems that new problems will arise soon.

In a short period of time, waiters received higher wages and bonuses that stimulated them to work better. In particular, the employer increased the base wage from $2.90 to $3.60 per hour. Moreover, he offered incentives for hard-working individuals and group performance. For high sales and a large number of served tables, waiters received monetary bonuses and free meals. The organization also provided benefits for the rest of the staff members if the general performance of the restaurant was higher compared to the current level. Thus, waiters had motivated for working better. Moreover, they did not need to talk to customers in order to sell more. Instead, they just could serve more tables per their working day and receive bonuses.

It seems that the organization will not resolve the primary problem in the long run. The issue is that although the employer-provided a new reward system for waiters, the wages of kitchen employees remained the same. Thus, it is likely that they will not be willing to work more efficiently in future, because they see that the system distributes benefits not equally. As a result kitchen employees will either affect the restaurant’s productivity or leave The River Walk Cafe to find a better job. Moreover, if the restaurant loses some valuable workers, there is a chance that it will not be able to find new competent employees, or their quality of work will be lower. Thus, one can conclude that the decision of Gary to introduce a new incentive system will not resolve the primary issue. The main flaw lied in low sales and revenues, but Gary did not understand it completely and thought that the wage increase for waiters would resolve the issue. However, the core of the problem was in the inability of waiters and kitchen employees to cooperate efficiently to satisfy customers. As a result, the latter worked slower, which negatively impacted the overall performance of the organization and revenues respectively. Thus, Gary did not resolve the primary problem, because he did not understand it properly.

2. Will it help the Cafe achieve its goal of quality customer service?

Again, the new incentive system is not efficient. Thus, quality customer service does not seem to be attainable with such a system. The first reason for the system’s poor efficiency is that it provides benefits for waiters on the basis of individual and general performance. They may not make the same efforts as they previously did, because they receive bonuses on the basis of the general performance of the restaurant. Thus, some waiters may not try to improve the quality of the service, because the individual productivity does not influence the number of bonuses. Thus, in some periods, the general performance of the staff may decline, and the quality of customer service will be lower.

The second reason is that the new incentive system has changed in some way the attitude of waiters towards customers. Previously, they talked much to customers to persuade them to buy more. Currently, it is not required, and waiters are aimed at serving as many tables as they can. Thus, they do not establish a friendly connection with customers, which may influence their experience in the restaurant and customer service loyalty. Previously, waiters schmoozed with guests, and it was an attractive peculiarity of The River Walk Cafe. Thus, it is likely that most customers, especially those who visit the restaurant regularly, enjoyed this practice and regarded it as the special attention to them from the restaurant. However, currently, waiters try to serve more tables, not to communicate with customers. As the restaurant ceased this practice, customers may think that customer service became worse because of a lack of traditional attention and care. As a result, they may refuse to visit The River Walk Cafe and opt for other restaurants with a better attitude towards customers.

The third reason is that the new incentive system is unfair because only waiters receive higher wages and different bonuses. The wages of kitchen employees remained the same, which obviously made them not satisfied. Thus, customer service quality may become lower as kitchen staff might not work to the fullest. For example, they may cook dishes of lower quality or do it in a more leisurely way despite the constant flow of customers. In addition, good kitchen workers will be likely to leave the restaurant to seek a better job. Thus, customer service quality, as well as the quality of food, will become lower, and the restaurant will lose its customers, especially loyal ones.

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3. What advice might you have for Gary?

I would give Gary several recommendations on how to improve the situation. The first tip is to change the incentive system for waiters. It would be better to provide bonuses only for the individual results, but not for the overall performance of the restaurant. As a result, waiters are stimulated to work better, and everyone receives bonuses for his/her personal contribution, but not at the expense of a colleague who made more efforts to improve the overall performance of the restaurant.

The second recommendation for Gary is to introduce a similar incentive system to the kitchen staff. It would be useful to base the system for kitchen staff on individual performance as well. Thus, they will have a reason for delivering high-quality service within a shorter period of time. Moreover, it is important to pay wages for both employee groups equal to the average wage of the local restaurants with similar price policies and sales.

The third recommendation is to improve the overall performance and eliminate the core of the primary issue. Gary should settle all disagreements between kitchen staff and waiters. In fact, it was the core of the issue of low revenues, but he did not understand that previously. The low performance of The River Walk Cafe was mostly a result of the failure of waiters and kitchen staff to cooperate efficiently in terms of delivering service. As a result, loyal customers noticed a considerable discrepancy between high prices and poor service quality.

Gary should understand the main issues of the collective work of both groups of employees in order to eliminate disagreement and boost productivity. It is advisable to provide special training for all employees to teach them how to work together, serve customers quickly, and meet the standards. Such training should stimulate mutual agreement between all staff members, which is necessary to work together to achieve common goals. Moreover, waiters should continue talking to customers more, because it is likely that it attracts customers to the restaurant.

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