{10/31 days} … and firing

This is day 10 of my 31 days of coffee shop stories. Welcome.

Yesterday, I talked about how we hire people. Now to the not so pleasant part of firing. It seems to me that one of the biggest responsibilities we have as business owners is people’s jobs. We have employees that support a family. Some of them work their way through universities. The decisions we make, including those regarding hiring and firing people, affect everybody.

Just like with a piece of machinery, when a piece doesn’t fit or when the oil is leaking, things go bad. We are not good at firing people. But we are thankful we are a bit better at hiring them, so we only had to fire three employees in almost five years (tow waiters and a cook).

We are rather subjective when it comes to employees. And, luckily or not, this is for their sake. We make friends with them and find excuses for their lapses. We support them when times get rough and we let little mistakes slide.

But we had to learn to have a limit. And to demand respect when respect is due. Like it or not, a job is not always fun. And there are chores that need to be done, no matter one’s preferences. Unfortunately, when somebody decides they are not in the mood to do this or that, most likely clients will be affected, and thus the other colleagues and the business.

garden of the second coffee shop

Reasons for firing waiters? Table manner, attention to details, conduct – mainly things that affect clients directly. The cook was a nice, hard working lady, but very slow at learning all the recipes and do’s and don’t’s in our kitchen. We tried to accomodate her for more than three months, but unfortunately, we had to part ways.

Where resignations are concerned, I told you yesterday about the waiter who left four times and now is back with us again. But we also had a waiter that said he was going to buy cigarettes and never came back. And a cook that said he had a stomach ache and would be upstairs, in the locker room, for a while, and sneaked out the back door (with our blender…), never to be seen again.

Working with people is one of the most challenging tasks a manager might face, but also one of the most educational.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk a bit about having a manager and how this affects our job in the coffee shop. See you then.

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