Advice Guy

An industry expert answers questions on improving restaurant operations

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Q.

One of my best servers gets complaints about body odor. I’ve casually mentioned it to him, and he says he uses deodorant, but it’s clearly not working. Any ideas on how to broach this without offending him? Or if he doesn’t fix it do I have cause to fire him? He definitely stinks especially later in the shift so it’s a real concern.

A.

While it may sound funny, body odor can definitely ruin a dining experience since most flavor comes to us via the nose.

Q.

We typically come in early to get a jump on prep if we can.  It just makes for a less stressful service. Now my boss is saying that we can’t do that because we’re not allowed to be in the kitchen when we’re not on the clock and he can’t afford overtime. I’m willing to volunteer that extra time but is he right?

A.

Clocking in after one’s shift starts is an issue that has been around for a long time, but is resurfacing again due to some

Q.

We have an eight seat bar and our bartender insists that she be considered a section and be in the with the table rotation. I say that we only seat the bar if our guests ask to sit there. Is that right?

A.

This question is pretty easily answered but belies a bigger problem, I suspect.

Q.

As a restaurant and bar near a college campus, our clientele is mix of students and local families. There are times when the students get rowdy or argue and our staff is able to defuse it. On a few occasions the have been fights. For the security of the staff and other patrons we would like to have a bouncer on premise during the weekends. The fear is that the presence of security will send the wrong message to well-intentioned patrons and make them think they should be fearful of dining at this establishment. How do you suggest the new security program is rolled out while not losing customers at the same time?

A.

It is a challenge to serve multiple constituencies.

Q.

I recently had a disagreement with a guest. Our dinner hours are 5-11 p.m. A couple came in shortly before 11 p.m. when we had already begun breaking down and asked to be seated. The man insisted that we had to seat them because our published hours show we’re open until 11 p.m. The woman seemed mostly embarrassed he was so difficult. He left upset. Was he right?

A.

Like a lot of the questions we address in this column, the problem is a disconnect between expectations.

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