Employee cell phone policy

Question: 

Cell phones!  How are restaurants dealing with setting and enforcing policies for servers carrying cell phones while on duty?  We have a written policy in our handbook, but are tested every day!

Answer: 

Servers using cell phones make me furious. First, it sends a message that whomever the server is talking to or texting is more important than the most important person in the restaurant, the guest. But beyond the rudeness, cell phones are probably the dirtiest item in the operation—full of spittle and sweat from being held up to the face, and who knows what strains of bacteria from being kept in pants pockets. And to make matters worse, it is rare to give those phones a proper scrubbing like one would give to hands, a restaurant table or bathroom.

Some restaurants have complicated cell phone policies—silenced, not in front of the guest, only for emergencies, and so on. With a complicated policy, you set yourself up for debates you don’t want to have. (“It was my mom—I had to take it.”) I prefer a simple no phones policy. If family and friends know the server has no cell phone access at work, for a true emergency they will dial the restaurant (1990’s style)—and will think twice about doing so otherwise.

As for servers using their phones to make calls or send messages, the best policies liken it to a restroom or smoke break. It should be private, fast, infrequent, never done during a busy time, and employees must always wash their hands before returning to work.

Once you determine a cell phone policy, enforcing it should be handled with the same rigor as your other policies.

Want to ask advice guy a question?

Refresh Type the characters you see in this picture. Type the characters you see in the picture; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.  Switch to audio verification.

Today's top stories

1
Dunkin’ Donuts said it plans to expand its test of Dunkin’ Delivery , this time bringing the service to its hometown of Boston. The chain will “continue to evaluate” a nationwide delivery rollout,...
2
In a case with possible implications for any restaurant serving iced drinks, a woman has sued Starbucks for delivering fewer ounces of chilled beverages than it promises. The plaintiff wants $5...
3
Omakase, the Japanese word for “entrusting,” also refers to menus that require diners to put their trust in the chef to prepare a tasting selection. These omakase — or “chef’s choice” — menus have...
4
“No matter what side you’re on, it’s a broken system,” said restaurateur Kevin Boehm, partner in Boka Restaurant Group, a multiconcept operation based in Chicago. His comment opened an industry panel...
5
McAlister’s Deli is without a president following the announcement of Carin Stutz’s departure to become COO of the Red Robin casual-dining chain. Red Robin announced late on Friday that it had hired...
6
The restaurant food distribution industry is a hypercompetitive one, with prices ebbing and flowing with current market conditions. Foodservice vendors, just like the restaurant businesses they...
7
The price wars being waged by major quick-service chains have increased the number of combo meals being sold at such outlets, or so says a recent report from The NPD Group. Combo meal visits at QSR...
8
Quick-service restaurant workers in Alabama have added their names to a lawsuit that accuses Governor Robert Bentley and Attorney General Luther Strange of blocking a minimum-wage hike in the city of...
9
Four legends of New York City’s restaurant scene were honored Thursday night for their roles in elevating American fine dining to a level even the snootiest European could no longer dismiss. Andre...
10
Starbucks has opened the first of what it says will be a group of stores purposely located in underprivileged areas to provide jobs as well as a dining option. The prototype, in Ferguson, Mo.,...