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
The number one takeout driver for millennials: speed of service. According to Technomic ’s Generational Consumer Trends Report , 67% of millennials name speed as the top reason they choose a...
2
Following two quarters of notable same-store sales growth , McDonald’s comps missed financial predictions during its most recent quarter, leading some analysts to question the long-term efficacy of...
3
Ruth’s Hospitality Group has promoted Chief Branding Officer Cheryl Henry to president and COO of the fine-dining company, which is parent to the Ruth’s Chris steakhouse brand . Henry has held a...
4
Kevin Reddy has stepped down as CEO of the Noodles & Company fast-casual chain, surrendering day-to-day operations to CFO Dave Boennighausen until a permanent replacement is found. Reddy’s duties...
5
Allowing baristas more latitude with their personal styles, Starbucks has issued a new dress code that takes a cue from a number of brands allowing their employees to bring more elements of...
6
Panera Bread is suing a former IT executive and his new employer, Papa John’s , alleging the pizza chain purposefully interfered with an employee contract to gain its technology trade secrets,...
7
In spite of customer backlash over the changes made to Starbucks ’ loyalty program in Q3, Starbucks Rewards memberships grew 18% year over year during the quarter. The program now has 12.3 million...
8
Chipotle made slight progress during the second quarter in its struggle to win back customers after last year’s food safety crises, stemming the year-over-year decline in same-store sales at 23.6% on...
9
Congratulations on your success running the social media for your operation. Many independent operators are finding that it’s beneficial to have one or more employees designated to post to social...
10
Randy Gier has stepped down as CEO of Pie Five and Pizza Inn parent Rave Restaurant Group under what the company describes as a mutual agreement. Gier’s duties have been assumed by Clinton Coleman, a...