What Is A Toxic Restaurant Culture, And How Do You Fix It?

When we walk into a restaurant, we love seeing the waiters and servers with their pleasant smiles and elegant outfits, and if we are lucky, we may even be able to catch a glimpse of the head chef, all decked out in his chef whites or elegant chef coat.

However, there is a side to restaurants that we as customers do not see, and that is the internal culture and workings of the restaurant. These days many good restaurants have had to close down, not because their business was not good or because their food was bad, but because they had a toxic internal culture that prevented them from developing and growing.

There are many things that can contribute towards a toxic culture in a restaurant. The long hours that the staff work, the stress and difficulties of the job have led to increased instances of harassment, bullying and even substance abuse. Poor management by the owners and cases where such issues have not been addressed from the onset have caused huge problems in the hospitality and food and beverage industry.

Of course, it is not simply one instance or one factor that causes an unhealthy culture in a restaurant, but a combination of factors, and contributions are made from the very top-level staff to the bottom level, with everyone having to rake responsibility for creating such a culture. Employees start feeling unhappy and unappreciated, they feel their contributions to the success of the business are undervalued, and thereby they are demotivated and less productive. Irrespective of whether they leave your employment and move onto better pastures or not, the fact is that when your employees are unhappy, they tend to create a bad reputation for your business, which will finally have a huge impact on your revenue.

The silver lining to this dark cloud however, is that by identifying that your business has a toxic culture, you can work towards fixing it and improving it. Here are a few signs that your restaurant has a toxic culture, and some ways to fix it:

Lack of upper management support – The restaurant business is a very customer-oriented one, and as such, there will no doubt be instances where your staff will be at the receiving end of abuse from customers. If you as the top management are not giving your staff the support they need, when they need it, then you are failing very badly, since the staff will tend to feel helpless in such situations when they are being abused (whether physical or verbal) and are unable to do anything about it. The same is true when it comes to internal abuse between staff members as well. Another factor that contributes towards a toxic culture is when the top management dismisses good suggestions made by employees, demotivating them and making them feel insignificant.
Everyone likes to be heard, and listening to your employees is an important part of good management, and also a way of slowly but surely fixing a toxic environment. Taking your employees’ side when it comes to an unreasonable complaint by a customer or even speaking on their behalf in instances of abuse, as well as taking note of their comments and suggestions for improvement are good ways to foster a healthy working environment. By addressing issues of physical and verbal abuse between staff members, it shows that such behavior will not be tolerated within the organization, and makes employees, especially those who have been subject to such abuse, feel safe within their workplace.

Constant criticism and non-appreciation – Constantly criticizing employees when there is a problem but not praising them or appreciating their contribution when things are going well can cause a toxic work environment. Even such instances where you pull up staff and talk negatively to them in front of other staff members can be very demotivating and unhealthy.
There is no doubt that people will make mistakes, but pointing them out and helping your staff to correct them by giving them that opportunity is a part of good management. Appreciating their hard work and their contributions is also very important to keep a positive atmosphere in the workplace, and to developing a healthy culture.

Negative attitudes and constant complaints – It is not only the management, but employees too can contribute a great deal towards cultivating a negative culture in the workplace. Negative attitudes and constant complaining when policy changes are made or when schedules are issued, can be very toxic, because soon you will find that it is not just one person, but everyone else is joining in on it too.
Showing empathy towards employees who are displaying a negative attitude can help in most instances, since they will feel that they are being heard by the management. In this sense it is also important to develop policies within the organization that deters people from such attitudes. Set an example, because your behavior will reflect in their behavior.

As you can see, a negative culture within a business can cause many problems for the staff and the management, even resulting in closures. Such toxic cultures can develop from the top most management to the smallest employee, and it won’t matter if you are the General Manager, the head chef in his or her chef whites, or if you are a dishwasher, it can spread fast throughout the organization. In addition, when there is greater staff turnover, you will need to be constantly training new people thereby increasing your costs as well. While a toxic culture can exist in any business, the important thing is to identify such a culture and work towards fixing the problems. Don’t forget that happy employees will always go above and beyond their call of duty to help their workplace.

Presents For Christmas – Pay it Forward

As we approach the Christmas season, “the most wonderful time of the year”, we are usually overwhelmed with all that has to be done to make this Christmas the “perfect one.” Of course we know in our minds that there is no such thing as a perfect Christmas, but in hearts many of us still hold out for one.

The shopping, decorating, entertaining, baking, etc seems to get more demanding each year. For some by the time Christmas Day is close the thought is “I’ll be glad when it’s over.” There is little or no joy in our hearts; we have forgotten what we are really supposed to be celebrating-the birth of Jesus.

During the Christmas season we send and receive cards with the message “peace on earth, good will toward men, and sing carols with the same sentiment. Yet, what do we do that helps accomplish this worthy attitude? Too often we tend to think that peace is something that only diplomats and politicians can bring about. I love the line “let it begin with me” in the hymn “Let There Be Peace on Earth.”

This Christmas season could be one where we do something that would make a difference. Maybe we can’t sign a peace accord but perhaps we can make a difference in our little corner of the world. Sharing a little joy with someone may be just the place to start.

I recently read of a family, who for a number of years, have celebrated a unique version of The Twelve Days of Christmas to share their joy with. Each year they choose a family or individual to honor during this time. Then starting December 13 they wrap up a simple gift and put a line of greeting with it. They take the gift to the chosen one and leave it at the front door. They then ring the doorbell and very quickly run away.

The gift has no sender’s name on it so the recipient doesn’t know who sent it. This is repeated every night until December 24 when the sender lets the recipient know who they are. At this time they encourage the recipients, who are always delighted with what has transpired, to do the same thing for someone the next year.

There are so many things we can do to spread joy. Giving presents we purchase in a store is not the only way we can spread joy and goodwill toward our fellowmen. Often, the most important thing we can do is give our time. Many people are troubled and or lonely and just need someone who will take the time to listen to them. A simple note or card to a homebound person can brighten the dreariest December day. A smile or a friendly hello at the grocery store may be the only real communication with another person someone has all day.

The Christmas season is also a good time to mend relationships that may have gone awry. It really doesn’t matter who caused the rift, if it bothers you then you can be the one to try for reconciliation. One person can make a difference; if we are trying to spread peace and goodwill then we can sing the carols and send the cards really meaning the words.

Betsy R. Mclean loves Christmas and everything about it. She love decorating the tree and house, buying those special presents for loved ones and friends and stitching throughout the year on needlework projects that celebrate Christmas. Betsy believes that cherished Christ memories last a lifetime. Visit her site. Letters from Santa Claus [http://lettersfromsantaclaus.info/]

5 Tips for Disclosing Your Past to Your Present Lover

If you’re a single adult in the dating world, chances are that you have a dating past. Regardless of how plain or colorful your dating history is, disclosing it to your current lover can be a sensitive issue. Here are some simple tips and guidelines to make the process easier.

Tip #1 – Timing is Everything

When it comes to disclosing your past to your current lover timing can play a very large role. At MatchEdge, one of the most popular online dating sites, they’ve found that certain things are more import to disclose sooner than others.

For example, if you’re divorced or separated that’s something you want to bring up early on. It doesn’t have to be the first date, but a good rule of thumb would be to disclose that sort of information by the third date.

On the other hand, if you’ve never been married but have had several sexual partners, that’s probably something you want to discuss only after you get to know your lover a little better. As they say, “It’s not usually appropriate first date conversation.”

Tip #2 – The Devil is in the Details

Once you have decided that you are ready to disclose your past to your present lover, it’s probably a good idea to spear him/her the details. Usually people don’t really care to hear a detailed explanation of your sexual escapades. A good rule of thumb is to skip all the details unless if you are specifically asked for them.

Tip #3 – A Sensitive Issue

Chances are that if you’re nervous about disclosing your sexual past to your current lover, they are just as anxious to hear about it. It’s important to remember that your current lover may experience feelings of insecurity or jealousy. To help ease your current lover through this, try not to show too much emotion during the discussion. You should probably steer clear of discussing how you felt. Instead, try simply stating what you’ve done.

Tip #4 – Don’t Fall for Traps

If you’re having these types of discussions with your current lover, you should know if they are the jealous type or not. To ward off the green eyed monster, you may want to tread carefully. Once you are done disclosing the information, you want to steer clear of what I call traps. Traps are questions that are innocently disguised but may lead to hurt, anger or jealousy on your partners end. You’ll recognize these traps because the questions will usually be about feelings or thoughts and they will be linked to a person. For example, “Have you done xyz” is a very different question from, “Do you still think about xyz with so-and-so?”

Tip #5 -Reap the Rewards

If you are serious about your current lover, sharing this information will allow them to know you better, while giving you and your lover a stronger bond. At MatchEdge, they’ve found that the relationships that have less secrets between them tend to be stronger than those who keep secrets.

Remember, no one can ever fault you for being honest with them. Regardless of what your sexual past holds, it’s a part of who you are. If your current lover is a keeper, they will be glad that you had enough faith and confidence in them to share such an intimate part of yourself. Good luck and happy sharing!