Restaurant Divas: Detriments or Necessary?
Dealing with servers and bartenders can be no different than dealing with a Diva pop star. These people think the world revolves around them and they are the best at what they do. The restaurant business has their own Restaurant Divas, not gender specific, the behaviors are quite similar. This is according to them of course. Especially being that the restaurant’s sustainability rests on their shoulders, all of the $X or XX millions of dollars a year the restaurant does in business, the bigger the better.
Much like a baseball team, a restaurant cannot operate efficiently and profitably with a single person alone, however it seems that Restaurant Divas and prima Dona’s popup frequently and can infect an entire restaurant with negativity ruining the ever-important morale of front line employees. Chances are this employee might also be a cause of displeasure among the equally important kitchen team as well! It can be a recipe for disaster or even difficult nights when this individual (s) is/are not happy with the way the chips fall.
Forming a Restaurant Diva
As with any Restaurant Diva this person generally feels entitled to the point it can be obnoxious.
What is the root cause of this?
Good question, a large part of it is the nature of the business. The restaurant business breeds this type of behavior with the instant gratification nature servers and bartenders get in the line of tips. It is hard for nearly every person to not get an inflated ego after a string of good happenings, when it comes in the terms of tips of big spenders…well too bad for the rest. Virtues say not to discuss pay with others, that doesn’t happen in this business, in fact it is the #1 work related discussion amongst any tipped employee. How much depends on the restaurant/coffee shop/hotel/salon.
How to deal with a Restaurant Divas?
Approaching this person can be difficult, this person might also bring the most sales on average or be very talented at selling wine/items the kitchen wants to get rid of/etc. Many times the Restaurant Diva has to be contained due to their performance, but it does not justify behavior. A restaurant diva that is abusive to employees might be more of a problem than one that doesn’t help out or is a habitual complainer about the guests they serve.
Dealing with the two main types, is very different. The abusive variety might need a discussion or walking papers. If the employee is a great performer, maybe a humbling is due in the area of tough love. For a server or bartender the most humbling experience is usually being a food runner or barback respectively. Making them be a busser for a day could have a similar effect. It would hurt the business to lose a great performer, but a restaurant diva that is causing animosity might be doing more damage than good, regardless of performance.
The complainer for the most part can be tolerated , but if the complaining becomes infectious, it might be time to consider replacing this person. Complaining can spread negativity like a wildfire through a restaurant and might be more infectious than an abusive restaurant diva.
What to do with Restaurant Divas?
Both types of restaurant diva’s can be detrimental to a restaurant. Avoid them and learn how to cope with them. Managers should not be afraid to open lines of communication and frequently engage these people in a one-on-one situation in an attempt to correct or control this. If it gets too out of hand the end game should be the same, only as a last resort.Spread the word with the whole staff!