Common Sense Is Not Common

My daughter is away at college and she works part time. As a bartender at a local bowling alley, she makes pretty good tips for the three shifts she works a week. But she called up the other day and said she was ready to quit. When I asked her why, I got a 20-minute description of an operation so poorly run it boggles the mind. Among the problems making it really hard for her to deliver good service (but that seem really easy to fix) is a recent switch from free-pour to jigger-measured cocktails. It’s a smart move, except the huge bar only has three jiggers to its name, so bartenders are constantly running around, searching for them and having to wash them out between drinks. Requests for additional jiggers go unanswered. Something’s wrong with the beer-tap pressure; bartenders have to run foam into pitchers before the beer actually starts to flow. Managers yell at them about the waste, but don’t bother to fix the problem. “I can’t serve customers foam,” she says. Apparently, you can’t serve them what’s on the printed craft beer menu either. Whoever is in charge of inventory hasn’t reordered the items offered on the menu, so the backbars are full of the less popular crafts and a whole bunch of regular beer and pretty much nothing matches what’s offered. My daughter found this out when someone asked for three different beers off the menu; not one was in stock. The bowling alley bar offers food, and she says not a shift goes by without the kitchen falling into chaos because there’s not enough pizza dough thawed. I won’t go into how they’re thawing it, but thinking to do it a day in advance would be wise, or investing in a thawing cabinet. Receipts from events at the alley absolutely must be printed off and put into a jar, she tells me. Too bad the printers only work 30% of the time, which means bartenders have to come out from behind the bar, run to the office and use the printer there. That’s not smart when customers on three sides are two deep waiting to be served. She’s tried her best to talk to the managers, but they come and go and no one takes ownership. The place is losing good workers because they’re set up to fail. If she can’t enact change, she’ll take her good work ethic somewhere else.

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