Today’s video talks about why your restaurant staff hates checklists,  and it’s not for the reasons you think.

To learn more please either watch the video above, read the transcript or listen to the podcast below.

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Read the Video Transcript by Clicking Here...


Hey restaurant owners, operators and managers! Today, I want to talk about why your staff hates checklists, it’s not for the reasons you think.

Listen, I get it. Your staff hates checklists, but the question is do you even like them? Have you ever been sold on them? Do you love checklists? When I operated restaurants I loved checklists. They were the most important management tool I had in my arsenal. The reason I love them is because I had the privilege of working in some really amazing restaurants that taught me how important they were and taught me how to love them. When I went on to operate and manage restaurants, I couldn’t do it without checklists. They were an amazing tool and I always had a passion for them. I think because of that I never had an issue getting my staff to adopt them.

There were some other factors in that I took a lot of time to make sure I built them properly, they always looked neat, I managed them properly, and I knew the difference between a checklist and a prep sheet. Those are all factors that I discussed in the three previous videos in this series. 

Why does your staff hate checklists?

To be totally honest with you, I would probably hate checklists too if I had to follow the checklist that you’re using right now. They’re probably ugly, messy, not formatted properly, not organized, they probably haven’t been updated in years and are just photocopies or old ones – just like I mentioned in the 1st video

Checklists are living, breathing documents. They’re constantly in flux and constantly changing…they aren’t something that you make once. I’ll never forget the time I walked into a restaurant chain in Los Angeles, they have 11 restaurants and I worked as an on-site consultant 5 years ago. I went into the restroom and as I’m leaving there’s a sign on the door – a bathroom cleaning checklist. The last time it had been filled out was three weeks prior to the day that I was there. I took it to the managers and said, “Show me the rest of your checklists that have been ignored.”

They opened up this booklet and some of the checklists were dated to the 90’s and early 2000’s. They were printed out 20 years ago and were garbage. All that does is send a signal to your staff that you don’t care. You don’t even honor these. You’re just doing them because you were told that you have to do them. If you don’t honor your checklists, how can you expect your staff to?

The first thing I want to ask is do you even love checklists? Do you even care about them, are you managing them, are they important to you, are they accurate or up to date? All of these factors come into play but at the end of the day if you don’t believe in checklists, honor them and create them in a way that your staff wants – they just won’t follow them. 

I need you to think of a checklist as a tool. Imagine if I asked you to build a house, let’s assume you know how to do it, and I was paying your fair rate. I gave you architectural plans, materials, and all that. You show up to build on the first day with lumber, and you’re getting things setting it up. When you’re about to hammer a piece of wood and I tell you, “Oh no, I’m sorry, you can’t use a hammer. I need you to build this house without a hammer, just use the palm of your hand to drive that nail in. You’re probably going to walk right out of the job and say, “You’re crazy, there’s no amount of money that’s worth that!” I wouldn’t blame you as I would do the same thing.

The problem is we think checklists are the solution; they are not. They’re just a tool, like a hammer to help your team do a better job. If you can’t build a house without a hammer, how do you expect your staff to do their job without a properly formatted checklist? After all, if your staff did everything they were supposed to do, how and when they were supposed to do it, you would want to pay them more money. You would want to give them the raise or pay that they want. 

Summing it up:

Would you love to have staff, right now, that did everything properly and on time? To help your staff do this, give them the right checklist. Then love the checklist, honor it, and manage the checklists that are built properly that are given to your staff properly and you will have the staff of your dreams. 

Will it be easy? No, nothing worth having is easy. I’m not here selling magic pills and silver bullets, I’m here telling you the truth. Have an absolutely wonderful day. I hope you enjoyed the series on checklists and I look forward to bringing you another great video just like this next week.

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