It’s a Trap: How to Get Your Employees Unstuck

In all aspects of life, we get hung up by job titles and we define ourselves by such.  Surely you have a friend who identifies as a doctor, lawyer, brewery owner, etc.  Just as those people do, so do your own employees. 

Bartenders/Beertenders, brewers, and others tie themselves to titles that limit how they see their own placements and growth opportunities within a company. 

Don’t confuse this with asking employees to go above and beyond into roles for which they weren’t hired, but rather to perceive their roles more uniquely. 

Many years ago I had a friend who owned a restaurant in one of our nation’s most prestigious cities for commerce — New York City. 

Just like any other restaurant he of course had servers. He explained that on many occasions within NYC serving can be a career position that pays extremely well. 

However, to get servers to a place of maximum profitability he realized they needed to see their position within his restaurant as something different. 

He would explain to his servers that their sections within the restaurant were much like that of a real estate agent. 

The point is to pursue maximum profitability within the section. Homes will show better and sell faster when they’re staged and staged well. The faster an agent can list a home and move the property the higher profit potential and opportunity for future gains.

Once the servers could perceive their sections in this regard they began setting tables and sections as a whole for higher profitability. 

This change in mindset of course made the restaurant more money but also built strong careers for the staff. 

This mindset correlates to every aspect of business and not just front of house. 

Clients and spaces are easily perceived through the idea of real estate. Assisting employees to understand the maximum profitability of space they will do what’s best to capitalize on said spaces. 

Moreover, I tend to get all employees on some form of commission structure. Although servers receive tips, the tips themselves are essentially a variable commission of sales. 

Of course, our sales representative is on commission, but I also have our head brewer and operations manager on commission. 

Our head brewer at this stage makes commissions on net beer sales within the taproom. His new mindset is to see the bartenders as essential team members who improve his sales potential. The more they’re educated on what he’s creating, the better they can sell, and the more money everyone will make. 

Our operations manager is incentivized on multiple fronts. He receives commission from net sales within the taproom which can include merchandise, beer sales, liquor sales, and event sales that are paid within our POS. 

We all started our businesses to make profits. Likewise, our employees joined us to make money. Very few of us on this earth are pursuing passion projects full-time. As an owner, I believe it’s vital to focus business on quality products with maximum profitability. And, lastly, the more assistance you can garner on that mission the easier the journey.

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