Am I ridiculous?

I appreciate all the insight you all bring and would like your opinion…

Am I ridiculous?

We have had a manager for the past year. He was hired from within so he had no manager experience. We have been training, training and training. Most things he picks up pretty quick. Sales and customer serivice are pretty good.

We opened a new store and he has “taken” charge of the 1st. We have a day assistant who does fine. He is training an assistant for his shift…nights.

Our system is set up to hopefully help all of us succeed. We have clean up lists. (Each Shift and weekly) Check in list for him to help everyone get prepared. Any and all expectations are on the lists. (Clean up and daily sales paperwork)

We have had to depend on him to keep things up to par while we focus on the new store. When I go in to get paperwork, deal with some issues there is ALWAYS something left undone.

Over the past year I have been trying to get him to use the lists. Just doesn’t happen. I tell him if you go by the lists there will absolutely nothing for me to complain about. On monday I went in an the store was filthy. Spent an hour cleaning the maketable (which hadn’t been thouroughly cleaned in weeks when it should be cleaned everday and totally cleaned once a week. I re mopped and some other stuff.

Needless to say I was ticked. We had a meeting this past Wed and I told him it is mandatory to physically take the list and walk around and check everything. He agreed. We have meetings appx every three weeks and the clean up is always one of the topics.

Went in this morning…store was pretty well clean but walked by the cook list and it was not filled out by cooks. Went to drivers station, not filled out and the wait was 1/2 filled out. Most things were done but didn’t use the list. Little things like trash bags in bathroom etc. were forgotten. Not a big deal in the scheme of things but I think I am more disappointed that here is is 2 days later and he is not following the goal set out on Wed which is to use the lists. Some sales paperwork wasn’t done.

When I called him he said, I did check everyone out… I said the lists weren’t even filled out. I explained literally for the hundreth time the reason we use the lists so nothing is forgotten. He said ok.

My husband keeps reminding me, we all have those days. We get busy and forgetful. But I just think it is ridiculous… Especially since he is training a new assistant. I have even told him have the employees check each other out. Nothing is working.

Am I being ridiculous? What would you all do? Lighten up and go about life or keep plugging away and tell him to get it or go?

I have someone like that who I have been trying to get into a greater managerial role. Basically he tells me what I want to hear. He asks what he can do to improve, offers suggestions to improve things and show some initiative sometimes when I am there, but he just refuses to do the basic things I have laid out for him as you have done for your guy.

IMO your guy is just drawing it out as long as you let him. I would be looking to replace him, especially if he is training other people. He will train them according to his comforts and influence them not to make him look bad. Your good employees will take on the habits of your manager and then you will be looking to replace more people.

Not everyone will have the same “management” style you do. Maybe lists work for you and not for him.

Have you asked him what will help him remember to do things?

This isn’t a style question. This is a getting things done question. This is a manager NOT following the policies/guidelines set by the owner. Without the lists it’s up to the managers memory- he’s not doing stuff with the lists.

Sit down with him. Tell him these lists are HIS responsibility. Don’t say job. Say responsibility. He makes sure they get done. If you come in and find the lists not done he’s going to be disciplined. The sit down is his verbal warning. Two more times and he’s gone. He’s counting on you to not be willing to fire him because of the second store.

If the lists aren’t getting done, there’s more stuff not getting done.

IMO I think people are pre-disposed to be what they are deep down. I think we can change some habits and refine others but wide swings ae not going to happen. It is one thing to work on someone to help them be more diligent about lists but it is quite a different thing to to persuade someone to be clean. Are not all employees works in progress? But there has to be a certain level of fundamental compatibiiity of values and standards. It is necessary for a restaurant to be clean. If your manager does not recognize and have concern for this then where are you? There are certain areas of restuarant operations where there might be wiggle room but cleanliness is not one of them.
It has been said that there are three “state of mind” positions with respect to running a business: (1) Perfectly Content, (2) Frustration and, (3) Constructive Discontent. If you are perfectly content then most likely you are not nearly aware of everything that needs adjusting. If you are frustrated all the time then maybe your management style needs to be re-thought. Constructive discontent is a place where you are slightly discontented about things and working to improve them.

From another direction…The leader has to set the bar high. Lets say on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the best and you set the bar at a 9 or 10. Assume that average is 5. By the time your energy and passion are diluted down by employees who are naturally going to be less driven, you wind up with a 7 or 8. We can adjust our goals here as best suit us of course but if the leader sets the goal at 7 or 8 the business may very well wind up with a 5 or less.

In this operation of the poster methinks that this manager is not going to get where you need him to be. Having said that I think that in this day and with the workforce that we have we may have to make adjustements. We are working, in this business, at the wrong end of the age scale and the money is sometimes not the greatest. We get a lot of people that are their way to be something else. We get a lot of people who don’t want to be something else that might be better because what they want is a no hassle job that pays them enough to get by. Either way we need these people to take care of the critical/essential stuff and maybe we work with the rest as best we can. If they cannot or will not take care of the core essentials important to every restaurant then there might not be any place to go and they have to leave. If this manager is the wrong person with an inability or refusal to take care of essentials then in his position he will poison the rest of the employees. The bad ones will love it and the goods will either become poor or just leave.

Get serious with yourself as to whther this is a deal breaker for you or not. If it is, then put in writing the fact that you expect the lists to be used and completed on a nightly basis. Set review periods weekly to being with. Set expectation as to what the performance level is and what consequences are for failing to meet those perfromance levels. Be simple, direct and axplain that this is important enough to you to do all of this. Letting it go 3 weeks before follow up would show me that it isn’t so big a deal after all.

Put it in terms of what he does with the employees he manages. They have to meet expectations, and so does he. Isuspect that it will beuncomfortable for you both, but it will be a growth opportunity for you both. Start the meeting and end the meeting with the strenghts that make him a valuable asset and the reason you think he can succeed with this expectation. In the middle, lay out what you expect him to do.

You might even make it incentive based in terms of a bonus structure for accomplishing the checklists along with consequences for failure levels.

It isn’t a democracy. It’s a dictatorship.

If you want him to check off lists, he better well check off lists - period.

If he doesn’t do what you ask, then you should replace him.

Money Talks… Give him/her the facts one last time stating that this list needs to be done every single days. No exceptions. Explain to him/her that you are going to do a weekly review. If after a set time frame, things turn around, maybe offer a little raise. If things still are not getting completed properly then use the handy write up forms. Everybody reacts differently, but the facts remain the same. There is a job to be done and if it is not getting done properly, then a replacement is needed.

Also, if this manager is training others, the lack of effort is just going to rub off on others. The last thing you want is a staff of workers doing sub par work. It may get ugly for a bit if your have to terminate the manager, but you will be better off in the long run

Well, I truly appreciate the responses. I definately feel a growth spur for me coming on.

Nick, I liked what you said and is what I have wrestled with “is this a deal breaker?”

That is the question I need to find the answer for.

I agree with the other posters and think we are all pretty much on the same page.

I did write him up on Saturday morning and talked with him. I am going to go up there now to see how things look (we are closed on Sundays) so
we’ll see. I guess I need to be doing a checklist for myself and keep following up.

I talk to him daily and see him a few times a week and of course we have a formal meeting every 3 weeks and I think I will ask him everytime if he has been using his lists.

I would really like to see him succeed. He has worked for our company on and off since he was 15 and he is now 24 with a wife and child. It is a great opportunity for us both but I don’t think any of us could have ever believed the cost of being in this biz.

We have never really implemented the write up system, I document most things and maybe need to dig the file out and present them to him on his year review coming up. Maybe even have him evaluate himself.

We have offered him some bonus options and I am going to tie this into the bonus opportunities he has somehow.

I thank you all for the comments and would appreciate any further comments.

As someone else says “Another day in paradise”

I disagree completely here. Sorry to be a nay-sayer, but my first thought was that the lists could be, for lack of a better worrd, CRAP! You have 2 stores, do you have an operations manual and training classes set up for running and operating a store? Probably not. You really should not expect a 10/10 policy/guideline adherence.

He probably hates those lists. I sure would given his position. Guest (please register) - you might be a great person to work for, but I bet he hates hearing about those lists day in and day out. They might work great for you, like someone else mentioned, but they don’t for him. Does that mean he is useless? If he is then you have to fire him and move on. If he isn’t (and that is probably the case) then you should work with him in a bit more nurturing way. At 15, guess who he learned his work habits from? A good work ethic is not something 90% of the people are born with.

I am willing to bet that this is a pain for you to deal with as well. Just stop going against the current and change your own way of dealing with the situation. Throw away that write up and chalk it off as a bad decision. Have a meeting and agree to burn the lists in the parking lot (trust me, letting him burn them is far better than the trash) if he will just clean the make line daily. Then build on that. Make his life easier and his work funner. You will both be happier in the long run.

I think that all the posters have something to take out of them.

In our store we have a list over the sink detailing what is required from the wash up area.

Out the back we have the end of night clean up detailed for the drivers.

Front counter have their check list of duties.

My manager doesn’t have anything written because he doesn’t need it, but we have a list for our manager in training as he is on a learning curve.

We have a daily list of things that need to be done for prepping and each item is prioritised and has the quantity to be done and the allowed time to do it. This one works well.

As far as the other lists …

Do they all respond to their lists? NO

Does every job get done everytime? NO

Do some of them not read the lists? YES

Am I TOTALLY happy with the levels EVERYTIME? NO

Are my standards higher than the staff? MOST DEFINITELY

Will they ever get to what I feel is the best they can do? NO (see previous question/answer)

I walk the shop in the morning before anyone gets in and sometimes I get “hot” and will pick up the broom or mop or whatever and do it to my standards. There are numerous little picky things that I get frustrated because the staff haven’t done it but I let it ride because I know I’m a pedantic bas#@*d.

In the end of the day if the front of shop is clean and inviting, the kitchen floor is swept and mopped correctly the make bench, other benches, stove and microwaves cleaned and sanitised and the prep area cleaned and mopped and everything put away then I let the annoying things pass. In the end of the day they are not things that will get us marked down by the health inspector etc.

In your situation you may be showing the same frustrations of your standards being so much higher than expectations in reality.

If your manager is not doing the jobs as you described I would venture to say there is a morale and lack of motivation problem.

Maybe you need to change your outlook and catch him doing something RIGHT. At the moment all he is hearing how he is not doing things right.

How to fix it?

You need to explain that the lists are the requirements that need to be done to meet the standards required by law (health dept etc). Explain that leaving dirty benches, floors etc are health issues as well as everyday duties that are required to be done. Tell him the lists is an AID to ASSIST him do his job BETTER.

When you are reviewing the shop don’t hit him up front with the NOT DONES. Sit down with him and reveiw the whole shop TOGETHER. ASK him how the shifts have been and how they have coped. PRAISE him on the good things that have been achieved. INVOLVE him in discussions on what have been missed and ASK him HOW HE MAY IMPROVE IT.

Maybe there is the possibility in putting together an incentive scheme to lift the standards that makes you feel more comfortable and lifts his interest to your requirements. Points on for hitting each set of benchmarks and points off for not achieving a SET GOAL. If you go down this track he MUST be INVOLVED in the DECISSION MAKING PROCESS.

He needs OWNERSHIP of the proceedures and practices and you will only get this from him by INVITING him to be part of the setting up of it for himself and for the duties of the staff. He IS the MANAGER and he will MANAGE better and MORE EFFECTIVELY if he is given OWNERSHIP of the situation.

In time if he is the type of person who responds to this then you will be on a winner because he will then develop these traits in his management style.

It is going to be really hard for you to sit back and adapt to this because you sound just like me (and probably a host others in the same situation) where your standards are very high because you have OWNERSHIP.

But in the end of the day if you can get your manager achieving a level that is acceptable to you I would venture to say that the standards have been raised to an unprecedented level which will make it a win-win situation for all.

He will have great job SATISFACTION, he will be probably be finacially BETTER OFF, overall shop standards will be HIGHER and you will be HAPPY.


Deal breakers?? Come on, if the person writing my checks says do it this way…I do it this way, period…no questions asked.
As far as checklists go, I have one for everything. That way no one can “forget”, “misunderstand”, “do it better”. Every corp store (not just pizza shops) have checklists, and all managers are required to follow them. That is why they are successful. The stores that are the least profitable, are usually the ones cutting a corner or two.
Yes, once a person has beeen completing a task day in day out, they seem to think they no longer need the ck list. However, it is there for a reason. For example by completing the Pull Thaw checklist daily, my managers will never beable to say…oh, I forgot to pull the chicken wings, because I cut everyone out and got slammed! You don’t leave until you have ALL your lists completed, if you let the grill guy leave and something on his list is not completed, YOU complete it! That is why you have these people in charge.
Forget the question “Why a guy/girl can’t/won’t fill out a simple checklist?” and focus on “Why don’t they see the importance of completing this checklist?”


If this were about ‘happier’, then I would agree. I expect adults to handle hating a work responsibility a whole lot differently. Oppositional’defiant behaviors are expected from 4 year olds, and I expect a Manager of a my restaurant to approach me and air his differences of opinions, why he disagrees with my policy, and then abide by my decision. Allowing someone to openly defy directions on a regular basis, and then cxhanging the policy in order to reduce the tension and make the problem go away is probably an unproductive decision (see 4-year-old above). Getting compliance is the first goal, then working through the differences can be productive. Other way, you will get ‘tantrum’ behavior as ameans of controlling the relationship in future.

A wise mentor of mine once said that “you can only confront inasmuch as you have been supportive”. Better bang out several written comendations for exceptional work in order to make sure he knows that you are looking for, and value even more, the times that he meets and exceeds expectations. At a facility I used to supervise, we attempted to document each week using “coaching notes” the things staff did well and needed attention. . . at least one of each a week. It took the sting out and we supervisors got in the habit of “seeking the greatness”. I don’t do it nearly so well in my restaurant, but I do spend a lot of time each shift pattnig guys on the back for things they have gone an extra mile (or couple of steps) to get done.

One guy is being ‘rewarded’ next week by my teaching him how to make pesto sauce for an experimental special pizza. he will be the only one besides me who knows the recipe and technique. Sneaky as h#ll way of delegating a task and giving a guy more responsibility and trusty at the same time.

i just went through the exact same scene… i hired this person to be a MANAGER. the organizational skills that were supposed to be there werent, which is why i expected lists to be followed. oh…he chhecked everything off… just didn’t check to see if it actually got done. i tried with meetings, discussions on how important it was that this be done and still wasn’t getting done. i liked the guy and wanted him to succeed, but it is more important that i succeed, so he is not there any more. if you have given this person the time and they still don’t get it, get rid of them. if they aren’t doing what they are supposed to and start getting irritated that you want them to keep doing lists and stuff, who knows what they will do next, start stealing, slacking off worse, and in general sabatoging the operation. the longer they stay the more it is going to cost you to fix…just my 2 cents.

Hello guest,here is my guggestion if you like this person and feel he or she has the potential.Sit One last time w/ them and tell them heres the deal,I am willing to give you One Last insentive chance.I say insentive which usually works with people whom love $$.Tell them your willing in the next month to give them a $1-2.00 raise if Everything is done on your list procedure which I think is a good one.Be sure to let them know that the moment it isn’t being incorporated that the position will automatically be elliminated and that the reason that they are not being eliminated right now is cause we like you and feel you have great potential,this will also give them a lift.
Hope this helps you,

I’ve skimmed through some of the responses and apologize for not reading through them, but I read the original post and would like to comment if I may. If someone has already answered in this fashion I do apologize for that as well:

What works for some people may not work for others. Personally, I’m not a list person and have never followed one, even when I was given one as a manager. I’m one of those guys that will get a bike for my daughters birthday and try to figure it out because I hate following the directions. It seems as though you’re a “list” person where your manager is not. That doesn’t neccessarily mean your manager is a bad manager. It just means your manager hates lists. Nothing wrong with that in my book.

I have assistants at my first store who want to put up lists for everything. Everytime they come to me with that idea I always shoot it down. One reason is because I know I personally, will never follow it. That’s just not my style. I’m a firm believer in training and if you want your manager to do things the right way you should train him:

  1. Prepare
    The first step in this process is to prepare the learner. The trainer should put the learner at ease and explain why the skill to be learned is important. Explain any hazards or problems that may be involved and how to deal with them. Answer any questions that the learner may have about the task.
  1. Tell
    Explain the task thoroughly. Break it down into key parts or steps. Most employees will find that learning several smaller tasks and putting those together is easier than trying to learn one large skill all at once.

  2. Show
    Demonstrate exactly how the task or skill is to be done for the employee. Involve the employee by asking questions and getting feedback. Have the learner explain the process or skill back to the trainer.

  3. Do
    The learner now has the opportunity to perform or do the task. The trainer needs to help the learner develop confidence by carefully monitoring the learner at first, then allowing him or her to work without supervision. The employer needs to make sure that the employee does each step correctly and avoids developing any bad habits.

  4. Review
    Provide honest feedback to the learner in terms of encouragement, constructive criticism, and additional comments. This is a great opportunity to praise the employee or correct their progress.

Also, there’s nothing wrong with compromsing to obtain a final objective. So seriously think about the ramifications of your actions before you select them. Think about how much it would cost to replace your manager if you get rid of him for not following a list. You need to weigh the options and make sure you’re making an informed decision. I know you would be angry at me if I was working for you because (and I’m sorry) I’m just not going to follow a list for anything. I just don’t work that way. Besides, I’d probably be a little upset because I’d feel I was being micro-managed.


I agree j, to some extent that some people work better without lists. However when the people don’t follow a list that is there and the work is not getting done, then we have a problem. I don’t have a list for everything, just 2, A beginning shift checklist to make sure all prep is ready, and a closing list to make sure all is ready for next day and insure all equipment is off etc.

A list may seem like a basic idea that you don’t need to follow, but lets face it in this business we all have a lot on our minds at times and it is easy to forget things.

You mentioned training. Can’t training them how to use a list be a part of that. Frankly, if they can’t be trained to do that, well…

I do agree, that it doesn’t necessarilly make them a bad manager. But each of us needs to decide… how important is the list, is the work getting done or not. As j said, it’s expensive to replace someone, however as i posted earlier… it can be even more expensive not to replace them.

Bottom line is that we each have to be happy with the way things are running in our stores, lists or not, and we all have to make decisions on
the people managing them for us. There are a lot of different management styles out there, and what works for one shop may not fly in another. It is nice to have this forum to be able to throw some of these issues to get some different points of view.

good luck

Well I guess the most important question for you is…Will you be satisfied if the checklist were all just checked off “Pencil Whipped”? Checklist are important. Job responsibilities executed is important. Respecting the owners standards is important. Just quit chewing on this issue. It sounds like you have given every opportunity for this manager to remove his/her head from thier *#^. Get over it and replace the manager or you can just accept and take responsibility that is yours and yours alone because you are the owner.

In short, no.

It’s not about being a list person or not a list person. It’s about following the operational procedures of the owner.

When we were developing our Franchise one of the key components was the operations manual. Franchise owners are no different than everybody else in their desires to follow procedures, some do, some don’t.

The key to getting more compliance is letting those involved know the penalties. Loss of bonuses, promotions, termination, ect…

When I got to the point where I was ready to let the “non-conforming employee” go I ended our “last discussion” about their work habits with there’s really only two ways to do this, “My way or out the door way.”

I know the tough road of giving notice to a long term, stuck through the growth pain, employee. One time it was determined that we had to let a store manager go.
He had been with us for a couple of years, worked like a dog, got fast promotions as we grew and then fell in with the wrong crowd and became a slacker.

The meeting was set with myself, the company VP (who had trained this person into management) the district manager and the soon to be terminated store manager. As we waited for him to show we started shuffling on who was actually going to say it. I used Presidential exemption and passed the buck. My brother the VP said there was no way he can tell him he’s fired this close to Christmas. The DM knew it was Sh*t rolling down hill to his feet. When the manager got there it started with all the things he was doing wrong and references to his outside life choices. He never argued the points. He knew where this was headed.
Then things were tossed out about all his time put in and all his good things done. He needed to get his personal life straight and if these things weren’t adhered to he would be fired the next time there’s and incident with the store. :lol:

Sorry for the long story… it’s slow in here tonight :frowning:

exactly, if he is not following guidlines then get him striaght or replace. i worked in a corp and have them now, they need to be done too ensure everything is being completed.