I am having some troubles in this department. Any help would be great!
How do I get my people to MOVE IT! It is taking FOREVER to get anyone to get anything done in a resonible time. I can do what they are doing in 1/4 of the time. Now dont get me wrong, I know that I have more experience, and its my business, I dont want to spend 2 hours cutting dang mushrooms, seems to not bother them in the least. How do I get them to move FASTER? What is a resonable amount of time to get certain tasks done?

Does anyone have a shift duty sheet(s) they would be willing to share that I could use as a template to get my staff understanding what needs to be done? They are constantly working, they arent standing around, but EVERYTHING seems to take FOREVER!!!

Ugh, sorry, im just really frustrated with the lack of performance…

Hire someone new. The help should move more with the thought of losing hours or their job completely to the newbie. :smiley:

Rob I am not sure how things are in your area, but in my area most places are just taking whoever walks in the door…Record low unemployment in our area makes it hard to find motivated workers…Especially in the low pay jobs…

That is EXACTLY my problem, I have found 2 good employees, 1 is a 20 year old girl, who does as she is told, is learning the ropes quickly, but is a perfectionist, which in some ways is great, but in others…takes to long to get things done, I dont want to have to harp on her constantly and get her disgruntled, the other is a 14 year old, same thing, does as he is asked, picks up on things quickly, but has NO desire to learn the pizza making process, and takes FOREVER to get things done…am desperatly trying to find more staff but not finding anyone, and we pay $1 over minimum wage, which is what I have to pay my 14 year old just to keep him! Are you kidding me??? I keep telling them, if you work faster I can pay you more, but right now at the speed things are getting done I have to hire waaaaaay more staff and there goes any chance of a raise! I dont know…

if im to assume that you are female, my experience in kitchens is that nobody likes to be outdone by a girl. i would set up right next to them and start doing some mis en place. really burn through it, then look at the guy standing next to you and ask him if you can finish his stuff too because you are done. shame can be a powerful motivator. i have a lot of hispanic workers here, and if they see you working fast, they will work faster too. they just want whoever is in charge to work as hard as they do…

i used to work at a restaurant with a girl that could cook the pants off any guy in the place. she was faster on prep, she worked cleaner, and her food looked beatiful and tasted beautiful. we all respected her, and it made all us guys work harder because we didnt want to get shown up. She had a very subtle way of showing everybody that she was better.

another option is the track how long it takes you to do something, then make a chart with a timer next to it. slow people normally get teased enough by other employees that they either pick it up or just quit. either option is good for you

The unfortunate thing about anyone who owns a business anymore is the “breeding” of the new age of employees.

Gone are the days that hard-work means anything to the younger crowd.

Cell phones, cars, insurance, college, even homes, are handed to kids barely old enough to know what to do with them.

My suggestion…performance based pay.

Start your employees with a decent pay rate (so they’re not bummed out right out of the box), but once goals are met consistently (meaning over 30, 60, or 90 days), offer pay increases.

Make it known that decreases in performance will result in losing the performance pay increase.

Have set evaluation times to go over these with each employee and be consistent with it.

Money talks…BS walks…that’s how I’d do it.

lol, yes I am a girl, and I think you are right in some ways, I find that when I am in here running the show things are ALOT slower than when my husband, who has nothing to do with the restaurant, comes in. When he is here everything is done lickty split, peeves me off!
I think a time schedule is the way to go. I honestly have had enough, I am going to have a staff meeting tonight. I am going to lay down the law and let everyone know that I am at the end of my tether, here is the duty sheet…still to be written, and say this is your responsiblities, get it done. I cant take it anymore. I am at the point that I have been considering hiring an after or before hours person just to get prep and cleaning done. But with the staffing level I have this is ridiculous, the ones on shift should be getting it done. Do I sound pissed? Cuz I really really am. I come in here this morning and not even HALF of what I thought should be accomplished was done. ggggggggrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

I’d say your pretty screwed… :slight_smile: I have a few slow people, that I can’t get to move any faster either. It seems that a good amount of time on 1 station (2-3 months), always improves their speed on that station. Let them specialize in one area and then move them to the next.

I’v also never hassled someone to move faster, when they are prepping veggies with a knife :). That could get ugly, if they cut themselves. Also, if you have never cut vegetables in a restaurant environment in your life… It takes a REAL long time to become very efficient and fast at doing it. If you want your veg prep moving fast, I’d almost require that the employee has previous experience prior to hiring them.

For the non-dangerous jobs, you could hold contests… “Who’s the quickest at saucing?”./… “Who can cheese the fastest”… “Fastest Pizza Maker”. You don’t need to give out a cash prize or anything, just let them have bragging rights that they are the quickest in the store…

Last thing you could do is… Go rent a copy of “Full Metal Jacket” and mimic what that guy says/does and you’ll get your employees motivated real fast… lol…

Have fun :slight_smile:

I feel your pain. Things were like that for me, I had a couple of good high school kids, but also a “virus” that brought everyone to her level…slow, uncaring…The best thing to do if possible is to hire older, mature people. Since I’ve done that, no issues.

i dont think you should have to bring in extra people to get the job done. that just makes your labor cost more, and labor is one thing that is controllable to a certain extent. make a prep list for each shift. if they dont get it done, punch them out at the end of their shift and make them finish on their own time. people dont like working for free. they will hopefully get the list done in the alotted time, or just quit. again, either will be good for you. i always like to load the list with extra stuff too, not just the bare minimum to get by. it forces people to think how to work faster, so they can get to the bar, or the movies, or whatever else they do after work. ive noticed that if you give people 2 things or 10 things to do during a shift, it still takes them the same amount of time to do, which drives me up a wall. :x

I have had the same problem with motivation. One thing that helped was to give a estimate of how long it should take to do the job when assigning the job. For example it should take 10 minutes to fold a bundle of boxes or the dishes should take you 25 minutes. Better yet when you give a task ask how long the staff member thinks it will take them to do the job. If they are with in reason hold them to it. If they are way over ask why they think it should take that long to do and give them you estimate.

This helped with some and others I related the task to money. If it takes you a minute to fold each box then the box to put the pizza in is costing an extra 10 cents (or what ever the cost is) asking the staff if that is a good value sometimes hit the mark.

I have also had to tell departing staff the reason they are leaving is because they jsut didn’t seem to like the work and life is too short to work at something you don’t like doing.

we get alot of kids wanting to be proffesional cooks coming through my place, almost every prep task we have has a estimated time to complete it. when it comes to cutting things, i prefer quality of cuts over speed, with knife skills i have learned that focus on consistancy, the speed will come eventually.

like fastbreakrob said, the full metal jacket speech rocks, we have a fairly closed off kitchen so i allow music in the kitchen, and before a big friday night rush we sometimes play the DI’s speech from full metal jacket, gets everyone moving.

my fastest/best employee is a girl she is a rock star, she is also one of my lead supervisors and ppl take it seriously when she tells em they are slow, sloppy, ect.
some people just don’t have a second or third gear to kick in during the busy times, if those ppl put out good quality food, then i schedule them for the slower times of the week, if they don’t put out quality food, and are slow the can kick rocks.

we serve a movie theatre that holds 400 ppl in addition to a dining room and to go, so speed is essential here.


canucklady, I believe you posted something similar previously about the lack of respect you are garnering from your employees. It may be time to seek out coaching on how to engender that respect in others. Then do not be afraid to calmly kick some of the resistant employees to the curb. It is a bit of a Catch-22 at this point.

I feel your pain as I have the same situation with some (nearly all) of my employees.

The front counter girls don’t go looking for things to do when its quiet despite having a check list of things that need doing in their area, and a couple of drivers take forever to do chores.

I have 2 drivers who do everything really fast and do a good job, while another is OK but likes to talk to the young girls on the counter and is lower on his prep - he is a talker non stop so this slows him down. 2 other drivers are just slow moving, but good at deliveries.

Now I haven’t got a manager and have been there everyday I just keep on their tails and push, push, push. The girls just get told to find something to do and they do it. Their age and the fact that they do nothng at home is the main problem. It’s a new learning curve that needs constant supervision and encouragement. When they make themselves busy it’s fine but you constantly need to get on their backs.

The drivers are the problem especially with how hard it is to get them. The two slow ones are given a prep list with priority of what needs doing and a time factor of what it should take. If it takes me 5 minutes then I allow them 10 -15 depending on what it is. It is weighted favourably their way, but if they do it in that time then I am happy. I also have on the prep list all items that MUST be done for the night and outside of an extremely busy delivery night then they have to have it done, everything cleaned and put away before they leave. This means they have to do it by the time I have counted and balanced he till and done the paperwork. No excuses. Just keep pushing them and keeping them moving and not giving them time to stop and talk is the answer.

As far as doing the prep in reasonable time I find having the right equipment is the answer. We use knives very little. Only for cutting onions and capsicums in quaters to fit the cutting machine, or for segmenting ribs and cutting bacon into smaller pieces.

Tomatos, onions, capsicum, mushrooms and cheese go through the Robot Coup machines (we have 2) and this only takes a fraction of the time compared to hand cutting. They have no excuse for going slow on these.

I think that we would all agree that the kids of today are not motivated like we were at their age as everything is too easy for them. Most have never washed a dish until they started with us and probably have never done any chores, so it’s a new learning curve for them and one that we have to ingrain into them.


I think we will always wage this war to some degree. After going through this a few months back, I revamped my prep lists. I had to try and find out what motivated them…

We had a meeting, I explained that I have management things I need to take care of and I am spending too much time “cooking and prepping” I explained that I hired them to take care of the task. I CHOSE them because they could do it.

I explained they are not allowed to leave until their prep list is done and the after lunch clean up is done. They are motivated by leaving at 4pm and are now done by 4pm.

They are also smokers…they are not allowed to smoke until the prep sheet is done.

They love to eat…they are not allowed to eat until the afternoon prep and restocking is done. They eat one at a time and do final shift clean up after break.

Today I needed some extra pasta portioned, one cook asked if he could eat…I said yeah…hey will you portion that fett before you eat? It was done in no time.

If you PM me I will send you our prep list and clean up sheet. The prep list covers everything so I don’t have to babysit. I do check things over cuz they are still…welll for a lack of a better word…ummmm…lazy .

I usually go in and set the pace…then off to do things I need to do…I tell them pretty much everyday…"We gotta be on the ball today, we have lots of stuff to do.


It is not like we pay these people a lot of money. You best employee is probably worth at least 50% more than your average employee. They need to see some of that in their paycheck. I would not suggest just handing out raises, but I would suggest paying a bonus of a dollar an hour to employees that are stepping up. by making it a bonus you can pull it back if the improvement is temporary.

Paying more for more and better work is effective.

I buy bulk lots of movie tickets and hand them out as reward when someone steps up to the plate. They cost $11 a pop and I find with the young ones it means a real lot to them.


Our employees aren’t allowed to leave until all of their work is done either, but the problem I have sometimes is them doing their work without any regard to how it is affecting the rest of the staff trying to get their own work done. For example, last night I nearly slipped and fell because the pizza cook (who has to mop the floors) was mopping already when we were still finishing up with other stuff. They don’t seem to care about everything being done in the proper order so that everyone can finish their job easily.

I have a lot of smokers too…I think I will use your technique on them too. Thanks for the idea.

Same with this…no eating until after assigned work is done.

But I agree with the others also who said that the days of kids working hard and caring about the job they do are gone. All they want now is minimal hours, minimal work, but a big paycheck on payday! I’m thinking about telling my staff about how when I was their age I was a janitor during the summer at my old grade school. I worked with no air conditioning, waxing floors and scraping dried gum and boogers from the bottom of school desks…and I was happy to get the paycheck I did! (Am I sounding like one of those “Back in the day…” type of people?!?) Sorry!

Keep the ideas coming everyone. This is definitely an area where we can all help each other out!

LOL Sarah, I just had to chuckle…not AT you, so don’t take it wrong.

But how many of these kids probably hear that “back in the day” rant at home when their parents realize they’ve over-priviledged their children? Won’t work…they’ll say “play a violin, here comes the sob story”.

You know, I wonder how this would work?

See, hubby and I adopted our 2 children in 2006. We used this motivator for them for good behavior…I wonder if it would work in a working environment.

Go out and buy jars and marbles, and label each of the employees names on each jar.

For every thing that they do in good time, or without being prompted, put a marble in the jar.

Example: For drivers, they may earn a marble for every 50 boxes folded. For prep, say onions and peppers are done in 10 minutes…they get a marble (or 2 if it’s done in 5 mins and to specs).

If they trash a pizza or are lazy, talkative, cause a late delivery or forget a beverage on a delivery…whatever, take a marble back out of the jar.

On payday, the person with the most marbles in their jar for that pay period gets a $20 bonus, cash?

Hmm…that could work…I’ll be curious as to your responses.

I like the marble idea except that whenever I’m not there, or when no one is looking, I could see them moving marbles around from jar to jar, adding to their own jar, taking them out and throwing them around to be funny (not funny to me of course!)

Maybe the same idea would work, but in a way where they could not affect the results, maybe with a point system where only you could change the points. I don’t know, but I agree there should be some way out there to motivate these kids and give them a goal to work towards.