Now Hiring All Positions
by Jack Guarnieri, Jersey Jack Pinball & PinballSales.com
Signs of the current times, posted on store windows, front lawns, social media and roadways show company after company looking for employees. The sectors having the hardest time hiring people are the sectors that have just recently reopened. That’s our industry for the most part including restaurants, travel, leisure and hotels.
It’s so good to be back out without a mask eating at your once-favorite places. In several dining spots, we noticed some differences. First, it was harder to get a reservation. Second, it was even harder to get good service. The wait staff is not as experienced and the servers didn’t seem to know when to bring an appetizer or the main course. In more than one recent occasion, they served both at the same time.
At one restaurant, I had four people hover over our table, watching us eat over our shoulders. My unfinished wine glass was removed by the busser as I was paying my check! And it wasn’t like we had overstayed our welcome. We were there barely an hour. So, in some cases, good service is suffering as inexperienced people are doing jobs with minimal training. Where are the trained people who had these jobs before the pandemic? I don’t know but I refuse to believe they are all still on enhanced unemployment. Perhaps they changed careers.
Wages are up, prices are up, demand is up and supply is down in goods and services. We have been told that the rise in inflation is “transitory,” a word now so overused it reminded me of the overused word “mitigate” that we heard during the pandemic.
I’ve seen a big rise in the cost of food, cooked and uncooked. I tried to buy a couple of pounds of Bing cherries the other day and they were $8 a pound for a little package. The other night, six small, grilled scallops along with a few strings of steamed veggies on my plate were $33. I’m not complaining, I’m just explaining (as Richie says), but it almost seems that some of these businesses are trying to make up for the time and money they lost by being closed.
This is a real boom time if you can manage the demand and expectations of your customers while keeping your business staffed with competent people. That means not just warm bodies but well-trained, happy employees who look forward to the job they were hired to do.
My suggestion to all of you with a business: FOCUS.
Focus on the customers, their perceptions and real experiences they have with your business. This is a time when the consumer is going out to have a memorable time, perhaps as a reward for being locked down for a year and a half. They may have known your business pre-pandemic. Don’t disappoint them with something less than they expect.
For example, the place that delivered the main course while we were still eating the appetizers, had the hovering people and removed my unfinished wine glass, well, they got a life sentence. We won’t be going back there. I’m not posting about it on social media as it’s not my job to warn anyone or ruin anyone’s meal. After all, maybe I was there on an off night. I did tell the 22-year-old maître d’ about our experience, and he politely listened and said thank you. I left the customary 20% tip as well. It was not the server’s fault.
My advice is to under promise and over-deliver. Treat your employees like gold. They are a huge part of why your customers come back or bring their business somewhere else.
Jack Guarnieri started servicing electro-mechanical pinball machines in 1975 and has been involved in every phase of the amusement game business since then. He was an operator in NYC, then began a distributorship in 1999, PinballSales.com, selling coin-op to the consumer market. In January of 2011, he founded Jersey Jack Pinball (named after his RePlay Magazine pen name), which builds award-winning, full-featured, coin-op pinball machines. Email Jack at [email protected] jerseyjackpinball.com.