Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Breakfast and a Cat Fight

I had the interesting experience of going to a local doughnut shop to meet a client this week. I arrived early and had a pleasant chat with the girl behind the counter as she made my tea.

Once I sat down, everything changed. The employees started to discuss ordering supplies, which lead to a conversation about a regional manager's upcoming visit. Given the openly hostile response from one staff member, I got the impression she is not well liked. The conversation ended with comments like "well I know what to call her" and statements about "filling in" gaps in a log. 

They then switched to discussing breaks, where one employee demanded to have the first break because she didn't get one the day before, and random commentary about expired products that were still being used. This may have seemed appropriate to the staff but the handful of customers, seated at various tables, seemed less entertained as the banter continued.

What none of these employees seemed to realize is that their behavior is a direct reflection on the company they work for. Watching the expressions on the customers faces I could tell that some where uncomfortable, others were outright shocked. I doubt any of them will return to the store, given that it's a major chain and there is another one down the street. 

I don't know why the onsite manager didn't insist on moving the conversation to the office, or why the regional manager is so disliked. What I do know is that the employee behavior has negatively affected several people who were customers of the store. Probably resulting in lost future sales. 

As a business owner you need to know what your employees are doing and impress on them that they are the face of the company.