Servers are required to constantly juggle multiple priorities on a minute-by-minute basis. Continually reevaluating what is the most urgent guest need and how to address other needs efficiently to prevent anticipatable needs from becoming urgent. Our guests, managers, and co-workers determine our priorities. All three of these groups have no problems speaking up and letting us know what their needs are. Trying to find the best way to accommodate all of these needs is the mark of a great server.
Beyond the immediate needs, we too often fail to understand the competing priorities of our guests, managers, and corporations. Each of these groups has very different priorities than a server. Each of these groups also has the distinct ability to drive us crazy. Their priorities are different than ours. Only by understanding each group’s priorities can we find a way to meet their objectives and try to have them meet ours.
To visually demonstrate these priorities I am using a Venn diagram. These diagrams feature three overlapping circles. The primary colors in the circle represent areas where only one of the three priorities is being met. The overlaps (shown in orange, purple, and green) are were two of the three priorities are being met. The white area in the center represents all three priorities being met at once.
Ideally all decisions would lead to all three priorities being met and fall in the white area. This is what Stephen Covey famously referred to as a “win-win-win.” The problem is that in each of the groups involved in restaurants, the priorities compete and are occasionally incompatible. Often they have to settle for only satisfying one or two of the priorities with any decision. They key is to create a situation where overall the cumulative result of all decisions results in an experience where all three priorities are met.
This week I will deal with all three of these groups and others. As I do I will hotlink them below the individual graphs. In the meantime, here is a sneak preview to get you thinking about the competing priorities from the perspective or each group.
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