Shining Pennies, Burning Dollars: 5 Ways Micromanaging is Destroying Your Business


Micromanagers are people who seek to control every part, however insignificant, of a business. In hospitality, micromanagers come in all shapes and sizes—from the seasoned head bartender to the obsessive lead chef. Most commonly however, hospitality micromanagers tend to be the owners or managers themselves.


For whatever reason, these micromanagers cannot relinquish control to their subordinates. They hover like a hungry hawk above its prey, waiting for the perfect moment to swoop down and pounce on any assumed mistake no matter how minute it is.


Imagine a server working a busy shift and in-between taking orders, clearing tables and closing checks, has a micromanager barking orders about how things should be done:


“No! The receipt needs to go on the left side of the check presenter, not the right side.”

“There is too much ice in that water glass!”

“Go greet that table that just sat!” (As the server is in the middle of inputting another table’s order).


Unfortunately, any restaurant that allows this kind of behavior is losing money, wasting time, and causing unnecessary stress and anxiety for its employees.


So what’s up with all this micromanaging? Does it come from a place of spiteful intentions, malicious thoughts, and a lack of care for the restaurant overall? Probably not. Instead, it’s often the opposite—the micromanager is so incredibly passionate that they are afraid to let go of the reigns and give others the freedom to do their jobs uncontrolled.


Whatever the intention is behind micromanaging, one thing is certain: it’s not good for business. Here are 5 reasons micromanaging is costing your venue money:



1. Opportunity Costs

Managers and owners don’t have time to oversee every little detail. When time is wasted micromanaging capable employees, opportunities to improve the venue’s business by greeting customers, fixing errors, and enhancing marketing initiatives are lost.



2. Loss of Staff Morale

When employees feel degraded and unable to perform their duties without constant criticism and demands, they will stop caring about their place of employment. They may even dread going to work. As staff morale is lost, employees may begin showing up late for work, ask to leave early, and half-ass their side duties. When your staff don’t feel appreciated it’s truly a lose-lose situation that has a direct impact on the success of your business.



3. Comparative Advantage

While some managers may be better at bartending or serving than their front of the house staff, if they try to do those jobs themselves they will sink their business into the ground. For example, let’s say the venue is packed and five servers are on the floor. How could a manager oversee every small detail such as garnish types while simultaneously completing all the responsibilities associated with their role? They couldn’t!



4. Loss of Efficiency & Profit

When someone is constantly dictating what staff members can and cannot do, it’s hard for the staff to get things done as efficiently. In turn, they will lose valuable time that could have been spent taking orders, making drinks and turning tables. Not only will the venue lose money in missed opportunities and decreased efficiency, the FOH staff will also lose tips they could have been making.



5. High Employee Turnover

Hospitality is a fluid industry— everyday staff members walk out, don’t show up, or quit without notice. If staff are micromanaged to a point of feeling disrespected and unhappy they won’t hesitate to quit as soon as they find another job or have had enough.



So what’s the alternative?

Rather than micromanaging staff members, focus instead on harnessing their talents and setting expectations. Here are a few ways to do just that:


Construct a Detailed Job Description 

Create a list of responsibilities for each job position, and review it with all employees. Every time a new employee is hired, make sure they read the description thoroughly and sign a job agreement. This will ensure each employee accepts responsibilities for a pre-determined list of duties. It will also create trust and ownership, as every employee will feel responsible for their specific job.


Offer Reassurance

Praise employees when they are working hard. Incentivize employees who go above and beyond their responsibilities, such as those who do extra side work, go out of their way to assist customers, or pick up last minute shifts. Reward these stand-out employees by offering them better shifts, free meals, or taking the time to simply thank them and publicly acknowledge their hard work at your next staff meeting. If time is spent building positive rapport with every employee, those employees in turn will act respectfully toward the establishment.


Train and Re-train 

Create opportunities for all employees to hone their skills by hosting monthly training sessions where new food items are featured, tasted and learned about. Offer cocktail, beer, and wine lessons and tastings for FOH staff. Teach them about the history of certain cocktails, how to understand and identify different flavors in wine and how to upsell menu items. If staff members are constantly trained and invested in, they will continue to learn about hospitality and become pros at describing and selling menu items.



Ultimately, your staff will make or break your establishment, so hire good people and treat them well. In turn, you’ll create a positive work environment that will increase your rate of employee retention and happy customers. Happy customers are more likely to stay longer, spend more money, and return in the future!




About the Author

Antasha Durbin

Antasha is an Online Marketing Specialist at TouchBistro where she spends her days advising restaurateurs on their point of sale systems and her nights writing hospitality-related content. A veteran bartender and server, Antasha enjoys bringing her industry experiences to life through blogging. Her three-year-old son and BFF, Elijah, is her self-proclaimed muse for all things creative.

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