Opening Day Is Just The Beginning

Getting Down to Business with the OPRF Chamber

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By Cathy Yen

Executive Director OPRF Chamber of Commerce

Nothing starts out perfectly.  There always are a few rough edges that, hopefully, get smoothed out over time.

New businesses are especially bumpy.  The race to open and generate revenue is tempered by the risk of opening before you are ready.  Still, regardless of how much you prepare and train, you will be working out the bugs for a few weeks, maybe months.

As customers, we rush to try the next new thing, expecting to be dazzled.  Unfortunately, the opening weeks are not the best time to pass judgement.  Most businesses are still in basic training mode.  Owners rely on customers to be patient and provide constructive feedback.

Think about how many restaurants opened recently in the past few weeks.  We have pent up demand, evidenced by people eagerly making the rounds, trying one after another.  Now think about how many jobs have been created.  A half dozen restaurants can mean sixty to a hundred jobs.  Great news for economic development.

Here's the catch: now we need sixty to a hundred well-trained, experienced managers, servers, chefs, cooks, bartenders and hosts all ready to start work.  Restaurant owners don't have three months to bring new staff up to speed on concept and process.  How do you practice without customers?

The answer is, you don't. The bulk of the new hires, even those with experience, need on the job training.  Which means our new restaurant employees are still learning their jobs.  Not a big deal as long as customers are tolerant.

I am loving our new restaurants, despite experiencing numerous customer service issues.  Some worse than others, but all of them pretty basic hospitality 101 stuff.  In all cases, the people were just new at their jobs.  They'll get better. I'll go back.

Everything needs a little time and everyone needs a little practice.  If you encounter any issues, be patient.  Try not to get frustrated. Don't hold back gratuity.  Mention it to the manager so they can fix it. Give them a few weeks and go back.

Our new hot spots show lots of promise - let's give them a chance to become great.

Email: Twitter: @OPRFChamber

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