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The Pareto Priniciple In Hospitality: Staff Evaluation

Akshay Shetty

“It is everyone’s responsibility to greet and seat all of our guests that walk into our establishment.” – Vivian Howard, Owner of Sweet Potatoes Winston Salem, NC.

Many examples can be attributed when applying the 80/20 rule in regards to staff management. 20% of your staff will produce 80% of your results at your business. The same way 20% of your staff will also contribute to 80% of your aches and pains in your establishment. It’s up to you, to make smart decisions in regards to staff management and how this theory can help you.

Communication is Key

Let us go further with the last statement, 80% of your sales at the bar/restaurant comes from 20% of your staff. These people are the ones that you should prioritize. Reward them for their skills and efforts in customer service. However, as a manager, you should not completely disregard the lesser end of your staff. Communication is vital in this matter. There is a convenient route of giving the boot to individual members of your team that is lagging behind. However, now you will have to invest your time trying to find a proper replacement. A recommended way of getting your staff on the right page is holding daily staff meetings, usually before opening the restaurant and make clear of all obstacles that will be coming on today’s agenda.

For instance, how many reservations does the restaurant have today? what is the dish special or cocktail special of the day? what is everyone’s role for the day? Deliver your message with a purpose. Make it clear that everyone is responsible for delivering the best customer experience. From management to all the way down to the cleaners of the establishment.

Schedule Accordingly

When making a schedule for your staff, it would be standard practice to schedule your best employees to work on your busiest days of the week (Friday-Saturday-Sunday). 80% of your top-rated staff should be scheduled for 20% of your most active working hours. Placing your best employees on idle days like Monday or Tuesday wouldn’t work just the same as scheduling a new bartender to work your Saturday night. Plan accordingly, see what holidays or special events are happening in your neighbourhood and around town. Anticipate what would be coming your way and who would best fit in your kitchen and behind the bar on busy days.

There is an essential element to keep in mind here, your employees are not robots. They will eventually burn out if they are scheduled on multiple consecutive days. Give them a day or two off, so they can regain their energy. If you believe they are lagging behind, offer them a break and something to eat so they can regain their strength.

So what would you do for the staff that is on your lower end of the scale, your mediocre staff? If your staff is motivated to become better at their level of service and craft, schedule this person with someone more experienced. This opens an opportunity for your employees to build rapport amongst one another, develop a strategy to be efficient during their shift, have a chance to learn and mentor each to hone their craft. Most importantly, it will relieve the 80% of your time focused on your employees.

Listen, Learn, Decide

In the process of becoming a great leader and managing your staff wisely, stay committed to the following. 80% of your time should be spent listening to your staff as well as allowing them to make 80% of the decisions going on in your establishment. Nobody likes an authoritarian that watches from the background, dictating your every move. On the other end, people are not attracted to a leader who has no clue what is going on in their establishment. Establish an open-door policy with your employees. It is vital as a leader to take the time out of your busy schedule to chat with your employees. Get their input on what can be improved. Learn about how people in management treat your employees whenever you are not around. What innovative ideas can be implemented to the bar/kitchen that can propel your restaurant into a highly successful one.


The obstacles presented to you as a manager can become overwhelming at times. This is when you open the door to allow your workers to shine potentially. Relieve your stress and concerns by having open conversations with your employees. Be updated with what’s going on whenever you are not around. Schedule employees wisely to avoid burnout and delegate tasks that would be suited to their strengths. For the people who are on the mediocre side, schedule them with someone more experienced. It will enable them to learn the proper ways of conducting themselves professionally. Finally, learn to listen and decide accordingly to what is best for your staff and for your business.

Akshay Shetty