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Scenario #1

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by

Ashley Young

on 25 September 2013

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Transcript of Scenario #1

Scenario #1
Time Capsule Diner
Sarah has just recently opened up her very own restaurant. She hired 7 wait/customer service staff, 2 assistant managers and managers, 4 food preparers, and 3 chefs. Things are going well and her diner is quite successful. After a few months she hires a couple more waiters/waitresses.
Problem 2: Emotional
After the meeting, Sarah receives an email from Sam, one of the chefs. He explains that he has been in a relationship with Emily, one of the waitresses, for the past month. It was fine at first, but now the relationship seems to be creating tension among some of the other employees. He is upset about the situation, and is thinking about quitting.
Sarah responds to his email, telling him to meet her in her office after his shift on Monday.
Problem 3: Circumstantial
A few weeks later, things seem to be running much smoother at the diner. Sarah hired a few more wait and kitchen staff so that she was able to rotate the schedules better, minimizing contact between Emily, Sam, and James.

One day, there was an incident with a customer. One of the chefs called in sick, so the kitchen was a bit short handed, and one of the newly hired waitresses was having some trouble keeping up. The customer was beginning to get impatient, though the staff did tell him that it would take a little time given the staffing shortage.

When his order finally came out of the kitchen, the new waitress tripped on her way to the table and dropped his order. He became absolutely irate and began making a huge scene in the middle of the restaurant.
Solution
Sarah hears the commotion and comes to see what is going on. When she finds out what happened, she tries to calm the situation. She has one of the wait staff put in his order again. She asks the man to calm down, and tells him that she already re-ordered his food, and that it will be free of charge. Still angry, the customer begins saying rude things about the waitress and other staff. Sarah tells him that he cannot speak to her employees that way, and that if he continues he will be asked to leave. He calms down a bit, and Sarah explains again that the kitchen was short staffed, so it will take a little longer than usual to get orders out. Sarah also gives him a gift certificate for a free entree on his next visit.
Justification
Some might say that Sarah should have had absolutely no tolerance for the customer's behavior, and asked him to leave. However, that would have only made the situation worse in the long run. She informed him that he cannot act like that if he expects to get service, and that if he calms down she will be able to handle the situation. This way she is standing up for her staff, while also trying to appease the customer. For those that were watching this happen, it shows that she is level headed and calm under pressure and in uncomfortable situations. It is always better to try and fix the problem than have someone leave and write a nasty review.
Meeting with Sam
Sam tells Sarah that some of his coworkers seem bothered by his relationship, and that it is making it difficult to work there. Sarah gets the feeling that there is more to it, but Sam doesn't seem willing to say any more. Sarah dismisses Sam, and tells him that she will look into the problem and get back to him. Next, she calls in Emily.
Meeting with Emily
Emily meets with Sarah, and she sheds some more light on the situation. She points out that there is a particular employee, James, who is making things especially difficult for her and Sam, as well as perpetuating the problems with the other staff. She tells Sarah that she and James dated briefly, but it ended four months before she got hired here. She said that she knew he still kind of liked her, but the relationship ended on a good note. She didn't know that James worked here until she started working here as well. She was very embarrassed that the situation became so troublesome. She thought about quitting, but this was the best paying job she could find, and she needed the money for school. She is quite distraught by the situation.
The Meeting
At the meeting Sarah introduces and explains the policies for Communication and Harassment in the workplace. Everyone reads and signs the policies to show that they have read and understand them. After this, she asks for feedback from the staff. She finds that the chefs were frustrated with the wait staff, who were not taking orders correctly, leading to miscommunication of the orders. They knew that ignoring them was not the correct solution, but they felt like they had no choice. They did not want to waste any more time or resources. Sarah now sees that the wait staff need more training, since they are less experienced than the kitchen staff. She sets aside time during the week for additional training. By the end of the meeting, everyone seems more at ease, and is satisfied with the solutions they reached.
Sarah also has new order tickets made up to make taking down orders more efficient and less confusing for the wait staff.
Problem 1: Physical
One day, a waiter named James approaches her, complaining that the chefs are treating him poorly and refuse to speak to him. That same day, just before close, the chefs refuse to take any more orders! Sarah has to close the diner early. She was getting too many complaints, and food was not making it to the tables. She apologizes and gives gift certificates to the remaining customers. This happened on a Saturday, and they are closed on Sundays, so Sarah sends out a memo to hold a store meeting the following morning.
Meeting with James
It is now clear that the first communication issue was the result of the relationship between Emily and Sam. Emily is very upset and greatly embarrassed. Sarah reassures her that she will talk to James and get this settled.
Sarah talks to James and tells him that he must keep his professional and private life separate. He cannot continue to harass or bother Sam and Emily, as that violates the diner's policies. He is an otherwise hard worker, and is a valuable asset, so Sarah does not want to have to let him go. However, if the problem continues, she will have no choice other than to take further action. She tells him that he must apologize to Sam and Emily, and that there must be a noticeable change in his behavior.
Solution
In addition to talking privately with the employees involved, Sarah also creates a policy on dating in the workplace. It will be displayed along with the other policies in the break room. She also has each employee read and sign a the policy to ensure that there will be no further confusion.

After about a week, James is no longer causing problems in the restaurant, and everything seems to be going much better.
Full transcript