Harassment of your employees might be something you don’t want to think about. If a guest gets aggressive or rude, that’s just part of the job, right? Servers, bartenders, hosts, and more are seemingly expected to just deal with incidents that, in other professions, would be absolutely unacceptable.
It’s time to address this culture of expecting restaurant employees to just deal with or accept harassment in their place of work. Plain and simple: if you expect your employees to just “deal with” harassment (especially physical or sexual harassment), you are creating a culture that encourages silence in the face of dangerous and psychologically damaging situations.
( Click here to read about dealing with aggressive guests
So let’s say an employee tells you that a guest is harassing them. What should you do?
1. Make Sure Employees Tell You
First things first, if your employees don’t feel comfortable coming to you to tell you that a guest is harassing them, that’s bad news; make sure to let employees know, in pre-shift meetings, that if they are ever uncomfortable, they need to let you know immediately and you will handle it.
( Click here to read about keeping employees safe
2. Address the Guest
If an employee comes to tell you that a guest is harassing them, make sure to address the guest immediately. Also, switch around employees to that the employee that told you about this is no longer required to serve them. If you have to, handle this guest yourself. However, if when confronted they do not acknowledge or apologize for their behavior, don’t be afraid to ask them to leave. It’s your restaurant and if a guest is going to harm your employees, their money isn’t worth it, plain and simple.
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3. Discuss With Employees
If you have to take over a guest’s service or kick a guest out of the restaurant, make sure to address it with your employees. Taking time to tell them that the situation was one you don’t support and that you want to protect your employees is incredibly important; your employees need to trust you and know that you will stand behind them in difficult situations.
( Click here to read about training to make your restaurant safer