Management Training: Learning how to prioritize

Management Training: Learning how to prioritize

When learning how to prioritize the real trick is not to manage time, but to manage yourself.

Take a leaf out of Dr. Stephen Covey’s book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Habit three is about prioritizing and putting first things first.

This time matrix can help at work and at home:

To put it simply:

  • Spend less time in Q1
  • Say ‘No’ to Q3
  • Stop slacking off in Q4
  • Spend more time in Q2

Let’s talk about some of the pitfalls that happen when you spend too much time in Q2. In the Dining Room, Managers of all ages and experience levels make the common mistake of spending their shift putting out fires.

Let’s role-play: ‘Behind the Kitchen Door’

The atmosphere in the kitchen is hot and charged with noise and commotion and energy. Tonight everyone ordered Prime Rib and the expo is getting crushed.

Plates are stacking up and orders are dragging in the window. As Manager its your job to get these plates into the dining room as quickly as possible.

What do you do?

Your decision to grab a tray is commendable and often draws admiration from the team, but the thinking is fundamentally flawed because the task is more than a one person job.

Instead of assuming the role of an hourly employee, the Manager should rally the team to work together. The result: the window will be cleared more efficiently and the guests will enjoy their dinner without ever knowing that there was a problem on the line.

A step often missed occurs after the Manager finishes touching any affected tables in the dining room. The next step should be to ‘Circle Back’ and find out what went wrong.

* Successful managers will discipline themselves to investigate to the root cause of problems, then implement management systems to make sure the same mistake doesn’t happen again.

In this case the opening server who was supposed to prep the side station with horseradish cream sauce was late for work and opening side work wasn’t done to completion, so when the line crashed a cook had come off the line to prep and portion sauces on the fly.

When the blame game begins it will be easy to blame the employee for not finishing their sidework, but in reality it’s the Managers fault.

The Manager knew the employee was running late, but they never delegated or followed up to ensure all daily tasks were done. If a Manager Walkthru of the entire restaurant prior to service was completed the incomplete sidework would have been found.

In my experience, I have found the walk thru to be an essential step in establishing leadership by helping set your team up for success.

* Takeaway: When confronted with your next crisis think big picture first, then manage down to the smallest detail. Your guests and Your team will thank you for it.




Chris Katon is a Professional Restaurant Operator with 20+ yrs experience hiring, training and developing highly skilled service teams.

#Hospitality #Food #Wine #Travel #Tourism

The Moscow Mule and other craft cocktail phenomenon

The Moscow Mule and other craft cocktail phenomenon

Bluffton, SC – Spring has sprung in the south, where chef’s and restaurateurs are rolling out new beverage menu’s in anticipation of a busy summer season.

Here in the Lowcountry I’m fortunate to have upwards of 1,000 restaurants within a half hour drive of my house, where competition is fierce for attracting a regular customer base.

Is your business looking for a boost?  The growing trend in craft cocktails and culinary inspired beverage lists has guests at some of the area’s most popular restaurants coming back for more.

If you haven’t noticed, Homemade Bitters, Fresh-made Everything, Moscow Mule Parties, Ladies Night’s with complimentary Champagne and Prohibition Era Cocktail Lists are all the rage.

If you’re up for a road trip – or simply craving a good drink, check out:

  • Bluffton: Bluffton Room (ask for Bob), NEO and Pour Richard’s.
  • Hilton Head Island: Lucky Rooster, Wise Guys and Ocean Lounge
  • Savannah: Chive, Local 1110 and Circa 1875
  • Beaufort: Breakwater, Luther’s and Lowcountry Produce

Cheers! … and don’t forget to tell them Chris sent you!

Local restaurant hosts benefit for Napa earthquake relief

Bluffton, SC – They’ll be popping corks on some good juice in Bluffton tomorrow night when Hogshead Kitchen and Wine Bar hosts a farm and sea-to-table wine and food pairing dinner with Cakebread Vineyards.

The famed winery is one of the many Bay Area vintners affected when a 6.0 magnitude earthquake struck just six miles southwest of Napa California’s famed wine country on August 24, 2014.

It was the strongest earthquake to strike the Bay Area in 25 years and has caused an estimated $x in damages to the Napa community.

Executive Chef/ Owner John Pashek is locally known for creating twists on contemporary Southern cuisine. Here’s a sneak peek at his casual, yet upscale pairings menu written special for tomorrow nights event:

Reception: 2013 Sauvignon Blanc (Napa) paired with Crispy May River Oyster with Lavendar Honey, “Sugar Beet” Tuna Tartare with Bruleed Pineapple

2012 Chardonnay (Napa) paired with Grilled Lobster Tail with Orange & Chili Marmalade and Gorgonzola Beignets;

2012 Pinot Noir (Two Creeks Vineyards, Anderson Valley) paired with Crispy Pork Belly with Buttered Turnips, Greens, Roasted Pistachios and Blueberry Gastrique;

2010 Dancing Bear Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon (Howell Mountain) paired with coffee-crusted New York Strip Loin with Buttered Leeks, Truffled Mushroom Risotto and Bing Cherry Demi Glace;

2012 Zinfandel (Red Hills) Warm Fudge Brownie with Double Chocolate Ice Cream and White Chocolate-pecan Caramel.

RIP Chef Trotter

Sadly had to cross a visit to Charlie Trotter’s off my Bucket List when Chef Charlie Trotter retired last year. Never thought he would be gone so soon. RIP Chef Trotter 

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