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Servers blaming the Kitchen for a fall a waitress took.

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Here's the scenario and just the facts.

Last night a server took a fall in the kitchen.

The kitchen floor was slippery.  I personally mopped up the floor several times, but it still remained slippery as working kitchen floors tend to do.

There is no runner rug on the pick-up line where the servers get their food.  Having JUST taken over the position of Kitchen Manager of this restaurant, I had JUST ordered a floor runner rug for the pick-up line earlier in the evening.  Of course, this incident would happen before the runner arrived.

The servers do not have to wear a uniform.  They wear whatever they want.  They have to wear close-toed shoes, but that is the only requirement.  None of the FOH staff wears non-slip shoes.  They all wear flats, boots, booties, whatever, but not non-skid shoes.

The FOH of the house manager is very upset with the Kitchen.  Being the kitchen manager, you can imagine my view on the problem, but I would be interested in hearing what you all have to say.

Thanks!

post #2 of 15

This is the owners/managements' fault. No slip shoes are a standard requirement in the corporation where I work now and have long been a requirement at many other places I have worked. They have existed and been required/strongly suggested since I began working in kitchens thirty years ago. Everyone at my very first job has them simply because they knew better. Not requiring All staff to wear them opens the restaurant up to liability. 

     Restaurant floors both FOH and BOH are subject to constant less than ideal conditions at any given time.  

The current situation can be conveniently used to blame the kitchen but the accident could easily have happened anywhere else in the restaurant, from the storeroom, dining room, a staircase or the front entrance. The owners/ management should use this as an opportunity to educate the staff about the necessity for slip-resistant shoes and the reasons the restaurant will forthwith be requiring them. Slip resistant shoes are no different than any other safety device. 

     A runner rug may be helpful for that specific area but if the overall situation doesn't change, another accident will occur somewhere else on the property. Objective recognition of this inherent danger of restaurant work is required by management to be enforced by a no exceptions policy. Back in the good old days my coworkers referred to them as a common sense addition to their uniform. 

post #3 of 15

Isn't that always the case? A reaction to a negative event rather than being proactive (like what you were doing with ordering the runner rug.) I agree with @chefwriter 110% - a shoe program is essential. Mozo, Shoes for Crews, Skechers, etc all offer a cost-effective (and stylish) line that should be part of EVERYBODY's uniform. Slip-resistant shoes aren't such a new invention that people aren't aware that they exist. If the management doesn't agree, you can certainly make the comparison: do you purchase a fire extinguisher after a fire or before?

 

On a side note: Doesn't this type of occurrence continue the 'us vs. them' battleground that exists between FOTH and BOTH?

"You should have been more careful!"

-"Well you should have planned better!"

"You should know that the floor is wet!" etc, etc.

At some point (or not) we will all realize that we work for one operation and the better WE do, the better WE do. Sorry for the aside. Please keep us posted on the outcome.

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Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

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post #4 of 15
There's not much to add at this point, I would just like to agree with the statements of the previous posts. I bet that server will be a little more careful in the future, and thank goodness it wasn't a patron at least. When is everyone gonna learn we play for the same team.
post #5 of 15
Your kitchen, the liability suit falls on the company which you just became a manager for. Sorry dude. Don't you know to throw salt on the ground when its' like that? Whats more, you don't have to order floor runners, you should have been able to get one locally.
post #6 of 15

Did you display a wet floor sign? This removes the liability from your department. End of discussion. As for the shoe dilemma, you as kitchen manager have (or should have in my opinion)the power to grant or remove access for anyone entering the kitchen with or without the proper PPE. This is easily resolved. 

 

When I started my current job three years ago, the owner came for a visit, he came behind the line one day walking up and down.. I asked him what the hell it is he thinks he is doing (in exactly those word too!) He told me its okay, he's the owner. I replied and Told him, no, it's really not okay, i am the Chef and I don't care if he is the queen of England!, You don't come behind the line for any reason whatsoever unless you are a trained professional with the correct PPE and Safety Training. He did not appreciate the fact that he couldn't go behind my line, He continued to do so and two days later I got a written order from the Occupational health and safety officer (She is a good friend of mine). The lesson here is... You are the boss, nobody comes into your space and do what they want, it doesn't matter who they are.

 

1. Call a general meeting with FOH staff and management.

2. Advise on your new policy to not allow anyone in your kitchen without the proper shoes.

3. If you get any a negative response, contact your occupational health and safety officer and report the problem. You have now removed any and all liability from yourself and your department. Done... it's honestly really easy.

post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Julius Jeppe View Post
 

Did you display a wet floor sign? This removes the liability from your department. End of discussion. As for the shoe dilemma, you as kitchen manager have (or should have in my opinion)the power to grant or remove access for anyone entering the kitchen with or without the proper PPE. This is easily resolved. 

 

When I started my current job three years ago, the owner came for a visit, he came behind the line one day walking up and down.. I asked him what the hell it is he thinks he is doing (in exactly those word too!) He told me its okay, he's the owner. I replied and Told him, no, it's really not okay, i am the Chef and I don't care if he is the queen of England!, You don't come behind the line for any reason whatsoever unless you are a trained professional with the correct PPE and Safety Training. He did not appreciate the fact that he couldn't go behind my line, He continued to do so and two days later I got a written order from the Occupational health and safety officer (She is a good friend of mine). The lesson here is... You are the boss, nobody comes into your space and do what they want, it doesn't matter who they are.

 

1. Call a general meeting with FOH staff and management.

2. Advise on your new policy to not allow anyone in your kitchen without the proper shoes.

3. If you get any a negative response, contact your occupational health and safety officer and report the problem. You have now removed any and all liability from yourself and your department. Done... it's honestly really easy.

 

 

Firstly Julius....you are correct in everything you mentioned.

I might site that here in the USA our HAACP laws are not as regulated and enforced en mass as yours might be in Canada.

 

Most places have no clue about this and it is fairly common to see servers unknowingly walk behind the cooking line.

I have even seen workers bring their small children to work with them and seen them behind the line.

Unfortunate but commonplace.

post #8 of 15

@Sherman452,

I agree with most posts above. I'm just wondering how that server is doing?

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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chefross View Post


Firstly Julius....you are correct in everything you mentioned.
I might site that here in the USA our HAACP laws are not as regulated and enforced en mass as yours might be in Canada.

Most places have no clue about this and it is fairly common to see servers unknowingly walk behind the cooking line.
I have even seen workers bring their small children to work with them and seen them behind the line.
Unfortunate but commonplace.

I can certainly appreciate that. but I believe as culinary professionals we should take more action with these things. A lot of management and owners don't really understand what goes on in a kitchen. Thats why when im hired I make sure they understand, My Kitchen, My rules, no exeptions, however lame you might think my rules are, they are there for a reason.

But I can totally understand your comment and the obstacles that unenforced regulations create. Just my two cents anyway...
post #10 of 15
Uh, I wouldn't bet on that wet floor saving your butt.
post #11 of 15
For me, chefwriter hit the nail on the head. The only things I'll try add are that older kitchen floors are sometimes made of absurdly slippery material (I'm looking at you, red tiles!) and a wet floor sign would be silly when people will slip if there is moisture on their shoes.
The second thing is that last time I was at a place that went through this hullabaloo, BOTH the servers that slipped were wearing danskos... the more you know!
post #12 of 15

IMO if you and the rest of the BOH are wearing non-slip, and the FOH isn't required to,

and they don't, and theyre allowed access by the manager/owner to the kitchen, and they

go in there, while youre doing your job, walking on your wet floors  in your nifty safety soles,

then the fault isn't yours... its the manager/owner who created this unsafe practice.

To blame the kitchen staff is childish, pointless buck-passing.

post #13 of 15
Sometimes people slip and fall, it's easy to do. I can't picture your pass set up, but is there a reason that why it's wet? You mentioned that you had been moping it, was that just a time of day coincidence, or is that area especially wet/dirty?

If that is the area where servers are running food, I can understand not salting the floor, you can't have them tracking that through the dining room.

If the server was hurt (were they?) I can see somebody getting hot out of concern and adrenaline. If not, you may have a bigger issue than a sloppy floor. That being a toxic "us vs them" culture and a desire to be blaming people for simple mistakes.
post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 

Update on the fallen server.


She is doing well.  Taking a few days off to recover.

Since I have just taken over the kitchen reigns at this place, I think there was a little bit of posturing on the part of the restaurant manager.  She was overreacting out of concern for her server, but also testing me to see what I would do.  There had been an enormous environment of complacency and "shoemakery" in the kitchen before I got there.  But the staff is quickly figuring out that I mean what I say and do what I say. 

And so, I wrote her a firm email stating that kitchens are notoriously slippery places.  Most kitchens require ALL restaurant staff to wear non-slip shoes to cut down on slipping incidences.  And that this is NOT the fault of the kitchen.

She replied in a very constructive and positive way, excited that someone takes their job seriously and professionally enough to be proactive instead of reactive.  It was a good turning point incident for the kitchen and FOH.

Thanks for all your comments!

post #15 of 15

Hey that's great to hear, so many of these stories end badly, in standoffs, where someone has to give in....or leave.

Sounds like you two may be moving toward the same page, and working well together--not rare these days, but not

as common as it should be neither.

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