Restaurant Management

Overcoming The Fear of Getting Ready To Serve, Again

Now the return has begun, ever so slowly, but we are back on the road to success, yet so many questions, so few answers haunt us. Together has been one of the words used to express that we are not in this alone, so let’s get together and see if we cannot answer some of the concerns over reopening.

The “Fear Factor” first and foremost you must understand fear can be your friend or it can be a terror, it is neither a good thing nor is it bad, fear makes you act, you decide whether or not you act in the positive or in the negative. Fear just presents you the opportunity to decide what your future will be; doing nothing is still an action, face the fear and let it inform you so you may act accordingly.

As an acronym, fear is: False Evidence Appearing Real, if we keep in mind that we may be facing a lie, then we can act in the positive. Keep in mind that fear is always dealing with a future that has not yet taken place, it is dictating to you the final result it wants, that does not mean you must accept it as so. If you don’t like it, you can change it. Be deliberate, (know that you know that you know) in where you are going and how you are going to get there. Then create a plan for the journey, Google maps will get you to a destination, but often not the way you desired to go, the same applies to your plan, go, but go with a knowing that the journey is not the destination, arriving is what matters, this is why you form a plan.

Let your fear know you’re in charge, name it if you must. Fear wants you stay in the dark about it, but once you have named it, it will shrink in size and in the power it has to control you. Remember it is false evidence, so what is the truth. Find that out and follow after that, no matter how difficult it will be worth it when you arrive. Keep in mind the journey takes time to arrive at the destination, so expect to take time to get back to where your business should be, factor that into the plan and do allow the fear of going slow to dissuade you from the goal. Fear gains it strength in the unknown, so learn all you can, and then apply that knowledge. Wisdom is applied knowledge, the more you learn and act upon the smaller the fear will become.

Fear loses to faith, so have faith in yourself, in the training you have given your staff, you build faith by being prepared. Follow the 5 P principle, Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. We can overcome fear by simply being prepared to do what we know to do, do it right, because it’s right, then do it right. Practice what must be done, then practice it again, and continue until it is part of your being, until it becomes habit. It takes 21 days to form a habit, so do it over and over again, for 21 days and it will turn into a continual automatic response, fear gone, and the goal accomplished, you will come to a point where it doesn’t even cross your mind again.

Keep in mind fear will always tell you it is bigger than it really is, that’s its power, the lie, “I cannot be defeated.” Just don’t believe the lie. Is the worst that can happen really as big as the fear is presenting it to be? Or, I can actually defeat the fear and survive. You can only be sure of one thing, change, so shape the change in the direction you want to go. Complying with new mandates does not mean capitulating to fear and eliminating your dream, they are just a detour to your happiness.

Get the help you may need, define where your going, how you’re going to get there, then do all in your power to make it happen, do what you can but don’t be shy about seeking the help you will require. Remember you’re in the hospitality industry that means you’re surrounded by those who know what you do not, seek them out and get the help you need. Do not let fear team up with intimidation to hold you back.  We have all heard it before, “there is no such thing as a stupid question” you cannot use common sense when facing a situation that is not common to you, so get help. Hospitality is a fear dissolver. It gives a strong sense of belonging, it is the reason faithful customers continue to return, it is the reason happy employees continue to work for years at the same establishment, they feel they belong. When you belong to a hospitality association (chef’s, restaurant etc.) then you have surrounded yourself with those from whom you may get help in a time of need, dissolving the fear.

Once you asked, sought and received the knowledge, follow the advice. Think of it as the chef’s book, here you find the recipes that work, the little secrets that make the recipe special, the path to a prefect plate. If you deviated from the recipe you may have something, but you don’t have that dish, so when seeking help follow the advice and get the answer, or you will get something else, perhaps better, maybe not. Getting help from others who have succeeded in your situation will also motivate you, if they can do it, so can you. They faced the fear and it was destroyed, for now, they are wiser than you, so take their advice and win.

Make a habit of helping others, give them the assurance of “I’m on your side” seeing their success will help drive your own. You may be facing a reduction in the amount of guest you can serve at this moment as you implement safe serving practices, so reach out to the local area, home owner associations, next door groups and sites, get on city blogs, and into local social groups and news feeds.

Train, train and train some more. Everyone on the staff must be of the same mind, there is no place for strife in the group, for in the united, fear cannot find a wedge to place between one another. Fear gains strength in division and loses power in unity, by training the staff the right way to go they will drive the fear and strife out. This includes your delivery drivers, they are now your servers, do they know all about you, your quality and your concern for the fine food you serve, or, are they just a person shuffling through the day by delivering food. The guest will be asking them questions about your business, have they been trained how to respond, if not, get them trained or do not allow that food to leave your kitchens. Remember your reputation is on the plate (or in the box) how do you want to be represented? A driver not representing your standards should not be allowed to be a reflection of you at your guests door. What you would not permit in your dining room, you should not permit at the guest door, the appearance, cleanliness, and mannerisms of your dining servers must be alike in the delivery servers, train so you will be seen as you. Training is the implementation of your vision, where there is no vision fear can gain a foothold, without vision staff will just wander aimlessly doing and saying whatever they so choose. Training gives them your vision and therefore the proper response for the circumstance they may be facing on your behalf. You have trained them so they respond as you would, that’s the team.

Be adaptable, fear cannot control if you are subject to change. When something is not working, don’t keep doing it, only to fail over and over again, change what you need to so that you have different outcome. Some people want to do what they have done for years and years, well that may not work now, change has already come, examine it and then adapt as needed. Fear says you act or react, one is that you’re in control the other is you are being controlled. If you are adaptable then when fear throws something up against you control the outcome and are not control by the circumstance.  Remember it’s just an event, what you do within the event will shape your outcome, Events bring challenge, they bring us out of our comfort zones, they present us opportunity to learn, there is no such thing as a mistake, it’s just an event that didn’t go our way, so we learn and don’t repeat it again, we adapted. That fact that you live is proof of change, Henri Bergson said “To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.”

To destroy fear is to adapt, to adapt is to change your mind set, what you are thinking on a topic. Fear says “you don’t know you will fail”, that is your comfort zone. Step out of the comfort zone and embrace the change and you will adapt into something better, for you learned what you didn’t know. We may not control what comes into our lives, but we can control how we react to them and therefore how we adapt in them. Adapting doesn’t mean staying in them, but rather seeking something greater than them.

Fear will lock you in regret, regret will keep you in loss, don’t take it. You cannot change what past, but you can set the pace for today and the plan for the future, Looking back and longing for what was is regret, but face the fact, it’s over, so look forward and plan for it, that you can control. Change is always occurring so we must need to be always adapting, we transition from old to new by leaving behind what was adapting to what the new future will be, remember however to have decided on what that future will be and have not allowed fear to dictate it.  You transition by accepting that what is over is over, its ended, now live for today, and embrace the future. Whatever those three actions maybe in your circumstance, you can adapt to a life above the fear, and one in victory.

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