The 10 Most Dangerous People in the Food Business

employee spilling coffee on dinning guest

There are approximately 15 million people working in the food and beverage industry in the U.S. in 2019, according to the National Restaurant Association. However, a whopping 70% will either be fired or quit their position by the end of the year. No wonder staffing is listed as the top challenge faced by QSR operators.

Yet you should be more concerned about some of the staff that you’re keeping in your business, who may be hurting the customer experience as we speak. Considering that the industry relies mainly on repeat customers, spoiling first visits could add up to thousands of dollars in lost income for your business.

We’re talking about employees who lower your standards and cause far worse than bad Yelp reviews. You could be looking at potential lawsuits and even the possibility of closing down altogether.

We thought we’d do you a solid by red-flagging a few of them so you can keep an eye out. In no particular order, here are the 10 most dangerous people in the food business.

  1. Overworked Oscar

    The reason why there’s a 40-hour work week is simple. Anything above that can lead to a decline in cognitive functions, as shown in a 2016 study by the University of Melbourne, aptly titled “Use It Too Much and Lose It? The Effect of Working Hours on Cognitive Ability”. The discovery is especially true for people over 40, even when they are in comfortable desk jobs. Imagine what happens in a fast-paced line of work where people must be (and be able to think) on their feet.

    Mistakes will be made, and your bottom line will pay the price.

    It’s not a big deal when baristas forget to pour the milk with that little swirl that people love, but after a 10-hour shift, you’ll pray that’s all they get wrong. Many could mix up orders and overbill patrons.

    Meanwhile, those in the back of the house risk so much more. Chopping ingredients at high speeds requires their game to be on point, not to mention they’re surrounded by hot and flaming appliances.

    When you add exhaustion to the fact that 52% of restaurants offer no safety training, as stated on the 2018 Restaurant Success Industry Report by Toast, anything can happen. Hopefully, your operation falls into the minority, but ask yourself if maybe that exhaustion is being caused by understaffing.

    Careful or not, the ultimate precaution will always be to rely on a plan like PolicySweet Workers’ Compensation Insurance.

  2. Daredevil Danny

    Confidence is key in an employee but overconfidence doesn’t come without risk. That’s the case of servers and bussers who often decide to carry a few items too many on their trays. We know they’re trying to save trips but by the end of the shift, their balancing act can go awry.

    Even those with the skill and experience to pull off such a stunt will gradually lose their sense of alertness as their shift progresses. In other words, any minor bump into a table or dodging a fellow employee could end up with a bowl of hot chili or a sharp utensil falling on a patron. A lawsuit could easily follow.

  3. Forgetful Fiona

    Where were we? Oh yeah, the folks who lose track of time and even of their job description for a minute or two. They’re taking incomplete orders, not clearing tables and forgetting that the trash is not going to take itself out. Does anyone smell burnt cookies? Really, Fiona could be the reason for calling the fire department, and more reason to switch to PolicySweet Business Owner Protection insurance.

    This is the kind of employee that customers usually blame for lackluster service, and they’re as easy to spot as a hair on a vanilla ice cream. Sorry for the visual (especially if you hate vanilla).

  4. Anxious Ahmed

    Ahmed needs to relax a bit, for he tends to smother customers with more attention than they bargained for. He believes that more is more, and may not grasp that trying too hard doesn’t necessarily mean doing a better job.

    For him customers are the neediest people on the planet, so he checks on them a few too many times, not giving them the necessary space to fully enjoy themselves.

    He’s the kind that will try to finish a customer’s sentence and get it wrong. Even if he does get it, he can give the impression that he’s in a hurry, so it’s important that you two have a conversation, just don’t let him finish your sentences.

  5. Joker Juan

    Alright dude, we get it, you’re funny but unfortunately, not every customer has a sense of humor and there are others who simply can’t take a joke and may feel disrespected. The ‘Juan’ skill he really needs to master will be to read the table. Those with both talents are a rare species and will become superstars for the business’. They can even get away with not being the most skilled employee because people will come back for them.

  6. Rude Rhonda

    Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed… for like the fifth time this week. Rhonda could easily be a hard worker but she can cost the business repeat customers because of her sour attitude. Not even Joker Juan can make her crack a smile. Meanwhile, she’s not really looking customers in the eye.

    Our advice is to take the time to ask fellow staff members if everything’s OK on her personal life. By showing you care you’ll be on a better path to create a situation where Rhonda can loosen up.

  7. Insecure Irene

    She wants everyone to do her job for her, simply because she’s too scared of the possibility to mess things up and get fired. As simple as that.

  8. Lazy Luke

    He also wants everyone to do his job for him, but for an even worse reason. Luke feels he’s worthy of a paycheck just for showing up. Your staff will complain and morale will plummet if he keeps getting away with dodging his responsibilities.

  9. Flirty Frankie

    This guy is definitely trouble and can make patrons uncomfortable quicker than it takes to say ‘creep’. One moment he’s hitting on a patron and the next the husband is coming back from the restroom to hear it all. There’s a time and a place, and as the business owner, you have neither.

  10. Yawning You

    Remember, you are the last line of defense so open your eyes and ears to all of these characters and, with a little help from us, you’ll be growing your business in no time.