Three months. That’s how long I was able to stand participating in a bad process before going rogue and getting fired at my first summer job. It was worth it. Here’s that story:
When I was 16 years old, I was working as a waitress at a restaurant near my house. When I was hired, I was told that there’s a secret code to the POS system that only the manager knows. Learning the code and using the code was a fire-able offense. This secret code business seems extremely stupid at the time but would later prove to be my downfall.
At this establishment, the process for how the wait staff puts in orders for food/drink goes like this:
Seems simple enough. Unless a customer wants to change their order after it’s been placed. That change required a manager’s code, which meant I needed to find my manager. Because this restaurant was on a golf course that also hosted weddings, my boss could be one of three places anywhere on the multi-acre grounds. The process goes like this:
One very busy Friday night, I was the only waitress on staff to serve about 40 tables, which was A LOT. One customer decided he no longer wanted a Coke. Instead he wanted a beer. I quickly looked around – no manager in site.
So OF COURSE I typed in the code that I had secretly memorized after looking over my manager’s shoulder a few days prior, in order to save time on a wild-boss-chase. But it was not a perfect crime because the order kicked over to the bar and so there was paper documentation of my betrayal. I was fired the next day. So, what did we learn here today?
- I am not a good waitress.
- This process could have been improved had:
- There been adequate waitstaff scheduled to work that night.
- There’s one manager in charge of the restaurant only, so they’re always close by when needed.
- More than one person is allowed to know the code.
- The POS system allowed wait staff to change an order without needing a code.
- I quickly run over to the bar to destroy the evidence.
After I was told I was fired, I communicated these options back to my boss. He didn’t seem to appreciate the feedback at the time, but I’d like to think – over time – he came to understand the inefficiencies in his own process.
Question for you guys: What type of model would you suggest to my former manager to figure out alternative ways to improve this process? Root cause analysis? Swim lane? Employee journey map?