No “I” in “T-E-A-M”
The old saying that “there ain’t no ‘I’ in the word T-E-A-M,” has never been more applicable than it is here at The Grey. We have built this organization around the premise that if all of us who are on this team put each other’s well-being above all else then taking care of our guests will be the seamless outcome of those efforts. For the most part, this has held true.
In the last several months staffing has been incredibly difficult here in Savannah (and everywhere else from what we understand). We have been understaffed in almost every section of the restaurant and at almost every position. This is the result of a combination of the normal attrition of the industry in which we operate and a bad confluence of events including some of our strongest folks moving to other parts of the country.
There is no way to endure these types of struggles without it impacting those of us who continue to work hard for each other and our guests and, well, frankly, the guests themselves. In the past few months we have asked our server and kitchen staffs to do everything from pick up janitorial and ‘dishpit’ shifts to work multiple double shifts in a single week. We have asked our managers to do the same. Most people have been working six days a week and some even seven. Savory cooks are plating pastry because we have not had a pastry person in several months – it’s a really long story that one. And all of this has been going on behind the scenes while we are in the busiest part of our year.
When you put this kind of stress on people, the stress of no time to themselves, doing jobs far from their comfort zones and asking them to work all of their waking hours in the stressful environment of a restaurant that strives to be exceptional, you expect pushback. Frankly, you expect some people to crack.
But that is not what has happened here. People have responded with smiles and positivity. Every person has stepped up to do something with which they are not comfortable and that they know little to nothing about. People have mopped floors and cleaned bathrooms. People have cooked and shucked and sliced; all often in the same night. Cooks have put in sixty and seventy hours per week. Management has been here day and night; night and day.
And for the most part, we have covered our tracks as it relates to our guests. Sure, we can see in our reviews (the joy of instant feedback in this industry) that food is sometimes taking too long to arrive at a table on some nights and that our limited dessert menu can test the patience of certain of our guests, but, all-in-all, we are surviving and maintaining our standards.
Pastry is on its way back. Staffing has almost ironed itself out. We are surviving.
But it is never easy.
Teamwork truly does makes the dream work.
Thanks to everyone on The Grey team. – Johno