Friday, February 25, 2011

The BEST Manager

As many of you know, I have been to many, many buffets. I have come across some greats and some not so greats - and one of the most important things that I have told you is that the manager can make or break a restaurant - particularly a buffet. At a buffet the public interacts with the staff, the facility, and the manager more than in a sit down restaurant. In many restaurants, unless there is something very wrong, generally people are not even aware of the manager of the restaurant. At a buffet that manager needs to be aware of what is happening at the buffet tables, in the dining room, and in the kitchen. There is a lot more direction required - and that does not always take place behind the scenes.

I have seen many managers. I have to tell you now about one that I feel is the best of any buffet that I have been to. His name is James and he is one of the managers at the Old Country Buffet in Bayshore, New York. Yes - you read it right - I just said that the best manager that I have encountered is one at an Old Country Buffet. James is not the General Manager of this location. He is, from what I can tell, just under the General Manager, but he is the most visible when you visit this OCB.

We have been observing James for a while. He is pretty much the reason that we go so far away to go to this OCB (when we have another one just ten minutes away). Why? Because he makes this OCB work right and he does it with a smile and a true appreciation for his customers. There is a reason why this OCB is so much the positive opposite of the other other OCB nearby - and from what can see it is directly related to this man. Let me clarify - there have been a few nights that we have been there when he has been off - and while things remain very good - they are not as good. (Don't say that his influence should carry over when he is not there - it does, but when the boss is away at just about every workplace - things are not exactly the same.)

He walks around the dining room regularly. He stops by tables and chats with the customers. Many of the regulars have come to know him and he, them. When he passes the buffet servers he makes sure that trays are full and makes sure that those needing refilling are refilled. When an item on the buffet runs out, an equal item replaces it - by this I mean - meat for meat, side dish for side dish. (Not the extra tray of rolls brought out to replace the meatloaf that has happened at another OCB.)

I have heard him more than once thank customers for coming there - expressing sincerely that he appreciates them - and has said, without the customer he would not have a job. That is the absolute best attitude that any manager (or employee) can have. And his attitude seems to carry over to the other employees. No one there has ever said = "not my job" - as I have heard elsewhere. Even on the busiest of nights, used dishes on tables are cleared.

I sing high praises for James. I do not know James's last name but if I did I would include it here. Now there is one problem with a manager being so good - sooner or later he will get promoted - and I don't think that anyone as good could take his place.

Thank you, James! You are appreciated!


mario said...

you are so right about a manager being hands on.
I hope James but more importantly the management of of this OCB acknowledge this dedicated employee

Art of the Buffet said...

Mario - James is the dedicated employee - and the manager. And the chain-corporate, Buffets, Inc., should acknowledge him.

RemixedCat said...

This is awesome. I know the manager at the Ryan's location closest to me is excellent as well. Don't know his name. Tell him I said I appreciate him too!

Anonymous said...

Is James the African american gentleman? I sometimes go to the Bay Shore restaurant and I see him always walking around to make sure everything is running well. Good guy.

Writer said...

Yes, that is James. A further observation - when James is off, things do not run as well - even when the general manager is working.