That's not my section, that's not my job, that's not my sidework or my problem....
As managers, we tend to hear about a person’s lack of responsibilities more than we see them in genuine support of a greater good, a good that no doubt will increase their tips long-term, a good that is spelled: TEAM. Now, if that happens more than once with an employee, the problem is not the individual, it’s YOU as a leader and more than likely lack of any training or systems translating "team" to new hires and staff.
Creating an environment where naturally people see themselves part of a bigger and better good is really not hard. As a manager, we know everything is our job, everything is our responsibility and every day we walk into the workplace we must model teamwork in support of the whole.
Every member of your organization, front of house, back of house, even your distributors should believe serving the guests, providing authentic hospitality and care - doing everything it takes, every single time, no matter what the task, is the only true "job description." Hosts should know table numbers, run food and bus tables whenvever possible. They should see this as part of their role in your restaurant. But how do you get a host or server to help another team member when you know many are wired to think: "Who gets the tip?" First, leadership must demand it. Not supporting your team member can never, not one time be an option. In all of our restaurants, every team member knows how to operate and organize the dish station, they all know how to prep items or step into another "job description" when needed. At Close to Open Restaurant Management Consulting, even the most savvy servers or bartenders must know running food for a shift or hosting one night is a portion of how any one store will develop goodwill, wow guests and improve gross sales which of course improves tip percentages. But it can't be about money!
Here are some other ways you can improve service and sales with teamwork.
Spell it out. Often the best way to motivate team members is to tell them how the world works. If service improves, sales will improve. If sales improve, salaries improve.
Train it. Incorporate cross-training into your orientation and ongoing training and be as specific as possible. Walk employees through the restaurant and go over every customer touch point.
Demand it. Hire it. After training, if an employee fails to follow-through with set goals and standards, get rid of them. One cancer being tolerated will no doubt create apathy and spread.