Sara Fenton was excited about having been recruited into the restaurant manager training program at a national restaurant chain. As an assistant manager to Johnny Sanchez,  she would perform a variety of managerial duties at a busy restaurant in suburban Cleveland, Ohio. If she performed well in her responsibilities for two years, she would be assigned to manage her own restaurant within the chain.

Before shifting into her job as assistant manager, first Sara had to spend six weeks on the wait staff. “This assignment was a natural for me because I had worked part-time as a server

for several years in high school and college,” Sara said. “Working in the dining room was also a good way to learn more about the restaurant where I would be an assistant manager.” After performing well as a server, and earning wonderful tips, Sara was appointed to the assistant manager position as promised.

Influenced by a workshop on the topic of time management Sara took at school, she decided to maintain a log of her activities as manager. Among the entries were as follows:

September 2:    Bill, one of the wait staff, sent me an e-mail saying that he could not work today because his uncle shot himself in a hunting accident, and Bill had to wait at the hospital. What a mess, because we are short- handed in the dining room this busy Labour Day weekend anyway.

September 6:     Jen, one of the best servers on the staff, said she needs a week off to take care of a personal problem. After 25 years of marriage, her    mother    and father announced their plans to divorce and Jen just can’t take the emotional pain. It will be tough replacing Jen until she returns.

September 25:    Chuck, a member of the wait staff, accidentally spilled hot coffee on one of the customers. The customer demanded to see the manager, so I tried to take care of the problem. The man was irate, and talked about suing the restaurant. I tried to calm him down, and offered to pay for his meal as well as for dry cleaning his trousers. I don’t know the final outcome of this problem, but it looks ugly.

October 5:          Johnny informs me that the restaurant chain is concerned that some of the spinach it bought this week contained E. coli bacteria. We are getting rid of all the spinach we can find in the restaurant, but some of the salads we served the last few days may have been contaminated. Johnny wants me to investigate. Does he think I’m a chemist and detective as well as a management trainee?

Sara is scheduled to meet with Johnny San- chez later this week to discuss her impressions of her work as the assistant restaurant manager. Sara reflected, “What can I say that is positive?

The problems I’m dealing with so far don’t seem like the job of a real manager. I wonder if I’ve chosen the right field? These day-by-day headaches are a lot to cope with.”

Discussion Questions

  1. Advise Sara on whether she is really learning some valuable lessons as a potential manager.
  2. What should Sara tell Johnny on her review of her experiences?
  3. Which managerial roles has Sara been carrying out as indicated by her activity log?

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