Hospitality: When You Need to Say No

Optimism, a can-do attitude and saying “Yes!” are common traits amongst long-time hospitality workers. It’s common to hear advice about how important saying ‘yes’ is, how you need to always offer solutions and not problems, and how you need to get around that dreaded ‘no’ somehow. But in the can-do industry where we are here to serve others, there are still times when we really do need to be able to say no.  Here are some common times in hospitality when you need to be able to say no (learn them well!):

  • When you just can’t do that extra shift. Whether it’s your family, your health or your sanity – you need to maintain work-life balance.
  • When someone without an ID wants to buy alcohol. No amount of optimism is worth an $8,800 fine!
  • When food hygiene is at risk. The ‘three second rule’ does not exist in a commercial kitchen!
  • When you receive stock or supplies that are damaged, past use by dates or just plain dodgy!! Although it can be tough saying no, you need to be able to stand up and say, “Take it back,” or ring the supplier while the driver is still there to say, “Not good enough!”
  • When customers eat ¾ of their meal and then complain for a refund. Usually these ones are repeat offenders, as some places just pay to keep them happy. If they complain straight up then there are reasonable grounds for a refund or a replacement – think complimentary dessert or drink.
  • When that extra opportunity takes away from your core. We experience this one often – at Redmako Business Sales we also find ourselves saying ‘no’ to business owners who want to sell their business with us.Why say no? Because we are 100% Hospitality, 100% of the time – we have chosen to provide a unique and specialised service to the hospitality industry, and the moment we venture away from that, we lose our heart. You’ve probably heard the saying, ‘if you try to please everyone, you’ll end up pleasing no one’. Well we rephrase it as this: ‘if you try to do everything, you’re no longer a specialist’. Stick to your core and what makes you unique, even if it means saying no to opportunities sometimes.
  • When your current way of business isn’t producing the results, you need to say, “No, I’m not going to keep doing the same thing”. To get different results you’ve got to do something different! If you haven’t had as many dinner patrons as you’d like, try opening for breakfast instead. It’s never a good idea in business to choose your preferences over your customers’ preferences.

It can be tough saying ‘no’ to customers, suppliers, business partners and even yourself, but knowing your limits and your boundaries will help you to stay focused and keep succeeding through an ever-changing industry.