With technology advancing daily, cell phones are becoming embedded in our society. In the restaurant industry right now, cell phones are a distraction that has become an addiction. Although the common perception is this “addiction” mostly affects the country’s teenage population, the fact is that nearly everyone that owns a cell phone and carries it with them in their workplace will be distracted by a call or text message at some time during their day.
There are pluses and minuses that are associated with your staff posessing cell phones. The fact that your employees are much more easily accessable is one positive outcome. Another favorable aspect is that your ‘house phone’ at the restaurant isn’t constantly ringing for a staff member, which was always a huge issue before the cell phone boom.
The down side to people having their own personal phones include the near constant attention being payed to the employees new gadget. Cell phones make it simple to text message a significant other, take a ‘quick call’, play games and now even surf the internet. There is a sense of ‘high maintenance’ and ‘constant management’ that is linked to these high tech devices. With the ongoing diversions, production is lowered and quality is diminished.
Using a distracting device in the kitchen can also present many dangers to your line cooks. Technological advances make these devices smaller, more compact. Having a small electronic unit in a shirt pocket could pose a problem when working close to hot liquids. Also any phone distraction when using sharp knives endangers not only the owner but others that may be working with or near them.
Striking a balance as to what is acceptable cell phone etiquette in your restaurant can be difficult to attain. With the explosion of cell phone use, many companies have written cell phone procedures and policies. More than 40% of corporations in the U.S. have adopted in house rules detailing when and where employees can use their phones and under what conditions they may accept calls. This percentage is expected to rise dramatically in the near future.