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Restaurateurs: Please stop the unwanted touching

Restaurateurs: Please stop the unwanted touching

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In the January issue, editor Michael Sanson wrote about an experience where he watched male bartenders regularly touching a female bartender. The contacts were not overtly sexual, but the woman’s body language suggested she was not happy with the frequent and unsolicited contact. He asked how others deal with inappropriate behavior. Here are excerpts from some of the responses.    

Mutual respect of the sexes must be a priority. Zero tolerance.  No sexual jokes, no nicknames, no sweetie, no honey, no babe. It’s simply your name. When we hire I share with them how proud I am to be a leader in an organization where the 80 percent female staff is safe. It makes me so proud that my staff knows we care about how they feel at work. I tell them I will give them a safe, fun, place to work and make money.  I stress with the men that many women are mistreated at home and in society, but under this roof it’s a top priority to make sure my staff is safe from harassment.  

Michael Anagnos
Popeye’s on Lake Geneva
Lake Geneva, WI

Restaurant Hospitality January 2016 issueAll bartenders and servers are in a fish bowl. Many eyes are  watching them. Almost like a movie. We have no televisions in our bars, and therefore the staff members become a big part of the viewing scenery. The message conveyed to our customers is representative of not only themselves, but of management and ownership. Shop talk, gossip, language, and my pet peeve, carrying dirty glasses with fingers inside the rims, are viewed by many and show the true
colors of the establishment and its employees.

Steve Johansson
Beverage Director
Mayflower Park
Hotel, Andaluca and

I advise when we hire anyone that I want them to respect and be respected. Employees are required to tell me or my female assistant immediately [if an incident occurs]. We also have cameras throughout, which eliminates guessing about who does/did what. Many waitresses have thanked me for protecting them and they feel respected here. That’s how I would want my wife or daughter treated.

Merv Brenneman
General Manager
The Casselman Inn
Grantsville, MD

Any kind of touching is unacceptable in the workplace. Restaurant owners and managers set the tone. I train my managers to stop the little stuff, which eventually becomes the big stuff if left unchecked. Unfortunately the operation in your article follows policies from the Stone Age.

Doron R. Jensen
Jensen’s Supper Club
Eagan, MN

For many years I laughed off or just ignored the subtle touching I was frequently subjected to in my early years behind the bar. Every pass by in close quarters seemed to give my male counterparts license to place a hand on my lower back or waist as they moved around me. As much as it made me uncomfortable, I never asked them to stop. I was young and naïve and I would often just cringe or make a forced smile. I loved and needed the job so I just accepted it. Now as an owner I make it abundantly clear what is acceptable both in language and behavior. Everyone should feel safe and comfortable at work. 

Lyn Metivier
Mike’s Restaurant
Fairhaven, MA

TAGS: Staffing
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