In most restaurants, a slow shift means cutting servers, which puts servers in a weird position. Imagine having to get ready and come into work, only to arrive and be asked to leave, without making much (if any) money for your troubles.
Not a great feeling for servers, but we get why cutting servers has become the norm. It can be expensive to keep servers “on” if it’s a slow night and there aren’t enough customers to warrant them being there. You’re also legally required to pay the non-tipped minimum wage to these employees.
But at Juliet Restaurant, in Somerville, MA, they use a “no forced cuts” policy, which has seen success with their servers.
Sam Mangino, a server at Juliet, explained how it works. “We always have the option of whether or not we want the night off. We're never told we're going to get cut. So if we have a really slow night, the option is we're going to do a lot of cleaning or one of you can take the night off – and there are some days where I'm like, ‘I'm so tired. I do want this night off.’ So at least if I'm not getting a day’s worth of pay, I get to make that choice on my own.”
This “no forced cuts” policy is one of the many outside-the-box management and business models Juliet uses — including open-book management and profit-sharing — to keep their servers happy and clocking in day after day.