Nurturing the spirit of “passing the ball”
Do you have any ideals about the “Tsuchiya” team?
Rugby seems to be the hot topic today. Their way of thinking is a good example when it comes to running a restaurant. First you take hold of the ball and allure the opponents. Then you pass the ball to your teammate and he runs for the goal. I don’t think it’s a good idea to be motivated by the desire to be promoted or receive praise. We should move forward as a team while inspiring one another with the true value of our work. Not giving work to younger generations to protect your own position or only making them run errands, this probably happens in any kind of profession, but when the business owner starts doing this, he or she may lower wages to make more money and make the staff work from early morning to late night. Then, those staff would repeat the same thing to the generation below them. This is not a team. Instead, I’d like to look at younger generations as the second and third hitters and hand over my work. If you hold on to the ball for too long, the opponent will tackle you and you will lose it, but if you pass the ball, you will end up moving forward altogether.
I see. But in reality, I’m sure there are many hardships when it comes to “handing over” work to your staff.
Absolutely. It is much easier said than done. In fact, sometimes the staff members are so motivated they collide with one another. For instance, the service staff would say, “Please prepare the dish immediately, the customer is waiting”. But the chef replies, “I can’t, we have our own set of procedures.” And they end up fighting.
In such cases, both parties need to take a step back and say something like, “Please give me 5 more minutes, I will take care of it”, “Thank you so much”. I believe it is my job to create such an atmosphere. For instance, when I see a staff that isn’t doing so well, I say “Hey, you’re doing good today!” on purpose. Surprisingly, this kind of talk really improves their performance for some reason. When I was working as a master chef in the past, sometimes I got in a fight with the staff and yelled, “Forget it! Go home!” But now that I am a business owner, I realize I cannot do anything alone. So I want the staff to be comfortable and energetic in the workplace.
It is my mission to create an atmosphere where my staff can grow and improve themselves. It’s similar to how my master told me to go challenge myself at a different restaurant, even if it meant losing a valuable asset. By taking a step back and watching over them, they will grow, which ultimately leads to the growth of the restaurant.
(interviewer:Osamu Saito writer:Akiko Minebayashi photographer:Kengo Osaka)