Forks, spoons, knives, plates, ramekins, napkins, side plates and bowls. All of these things cost money. It’s very painful to see them in the trash and know that you are the only one who feels that pain. How to stop the careless throwing away of those non-disposable items is not an easy task at all. I have a suggestion you might alter and make your own. Anything is worth a try!
Your next staff meeting should include all the staff, including dishwashers, cooks, servers, etc. Inform them that you are concerned about the growing cost of these lost items and you have a plan that might help stop the costly loss of them.
Tell your dishwasher that you are rewarding him/her for every utensil and dish that he/she recovers from the trash. He/she will receive a quarter for each and every item recovered. You should have a tally sheet for him/her to fill out at the end of every day. At the end of a shift, go through and make sure you have the right figures, etc. and pay him/her cash on the spot. Where does the money come from?
Tell your servers that at the end of every day they will each have to donate the money that is to be paid to the dishwasher! If there are five items found and you have four servers that day, they each donate $.31. One will have to donate $.32. This is not a lot of money. You may alter that amount accordingly. This is merely an example. Servers should not be terribly upset over this amount of money. If you have bussers, include them in this game.
You understand that servers don’t intentionally throw those items away; they get in a rush and don’t take the time to make sure they are only throwing away paper and uneaten food. You must make them understand how much those items cost. If you are so inclined, make up a chart of some sort that outlines your costs, focusing on those items, of course. Doing this is just a way to make everyone aware and to better police themselves and others when bringing dishes and trash to the dish room. Remind them that this is a team atmosphere and this game is something you want to try to reduce the cost of the lost!
You might also let them know that you will be better able to give raises and do more fun things for them if you can all reduce the cost of the lost. Give it a try and let me know the results!