Restaurant Management Tips

With today’s thin workforce and abundance of open positions to fill in restaurants, keeping up morale, reducing turnover, and fostering teamwork in the workplace are more important than ever before. When your restaurant staff feels valued and heard, they reciprocate that value in their work.

1. Encourage Camaraderie Through Informal Social Events

Although formal team building events are encouraged in certain HR manuals, a simple Google search for “bad team-building experiences” will provide you with a litany of horrors.

Forcing people to participate in compulsory team building activities is, ironically, detrimental to good teamwork. What’s fun for an owner or manager might be less so for an employee, and the last thing you should want is for resentment to grow among your staff.

Instead of imposing team building from the top down, it’s more effective to allow teams to build organically. Plenty of people would have a problem with being forced to participate in weird team-building exercises, but most people are okay with a glass of wine and a nice meal.

In low-pressure, informal surroundings — even your own restaurant on a closed afternoon or evening — team members can get to know each other and form bonds that will carry over into their daily work. Instead of budgeting for elaborate team building events, you can budget for low key social time, maybe even offsite, where everyone can observe how another restaurant functions.

Restaurant Staff can get to know each other through informal events such as:

  •       Bowling
  •       Cleaning up a park
  •       Yoga class
  •       Visiting the zoo
  •       Visiting a nearby restaurant

2. Specify Long-Term Company Goals

All employees, whether front- or back-of-house, should be clear on the long-term goals of your business. This should be covered when new employees are hired, and regular updates should be made via staff meetings.

If a restaurant doesn’t have clearly defined, measurable goals for service and sales – then it’s hard to keep everyone on the same page. If everyone knows that the organization’s goal is to turn tables at least three times per shift, this will help all team communications and keep everyone moving in the same direction.

3. Clarify Employee Individual Roles

If there is any ambiguity regarding roles and responsibilities, it’s impossible for people to work together effectively. Even worse, you may end up with situations where workers are unfairly delegating their work to others – which creates resentment.

To combat conflict in your restaurant, it’s important for the roles and responsibilities to be clearly documented. This documentation should be available for all to see in an employee handbook or posted in the back-of-house, so people can refer back to it if there is a clash of opinions regarding obligations.

To avoid confusion, each new employee should be referred to this document as part of their onboarding process. In relatively small environments like restaurants, it is essential for workers to know the exact responsibilities of every person in the organization, in addition to the responsibilities of their immediate teammates.

4. Hire Cohesive Teams with Wise Hiring Practices

A lot of restaurants suffer from terrible, ineffective hiring processes. Ultimately, your hiring process should be used to predict how well a new recruit will work long-term with your customers, other staff, and you.

Instead, interviews usually accomplish very little other than making the interviewer feel superior by asking ridiculous questions such as: “If you were to get rid of one state in the U.S., which would it be and why?”

While it would be great if most organizations could completely overhaul their hiring process, one incremental improvement would be to involve more team members that the new hire is set to work with.