Imagine this: Your restaurant has the best decorations, the most exciting menu, and the most well stocked bar in the city. Is this enough to get customers in the door? Unfortunately, no. Even the best restaurants need a great service staff to keep customers coming back. So, for Front-of-House (FOH) managers, this means making sure that your staff works like a team. Here are some tips to build the best service team and turn your weak-links into team players.
Look for passion before experience when hiring
Someone who is passionate about serving others is more than halfway to becoming a great server. More so than someone who has a lot of experience, but a jaded attitude towards the position. When hiring for a server position, be sure to ask your candidates to provide examples that show how much they like making other people feel welcome and appreciated.
Create a relaxed but accountable work environment
Serving is a stressful job. You’re constantly dealing with hungry people who can be impatient at times. For this reason, the server manager should avoid creating a stressful work environment for their staff at all costs. However, you must do so without losing your focus on accountability. Coach your team constantly, but don’t micromanage. Allow your servers to show their personality to the customers while ensuring they follow all of the restaurant’s protocols. This is an easy and effective way to help reduce stress for your servers.
As the FOH manager, your behavior sets the tone for the shift. You are the model for everyone else to follow. If you treat customers cordially and respectfully, your servers will do the same. It’s that simple. Behave the way you want your staff to behave.
No one works for nothing. Acknowledge when your employees do something right. Just a simple “great job” will positively reinforce good behavior in your serving staff. Better yet, create contests or use a tool like Tipzyy to educate and incentivize your team. This will encourage all of your employees to go above and beyond for their customers. This goes a long way to making sure your staff is both happy and hard working.
Hold team meetings
There is no “I” in team, and certainly no “I” in restaurant. That being said, there’s nothing like a team meeting to reinforce the fact that the service staff is truly a team. Use the meeting time to make sure everyone is engaged with the greater goals of the restaurant. But, don’t bore them to death with lectures. Tell funny stories or play team-building games. Be fun!
Your staff should never be afraid to ask you anything. You were once in their shoes. Be a resource of ideas and best-practices for your employees. This lets them know that you care about them, your job, and the restaurant as a whole. Nothing says manager quite like a caring and inviting attitude.