Cost Reduction

Five Team-Building Tips for Restaurateurs

You can feel it—and so can your guests. There’s a flow that almost mesmerizes. Guests enter the doors; they are welcomed by a smiling host who looks genuinely happy to seat them at a table that looks inviting and spacious. They answer the few questions they may have in a relaxed and gracious manner and let them know that their server, whose name they share, will be right with them. The waitperson arrives moments later, introducing themselves, taking the guest’s drink orders and suggesting the appetizer of the day. The dinner arrives perfectly prepared and presented with hints of fresh herbs and spices. The meal progresses calmly, peacefully, with the waitperson attending to the needs of the guests before they even realize they have one. 

Compare this scenario to another restaurant’s atmosphere down the street. As the guests enter the establishment, the host appears harried. After finally being seated with barely a smile, the waitperson appears 10 minutes later. They ask the patrons what they would like to order with no introductions or suggestions. The meal appears. It’s hot and the flavor is as expected, but there is nothing that entices the guest to remember it long after the last bite and send in a review to Yelp or Trip Advisor. No, wait, they did post a review…about how terrible the service was.

How did this transpire? How did the FOH and the BOH come together to create a seamless masterpiece in one business, and a business-crushing experience in the other? The difference lies in management, or lack thereof. One person, somewhere down the chain of command, took the time to build and inspire a team, and that makes all the difference.

Team-Building Tips

  • Training – Sometimes you get lucky. You get the right resume, make the right calls, and hire that perfect person for the position you’ve been searching to fill. “Sometimes” is more accurately defined as “in a few cases.” In most cases, the person you’ve hired requires some assistance and training to reach the level of guest service, cleanliness and product development you’re striving for. This is one of the most important traits to look for when hiring. If you have a choice between someone with years of experience that believes they know it all and a person with less experience but an upbeat, glass-half-full attitude, always lean towards the one who is trainable.
  • Inspire – You’ll find in many restaurants that there has never been a training policy and procedure manual. It’s difficult for employees to do their best if they don’t know what “the best” means and what is expected of them. Most people want to better themselves, feel proud of their accomplishments and believe they are making a contribution. Inspire them. Believe in them. Take the time to acknowledge their achievements and the little milestones they accomplish as they progress.
  • Model – Do you, as a manager or business owner, bring your personal troubles into the work place? Is your bad mood written all over your face? You are the front line and the role model. Be as you want your employees to be.
  • Respect – While some reality television shows suggest it’s okay to scream at your employees, it isn’t. The proverbial saying, “Treat others as you would like to be treated,” refers as much to employees as to your personal friends, relatives and strangers. Yelling instills resentment, not an enthusiastic desire to help build a business and a sense of community.
  • Time Out – Build camaraderie by making time for special team events. Start a baseball team and get your local businesses to join in creating a league. Make employee parties a fun celebration. Nip any disgruntled employees in the bud by addressing their needs directly. This may include their need to work elsewhere.

You can create a team that aspires to create and provide the very best in product and service. It may take time, patience, and a little faith, but the end-product is well worth the effort.

 

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