“Work like a team,” might be a common directive in the office, and your waiters might be nodding all throughout the meeting. But do they know where to start? Here are tips in starting off with specific steps in developing teamwork in the restaurant.
It is often said that a restaurant is a business that runs a system of organized chaos. Cooks, chefs, wait staff, cashiers and managers need to be organized and have to work as a team to steer clear of a disaster. Imagine a server who decides to abandon his table, or a line cook who chooses to bury the tickets. Everyone would feel the pain, especially your restaurant’s customers.
Teamwork is one of the most talked about word in business management today, but only a few organizations really commit to cultivate it in their company culture, as it is seemingly a very daunting task. Fostering teamwork is larger than the employees’ everyday job function, as it encompasses a lot of other integral parts that management has to tie up – the company’s vision, the employees’ individual goals, the firm’s rules and guidelines, each member’s specific role, leadership, communication, salaries and benefits, incentives, along with a host of others. And all these to be done in a serious, resolute manner to make sure that the employees take it seriously and at the same time balancing it with joviality to make it appear lighter and interesting–hence more motivational for the people.
One good way to start, though, is in the employees’ daily tasks. You can start by motivating and encouraging your staff to work as a team. Just throwing them the goal of “keeping the customers happy” might not really get them to do it, unless there’s a little help from you regarding the specifics.
Tip No. 1: Encourage them to volunteer.
Encourage them to freely offer their services in case someone’s out and a replacement is needed. Raise their hand, volunteer to fill-in. That’s a perfect way of showing that they can come through in the clutch.
Tip No. 2: Advise them to make use of their time for the company.
No matter how busy a restaurant is, there are still several instances when the staff has got plenty of time in their hands. Incite them to pitch in to other things when you’re a little slow. The salad chef can help at the peak of the dinner rush, or the receptionist can help in taking orders.
Tip No. 3: Teach them to compromise.
In an environment where everyone works closely with one another, disagreements and conflicts are inevitable. Do something about it by constantly reminding them to avoid disputes within the workplace. Compromise. Giving-in a little wouldn’t hurt, as work is already hard enough without adding more tension in the air.
Tip No. 4: Remind them not to take things personally.
Not always as easy to follow, especially when one takes great pride in his work and restaurant uniform. But it is your responsibility as manager to remind them that when they slip up, or commit some kind of error in their work, and they have a little “chat” with management, they should not take it personally. Make them understand that it is just a part of ensuring that the team functions efficiently, if not outstandingly. Learn from mistakes, and take criticisms constructively, not personally.
Tip No. 5: Train them to follow directions thoroughly.
This is an obvious task, yet you would be amazed at how much people fail in doing this. Emphasize to your staff time and again that correctly following instructions is vital to their success in the business as well as the success of the whole team. Encourage them to write difficult or hard to remember instructions, and not be afraid to ask. Better ask than assume things. You can come up with team exercises during meetings, if you have to.
Tip No. 6: Point out a basic thing: show up.
A common case among all workers is calling in sick when they aren’t. It’s especially hard for people in restaurants, since if one fails to show up, someone else is bothered to wear the other’s restaurant uniform and take over. Encourage them to think of their team and come to work as expected.
Tip No. 7: Urge them to ask when they need help.
Cart off any inhibitions to ask for help when they need to. A shy cook may be plating 150 diners in an hour but is just embarrassed to ask for help. Teamwork is about cooperation, and when someone needs help, make sure they get it.
Tip No.8: Promote friendships among the staff.
Working together for more than 8 hours a day and more than 5 days a week ought to create strong bonds within your personnel. Be alarmed if that does not happen. There are many teambuilding activities that harness camaraderie and closeness among team members, and they are quite worth your while if you use it.
Tip No.9: Encourage self-improvement.
Commend anyone who does a good job, or makes efforts to improve on his craft. Learning new skills is a fine move for an employee professionally, as well as beneficial to the team. Being flexible in trying out different positions in the restaurant is also a good way to learn and become well-rounded, and you can encourage them to try it.
Tip No.10: Motivate them into enjoying what they do.
Highlight great testimonies of other people who succeeded in the business, letting them know that loving their job may work wonders to how they perform at work.
Creating teamwork can be challenging, especially at its early stages, but it is achievable through sound leadership and dedicated commitment, requiring time and persistence. Restaurant managers should train constantly, and conduct meetings consistently. Successful restaurants conduct pre-shift meetings with bussers, food servers and kitchen staff to coordinate functions. It is in these pre-shift meetings that the above tips are useful, subtly pounding it on the staff until the idea of cooperation and teamwork gets into their system.