Teamwork in a restaurant setting can increase employee morale, possibly reduce turnover, and ensure that all restaurant operations are seamless and smooth. What can you do to promote better teamwork among your restaurant staff?
Here are 6 tips for boosting restaurant teamwork:
- Be clear on restaurant goals
- Strengthen your training processes
- Host informal social gatherings
- Ask for feedback
- Give your employees the chance to operate independently
- Provide rewards and incentives for teamwork
Keep reading for more information on how to encourage a stronger sense of camaraderie and togetherness in your restaurant. You won’t want to miss it!
1. Be Clear on Your Restaurant Goals
As the restaurant owner and possibly the manager as well, no one in your entire establishment has the vantage point over what’s going on in your restaurant to the same degree as you do.
To promote teamwork, one has to lead the team, and that’s your responsibility. However, in leading the team, you can’t assume that they know as much as you do just because you have all the knowledge in front of you.
Otherwise, when you turn it over to your employees, it becomes a case of the blind leading the blind. No one really knows what they’re doing, and so they’re only guessing.
The longer this goes on for, the more cemented those processes are, which makes them more difficult to change.
The easiest way to prevent this and unify your restaurant staff is to be clear on what your goals are. You will leave no room for error as there will be no ambiguity.
For example, it’s not enough to tell your team, “I want to grow our profit margins for the next quarter.”
Grow them by how much, exactly? What are the current profit margins so everyone knows what they’re working with?
If your staff can ask these kinds of follow-up questions, then you’re being too vague.
Instead, you should tell your team something like, “I want to see a 20 percent increase in profits by the end of this quarter.”
That’s a very clear-cut goal without any confusion.
More so, you should offer pointers on how your team can achieve the goal. Remember, you have the best vantage point in your position, so you know more about how things work behind the scenes than anyone else.
Share that knowledge to build a stronger team.
2. Strengthen Your Training Processes
Gaps in the knowledge of your restaurant staff may not arise solely due to unclear goals. There could also be discrepancies in the training process.
These discrepancies are natural. When you first opened the doors of your restaurant, you didn’t have nearly as much experience as you did now.
Thus, the first wave of employees didn’t get the full training experience that the second wave did.
Even today’s new hires are in a more advantageous training position compared to the last wave of employees.
While there’s nothing wrong with continually building upon and improving your training processes, that should not mean that past employees sacrifice the same breadth of knowledge.
You might retroactively train earlier employees on concepts and processes that are standard in today’s new employee training.
This will bridge the gap between what your newest staff and your long-established staff know. Thus, your restaurant staff is on an even keel.
This can reduce bad feelings in the back as some employees feel more advantaged than others, and it will eliminate any accusations of favoritism too (or it should).
When those negative feelings aren’t fed into, your restaurant staff can work together and foster a more harmonious professional relationship.
Everyone benefits, as the restaurant operations will be smoother, and perhaps customer satisfaction will be up as well.
3. Host Informal Social Gatherings
Another option for promoting better teamwork in your restaurant is to host informal events for your employees, or social gatherings if you will.
These gatherings are not the standard corporate team-building exercises, keep that in mind. Those exercises can sometimes go well but usually end up terribly and can erode employee morale.
That means you should skip team-building exercises such as trust falls, puzzle-solving, and the like.
Rather, host a small event in your own restaurant or even at an event hall.
Take an evening or an afternoon to close your restaurant to the public (if that’s where you indeed host the event) and allow your employees to mingle.
Provide refreshments, light music, and some entertainment. You also want to include a series of games and activities that employees can participate in so that people aren’t just standing around and feeling awkward.
It’s like a small party but it isn’t quite. You’re trying to get your employees to become more familiar and even friendly with one another in a non-professional setting.
Other ideas for an informal social gathering of this nature include visiting a zoo, taking a class together (be it yoga, pottery, or something else entirely), and bowling.
4. Ask for Feedback
You’re the first to admit when you’ve made a mistake or when a new policy or program you’ve instituted isn’t working.
Yet it’s not enough to hear it from you alone. You need to know how your employees are feeling as well.
There is no better time to request feedback than after you begin instituting employee teamwork measures.
For each new measure that goes into effect, you want your restaurant staff to sound off about it.
After your informal employee gatherings, send an email to those in attendance and ask a few questions about their experience.
Do the same after introducing an updated training regimen or anything else that we’ve discussed on this list.
You need to know what’s working and what’s not. You can’t assume that even though you have good intentions that all your teamwork-building measures are going to go off without a hitch the first time.
By the way, you want this employee feedback to extend beyond your efforts to build teamwork in the restaurant. You want to hear about all facets of working in your establishment.
After all, you have enough responsibilities of your own. It’s not like you can look over the shoulder of each and every one of your employees and ensure they’re satisfied with the work they’re doing.
It’d be nice if you can, but you simply cannot.
After you receive feedback, be ready to make improvements based on what you’ve heard.
Obviously, you will receive a variety of feedback, and you can’t possibly implement everything. If there are overarching complaints or points that your employees keep making, those are a lot harder to ignore.
You won’t please every last employee even if you make every change based on the feedback you receive.
If most of your employees feel a better sense of morale and teamwork after you make changes according to feedback, then you should consider that a victory.
5. Give Your Employees the Chance to Work Independently
Remember how we said in the paragraphs above that you can’t look over the shoulder of each and every employee in your restaurant?
Well, you’d be surprised by how many restaurant owners try to do exactly that.
Maybe they themselves cannot, but they have other avenues that can.
Perhaps they frequently yet randomly hire an auditor to keep the restaurant employees on their toes. Maybe they install security cameras to watch the entire floor.
These measures allow a restaurant owner to keep tabs on their employees, but they also breed mistrust among the restaurant staff.
After all, why put in security cameras or hire an auditor if a boss trusted their employees?
You’ve tried all this time to build an efficient team. How will you ever know if your team can fly if you clip their wings?
In other words, resist the urge to micromanage. Turn off the security cameras if you have them and cancel the auditor if that’s something you were thinking about.
Yes, giving your restaurant staff this kind of freedom means that they can fail. They probably will fail.
It’s impossible to learn to do something better without experiencing shortcomings and adversity first.
If you’re always there to prevent disaster at the last second, you’re preventing your employees from getting those ultra-valuable learning experiences.
Sure, they never make mistakes, and the restaurant continues to operate seamlessly, but at what cost? You end up with a neutered staff.
Although your teamwork measures might not come through the first time you give your employees the chance to work independently, they will come through eventually.
You have to trust that and give your team the space to do their thing.
6. Provide Rewards and Incentives for Teamwork
Another way to get everyone on board with the idea of working as a seamless unit is to offer incentives that ultimately lead to rewards for successfully achieving teamwork.
Those incentives can be whatever you think will ultimately motivate your staff to do their best. Perhaps it’s an additional break or cash bonuses.
You’d track progress by different benchmarks, such as the number of positive reviews left on your Google My Business page, the number of new customers gained in a month, the rate of tips and whether they increased, etc.
Make sure that even though each employee gets to enjoy a reward individually that the incentives apply to your team as a whole.
If everyone is working towards one common goal and they all want that extra break time or the cash prize, then you can bet that your employees will work together to get the task done.
They might even motivate each other to complete objectives so everyone can win.
Building teamwork in a restaurant setting is not something that merely happens overnight. It takes work and continued effort to unify your team, keep them on the same page, and motivate them to do better together.
We hope the information in this article helps you build your strongest team yet!