Restaurant Culture - Teamwork
One great motto to have in any restaurant!
Even though most training programs encourage teamwork, it tends to get lost over time. So, how do we keep it going?
Training, encouraging, and teaching are one part, following through is the other part.
Building teamwork may require policing staff until all elements you establish becomes a habit. Once it becomes a habit, a general checkup now and again will be necessary. This process may take much time initially, but we can not put a price tag on the results.
So, how do we accomplish this?
For starters - If you are an owner or general manager, make sure all other managers follow all rules, standards, core values, mission- and vision statements. This step is essential and often overlooked.
For instance, if one staff member doesn't uphold a uniform standard and a manager sees this but does not correct it, he/she starts a downward trend where staff members will begin to think 'I can get away without doing this with one manager but not another.' All the training and teaching will be for nothing and will start to destroy unity.
Once you have managers on the same page, you want to make a list of all the benefits you want your staff to understand. That list should include everything relating to teamwork itself - such as making sure all guests are greeted no matter in whose station they are seated, to such things as how things should be set up - all beverage napkins facing the same way. Believe this or not, but many restaurants overlook this part as a function of teamwork. When thinking about cooperation, keep in mind - Teamwork is all about the actions individuals take and the effects on those around.
Then, take a few senior staff members to help set the example for others. Teaching them the benefits of teamwork and how it will make their jobs easier will give them a feeling of importance and empowerment, but do not forget to promote teamwork between all employees, including both FOH and BOH, to create unity.
Here are seven suggestions on HOW to promote teamwork:
1) Observation and Communication - Teach staff what to watch out for throughout the restaurant and why – pick up dirty plates, empty glasses, or replenish stock. Always tell them WHY so they can better understand and can ask questions. They may have new or better ideas on how to make things easier.
2) Utilize a buddy system - Encourage staff to watch each other's tables when the other server needs to restock or go to the bathroom. The buddy system will increase guest satisfaction,be more productive, and reduce stress.
3) Make sure everyone is 'on the same page' when it comes to side-work, proper ways of doing it, and where everything belongs. Being 'on the same page' lessens arguments and people can find everything easily.
4) Teach staff to greet all guests, answer the phone, seat, run food, etc., no matter what their official job is.
5) Ask for help when needed by encouraging staff to say "Is there anything I can do for you? or How can I help you?" Try making one or both a motto.
6) Point out in staff meetings opportunities where others may need help, such as getting bread or drinks for large parties, bussing tables, etc.
7) Encourage staff to help with scheduling by letting you know if they are available for last minute shifts when someone calls in sick or has car trouble. They can also help cover their shifts if they forget a doctor's appointment or need a day off etc.; with management's approval, of course.
Like everything else done in a restaurant, teamwork starts with setting a good example. A manager can promote teamwork by jumping in and helping when an extra hand is needed. Showing staff that ALL managers are team-players (and not just their boss) will inspire the team to do the same.
We must keep one thing in mind - In Training, we start teaching the culture (which includes teamwork) and what is expected of a new hire. But the real test on maintaining that culture is when new staff members perform the job.