8 Tips For Building Your Restaurant Staff Into The Best Team

Stu Margetts
May 27, 2022

Running a successful restaurant doesn’t just come down to serving appetising food. The main ingredient for long-term success is the experience your diners encounter when they visit your restaurant. And the restaurant staff play a huge part in that experience, so you need to make sure they’re the best around.

We’ve all been there – going out for a meal can be ruined if the service is rubbish. So, how can you make sure you build the right team that sustains your workplace and helps you grow?

Building Your Restaurant Staff Up To The Right Level

There isn’t just one thing you can do to make your restaurant staff the best they can be. While each of the 8 steps below will have an impact, the more you put in place, the bigger the results you’ll see – and this can go a long way to making your business more successful.

After all, the better your staff feel, the better they’ll perform on each shift – and your customers will have the greatest experience possible on every visit.

#1 Focus On Staff Development

Invest in training your staff properly and maintain that training as it’ll pay off in the future. Having well-trained staff is a no-brainer. Investing in staff development is a commitment to your staff, making them feel appreciated and valued. It will instil confidence in them and will allow them to be properly equipped to deal with whatever situation arises in the restaurant.

The right training can include serving tips, dealing with customers, self-confidence, assertiveness, and time-management. There are plenty of courses to choose from depending on what their duties will be, and you might have your own staff development and training modules. If you run a higher end establishment, make sure your staff are well versed in the complexities of the dishes, silver service and wine choices.

#2 Treat Them Well To Help With Staff Retention

Providing good working conditions will help keep morale high and make your staff feel valued. This in turn will keep staff retention levels up. Remember, happy staff make for a happy restaurant, and this will come across in their service and, ultimately, customer experiences.

Pay attention to what your staff need, such as regular breaks, giving them the right uniform, and providing them with a well-ventilated space to go for breaks. Whilst it is natural to spend budget on the customer facing areas of your restaurant, don’t neglect the staff areas. Giving staff a comfortable place to relax will increase morale.

#3 There’s No ‘I’ In Team

Restaurants are not run by individuals; they are run by teams. Make sure you pay attention to demonstrating what teamwork means for your restaurant staff. This goes back to point one, but invest in staff development so your team buys into the need for teamwork.

Getting all the elements of the team – kitchen staff, front of house, runners, bar staff – collaborating will help increase camaraderie, job satisfaction, and morale. From this you should see greater efficiency, productivity, and improved retention.

#4 Feed Them… Well

Nothing will seem more demoralising to a staff member than watching appetising meals being created for paying customers, and then being fed poorly. Provide enough budget to be able feed your staff well and with variety – it shouldn’t be the same meal every shift.

Also be aware of food intolerances or dietary requirements. Again, it shows forethought and consideration, and will make your staff feel valued.

#5 Find The Right Employee Rewards

A well thought out incentive program will help motivate staff. This can be run on a weekly or monthly basis. Have an employee of the month or let them build up to a larger incentive over a fixed period. You can also consider using longevity bonuses to ensure staff retention.

Everyone likes to be recognized for good work and this recognition will encourage a good work ethic, so think carefully about what kind of employee rewards your team will value and want to receive.

#6 Communication Is Key

If you want to build a strong team, consider how you are communicating with them. With shift work, key messages can get lost if they are not communicated in a clear way with all those who need to see the information. Establish a robust communication method so nothing gets missed or lost in translation. You can use a digital tool like OurPeople to keep in touch with restaurant staff, as well as handling shift management, training and development and much more.

No one wants to feel left out or disadvantaged by lack of information so communicate, communicate, communicate.

#7 Set Clear Goals And Expectations For Your Restaurant Staff

Setting defined goals for all members of staff, whatever their function, is critical for success and a happy workforce. How can you expect your restaurant staff to perform if they don’t know what is expected of them? From day 1 provide a clear set of goals and support your staff to achieve these.

This will develop a consistent tone to your workforce and help staff feel supported and appreciated.

#8 Welcome Employee Feedback, From Everyone

You might think you know your business, but a wise restaurant owner will be happy to receive employee feedback from all parts of their business. Your staff are the eyes and ears of the operation. Whilst you might have a great overview, your team on the ground, doing their jobs day to day, will be able to give you an accurate picture of how your restaurant is performing. So, give them an opportunity to give feedback – and listen to it.

This can be done through brainstorming sessions, but be aware some employees may not feel comfortable expressing their views publicly. In order to gain as much employee feedback as possible, offer multiple ways for employees to communicate, such as, an anonymous feedback box, one-on-one sessions and electronic communication.

If your staff feel they can give meaningful feedback using their preferred communication method, they will feel valued and listened to. This in turn will build a strong work ethic and team spirit.

Using The Right Digital Tools To Improve Restaurant Staff

Ultimately building your restaurant staff to the level you want takes commitment, investment and time. But, as they are the glue that keeps your restaurant running, it is imperative to treat them well and consistently to maintain morale and create an efficient team.

OurPeople can assist you with this by providing a clear communication platform, training, incentives, and benefits, all with real-time analytics built in. We can work with you to create a team with complementary skills, committed to a common mission to create the right experience in your restaurant, that will keep people coming back and provide a wonderful ambience for all. To find out more, get in touch with our team today.

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