How to Improve the Performance of Restaurant Employees
When you are starting out as a restaurant business owner it is essential that you have staff who are performing effectively both in terms of getting tasks done correctly and in terms of customer service.
One of the biggest problems that restaurants are encountering is the lack of motivated and skilled workers. Most young people look at food service as something to do while waiting or studying for a ‘real’ career or they see it as a job to fall back on if their plans don’t work out. If you can change this attitude, you’re halfway to molding a mediocre server into a star quality professional.
The first step, of course, is to examine your own attitude. Do you see your restaurant employees as a means to an end or are they valuable assets to your business? Your attitude, much more than your words, comes through no matter how you act or what you say. Without your staff you would not have a business and without good staff it won’t last long. Once you’ve adjusted or affirmed a good attitude it’s time to pass it on to your employees.
Many food service workers these days come from other professions that have laid them off, flat out fired them or gone out of business. They never planned to enter the food service profession and can’t wait to get back to the jobs that they were trained for. You will lose a certain percentage of your workers due to this scenario but you can instill enthusiasm and pride in the rest of your workforce.
Those among your staff who are inexperienced in the food service industry would greatly benefit from training sessions. These don’t have to be boring and stressful and you can turn this concept into a fun, educational experience that they will enjoy. Recruit your more experienced staff to conduct the class and offer to pay them a bonus for their service or another attractive incentive. You can conduct the class at the slowest time of day and use one of the dining areas for the classroom.
The instructor can cover the basics of service, etiquette and social protocol. In this hands-on class the students will not be falling asleep in their chairs, they will actually be serving. At this point, you may have even found a promotional opportunity! Why not ask some of your regular customers to serve as guinea pigs for the class as your staff practice taking orders, serving food and interacting with the clientele? There are no better teachers than experienced staff and critical diners. Your customers will enjoy the experience, get a meal on the house and leave knowing that your business truly cares what they think. The word of mouth advertising could bring in more business for your restaurant.
At the end of this paid instructional class, the ‘students’ should get about half an hour to enjoy a free lunch or dinner and discuss what they’ve learned with their instructor and each other. Knowing the proper way to do their job will give your staff confidence and when their work is recognized and positively reinforced they will begin to take pride in their present profession.
Successful restaurant entrepreneurs understand the importance of having well-trained staff and they consistently work to try and maintain high standards or improve upon them. Start your restaurant right with a commitment to employing the best people and teaching them to be the best that they can be while also being generous with them and respecting their interests.