How to Make the Most of your Restaurant Staff



You want your restaurant to run smoothly so that your customers have the best experience possible and that productivity is maximized. The best way to have things running smoothly is to have a well trained and versatile restaurant staff.


Once an employee knows his or her job well you should cross-train them for other positions. This allows you to move a server to the cashier position or a cashier to a server position during a lunch or break period. By cross-training, you not only won’t be cut short of personnel but you will be teaching your staff new skills that can be used in the future should they have to leave your establishment. Staff should also be happier to work a variety of positions to make their shift more interesting.

Your kitchen staff should be cross-trained, too. Your chefs or cooks should know how to prepare any dish on the menu and also how to operate the dishwashing system and other kitchen appliances. Of course, you will compensate your staff accordingly for doing a different job when needed. This will ensure full and enthusiastic cooperation.


You’ve heard the classic Boy Scout motto, “always be prepared”. Well, this is especially valuable in the food service business. By always having a standby person that can be called in during an emergency, you’ll not be caught shorthanded. Most employees are happy to pick up some extra hours, even over time, and will cover a shift for a co-worker who is ill or has a family or transportation emergency. When you make your weekly schedule, be sure to have a person on call for each shift so that you can avoid being caught short. You may even want to fill a shift yourself occasionally so if you don’t know how to do every job in your establishment, it’s time to learn.


Tap into your staff’s creativity and experience! Have an employee suggestion box for ways to improve the restaurant or working conditions. Since your staff members are the ones with the most customer contact, they hear what customers want and need. Your staff will also know what is needed to make them more efficient in their jobs and their suggestions could very well save the restaurant a significant amount of revenue.


Do your restaurant staff have a comfortable place to relax during their breaks? It’s tough to spend hours on your feet and a quiet place to sit down for a few minutes will give them a chance to recharge and recoup some energy or eat their lunch. Just giving them permission to step out into the alley is hardly conducive to a happy, efficient and comfortable staff. You needn’t provide a large communal lounge but a small room or patio with comfortable furniture will go a long way towards ensuring that your employees are happy and loyal.


Your managers are very important to the smooth operation of the restaurant. They handle complaints, resolve disputes in a diplomatic manner and make sure there are enough staff on hand in the dining area and in the kitchen. Consider offering continuing education to your managers and the chance to attend seminars on new and innovative techniques. The more they know, the better they can do their jobs and help to keep your customers coming back


If employees are unhappy at work then they often take out their stress on the customers by not being as hospitable and helpful as they should be. Being short staffed can also result in bad customer relations as it leads to slow service and mistakes.


Get your restaurant off to a good start by giving some serious thought to how you will train and schedule staff. If you keep staff happy and satisfied with their work then you should retain them for longer periods on average. This will result in a team that gets to know each other well and works well together.


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