How to Build a High Functioning Restaurant Team

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Building a team of any type is definitely an art. As a restaurant owner, building a team is essential for the smooth operation, function, and success of your restaurant.

Your restaurant management team is the heart of your team. What you do to help nurture your management team will allow each restaurant team member to thrive in a way that can only help your amazing restaurant grow. If your team is happy, then your customers are happy. The energy is contagious. Now, the question is, how do you, as a restaurant owner and manager, build that high functioning restaurant team that is motivated and driven? You want to ensure that you build a restaurant team to truly represent your brand and bring it to life while helping your employees feel valued.

Consider the following statistics:

These statistics communicate a need to not only work to make each restaurant team member feel like he or she truly matters, but also the importance of building a restaurant management team that can build trust within each department and lead in a way that represents your brand and business. Here are several key points to consider while you work to build your amazing restaurant team.

Emphasize and demonstrate what teamwork means.

While creating your team, it's important to demonstrate how your company vision values teamwork. You want to make sure all department teams know they are part of the larger team and continue to keep your employees motivated. Remind them that they share a common goal and are not “separate areas” of the business functioning alone. FOH and BOH must be diligently working together. In order to invite collaboration and inclusion, you must work to build a strong foundation and with commonly understood and integrated systems in place.

Create a culture where everyone is helping each other reach the common goals of the restaurant. You can do this with daily huddles, weekly check-ins, or monthly manager and team meetings. Ultimately, you want to invite your team to provide quality feedback and work toward the growth of the business.

Communicate clearly and creatively.

Communication is one of those words that we always hear tossed around in organizations. However, the importance of clear communication cannot be underestimated. When a restaurant owner is transparent and communicates clear expectations to the team, in a consistent manner, lines of communication are able to stay open and there is less room for confusion.  Managers and owners can quickly resolve problems and challenges and meet the attainable high standard of your company’s service and expectations. In addition, by communicating clearly to your team, you also invite curious communication among your team members. They feel safe asking questions and communicating needs. Creating an open door communication policy and modeling the type of respectful communication that you wish to see within your team is essential.

Set restaurant management goals strategically.

When setting goals for your restaurant or team, it's important to have everyone on the same page. This idea is interconnected with communication.  Goal-setting is an important aspect of building a high functioning restaurant management team. This means not only setting clear goals, but making sure everyone is aware of and working toward the same ones. Goals should be specific, measurable, and attainable. Having everyone on the same page is key and will help develop a collaborative and inclusive culture. And sometimes these goals should not only involve company goals, but also individual goals.

Delegate deliberately.

Don’t just delegate to get things done. Be specific about how you delegate. You want to manage a heavy workload by dividing work and delegating these tasks based on each individual team members’ strengths and abilities. When delegating work, make sure that you are doing it in a way that will help this person succeed while also lightening your workload to make more time for other management/owner-specific tasks. When you delegate to a team member, do you have a goal in mind for that person in the long-term? Do you see this person as a leader for your restaurant? Do you see them moving up into a different role? Make sure the delegation choice is meaningful and check in with that restaurant team member regularly to ensure they have everything they need to succeed in the task.

Consistently recognize.

As a restaurant owner, you want to have a consistent and ongoing goal for yourself to train and promote your existing employees. In this way you are recognizing their strengths and building upon them. It also takes far less time to promote from within and train accordingly than to deal with consistently high turnover. It is important to know who you want to become your solid restaurant management team and what employees are appropriate candidates for managers-in-training (MITs). Try to consistently and informally assess your team (along with formal, regular feedback assessments). Make sure to train your employees effectively and do not skimp on training from the beginning. You want them to be trained well and efficiently so you can trust them. Creating a restaurant team where integrity is the foundation is key.  

Forbes recently reported that “53 percent of Americans are currently unhappy at work."  You do not want those to include your team members. Strive to take care of them from the beginning and provide that foundation to insure success. With proper training, communication, and assessment, you will be on your way to building a quality and high-functioning restaurant team.

restaurant management

Table of content

December 2020


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