Successful Restaurant Managers Build Positive, Excited Staffs

Successful Restaurant Managers Build Positive, Excited Staffs

How many of your people can you honestly say are excited about their job and their contributions? In today’s society, there is a prevalent attitude that restaurant work is a dry, unrewarding experience. Much of this attitude was developed over many years, and was fostered in the restaurant industry itself by those who relied heavily on management by intimidation… those who subscribed to a misguided philosophy that their people were less important than their cooking equipment.

But times have changed, and people today have far too many choices available to them. If they find themselves in a negative work environment where their contributions are not appreciated, they may think nothing of moving on.

For a while, the industry was slow to recognize this change, and even when it did, the response generally took the form of “You just can’t find good help these days.” Unfortunately, there are still too many operators who allow themselves to fall into this trap. Operators such as this will fall by the wayside in time, while stronger, leadership focused operators will prosper.

One quality leaders must possess is the ability to excite and inspire their staff. The leader must totally believe in, and be committed to, his or her operation and the people who are vital to its success. Following are some tips that can help create a positive, exciting environment.

The Leader Must be Passionate

If the leader ever hopes to develop excitement in his or her people, it is first necessary for the leader to be excited. One can never hope to inspire if one is not inspired. The leader must be enthusiastic, and be able to communicate that enthusiasm to the staff. If you can’t feel it, and express it, how can you expect the same from your staff?

Convince Your Staff That Their Efforts Are Important

There is a great need in every person’s life, and that is the need to feel that their efforts make a significant contribution. Those who feel that they are not making a positive impact soon develop apathy. “Why should I do better?” they reason, “No one cares anyway.” It is vital that the leader show them the importance of their work. What mindset have you helped develop in your employees? Does one feel that she is “just a waitress”, or does she feel that she is a public relations expert? Instill within them an ownership mentality.

Let Them Know You Want Them To Succeed

If you are looking for a staff that is loyal to your goals, then it is imperative that you are loyal to their goals. What is someone hoping to accomplish by working for you? In what ways can you help them reach the goals that they have set for themselves? Communicate, one on one, with your people and find out what is important to them and how you can help.

Involve Your People In Decision Making

Some operators dismiss their people’s suggestions or feedback. These operators think that they, and only they, are the ones with the answers.

But in his book, Secrets of Effective Leadership, Fred A. Manske, Jr., writes:

“People carry out decisions that they have participated in making much more enthusiastically than they carry out orders from the boss.”

While it is not always possible, or feasible, to implement every suggestion you may receive from your people, there is nothing wrong in listening to their ideas and incorporating them when it makes sense to do so. Many very successful restaurant companies make it policy to solicit suggestions from their people.

Hire Exciting, Energetic People

Sounds simple enough, but if you’re trapped within that “can’t get good help” mindset, it’s very likely that you are simply adding bodies to your staff. Proper planning and interviewing skills can help avoid this.

Many times I’ve seen managers fill their staff with bodies just because they “had to have them.” These same managers would often pass up an enthusiastic, bubbly personality simply because they felt they were properly staffed, but they hadn’t taken the time or effort to evaluate the quality of their current staff. Almost never can you afford to pass up a potential hire that possesses these qualities. Chances are, there is someone on your payroll that has no business being in a customer relations position.

My experience has been that the quality of applicants you receive closely mirrors the quality of people you already have on staff. The quality of the people you have on staff definitely mirrors the quality of your hiring practices.

Other suggestions:

– Create positive competition, whether it be suggestive selling or efficiency contests.
– Teach something new daily and provide new responsibilities.
– Display a sense of humor.
– Provide recognition.
– Develop a “Our team is #1” attitude and communicate it daily.
– Be goal-line oriented and celebrate their achievements when goals are met.

Copyright © Troy Brackett, RestaurantNews.com.  All Rights Reserved. 

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