Whether you’ve been in the business for a while, or you’re looking to start a new restaurant or cafe, it’s important to make sure you’ve got the right people working for you. Most restaurant boycotts by customers turn out to be closely related to poor treatment from staff. Either a barista didn’t smile at the customer, or the waiter was rude. Even if these incidents were misunderstandings, the customer’s perception of your employees will define their opinion of your establishment and be the decisive factor in whether or not the return.
Most people interview prospective employees based on the job they’re applying for. You might ask the man applying to be the cashier about his background with handling money. He may be the best candidate for cashier duties, but if he doesn’t have a lively personality, he just shouldn’t be placed at the Point of Sale (POS). Imagine you’re a customer getting your coffee or lunch to go, and the cashier is soft-spoken or slow. Now imagine the cashier as bubbly and jolly, handing over your change with a “Have a nice day!” and a smile. Which one would you be sure to return to?
It may be that the staff you’ve hired have the lively friendliness you were looking for, and maybe they have the experience too. But you have to recognize that each restaurant, café, or even fast food place has its unique way of functioning. As a result, you will need every incoming employee to be initiated and trained to your establishment’s system. It will also help as a reminder to them about customer care and ensuring that everyone is on the same page with protocols and procedures. This would include safety training and emergency contingencies.
Make sure that you incorporate team building and a sense of family with your staff. If someone is having a hard time fitting in, see how you can help them become part of the gang. If they just aren’t able to gel with the other, they may not be right for your establishment after all. A well-functioning staff is collaborative and in sync. By ensuring that there is open communication, any problems that might arise can be conveyed and dealt with easily, and you won’t have to worry about back biting or conflict.
Often you’ll notice that each of your staff members has their own strengths, and these will emerge over time the more you watch them in action. As you identify these strengths, do whatever you can to facilitate them and bring out the best in them. Reinforce them with praise and rewards, and address weaknesses delicately and in private. Offer opportunities for your employees to overcome their weak points, and allow them to shine where they excel.
These few efforts on your part will ensure that you get the best out of your staff, and your restaurant will be a raging success!