When trying to run a busy restaurant, you can often find yourself having to rely on your front-of-house team to deliver the quality of service that you expect.
This can be a demanding role, so it can often come down to you as the restaurant owner needing to deliver a good working environment for them. Here are some of the things that you can do to ensure that you create a place where people are happy and proud to work.
Take Input on Uniform
Having all your front-of-house staff in the same uniform is a great way to unite the team and truly help them feel like part of the company. However, the uniform that you would ideally like to put them in might not be the most practical for the average service. If there are aspects of the uniform that prevent a server from delivering a service to the correct standard, it should be the uniform that changes.
For example, if you have a more casual dining experience overall, you should consider letting your employees where what they choose on their lower half. Though some restrictions might be important (such as no sweatpants), it will still allow them to dress in a way that they find comfortable as they work. What’s more, they will be able to choose a comfortable pair of trainers, and these can make all the difference when you have to be moving quickly in a busy restaurant environment. Even if you have a more high-end establishment that uses black trousers and white shirts as standard, work with your staff to create a uniform they like.
By taking on their suggestions, you will help to make them feel like a wider part of the company. They will feel more included, and this can help them to be more motivated and productive at work.
Establish Ground Rules
Whether they are ground rules for how each customer interaction should go or important restaurant benchmarks that dictate how the restaurant floor is run, it is vital that you establish and enforce ground rules. Try to do so throughout the entire front-of-house team. Things such as restaurant benchmarks can be based on guidelines passed down from the government, and this means that you might have to be quite strict. You need to make it clear that there are no exceptions for different members of staff.
Some of these can also come down to maintaining your reputation as a business, and providing the right environment for your customers. For example, you might want to put restrictions in place that mean your staff can’t have their phones on the restaurant floor except with express permission from you. No one wants to walk into a restaurant as a customer and see the staff all checking their phones – it simply isn’t professional.
Ground rules such as these are great as they can really help to establish where everyone stands. Whether you are talking to your newest busboy or you are establishing something for your most experienced bartender, you need to make sure that they all understand the rules that you have set out. Most crucially, this can then help a little with self-regulation. There are so many things that go on with a restaurant that you cannot be out watching over everyone all the time. Even with a good floor manager helping you keep people happy, you need to make sure that all your employees know what is expected of them.
Let Them Contribute
Your front-of-house team might not get to select things for the restaurant as often as the chefs or bartenders. The latter are two very creative roles, and the staff employed here could regularly try to come up with new specials to add to the menu. Though this can be a great way for you to develop new and exciting dishes to add to your menu, it can leave your hosts and servers feeling left out as they cannot pick items to add to the menu too.
For this reason, it can be a great idea to try to whip up a little friendly competition between the chefs or bartenders, and have your wait staff be the judges. You can let them know that one special for each section of the menu will be added (for example, an entrée and a cocktail on a summer menu) and then let the kitchen and bar staff create specials to give to your servers and hosts.
This allows them to feel like they are part of the process when it comes to creating the menu for the restaurant – something that they could otherwise feel left out of. It also allows them to explore the dishes more thoroughly. If a guest asks their opinion on a certain dish or asks for a recommendation, they will be able to give their own honest and knowledgeable opinions.
Support Them Where You Can
The restaurant industry can be tough and can often require unsociable hours to be worked. Though it can be difficult for you to cope when staff call in sick without warning and you are left without cover, you should never make them feel bad or like a burden for doing so. By offering a great and friendly working environment with plenty of support when they need it, you will create an environment where they want to work.
Sometimes, it can seem like the restaurant industry has a very high turnover. There are plenty of restaurants out there that don’t treat their staff very well, and this can be reflected in the level of service that they are able to offer their customers. If you want to offer the very best service to your customers, it is often a case of starting with your staff themselves. If your front-of-house team loves their job, this will come across in their mannerisms when they are serving people. You will have a happy and lively restaurant that customers will always be happy to visit, and your staff will always leave a lasting impression.