Voice of the Restaurant Industry
by Celeste Edman, Marketing Expert
Remember Cheers? It had all the characters that we wish we were friends with including the goofy bartender and the lovable owner. That show encapsulated something that is true no matter where you work; we want to work where everybody knows our name.
If you've ever worked for a large company, you know that this is an extremely difficult task to accomplish. When I was the Marketing Director for a 1,000-person company, people knew who I was, but I often didn't know who they were. This was not because I was indifferent to the many valuable employees, but because there were multiple locations in multiple states and often our job duties did not require us to interact. I share this because it's not unusual for a multi-location restaurant to suffer from a similar problem.
You've heard this argument before, but it's worth repeating. People are your business. Your customers, your employees, and managing the relationships between them are integral to the success of your restaurant. However, getting people to feel like they're connected instead of silos can be difficult. Here are our top 3 tips to get more connected.
Start with one location.
Guide your leadership to lead by example. Encourage them to create a system for staff to get to know each others' names and roles within the restaurant. The key to this approach is to allow your trusted team to find the solution that works for them at their location. What works in Omaha will not necessarily work in Philadelphia. By allowing employees to have ownership of their own communication, they will be more likely to adopt these new patterns of connection for the long-term and you'll avoid this...
Use the web.
Whether it's a company wiki page or an internal forum, using the web as a tool for company communication can be quite effective. Waitrainer for example, allows you to share your recipes and policies with your staff. Use this same principle to share information about roles and names. It will decrease your turnover as your staff will feel loyalty and connection to your brand. And, your customers will notice too.
Train, train, and train again.
Roles in restaurants are ever shifting. Bussers become waiters, line cooks become sous chefs, change is inevitable. So make sure that you document this process as you discover what works and what doesn't for connecting your employees. If you don't have time to document this, many resources exist on the web such as those at RestaurantOwner.com and in your Waitrainer system.
Remember, this connection isn't going to be instantaneous. However, over time, your employees will be more loyal to a company that took the time to ensure that all members of the team understood their valued role. And happy employees equal happy customers.
For more information about Waitrainer and online training for your restaurant, contact us here.