Delivering Great Service to your Own Staff

Restaurants and bars are in the hospitality industry. Owners and managers stress the importance of attentiveness in delivering superior customer service. After all, the server is delivering an experience, not just food and drink. However, management often fails to follow its own advice when it comes to its employees. What kind of experience are you creating for your new hires?

Creating a team with high performance standards requires managers to have regular contact with each employee during the first few days or weeks after hiring. In order to be sure new hires learn the company culture and values, the manager should devote time to hands-on monitoring and participating in the training process. If good team members have been selected during the hiring process, the new hires will fit in with the rest of the staff and feel happier on the job when they learn what is expected of them. The best run establishments have procedures assigned to specific job functions and make staff members accountable. Even better, the policies are written so new hires can refer to them and learn the job faster, and more importantly, consistently. Written procedures ensure there is no confusion on prep work, side work or closing duties.

Don’t forget that the employee experience extends beyond the initial training period. Be sure to recognize and motivate outstanding employees. It is difficult, and expensive, to find and train new employees. Give your good employees more incentive to stick around. Wonder what managers and owners can do to retain good team members? Here are three simple strategies:

  1. Treat all staff with high regard and respect personal space and privacy. This provides a comfortable working environment, especially for women. Work is not the place for personal distractions. Keep the work atmosphere professional and collegial. Work is not a place for socializing. Have policies that discourage dating amongst staff members, use of personal electronic devices while working and talking (gossiping) about customers or other employees.
  2. Be sure to give feedback—good or bad. Everyone likes to know when they are doing well or are underperforming. Most employees want to do good work and just need guidance on what they can do to improve performance. Given timely and consistent feedback, even your weaker employees are likely to exceed your expectations.
  3. Offer balanced scheduling amongst employees. Don’t show favorites and be sure to have appropriate staffing levels during peak periods so employees get adequate breaks and service remains at its best. Superior service requires management support and coverage so the servers can succeed. If a single employee has too many duties, the quality of service will suffer. During busy periods, it is difficult for wait staff to be attentive to customers when a significant portion of his or her time is devoted to food preparation, table cleaning, food running or preparing cocktails.