Communication is the lifeblood of any organization, and one of the most important aspects is management clearly communicating responsibilities and expectations to all employees. This certainly holds true in keeping a restaurant running smoothly and consistently, and for ensuring great customer experiences.
Eliminating common communication errors also helps reduce turnover — a persistent struggle in the restaurant industry. Strong communication makes employees feel valued and engaged, and it encourages them to perform their best. It also helps prevent and successfully resolve one of the main preventable causes of turnover: Internal conflict between management and employees or between employees.
If you’re looking for actionable ideas to improve management at your restaurant, start by reviewing this list of communication mistakes to identify and address any affecting your operations.
1. You Don’t Hold Staff Meetings
Most restaurants have quick get-togethers before the start of dinner service to run down the specials, talk about any large reservations, and so on. But far fewer take the time to have full staff meetings with front- and back-of-house staff and management to go over major issues or changes under consideration, to gather feedback, and to get everyone on the same page at the same time. While it can be difficult to arrange with so much variation across shift times, these meetings are worth the effort.
2. You Don’t Check in With Employees
You invest a lot into interviewing job candidates. Maybe you do performance reviews, too. Perhaps you even conduct exit interviews when employees move on to get feedback. But do you ever sit down one-on-one with current employees to ask about their experience? By providing private opportunities for employees to address concerns and talk about what they think works well and what doesn’t, you can greatly improve their experience, your processes, your customer service, and more. This will greatly reduce turnover, which, at an average above 70 percent according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is a prevalent problem.
3. You Aren’t Taking Advantage of Technology
Efficient, effective communication is tough in the restaurant business. During service, everyone’s busy and focused on tasks needing immediate, close attention. Shifts vary, and some employees and managers may never even see each other. But there are tools that help. For example, mobile apps designed for the workplace — some even specifically for restaurants — facilitate group and direct messaging. These drastically improve the ability to spread accurate information, get messages to the right people in a timely manner, give and receive feedback, and more.
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