How to manage restaurant staff and build successful teams

The power of the restaurant manager is to create favourable conditions for creative work and freedom of expression and action from all team members.

 People usually say that they accept teamwork but only a few of them actually know its function, principles, and rules. If you are looking for ways to help your restaurant team function more like a team keep reading.

What Does a Team Manager Do?

What is the team manager, exactly? And how do they differ from a leader? “Leaders are people who do the right things and managers are people who do things right.”

Whether you will hire someone or that person will be you, the manager needs to meet particular skills and qualities so he/she can manage restaurant staff and get the best from them. Delegation is the top priority for restaurant managers, and it starts with matching people and tasks.

So, as soon as possible, familiarize yourself with the basics of teamwork, explain what your team’s role and goals are, but still keep in mind that human relationships are the basis of a good team.

Teamwork is more efficient than individual work, and the effects of teamwork are greater than the sum of individual accomplishments. In order for your restaurant to be prosperous, you need to have a manager who is able to create a good team and get the best of it. The good news is that is possible to develop the qualities good managers possess and you don’t have to rely solely on natural, inborn traits.

Teamwork vs Group work: What’s the Difference?

These two types of working strategies are usually mixed up. Group work is work by employees who are fulfilling their set tasks. They have determined work rules that must be followed. Teamwork requires multiple disciplines to be involved. Although they are pre-assigned tasks, changes on daily basis are allowed to achieve the final common goal. In a restaurant business, it is always the same: the best possible customer service

Working in a group is a good way of dividing work and increasing productivity. However, the perspectives of teamwork are much bigger. In a restaurant business, team members need to know their duties, but also when it is necessary they need to jump to help their coworkers in order for the restaurant business to flow as expected.

Working on your own is easier than working in a team. It always requires changing working methods and your actions according to the needs and demands of working tasks.

Who Makes up a Team?

A typical restaurant team is led by the restaurant manager and includes individuals who align their wishes and actions in order to realize a commonly set goal: a satisfied customer. A team does not negate individuality but affirms its values. Individual values in a team must be identified and used in the best way for business. The members of a good team help each other by listening, evaluating, offering ideas, encouraging experimentation and giving support.

Symptoms of a Bad Restaurant Team

How does your restaurant staff respond under stress? What do they care about? What is their sense of humour like? This is very important and useful to know when you need to deal with an uncertain situation. A good team holds together when times get difficult.

Besides knowing organizational principles, you need to have a sixth sense to answer the question of whether your team is good or bad.

A good outcome does not guarantee a good relationship between your restaurant workers. This often happens if you’re working so many hours with someone that you feel that you need a break from them when you are not at work.

Over time, the interpersonal connection is weaker and interaction between waiters and bartenders becomes work-only. The longer they work together successfully, the more they can grow apart as friends. So be sure that you or your restaurant manager make changes when scheduling work shifts. It’s important to recognize certain symptoms:

First symptom: discussing the mistakes of others

If someone from your team drew attention to the mistakes of colleagues, and personal mistakes get neglected, that is always a bad sign. Recognize those who needlessly interpret or judge other people’s actions. The restaurant manager must investigate the cause(s) of such behaviour. Keep in mind that lack of work also creates conditions for such behaviour. There are always some people who dig holes and others who fill them up again.

Second symptom: frequent absences

Frequent absence from work is a sign of bad relationships among staff members. In this case, the manager must also investigate the causes. The manager may be the cause too. It might be that he or she misses work a lot – so why shouldn’t others?

Third symptom: joking, gossiping or making fun of the manager, other staff members, social and political occurrences, etc.

Intrigue and gossip are very dangerous and must be addressed.

The manager has to establish informal communication channels with staff members with a goal to eliminate the cause(s) of this symptom. The key to gossip elimination is providing information, since gossip is always a product of insufficient information.

Trust is not easily gained and is always tested. If a manager makes only one mistake, such as making a promise but not delivering on it, employees’ trust is lost.

In order to avoid mistakes like this, a manager can use “management diplomacy,” i.e. when asked a question he must give general and vague answers such as “we’ll see,” “we’ll look into it,” “why not,” etc.

Can You Manage Restaurant Staff to Get The Best From Your Team?

Every restaurant manager wants a team that is focused, effective, and committed to organizational goals. This is possible only if their manager is motivating them effectively.

Restaurant manager responsibilities are huge and we know it is not easy. Let’s see the profile of a good manager in the restaurant industry.

Successful restaurant managers started their careers as bartenders, waiters, or hostesses. That kind of person knows exactly where to find the possible problems in a restaurant team.

They need to control the finance and manage restaurant staff to provide the best customer services. Depending on the level of responsibility and the grade of the people they are managing, they may need to plan work at a daily or weekly level.

Characteristics of a Good Team Manager

Good managers provide productive and challenging work for each team member. It will be hard to motivate people and work will be less than ideal if the work is badly designed.

Clever managers set effective, measurable, unambiguous and behaviour-changing goals. Don’t be too rigid with your goals, either you may motivate members of your restaurant team to “cut corners” in order to reach them.

A good manager has good taste, leadership skills, nice manners, and education. Must treat staff with respect – From dishwasher to an owner. Everyone in the restaurant is important. Your manager’s philosophy should be that he/she wouldn’t ask someone to do something that he/she won’t do. When seeing a dirty table restaurant manager should take a cloth and clean it.

A good manager must not be a careerist who takes credit for team results. In other words, no one is going to work well and efficiently and especially not as a good hard-working member of the team if the boss – the manager – is a self-centered jerk who thinks only of his success and his earnings.

A good manager never does what he wants, he always does what is best for the teamwork.

When describing successes restaurant manager must use “WE,” and for failures “ME.” Using this approach manager teaches team members to take responsibility for every specific action and emphasizes the importance of honesty and loyalty.

A good manager must reward his team members. The primary focus of a reward system is fairness. Restaurant manager needs to see every positive change in the restaurant business. Even if your staff only have that positive energy at work, reward them because a positive attitude brings a good spirit and finally increase profit.

Those rewards mobilize the team members better than any incentive. The team feels that he/she is responsible for success.

Red Flags – Factors That Make the Restaurant Team Weak

Successful teams always find solutions to fix problems in a given time-frame. A lot of things can happen that can weaken team spirit and reduce the team’s efficiency, such as restaurant staff not trusting their manager or restaurant manager not trusting restaurant staff. Managers must be reminded of this fact because if this happens, it harms the team more than anything. When staff members are able to accept their chef on a healthy basis, then such a manager must be able to tell whether the team accepts him/her and have a non-controlling attitude.

 Elements That Weaken Good Team

  • The manager is too controlling,
  • Manager’s actions are based on defending personal interests,
  • A team has too many members,
  • All team members are not equal,
  • Team members care only about themselves

Factors That Increase Team Spirit

The performance and success of the restaurant depends on many factors, including the commitment of the people working together in their workplace. Team spirit means working together as one to make ways for success.

Sometimes is very hard to build team spirit in the workplace because every team member is always out to prove he is good at what he does, or he is better than the other team member. Every man or woman is unique and even if you have a very good worker with perfect skills his potential is worthless if he does not directs all knowledge into constructive channels to bring out the best results in the workplace. So what to do to increase team spirit?

Undemanding’ rules and principles must be given

Be compassionate and considerate at the same time. Allow independence and indulgence among the restaurant staff, and be indulgent with them. This will let them be free in the working environment, and encourage them to do something new without fear of failure. This is very important for your team in the kitchen. Give them a chance to change some dish or to make a new one. Let them help you to make a new menu. Ask your staff for an opinion about working rules, prices or food on your restaurant menu.

Encourage and motivate your restaurant staff

Success is the product of enthusiasm, motivation, and encouragement among the staff in your restaurant. When staff members are motivated to work as a team, they feel independent and become more productive at work.

In a manner to increase team spirit, restaurant managers need to recognize and appreciate staff efforts and encourage their input to get the best results.

The positive reception and encouragement develop team spirit in the workplace.

Create unique staff-bonding experiences

People are usually more stressed in the workplace due to challenging tasks and responsibilities. This is also one of the main reason why the team doesn’t function well as should and work with reduced productivity. Organizing an outing for all your restaurant staff is the best way to strengthen team relationships. It will help them to develop the power of fortitude among the team. Perhaps, you may organize a dinner or cocktail party just for your employees. Maybe for your birthday.

It would help them to introduce themselves in some different environment and establish a relationship with working colleagues in another way.

Sports activities, barbecues or excursions in nature are very welcome. Those gatherings are very powerful. This is a great way to socialize and realize the joy and thrill, which in turn will help to increase team spirit at the workplace during the shift. It creates a momentum that will help you and your dream team to achieve great success. Good luck!