Create Effective Employee Surveys


No one ever said being a successful restaurant manager was easy. There’s always room for improvement, and the best people to help you find ways to improve are right in front of you. Your employees are on the front line. Use their experience to help you make your restaurant the best place to be for you, your staff, and your customers. An employee survey not only gives you valuable insight into your operation, it also gives employees an opportunity to be heard. It’s your job to listen. Follow these tips to create an effective employee survey.

  • Keep it short. Your restaurant team is tired and a long form will be uninviting and intimidating. You’ll get better thought-out responses with just a few questions. Three to five is a good target. 
  • Use open answers. If you ask team members to rate the success of various areas of your restaurant, you’re not learning anything specific. You may pinpoint a departmental problem, but the odds are, you already know what that is. Instead use open-ended questions that force team members to closely analyze their feelings about existing problems. Open-ended questions also discourage whining and encourage constructive criticism. 
  • Be direct. “If I quit this job, it would be because…”, “The one thing that this restaurant consistently fails at is…” and “If I could, I would change…” are all questions that may hurt, but will definitely help in the long run.
  • Give them a chance to be positive. Employee surveys will generate more negative comments (the type that can ultimately help you get to the root of problems), if you include a chance for a team member to be positive. (“The one thing I think our operation does that is almost always successful is…” or “Our team does this really well…” are two examples.)
  • Let them be anonymous. It’s okay to allow team members to be anonymous, but you have to be sure that everyone fills out a survey. If you do paper surveys, number them and let the team know there will be a reward for the entire team if you get them all back. Offer the same reward if you do your surveys through an online tool or app. 
  • Be fair. Don’t have employees clock out and then ask them to complete the survey at home. It’s an important business activity and it needs to be done on the clock.

Beyond Employee Surveys

Employee surveys will help point you in the right direction to improve your leadership skills and provide the right training for your restaurant staff. Be sure to follow up surveys with action. If you don’t, your employees will be much less likely to give you productive input the next time you ask for it.

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