How You Treat Your Employees Determines How They’ll Treat Your Guests


It’s a crazy Saturday night. We’re barking at employees in the kitchen (“Taylor, why is Table 4 still sitting there with menus!?”), but when we slam out the swinging doors, we become a totally different person. We smile, laugh, nod, thank, and show all the customer appreciation we should while our team members watch and think, “What a fake.”

And who can blame them? As restaurant managers, if we want our employees to be sincere hospitality professionals, our waitstaff training program and our own behavior need to reflect that same level of professionalism. If we truly care about people and want to make an experience enjoyable, then we need to make our workplace enjoyable as well.

Take Care of Internal Customers

Employees are a restaurant’s internal customers, and they won’t be motivated to treat customers any better than they’re treated. When employees are not treated well, service fails, sales fizzle, and customers find a new place to eat.

Here are some principles to remember when stress makes it tough to remember why we got started in this business in the first place:

  • Sincerity is essential. If you can’t muster up the enthusiasm to genuinely care about your employees, find another job. If there are team members you can’t motivate and aren’t performing well, get rid of them… they’ll only bring the entire team down. When a team member who normally excels fails, let them know you appreciate them and want to help solve the problem: “You’re a valued member of this team… you’ve proven that over and over,” and then ask what happened and how you can help.
  • Goals are for everyone. If you call your servers “salespeople,” treat them as such. Assign sales goals and incentives and remember to set them for yourself as well. If your goal is to bring in X amount of new customers in a month, post your goal and your results… even if you didn’t make it. Then, go over your strategy for improving and you’ll motivate your salespeople to do the same.
  • Apologize and correct it. If you want your servers to sincerely apologize to customers and correct mistakes, you need to do the same. When you’ve acted inappropriately publicly, apologize publicly. Promise your team member it won’t happen again, and then keep that promise. After all, you’re only as good as your word.

Cycle of Service Restaurant Service Training

With every guest who walks through the door, your staff should be striving to not only meet expectations, but exceed them. Our restaurant service training follows the Service That Sells! Cycle of Service, breaks down a guest’s visit into separate steps from the moment guests pull into the parking lot until that final moment when they walk out the door. Click here for a preview.

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