Take One for the Team


It’s not my section. My customer. My job. My problem. It’s not, it’s not, it’s not… As managers, we often hear more about a person’s lack of responsibilities than we hear about their actual duties or abilities. And, if that happens more than once with an employee, the problem isn’t your team, it’s you.

Everything is your job. Say that again: Everything is your job, your responsibility, your problem. But you already know that, that’s why you’re the manager. As restaurant management, you get it, but does your team? Every member of your organization should believe that serving the guests – doing everything it takes, every time, no matter what it is – is their only real job description. That’s the goal and it’s also the only way to truly deliver exceptional service and generate exceptional sales.

But how do you get the host to remove the plates when the bussers are busy? How do you get a server to help out another table (you can already hear what they’re not saying, “Who gets the tip?”). The trick to demanding more is giving more. If your team watches you do whatever it takes – from washing silverware to taking out the trash – they’ll learn by your example.

Restaurant Management’s Role in Teamwork

Here are some other ways you can improve service and sales with teamwork.

  • Spell it out. Often the best way to motivate team members is to tell them how the world works. If service improves, sales will improve. If sales improve, salaries improve. Offer bonuses and profit sharing, and show team members where you’re at and where you want to be. Chart progress and pinpoint areas that can be improved.
  • Reward it. When you see team members going above and beyond their responsibilities, publicly note and reward it at the next team meeting. Keep a log and post it, being as specific as possible. When others see how teamwork is supposed to look – and understand its rewards and recognitions – they’ll be motivated to do the same.
  • Train it. Incorporate cross-training into your orientation and ongoing training and be as specific as possible. Walk employees through the restaurant and go over every customer touch point.
  • Demand it. If an employee won’t do it, find one that will.

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