Take some simple steps to improve teamwork in your restaurant. Restaurant team members who know each other—and have even discovered some common ground—work better together, helping each other with tasks and creating a more enjoyable environment for everyone, especially guests. Here’s how to connect with your team members, encourage them to do the same, and improve restaurant teamwork:
Start an autograph book. When new team members start at your restaurant, have them fill out a “Who Am I?” page. Include a place for a photo and ask for information like, the employee’s hometown, favorite activities, interests or subjects, etc. Then include a few whimsical questions, such as, “If you won the lottery, what would you do with it?”, “Where would you like to travel?” and “What’s your biggest dream?” Keep the book in the break area and bring it out during special occasions (holiday parties, group training days, etc.).
Target two employees before each pre-shift meeting. Every time the team is together, pick two people to reveal one thing about themselves that no one on the team knows. You’ll generate some fun comments and set the tone for a team meeting.
Be flexible. Ask team members to generate individual lists of rewards and incentives. Encourage them to be creative (specific days off unpaid, cash, shift switch, etc.) and promise to consider all suggestions. Incorporate what you can into your restaurant teamwork strategy.
Ask. It sounds basic, but most managers make statements instead of ask questions. Be sincere when you ask how an employee is doing. Press for an answer (“Are you sure you’re OK?”) when employees seem upset. Hold restaurant team meetings that focus on finding out what employees are interested in. Use that time to ask, what holidays do you celebrate? What charities do you support? Which causes do you believe in? Then, use that information to create your own community-service efforts (you’ll know firsthand who to ask to volunteer) and customize employee promotions and special events.
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