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How To Make Restaurant Staff Feel Valued

Updated: Jun 20, 2020

Most employees quit their jobs not because the job itself is difficult, but because they don’t feel valued at all.

This is why it is very crucial that as restaurant managers, we don't add to our employees' distress in the workplace.

It is no secret that working in a restaurant can be very demanding and stressful. Restaurants are one of the busiest establishments elsewhere, especially during peak hours where people would like to be served as quickly as possible.

And there shouldn't be any room for mistakes or mishandling, otherwise you would have a very dissatisfied and unhappy customer who's just one click away from posting a bad review on social media.

You as a restaurant owner or manager has a very important role in making sure that employees can still enjoy working even in a very strenuous environment.

By simply showing that we genuinely care for our team, we can make each and everyone feel they are truly valued, and well-appreciated.

My husband and I own a couple of restaurants and we would love to share with you our first-hand experiences as restaurant owners and managers to help your team grow and enhance your management skills.

So let me start by asking you this question, how do you show that you care for your team?

Here are some ways on how to make your team feel that you care and value them the most:

Have a sit-down interview more frequently

When was the last time you take a seat with your staff and have a meaningful conversation with them?

A simple way to make your team feel that you care about them is to sit down with them and ask them a lot of questions.

I accidentally learned this by doing it for our team, and observing how they felt after I took some time to sit down and converse with them.I had not sat down with our team individually in a long time.

My husband and I are not involved as much in the operations. We work in the back office, we work on the business but we are not involved in the operations and for us, that is a blessing.

Having systems in place, training people, and having a lot of training videos have helped us to properly manage our restaurants without us having to work on the operational side of our business.

But coming into the restaurant, sitting down with our team, and asking them a lot of questions is one of the things that we feel like we don't do very often nowadays.

We are very good at telling people what to do, and what not to do especially as restaurant managers.

Communicate more often

The restaurant is very stressful, and if you are a manager, you may be working 40 plus hours a week, right?

It is very stressful as if you are dedicating your whole life to the restaurant you are working at.

It is indeed a hard work so kudos to you for doing that.

And as much as you do care about your team, you may not be able to communicate that to them very well.

At times, a lot of people in the workplace don't feel appreciated and cared for, and maybe you feel the same way as a manager.

That could be very true, however, as restaurant owners, of course, we care about our managers.

But we may not be communicating that in a way that it's being received or felt by them. That is something we need to work on.

And I feel that as restaurant owners, one of the ways that we can make you our manager feel care for, or you as a manager feel care for the team is by sitting with them, asking a lot of questions, and figuring out how we can support the team.

We must communicate with our people more often. You may ask them for instance about their experience with the recruitment process, or how they are getting along with their team?

Is there anybody who frustrates them? Why do they get frustrated? Or is there any aspect of their jobs they feel unequipped that needs more training?

People would tell you if you would sit down with them and ask these questions.

If they keep making a particular mistake, instead of yelling, and questioning why are they forgetting all the time, think about what is lacking or what kind of training we need to provide.

Always build a connection by asking more questions

We can ask them these questions directly. How can I support you so you can grow your skills? what would you like to do in the future? what is your long term goal?

Some of them are going to tell you, "Hey, I would like to become a nurse", or they will tell you, "I want to become an engineer, do that for a few years, and then I would like to have my own company."

And you ask them how do you think working at this restaurant is preparing you for that vision now?

They will answer you, "Oh I want to become a nurse, I know that I am always going to deal with people."

And then you will try to relate this to their jobs in the restaurant that people are going to be unhappy and demanding, and obviously, it is like a life and death situation. People get very “hangry” sometimes, and it seems as though that it's a life and death matter for them over twenty-dollars spent.

Connecting those things that they do now, their dreams or their long term visions will give more meaning to the work they do today.

It is meaningful because whatever you are doing today is preparing for your endeavors in the future.

Connecting the dots for them now is going to make them more connected to the vision of the company you have.

And just to mention for us, the mission of our company is to train young people for success in life through excellence and diligence. That is one of our core values in our company.

So we do that all the time in terms of connecting people's future to what it is they do today.

Help each individual set their goals with a game plan

Those questions that I mentioned can be very helpful to you as a manager so try to remember as much as you could.

Sit down with your team, ask questions about what kind of training they need. One of them may tell you, "Oh, I would like to become a manager."

Then you may answer, "that's great to hear, then why are you not a manager or a team lead yet? what is hindering you to get there?"

From there you can guide that person by helping him or her to come up with a game plan and learn the necessary skills needed to achieve that future goal. Put it on them to proceed with a game plan, and take initiative.

People feel valued and cared for when you show them that they matter because you gave a few minutes of your time having a heart to heart talk with them.

And especially the busier you are, the more meaning it will have.

And I have to admit that I am guilty of that because I have two kids, I work from home, and it is very often that we go to the restaurant to be in the operations.

For me, as a restaurant owner, as a leader, it is critical, no matter how busy we are, to make time for our people.

Give them a few minutes of our precious time, because they do genuinely matter to us. We care for them, it is just important for them to feel cared for.

Never hesitate to invest in your employees through meetings

One of the things to remember is that, it is better to spend payroll money upfront. Of course, we need to pay them every time we conduct a meeting.

Meeting with your team for half an hour for them to tell you that they are not getting along with someone, or they are having difficulties with something, etc. And be able to resolve some of these little issues is all worth it.

So short term, there is some loss, but long term you will gain.

Paying upfront for payroll today will go a long way because you will gain loyalty to your leadership team to the mission of your company.

In our restaurant, we spend about $150 a week in meetings. We meet with our managers, we meet with our kitchen leadership team, we meet with our front leadership team, and all kinds of meetings.

Those are all on the payroll. When you sit down and have meetings with these people, those are on payroll.

And yes they contribute to expenses, but then again, loyalty and longevity are going to serve you long term.

Investing in your people now can help secure your company's future. So always have that perspective in long term view.

I hope that these things will help your team develop and heighten your managerial skills.

Keep in mind that it is always best to invest in them because it will give a benefit to our business, overall.

And so I would like to leave you with some questions to ponder.

Do you often sit with your team? How often do you ask them questions? How do you coach them? What are your struggles when it comes to meeting your team?

Our employees are our company's greatest asset. We must do our part as owners and managers to give value and appreciation for their hard work and contribution to our company's success.


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