Imagine a restaurant with no words being spoken between staff – just people moving on their own and doing what they wanted. Or even an empty restaurant because no one knew when they were being scheduled for work that day? With no way for the front of house to tell the service staff what they need, and no way for management to tell their teams what is going on in the restaurant, it’s tough to imagine how a restaurant would function. Here are some tips to improve communication between staff to help you prevent this from happening.
Why is Communication Important?
Good communication in a restaurant is essential between the management, kitchen and service staff. We can see communication working in the daily activities of a kitchen, from passing on the orders taken to the details of any special requests of the diners that the kitchen has to take note of.
On a managerial role, communication is essential in putting together the work schedule, planning for future operations, and the other nitty-gritty details that come with running a business. Without communication, servers may serve the wrong orders to the wrong table, maybe even multiple times, throughout the course of a meal, which may lead to a customer feeling unhappy with the service given. The poor experience a customer has can reduce the chances of them returning, and the restaurant may receive poor reviews and feedback which can negatively affect your business.
Communication between Staff
Having staff who are communicating definitely proves to have far more advantages than disadvantages. With staff who are comfortable communicating with each other, regardless of hierarchy in the restaurant, it allows everyone to function with similar knowledge and attitude, no matter their role. Servers can readily provide information about certain specials and deals that are going on, which can aid in improving the experience the customer has.
Furthermore, effective communication between managers and employees can lead to decreased turnover and higher employee satisfaction!
Certain protocols also need to be communicated to the staff by their managers, for example on how to even communicate during service times. For the service staff, they must communicate with customers, the kitchen, and their managers. There must be an understanding of the situation, setting, and ways to communicate and convey information, to provide the most seamless experience possible for the customers and guests.
Part-timers versus Full-timers
Beginning with varying communication methods for different kind of staff on a team, you can consider the differences in communication for part timers versus full-time staff.
With busy schedules and hectic activity in a restaurant, some staff may lack the time to teach on the job, thus we must consider the method in which to impart knowledge as efficiently as possible. For example, it may prove helpful to create a manual with the Standard Operating Procedures of the restaurant, coupled with someone in a more senior position to guide part timers who have just joined. A manual could help you save time and manpower as new staff will have some basic knowledge before they begin to learn on the job.
Meetings before/after the first or last shift
A great way to ensure all information is conveyed at best to your staff is to hold pre-shift meetings before each service starts, and post-shift meetings at the end of the service to consolidate and disseminate information. These meetings should last about 10-15 minutes at maximum, and should be about only the most important information for the day.
Some things that can be communicated during these meetings may be:
Any promotions/contests you have – Featured items for the day
Changes in policy or management
Any feedback that staff have received about food/opinions from customers
However, do take note that these meetings should allow staff time and space to talk, as well as bring any issues to your attention. It is important to facilitate bi-directional discussion in these meetings, rather than just a dissemination of information to your employees.
Embrace digital tools
Sometimes, the most efficient way to quickly send information that requires immediate attention is to utilise digital methods of communication. From scheduling to workplace feedback, many tools are available online to send and receive information quickly.
For example, you could create a Whatsapp group just for the staff working on that day. This allows employees to communicate with managers during or after a busy shift. For urgent matters or questions, it allows them to get an answer quickly if there is no one else available to answer pressing questions. Furthermore, most times there is little to no time on the job for giving feedback or asking questions, thus this platform allows your employees a method of communication.
Another effective way to improve communication between kitchen staff in multiple outlets and management with respect to approval for ordering of supplies, managing stocks, etc. is by adopting digital platforms. This can help to facilitate management of resources and finances, as well as allowing managers to be aware of buying activity by their staff.
These are just a few tips that we hope can improve communication amongst you and your staff to increase productivity and employee satisfaction in your restaurant.