In this article: Why clear communication from restaurant managers to their staff is important in elevating the guest experience, reducing errors, and lowering turnover.
Clear communication is one of the hardest things for restaurant teams to achieve. Constantly changing schedules, fast-paced work environments, and miscommunication between management all create a challenge for trying to keep everyone in the loop.
However, the teams that are able to communicate clearly and honestly seem to have a bit of an edge when it comes to performance. When everyone on the team has access to all of the information they need to do their job, not only is the guest experience elevated, but errors are reduced across the board, and a positive culture is created, leading to lower turnover rates.
Let’s take a look at what it means for restaurant managers to communicate clearly with their team, and what the benefits of clear communication can be.
If we’re talking about industry-specific communication skills, it’s important to outline what good communication within a restaurant team looks like.
Since we don’t sit at desks, or even check our phones regularly (or at least we pretend we don’t!) communication has to happen at certain times each day, or in other creative ways.
Pre-shift is the industry standard for team communication. Each day before service, the team will meet and go over housekeeping notes, menu changes, and any other details important for the service. The manager who is leading pre-shift must make sure to prepare notes and cover everything during this time, or else they will have to make extra effort to track everyone down and tell them during service. And we better hope that no one is late!
Check out this related article, where we break down the pros and cons of pre-shift, and better ways to streamline pre-shift communication: Pros and Cons of Pre-Shift: Are Daily Meetings Necessary?
The other traditional form of communication in restaurants is to use white boards or bulletin boards in service stations or BOH to communicate things such as 86’d items, menu specials, or other important things to remember.
While this is a super straightforward way to communicate, and does work pretty well, keeping it organized and up-to-date can be a challenge for some managers. Also, some restaurants are using ultra-open floor plans that leave very little room for such boards, because they don’t look good to guests.
As restaurants continue to evolve, it is important that managers find new tools that work to make their jobs easier. Find apps or software programs that use notifications to keep your team up to date, and that are easy to keep organized.
Check out 5 Reasons to Use Technology In Your Restaurant for a deeper dive on this.
Restaurant managers have a tendency to bombard their employees with lots of information. Try to keep things simple and straightforward. Instead of having a 30 minute pre-shift, send out a quick email or notification that your team can check before they hit the floor (even if they’re late!). Instead of a bulky bulletin board, use one app that has all of the information your team needs. If you want to use a physical tool, get a single binder that lives in one place, and gets updated every day.
Whatever you use, as a manager it is important that you keep it clutter-free and organized. This is your key to clear communication! Working in restaurants doesn’t have to be as complicated as we make it.
Okay, now that we’ve outlined what clear and honest communication within the walls of a restaurant looks like, we can take a look at the benefits you and your team can enjoy once you’ve put these systems together.
We’ll start with the biggie here. When your team knows what’s going on, the people who benefit the most are your guests! Service can be seamless when everyone is on the same page about procedures, standards, and the current menu.
Your team will be more confident if they know they are prepared for their shift. Confidence leads to a calm attitude, meaning your guest will be put at ease as well. Servers can stay ahead of the curve by not having to run around gathering information as they need it, meaning tables can be turned more efficiently, elevating sales for the entire venue.
Another benefit of clear communication in your restaurant is a reduction in staff errors. Of course there is no way to completely eliminate mistakes, we’re all human! However, many times errors are made because a team member isn’t clear on procedure, and they make a guess in the moment when they can’t find a manager and time is of the essence.
Keeping everyone in the loop on things like policies for comps and voids, or what the chef will allow to be modified on that new pork chop special, allows your team to work with more confidence and less errors. As a manager, you can spend less time putting out fires and more time with your guests.
Improved communication for your restaurant team means a more positive work environment! Culture is everything for restaurants, especially now in 2021 with the labor crisis that’s causing employers to scramble to hire good team members.
When your management communicates clearly with your employees, expectations are understood and employees can relax into their jobs while performing well. Plus, with less errors and smoother services, their check averages will be higher meaning they will want to stay in their jobs. Lower turnover is a huge win for any restaurant!
Achieving clear, honest communication is a challenge for any restaurant. Details change fast, and keeping everyone in the loop is easier said than done. However, if you simplify the information your team needs, put it in one easy to access platform, and update it regularly, clear communication can become standard for your team.
Improve your guests overall experience, reduce staff errors that cost you money, and enjoy a more positive workplace culture by making communication a priority for your venue.