December 28, 2022

Manager Huddle: Why It’s Important to Get (And Keep) Your Management Team On The Same Page

In this article: The importance of keeping your restaurant managers on the same page, specifically around the flow of service, expectations, and communication styles.

Working in a restaurant is hard enough without your managers not being able to communicate clearly with you. 

Don’t get me wrong - restaurant managers have a lot going on, their job isn’t always easy. There are fires to put out, on-the-spot decisions to be made, conflict resolution to handle, and tasks to delegate. To be honest, I’d much rather deal with the particular stresses of being a server for the rest of my life than be a manager - that’s a hard job!

However, I think that restaurant managers could focus more on one area, and it would make everything in the venue run smoother: they could all consistently stay on the same page.

Let’s talk about why it’s important to get, and consistently keep, your management team on the same page.

What does it mean for management to be on the same page?

To start off here, let’s clearly outline what it means to have a management team that’s on the same page.

In other words, we’re talking about communication. Whatever roles make up your management team (owner, GM, AGM, floor managers, shift leads, etc) need to be communicating clearly with each other.

Of course, it’s also important that management is communicating clearly with their team. Check out some of our related articles for a deeper dive on management/team communication:

When we’re talking about management/management communication, we’re taking a step back and making sure that the root of where decisions are coming from (your management team) is organized and aligned so that the management/team communication can be even better.

What should management be on the same page about?

While it would be easy to just say that management should be on the same page about everything, here are a few specific areas that will make the most impact:

Specifics of the flow of service and service standards. What do the table settings look like when done correctly? What is the appropriate way to greet a guest? Do we have to use seat numbers? Are team members allowed to say “guys” when talking to guests? All of the little details can be overwhelming - and can cause a lot of room for error if not ironed out between managers!

Staff expectations. Clearly outline each job role on the team, so that everyone knows exactly what is expected of them. If these expectations change, that needs to be discussed with every manager and then clearly communicated to the team members. It’s never fun to be in a position where you did one thing because a manager asked you to, and then were questioned as to why you did that thing by another manager. Yikes!

Communication styles. Of course everyone has their own communication style - we’re all humans! What we’re talking about here is the standard of communication for the management team to follow. How is pre-shift conducted, or a group message sent out? What is the protocol for notifying the team of a menu update versus a schedule change? As a management team, it’s important to put these standards in place so that communication can be streamlined and trustworthy. 

Why does management being on the same page make a difference?

Having a management team that is consistently on the same page makes a huge difference in the quality of work life and the overall team culture.

Of course, when everyone is communicating clearly and firing on all cylinders, the shifts are smoother and we all make more money. That’s the main difference!

However there is another payoff that comes from having an organized management team, and that’s confidence. 

I noticed that when I was part of a team where there were multiple managers who were very clearly not on the same page, the team members would quickly start to lose confidence in the job, and subsequently themselves. It was like they didn’t know who to believe, got overwhelmed by the confusion, and just gave up on what was otherwise a good job.

However when I was part of a team that had clear communication and the managers were very clearly on the same page, the confidence level of the team members was much higher. In fact, even though we were doing a great job and had extremely high service standards, we still had more fun and goofed off more - we had the ability to relax because we weren’t trying to figure out what was expected of us!

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Conclusion

Sometimes the smallest changes can make the biggest differences. If your team is struggling with low confidence, miscommunication, and maybe just overall disorganization, try taking a step back and getting your management team on the same page. 

Start with the three focus areas we talked about: service standards, staff expectations, and communication styles. Then, you can continue to evolve the organization of your management team - before you know it the communication will be seamless and when updates happen, everyone will know about them in real time.

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