As a restaurant manager or business owner, you play a significant role in employee satisfaction, retention and productivity. According to performance management company Gallup, managers account for up to 70% of the variance in employee engagement. Want to boost performance at your restaurant? Do your part to improve how the front of house and back of house work together.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve talked about how chefs can improve their relationships with waiters and how waiters can improve their relationships with chefs. Besides your staff taking it upon themselves to work better across FOH and BOH lines, hospitality managers and business owners can implement business practices that elevate teamwork and enhance communication throughout all aspects of a restaurant. Here’s how to improve the FOH BOH relationship.
Start With Training
The onboarding process for any new employee should include some element of learning all aspects of the restaurant. Training should include meeting all staff members and some kind of orientation that covers the basic tasks of each role. This helps each employee to have a better understanding and appreciation for all restaurant staff components.
Training should also include proper protocol on how to handle guest complaints. Servers won’t unnecessarily throw off chefs’ rhythm and can learn techniques on how to improve customer satisfaction.
Create Clear Communication Systems
Whether you decide to invest in high-tech point of sale systems to improve order accuracy, or you use an expediter during busy shifts to check for order quality, know the risk that error-prone communication poses to your business, and work to eliminate it. If the system you use has a glitch or crashes, ensure there are backups in place or that a manager steps in to handle order communication.
Make server knowledge clearer from the beginning of service by setting them up for success and lessening the demand they place on chefs. Include a tasting before every service so servers know ingredients and can convey value to customers. Print out ingredient sheets and place them in the kitchen, so servers have a point of reference without having to bother chefs.
Set Disciplinary Standards
Each employee handbook and training should cover respectful communication to avoid conflicts if possible. Violating rules, such as yelling at a coworker or using derogatory language, should result in disciplinary action that is explicitly spelled out. Doing something that results in a loss of a shift, for example, should be expected based on your handbook guidelines.
Check in With Employees
Make it a part of a manager’s duty to form close working relationships with waiters and chefs, and to check in with them during or after shifts about their performance and what they can do to help. Sometimes a proactive approach by the manager or business owner is required for a problem to come to light. The sooner it’s identified, the sooner it can be resolved.
Conversely, research by Harvard Business School found when employees reflect on their best performances, they are more likely to perform at similarly high levels. Regular check-ins keep you covered on all fronts.
Pick Up the Slack
Restaurant owners and managers should take a hands-on approach to kitchen and FOH operations where they can help. Setting a good example by running food that is ready to be delivered, or organising supplies or cleaning up spills, shows that you are invested in the restaurant’s success and are an ally to your team. Other staff will be more likely to take initiative and help each other out, as well.
Reward High-Performing Employees
Publicly recognise employees who demonstrate great teamwork by rewarding them at team-wide meetings. If you want to impact the FOH/BOH relationship, look for examples where chefs and waiters went above and beyond to help the other, and comment on those during meetings.
Brainstorm With Staff
All-staff meetings also offer an opportunity for staff to openly and honestly talk about what is working at the restaurant and what can be improved upon. By getting clear feedback and collectively coming up with ideas on how to improve operations between the FOH and BOH, you hold team members accountable and get more buy-in on recommendations, since your employees are the ones creating the ideas.
How do you work to create better FOH and BOH relations? Drop us a line on our Facebook page – we’d love to hear from you.
Want to ensure you hire chefs and waiters who strive to have positive relationships with their coworkers? We can help. Click below for our free hospitality human resources fact sheet.