Thursday, January 9, 2014

Creating Restaurant Employee Personal Accountability

Recently on a flight on an international airline carrier, two passengers inquired about standing-by on an earlier flight to avoid upcoming potential weather delays.  As seasoned travelers, they expected to be greeted with an air of annoyance by the airline employees.  This day was different and the two gate agents responded with comments letting the passengers know that they wanted them to be able to get home and not get stuck overnight.  They went as far as to even suggest seating the travelers together on the plane.

What makes an employee take personal ownership in their work and a guests’ experience, when in fact they don’t have true ownership in the company?  Here are a few tips:

*Trust and Openness to Ideas – Create a venue in your organization to hear employee ideas.  Highlight those that push the company towards its objectives and guest satisfaction.  Trust employees until they give you a reason not to.
*No Complaint Zone – Make your company a place where solutions rise above complaints.  Encourage and reward employees for finding the good in a situation and making bad things better.
*Reward Excellent Leadership – A company CEO set up a system of “Take care of it, like it belongs to you”.  It resonated all the way to the front lines of the restaurant, where if the General Manager walked into a perfectly clean and well maintained restaurant, she would buy all of the hourly employee’s lunch.  This created the “buy in” from the employees and the behavior was rewarded.
*Set Goals at Every Level – An hourly server likes to be challenged to sell 8 desserts on a Friday night and to then receive a reward.  A poster in the back of the house can list the “Dessert King or Queen” and they then get to choose the shift time or best section of tables in the restaurant for their next shift.  For Associate managers, set loss and spoilage goals where they are rewarded with credit card gift cards and have your restaurant bookkeeping department post the results monthly.
 *Reduce Turn-Over - Employees that feel part of something and well treated stay longer.  Not every idea needs to be tied to a monetary incentive.  A hand-shake, a photo on the wall, a pin on a lapel, an opportunity to share their ideas with a group are all incentives that make employees thrive.
*Recognize Employees’ Length of Service – Set a level of accomplishment to stay and serve with your company.  In this digital age, send an e-message from the CEO to the hourly employee that has been working in the restaurant 10 years.  Have the General Manager show it at a team meeting with all employees.
*Encourage Guest Input – Having a quick survey on the table about guest service can be very helpful in encouraging a sense of ownership. It will work in two ways 1) It will let staff know they can be in danger of receiving complaints which will lead to improved performance and 2) It will allow you to reward outstanding service to show your appreciation.

CFO Business Growth Solutions, LLC provides Nationwide Restaurant Accounting, Restaurant Bookkeeping Services, Menu Engineering, POS Business Intelligence and Restaurant Consulting Services.  For more information go to

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