With the odds against restaurant employers to retain and engage their staff, communication is key for your staff feel listened to, comfortable, and a part of the larger vision of your organization. Effective communication means staff members are likely more engaged and loyal to your business, which in turn creates more efficient operations and higher profits.
If staff communication is paramount to a restaurant’s success, it’s important to understand how you can best communicate with your staff to ensure that success. Here are four simple ways to streamline team communication so you can ensure that your entire staff is on the same page.
Leverage Your Existing Social Platforms
According to a poll from Ipsos MediaCT 80% of restaurants in the United States already use social media for marketing. Given that your staff are likely already active on social media platforms, it makes sense to use your existing posts as a means to engage and communicate with staff.
By encouraging your staff to follow and engage with your restaurant on social media channels you create another opportunity to communicate information to those within the business. By scheduling and automating your social postings using a tool like SinglePlatform you can keep your team informed without having to wait for another opportunity like a staff meeting.
Whether it’s tonight’s specials or an event that is happening soon, using a social media channel your staff members are already checking means you have a higher likelihood of communicating what is important without having to specifically call it out.
Use a Work-Specific Communication Tool
Texts or chat tools like Facebook Messenger can be great for quick one-to-one check-ins with your employees, but to really get everyone on the same page and encourage transparency in communication, consider turning to a work-specific tool that you control.
Restaurant scheduling software, such as 7shifts, provide in-app chat tools for quick and easy team communication. Rather than relying on multiple tools and platforms to communicate with your staff, simplify your operations by having all work-related communications in a single channel that they can’t miss.
Staff can use workplace-specific communication tools for one-on-one conversations, group chats, or managers can send one-way announcements to all staff.
When your main communication tool between managers and staff is part of a tool you already use - a staff scheduler - it’s easy to extend the communications benefits by letting staff complete tasks like submitting availability or time-off requests all in one place.
Go Old School
While new technology can often bolster communication, sometimes you just can’t replace good old fashioned face-time to check in on your employees, make sure they are happy with their work, and hammer out any ways operations can be improved.
If you aren’t doing it already, consider incorporating staff meals into your operations, or if that is not possible, meal allowances to staff. By treating your staff to the benefits of your business, it is an easy way to boost morale, and if you are a full-service restaurant, for the kitchen to use any soon-to-be-expired ingredients.
When staff are comfortable and feel taken care of, you’d be surprised by the valuable information they might provide that could smoothen your operations. Small annoyances that prevent your staff from performing their jobs to the fullest often come pouring out, allowing you ample opportunity to address those problems in a professional and productive manner.
A staff meal before a shift can also be combined with general information about the upcoming service, such as any menu changes or the special of the day. If you have a new menu, also consider “staff tastings” to allow your staff to gain intimate knowledge of your menu through first-hand experience in order to provide the best sell to your customers.
Other ways of “going old school” to improve staff communication is to have one-on-one staff meetings periodically to address staff complaints or find ways they or the business can improve. Going one-on-one is a good way to offer employees a chance be candid, as they might keep some issues to themselves if in a big group.
Part of great team communication that can ultimately boost your profits involves employees feeling comfortable in the workplace and motivated to work their hardest. That all comes down to company culture, and a great way to boost company culture is with an internal newsletter.
Newsletters can be a great way to highlight when an employee went above and beyond, as well as to make note of any upcoming changes employees should be aware of, or announce any wins the restaurant received, such as a super positive online review.
When making a newsletter, try to make it as fun as possible and really incorporate some personality into it. Don’t be afraid to go very specific in your references to funny quirks in your restaurant or inside jokes among your staff to put a smile on your staff’s faces and give them something to talk about at work that can help unite the team.
Newsletters are also a good way to break down silos between departments and get everyone on the same page. For example, you can outline how a business initiative was a great success from the efforts put in from marketing, to the great job the kitchen did on execution to the wait staff that upsold that extra bottle of wine. You’re all in the same boat – feel it!
By making sure everyone is on the same page with easy to use technology, making better use of the social tools you already have at your disposal, and by creating opportunities for staff to feel comfortable sharing their opinions, you will be creating a work atmosphere that put communication - and the benefits that come from it - first.
About the Author: Eric Stober is a freelance content producer for 7shifts, an employee scheduling platform built for restaurants. Eric has written for publications such as Global News and the Toronto Star, and has a keen interest in travel, technology, entrepreneurship, spirituality and mindfulness.