5 Best Practices for Effective Restaurant Staff Communication

Running a restaurant pushes you to the max. Turnover in hospitality soars past national averages. The industry is marked by high turnover rates — twice the national average of 4.5% — that primarily drive increased costs. Constant hiring strains limited funds and energy. It’s an endless cycle of new faces in and out the door.

The culprit? Lack of communication and coordination. Unclear details on shifts and duties frustrate workers. Impossible standards for pleasing customers drain resolve. Information gaps spiral into costly breakdowns across all areas of operations.

Luckily, with some fundamental best practices, you can get your staff communication game in check. Let’s walk through techniques to help your hardworking teams operate smoothly. We’ll cover:

Key Takeaways

  • Onboard thoughtfully. Set clear expectations. Help new hires acclimate more smoothly. This reduces turnover rates.
  • Match communication medium to message. Use chat apps for delegating shifts. Use software tools for centralizing reservations. Use pagers for front/back coordination. This brings clarity.
  • Make workplace culture part of your brand identity. Supportive practices boost staff morale. Supportive practices boost customer trust.
  • Stay organized. Get administrative help. Consolidate feedback systems. Centralize data. Spot problems early.
  • Encourage two-way dialogue. Get managers and staff talking. Surface frustrations. Exchange ideas. Empower employees. Responsive leadership improves team performance.
Server Welcoming Restaurant Guest

1. Roll Out the Red Carpet for New Hires

Thoughtful onboarding makes all the difference in new hire satisfaction and retention. Be hands-on from day one to set clear expectations and prevent confusion. Over-communicate duties, workplace policies, equipment protocols, and anything else that facilitates understanding.

Supplement verbal briefings with sturdy support materials. Create centralized hubs with handbooks, manuals, training checklists, and more. Organization removes guesswork so new staff grasp workflows faster and contribute quicker.

When properly onboarded talent gets up to speed smoothly, they are far more likely to stick around. Invest time upfront, providing ample resources, and you’ll reap reduced turnover rates in the long run.

Don’t forget how these tools can make it easier for HR to stay organized. And if you use effective templates for new hires, such as onboarding checklists and recruitment timeline templates, you’ll ensure you don’t miss anything. This is important as a streamlined onboarding process can greatly reduce turnover rates.

2. Match Communication Style to Situation

Not all restaurant communications fit one mold. Different scenarios benefit from different mediums, tones, and features. Put some thought into pairing communication style directly to the situation and task.

Managing shift delegations? Online chat fosters transparency so the whole team can review assignments, ask clarifying questions, and prevent confusion. Juggling reservations pouring in from Facebook, phone calls, OpenTable, and beyond? Centralized booking software is a must to avoid double-booking fiascos.

Coordinating between swamped servers, behind-schedule cooks, and impatient guests? Smart pager systems enable real-time updates to keep operations running smoothly.

Taking a targeted approach eliminates inefficiencies, mistakes, and delays. The manager checking her phone won’t catch a ping from the kitchen about a revised ticket time. The server scrambling to appease a waiting guest won’t see a shift change note posted online hours earlier.

Choose dedicated tools expressly suited for each unique communication need. When information streams to the right parties at the right time, everything flows better.

3. Walk the Talk on Company Culture

Your workplace environment should align with and reflect your broader brand identity. Nearly half of consumers say they trust and prefer to spend money at employee-centric establishments.

Make your values and culture cornerstones come through in daily internal communication. Provide inclusivity training if touting inclusivity. Coach kind, empowering language if positioning your restaurant as a warm community haven.

Restaurant Hostess Job

When staff feel genuinely respected and cared for, it boosts engagement and morale. That positivity rubs off on guests. Your team becomes empowered brand ambassadors delivering seamless experiences perfectly tuned to your ethos.

So put your money where your marketing mouth is. Publicize any perks or progressive policies that make your restaurant a great place to work. Motivate managers to communicate supportively.

Keep shaping an environment true to the branding vision across everything from visual aesthetic to customer service style. Consistency compounds, making your diners feel good about supporting the full experience you promote.

4. Get (and Stay) Organized

The wheels fall off when communication loses its way. In the restaurant trenches, scattered details lead to slow service, incorrect orders, duplicated work, and missed opportunities.

Wrangle all that incoming intel through thoughtful organization systems. Administrative staff or an administrative assistant can compile vitals like budgets, expenses, accounts, and benchmarks into shareable reports and dashboards for simplified tracking.

Collect customer feedback comments scattered across review sites and survey channels using an aggregation tool that detects sentiment, tags common themes, and spots trends over time.

Consolidate need-to-know info from managers, employees, and vendors into consistent catalogs accessible by role. Digital platforms keep doc sharing organized by department, project, or asset type – no more frantic searching through messy folders.

Thoughtful organization helps leaders analyze operations objectively rather than reactively. You can’t fix what you don’t track. So invest in streamlining communication flows to know what’s working, what’s not, and where to focus improvement efforts next.

5. Encourage Two-Way Communication

The best restaurant managers know leadership is a dialogue, not a monologue. Promote open, honest communication at every level.

Train managers to actively cultivate feedback. Institute consistent check-ins and performance reviews. Maintain an open door for questions and concerns from staff. Set clear targets then gather input on how to hit them better.

When managers listen, teams feel respected. Valuing employee perspectives uncovers operational frustrations before they escalate into turnover. Staff ideas surface innovations for increasing efficiency.

Two-way communication also enables quicker adaptation. Managers who engage staff through changes or challenges earn buy-in to drive smoother implementation.

The more responsively leaders communicate, the better restaurants function. People accomplish more when they feel heard. And they stick around longer when they feel empowered to improve the environments they occupy most days of the week.

The Bottom Line

At the end of a chaotic dinner rush, every restaurant worker wants to feel their efforts contributed to something rewarding. They need to know their extra elbow grease helps fellow staff, satisfies customers, and inches the business toward shared goals.

Thoughtful communication provides that sense of purpose and progress. When a manager updates the hostess on current wait times, it gives her confidence handling the impatient guests in the lobby. When the owner listens to chef concerns over low inventory, it signals faith in his expertise to manage orders. Across all roles and responsibilities, communication connects individual contributions to big picture success.

People willingly put in long, grinding hours when it fuels something larger than themselves. As a restaurant leader, it’s your job to reinforce how every small effort adds up through frequent, responsive communication. Do that right, and your staff will stick around to see those efforts pay off for years to come.

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