With empty seats in dining rooms across the country and restaurants shutting down in quick successions you may have heard it’s tough out there. You could only escape the daily downer of economic news if you have been under a rock without a television, radio, computer, or newspaper.
Everywhere you turn someone is diminishing spirits with news that we are basically in serious trouble. That certainly makes everyone more apt to spend money frivolously with excited enthusiasm.
In 1990 I purchased a grocery store in
However, nothing was as chilling as watching Bryant Gumbel, then anchor of the Today Show, expressing his financial doom daily through his broadcasts of catastrophic economic destruction.
I would spend the first hour of the day boosting my own spirits- fortunately by this stage of my life I had stopped ingesting mood altering substance of all kinds- then I would move on to boosting my partner’s spirit and finally the staff. The last thing I wanted was a depressed, somber group of grocers walking around, taking orders with the look of doom on their faces and the sounds of desperation in their voices.
The same holds true today. Unless you are watching the cartoon channel, the airwaves are filled with doom and desperation. Macy’s laid off 7000 employees, Microsoft laid off 5000 workers, this guy closed his doors, housing markets are down… and so on and so on…
One of the most important elements of every owner’s job is to assure their staff everything that can be done to assure forward progress is being done. Stress is probably a frequent guest in your restaurant. Whether it is a vendor knocking at the door, a call from a bill collector, or customer who has recently lost a job and is taking it out on a waiter, these are turbulent times. And, as strong leaders, now is the time to keep the sprits of your staff up.
Even though I am a strong advocate of pre-shift meetings with the staff before each day part service, now those meetings are more important than ever before. Aside from the meetings, it is important to make sure that you have an open ear for your staff. Let them know that you care.
Here are ten tips to keep your staff’s spirits up.
1). Have pres-shift meetings and use these to explore the tough times staff members are having.
2). Talk about promotions for customers with your staff so they know you are thinking about the future.
3). Have a weekly, or more often if affordable, staff meal for everyone. Make sure that these are held as a group, family styled meal so everyone can bond and share ideas.
4). Do not stop having contests for the staff. You should still have a nightly contest- especially on weekends- for those who sell the most desserts, wines, after drinks, etc.
5). Talk out the problems that staff brings up to management. In the past you may have shrugged off certain staff concerns. Now is the time to listen.
6). Analyze your staff and see if you can trim to a core staff and use them for numerous positions if need be.
7). Have regular kitchen meetings with your culinary team to discuss menu ideas that would appeal to diners in this economy.
8). Listen to everyone’s concerns and let them know that everyone is in charge of the restaurant’s destiny.
9). Be more compassionate to the problems that the staff expresses.
10). Reflect on cheerleading. Make sure that the attitude and appearance of your staff is upbeat and crisp. That they walk with a frisk in their step, a smile on their face, and a bright outlook for the future of your business.