Use Employee Feedback to Become a Hassle-Free Restaurant

Employee Feedback for Your Restaurant

Posted: Jun. 14, 2018

Gather your employees for an important meeting. With their help, you’re going to improve business.

Bringing staff into the fold not only makes them feel more purposeful in their positions but is absolutely essential for your restaurant. Here’s why: Recurring problems and hassles take up nearly 40% of your employees' time! Remove the issues, and your team works faster, is happier to be there, and gives your customers better service.

Since your FOH staff is closest to the customers, their problems tend to be related to whatever is hassling your customer. In the BOH, they work closely with the suppliers and witness a different side of the customer experience. As you receive feedback, tackle each issue and you’ll see how quickly your business flourishes. Soon, your staff’s greatest problems will become your biggest strengths.

To get started, gather your employees and describe your intention to improve the restaurant’s functionality, as well as the team’s. Tell them that to get there, you’ll need their feedback.

Get the flow started with these three questions:

  1. What should we start doing?
  2. What should we stop doing?
  3. What should we continue doing?

Ask them to consider these questions from their points-of-view and the customers’ perspectives.

If you haven’t asked for feedback before, this initial round of answers will include long-withheld, pent-up issues. Take care to treat complaints about a specific person in private, and with the rest, compile a list of issues and present them in a second meeting. Together, brainstorm solutions for the easier problems, and for the more difficult, long-term issues, report on their progress in your weekly meetings thereafter.

In the beginning, you want to be especially responsive to requests. For instance, if a larger trash can is requested by the bussing staff, then get a larger waste bin in there fast. Take care of the small issues right away; they are the fastest way to improve operations and show staff that you’re listening.

How to Manage Employee Feedback

To establish an ongoing and constant line of communication with your employees, their feedback must be heard. If they feel like they are ignored or discarded, they will simply stop reporting incidences or concerns. You don’t want that to happen. Their hassles will continue to overshadow their shifts, and you will lose out on raw data that impacts the future of your business.

It’s impossible to predict how much input you will receive the first time; if you get a little, don’t reprimand your staff. Instead, work hard to rectify the issues that were reported. Seeing that attention was paid the first time, more employees will participate the second time.

If the opposite happens and you get an overwhelming number of notices, avoid the temptation to omit, generalize, or combine items. List all of them. This will show your staff that you are listening. Print out the complete list and share it on an Employee Feedback board. The only exception should be personnel complaints, which are dealt with in private.

Report Progress

People want to see that change is happening. Remain encouraging and, above all else, responsive to feedback. Give updates on each issue’s progress at your weekly meetings, or for a simpler (and perhaps more effective) way of reporting progress, write on the list by hand. Cross out an item and write next to it, Noted, done. If you employ over 25 people, an email system would also be an effective way to report progress. However you decide is the best way, show your staff that you are actively working to correct the problems and make improvements.

How to Tackle the Data

There is the possibility that a de-hassling, employee-feedback system might create more hassles. To avoid that from happening at your restaurant, stay on track with the following three points:

  1. Always address the root of the issue.
  2. Focus on items with the most relevance to your business.
  3. Find the patterns by asking why, and then ask what, when, and where?

Example 1 of Managing Restaurant Employee Feedback: In the course of one week, 44 customers returned their sodas because something tasted wrong. Not only did this eat up the server’s time (returning the soda and bringing a new drink) but the prices needed to be voided and the restaurant absorbed the costs. Instead of ordering brand new soda, management first asked why? When they looked further into the issue, they learned that customers with lemons in their soda had turned it back. They asked, why were only sodas with lemon discarded? They discovered that the lemons were stored, incorrectly, next to the onions by a newly hired member of the BOH.

Management gained valuable insight from this incident. They improved their inventory’s organizational system and improved the training of new hires, and they didn’t continue making the same mistake. This issue was quickly nipped in the bud without further damage to the organization.

Example 2 of Managing Restaurant Employee Feedback: One restaurant saw the number of negative Yelp reviews increase throughout one month, with many reviewers citing slow service as the reason. Their staff had been working there long before the negative reviews, so management knew a retraining session wasn’t the answer. Instead, they surveyed video cameras and talked with the team to find out why the service had gotten slower. They soon learned that the FOH was waiting up to two minutes for their tickets and checks to be printed out. When they looked into why it had gotten slower, they realized that their point of sale was an older program that needed to be upgraded. Management then updated their restaurant POS system and the customer service didn’t just return to normal, it got better.

Management correctly identified the root of the problem, which was not their staff, but the system. Fortunately, they rectified the issue before it could cause permanent damage to their reputation.

Find out what, when, and where the issues are to find the root of the problem. By asking a lot of questions, you can uncover the truth of an issue that saves your business in the long run.

The power of employee feedback can change your entire business by spotlighting problems that you were unaware of. If feedback is ignored or discarded, your employees will stop reporting incidences or concerns. Their hassles will continue, and you will no longer have a direct line to what needs to be improved at your restaurant.

 

 

Posted: Jun. 14, 2018 | Written By: Emma Alois

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