As restaurant operators and managers, we’re obsessed with what our guests think of us. And it makes sense. Guests are the ones carrying the cash, so happy guests turn into a happy sales report, right? So, we obsess over what they think of us. We scour Yelp reviews and ratings on our Facebook page.
But by focusing on making our guests happy we can’t ignore what our staff has to say.
Here are some reasons why you should regularly ask your staff for feedback.
They’re in the Trenches
Not every good or bad experience ends up as an online review. So, it’s good to get feedback from your staff… especially your servers. They’re the ones with the most contact with guests, so they’re your best eyes and ears on what’s working and what’s not.
Is service too slow? New special doing really well? Music too loud? Excellent selection of games on TV? New beer selection creating some excitement?
But don’t just talk to the front-of-the-house. Show some love to your kitchen staff and see how things are going on the line.
All of this matters when you’re evaluating what the guest experience at your bar or restaurant is like. You’d be crazy not to check in regularly with your staff on how things are going.
It Motivates Staff & Saves You Money
Everyone likes feeling that their voice matters. Just by listening to your employees, you can lift their spirits and reenergize them when they head back to their posts. In fact, 78% of employees say that being recognized motivates them in their job.
And when your staff feels appreciated, they’re more likely to work harder for you. In fact, they’re also less likely to leave your team. Companies that implement regular employee feedback have about a 15% lower turnover rate than other businesses. And when turnover is costing restaurants $146,000/annually, that 15% is a game changer.
It Builds Trust & Healthy Communication
It’s safe to say one of the biggest sources of conflict in a workplace is a lack of healthy and open communication. A working relationship is just like any other relationship, it needs a healthy dose of honest dialogue. It keeps small issues from becoming huge problems and creates a level of respect and rapport between employees and managers.
For staff, it’s being able to air grievances and feel like their voice matters. It’s about being seen as more than just “human capital.” For management, it means learning what makes their best staff happy and what could use some improvement.
Being able to talk face-to-face is always preferable, as you can ask some useful follow-up questions. But if you or your staff prefer a little anonymity, online surveys are also a good way to go.
It Spurs New Ideas & Creative Problem Solving
Not all feedback is necessarily criticism, but when issues arise, they need to be addressed. Finding out what those issues are from staff is a start, but keep them in the conversation beyond just pointing out a problem. Collect info on what they think might make for useful solutions. You might discover something you hadn’t even thought of yourself.