What is one of your most important roles as a restaurateur?
Maybe not so surprisingly, when you become the boss of a restaurant, regardless of whether you’re the manager or the owner, your role is about people.
We know what you’re thinking – of course your job is about people. You work in the hospitality industry. You probably even enjoy pleasing people; that might be a reason you got into this job in the first place. However, we’re talking about the people who work for you.
- You set the mood for your employees.
Your employee culture depends a great deal on you. You set the tone. You let them know what type of work ethic is required of them, what types of behaviors are acceptable, and what will be permissible, and they will – generally – follow suit. They will meet your expectations as long as you are clear about those expectations.
Your ego doesn’t offer any benefits in your restaurant when applied to those around you. And you probably already know that you don’t like it much when your employees think they’re better than those around them.
- You succeed when your employees succeed.
There should never be any level of competition between you and your employees, or even between your employees. They will work hard to succeed, and every time one of your employees makes a customer happy, you succeed vicariously. Everyone wins when all of your employees are doing well.
- You owe it to your employees to let them know what they’re good at.
Most people don’t immediately know where their talents are. They might know what they enjoy, and, if given a chance, may even find a new skill at which they surprisingly succeed. Many of the most successful chefs, cooks, and restaurateurs were first given a chance to cook or learn from a chef, and that was a turning point for them. You can help those who work for you know where they are succeeding so they can know what opportunities are available to them.
On the flip side, letting your employee know when they’ve done something wrong is crucial, but better than that, patiently letting them know what went wrong and why helps them figure out how to prevent it from happening in the future. Then you can hold them accountable and assume they will have overall growth. That’s another win-win.
- Everyone who works at your restaurant is a part of your restaurant family.
The best way to network and succeed in any business is through relationships. When you create a culture of acceptance and loyalty, your employees will reciprocate. You can help each other as your skills – and theirs – grow and their network increases. Helping your employees when they need help, regardless of whether that help is related to the business, can create long-lasting relationships that will result in referrals, reviews, and business.
- You’re also a worker.
When it comes down to it, you’re still a worker. As a restaurant owner, you already know this. Working in this industry is hard work. And even when you hit the top, you still have to work hard. When you are willing to do that hard work right in the trenches next to all of your employees, you help them understand what they can expect when they rise to the top. Also, they are more likely to be willing to work hard if they know you are, too.
- Hold the mindset that your employees are in careers, not just jobs.
If you want to keep your employees around and happy, you have to offer them reasons to stay. Even young, your employees should be thinking about time off, benefits, retirement, and other financial requirements, and you should be helping them with that. As a boss and mentor, it is up to you to help them learn these things. It not only helps them, which helps you in the long run, but it also increases loyalty in the entire business.
- Make sure you love this industry and your job.
The restaurant industry is hard. It’s a lot of work, it’s a lot of time, and there are few
If you want to stay in it long-term, you need to acknowledge whether you can handle it. It isn’t for everyone. You have to be willing to put in the time, put in the work, and still love what you do. It will affect your attitude, but it will also affect your employees’ attitudes, too.