How to Manage Restaurant Staff Effectively in 9 Steps

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 20 June 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Having the confidence to lead staff is an important aspect of restaurant management and requires a variety of professional skills and knowledge. Developing these skills can help you to foster a collaborative work environment and support staff in learning and performing their duties. You may become a better leader and help the restaurant become more profitable when you employ effective strategies to oversee a team. In this article, we discuss how to manage restaurant staff, provide a list of steps to follow and explain why it's important to create a positive work environment.

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What is restaurant staff management?

Managing restaurant staff is a task where leaders provide guidance and support to employees. This can improve operational processes and create an efficient and positive workplace. It can lead to motivated staff members and satisfied customers, helping to ensure a restaurant's success and profitability. Restaurants are typically fast-paced, high-pressure environments, so effective management strategies are important to help motivate staff to do their jobs well. They can also help professionals improve their communication techniques and ensure quality performance.

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Here are some of the benefits of effective restaurant management:

  • Reduced turnover: One of the primary goals of restaurant management is to reduce employee turnover. By creating a positive and supportive environment, you can encourage employees to stay in their positions, thereby reducing training costs and supporting a sense of community.

  • Improved work environment: Well-managed teams are often less stressed in their roles and more able to contribute to a fun and encouraging work atmosphere. This can help all staff members feel comfortable sharing their ideas and asking questions and can foster a collaborative environment where staff learn from each other.

  • Increased morale: You can help staff members feel supported, encouraged and valued by using effective management techniques. When you show them that you take their feedback and opinions seriously, they're more likely to commit to their role and enjoy coming to work.

  • Improved customer experience: Effective management can improve the staff's experience, translating to better treatment and service for the restaurant's customers. You can ensure that staff members perform well by providing the proper resources and training to succeed.

  • Motivated and productive teams: Positive management practices can help you increase restaurant revenue and profit by creating goal-oriented and efficient staff members. If you set goals, prioritise efficiency and create a sense of community, it can lead to more productive and motivated employees who perform their duties with attention and accuracy.

  • Increased efficiency: When you successfully plan and delegate responsibility, you can often improve restaurant operations, reduce costs and find new ways to accomplish business goals. This creates a more efficient work environment and increases revenue by improving customer satisfaction rates.

Related: FAQ: What Does a Restaurant Supervisor Do? (With Skills)

How to manage restaurant staff

The following list of steps shows you how to manage restaurant staff effectively:

1. Develop your management skills

Becoming an effective leader can take time and requires a commitment to continuous improvement. From the beginning, be open to feedback from the team so you can determine whether your strategies are effective or require more development. When you accept that transitions often take time, you can learn a lot in your first weeks and months as a new manager. Use this time to develop your management skills so you can learn how to effectively manage the team.

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Consider developing the following skills:

  • Communication: As you typically handle interactions with customers and employees, communication is an important skill for a restaurant manager. Knowing how to speak to the team quickly and efficiently can help you relay information during hectic moments, establish clear expectations and address performance concerns.

  • Leadership: Leadership skills allow you to create an environment of trust and respect while demonstrating your expertise and professional knowledge. When employees have confidence in your ability to lead, they're more likely to listen to your direction and work hard to gain your approval.

  • Patience: Building a sense of trust and community can take time and patience. Be patient with new staff members while you assess which management strategies are most effective for you and the team.

  • Time management: Good time management is important as a restaurant manager. Knowing how many staff members you require for a shift, how to coordinate teams and when to allow breaks can keep a restaurant running smoothly and efficiently.

  • Flexibility: Things can change quickly in restaurant management, so preparing for the unexpected can help you to solve problems and adjust to new situations and events. It's important that you remain adaptable and prepared to change operational processes and procedures if necessary.

  • Organisation: Organisation is an important skill for restaurant managers. Keeping track of schedules, inventory needs, employee requests and company goals can require strategic planning and reliable organisation techniques.

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2. Ask for feedback and advice

If you're new to your management role, you may benefit from asking the staff members for their advice and feedback regarding the operational systems and strategies that they feel work or may benefit from improvement. They can also help you learn more about the technical elements of your role, including opening and closing procedures and the way to operate the point of sale (POS) system. Asking for help as you establish yourself in the role shows that you care about the job and want to do it well.

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3. Help the team succeed

It's important for employees to know that managers support them and want them to succeed. You can help the team succeed by ensuring there are enough staff members so that they don't feel overworked. Make sure that employees know that they can rely on the team and leaders for support.

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4. Create a sense of community

It's essential to create a sense of community and team spirit when managing a team of restaurant staff. When people feel like they're part of a family or group, they're more likely to endeavour to meet collective goals. You can create a sense of community by establishing trusting and respectful environments. Try to create avenues for open communication and encourage a fun and playful atmosphere where team members are free to be themselves and show their personalities.

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5. Set team goals

Setting goals for yourself, the team and the restaurant can help you track progress and performance and ensures that team members commit to their professional development. Your personal goals may relate to developing and improving your skills as a leader, such as improving your communication strategies. Setting clear expectations for staff can also help them work towards particular objectives and feel accomplished when they recognise the value of their contributions.

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6. Be available

Whether you're transitioning to a managerial role or striving to become a more effective leader, it's important that team members feel they can go to you with their questions or concerns. Make yourself available and consider scheduling specific times or creating opportunities for employees to ask you for advice or feedback. This can ensure all staff members feel supported and comfortable asking for assistance or guidance when they need it.

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7. Express your gratitude

Creating a positive work environment typically includes making staff members feel recognised and valued, so express your gratitude for their efforts and contributions. Whether you conduct performance reviews or choose to share feedback spontaneously, thanking the team can help them feel respected and appreciated. This may also boost morale and motivate staff to strive for organisational and personal goals.

8. Prioritise training

When you hire new staff members, help them to understand the restaurant's expectations and culture. Assisting staff members so they can perform their jobs well and bond with the team can help them provide an enjoyable experience for customers and contribute to an effective professional environment. Effective team management can make life better for your staff, but it's important that this translates into a better experience for customers.

Related: Common Responsibilities and Expectations of Managers

9. Strive for improvement

Even if you're satisfied with your personal and organisational performance, it's a good idea to continually aim to improve. If you scrutinise the business, you're likely to find areas that could benefit from revision or development. This can help you create a dynamic and innovative professional environment where employees feel confident sharing their ideas and discussing ways to improve the restaurant and satisfy customers.

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