The success of your restaurant really starts with your leadership team, so hiring and retaining good restaurant managers is critical to that success. The best way to keep your restaurant managers engaged is to align your goals and motives with theirs.
After being in the restaurant industry for so many years, we’ve been paying attention to the good managers and there are several things that some of them do a lot better than others.
1. Treat your employees fairly
Now, this does not mean that managers should be on an equal playing field to your their employees. However, if you have restaurant managers that don’t care about their employees and treating them fairly, then they’re in the wrong business. Fair also doesn’t mean that you treat every single worker of the same because their circumstances are all different. Good managers recognize that.
For example, when employees request time off or miss a shift because of personal circumstances, good managers will handle these situations on a case-by-case basis. There are all sorts of reasons why someone would miss a shift and you're not going to enforce those policies the exact same way because every situation is different. Fair does not mean equal.
2. Don’t manage through notes
Another pattern we see among the best restaurant managers is that they don’t manage by notes. By that we mean, they've got a problem with one employee and so then they plaster a sign or note around the restaurant, in the kitchen, on bulletin boards, etc. This is one of the worst mistakes a manager can make.
Consider a situation where an employee is chewing gum while working. For one thing, it’s a health code violation so they shouldn’t be in the first place. But if you catch an employee doing that anyway, you’re basically faced with a choice: address it privately or plaster it publicly. If you’re managing discipline with a passive-aggressive note instead of just talking to the one person who wasn’t following rules, your lazy management style is going to annoy and frustrate your team.
3. Find out what they want
Ask about what motivates them personally, professionally, what they daydream about. When you know those things, you can make their lives better. When you take the time to get to know the individual, not just the employee, you’ll connect with that person on a whole new level and you’ll see your employee retention skyrocket.
4. Don’t be afraid to chip in
We’ve all worked in restaurants in which the manager is sitting in the office during the busy hours or at the end of the night instead of helping with the tasks. Do you think they’re inspiring their team to be great?
A good manager knows when to lead and chip in and do the dishes, help the employees, close the restaurant. Bad managers spend all of their time in the office. Realistically, if a good manager's working 50 hours a week, there's probably going to be 15 hours of that where they're not going to be managing. They're going to be helping out where it's needed in the restaurant to let their team know they’re on their side. And, and young managers should all recognize that, uh, that they need to, uh, be there when their employees need it. Cause the key is, is, uh, is to make, to make, to let them know that you're on your side.
5. Be honest
It sounds simple and obvious, but you’d be surprised at how rare this can be. Employees know when you’re being dishonest with them. When you manage from a place of honesty and transparency, you’ll connect more with your team which will make them work harder for you and less likely to leave. You’re never going to have 0% turnover rate, especially in this industry, and that’s okay. Just remember that most people take a job because they want to better their lives and they want to do a good job with it. And good managers remember that every day.
We hope you find these helpful! For more tips about increasing employee retention at your restaurant, download our checklist, 6 Ways to Decrease Employee Turnover at Your Restaurant.