The foundation of any establishment’s success is based on two core principles – serving good food and providing a good service to patrons. They are not mutually exclusive. There’s no point in serving the most delicious meals when they reach the customer late or not at all.

By the same token, great waiting staff don’t make up for a below-average meal. Keeping your front- and back-of-house staff in top shape is an ongoing exercise. And however daunting and time-consuming it might seem, it’s paramount to the sustainability and growth of your restaurant.

The secret to keeping staff performance at peak levels is to get it right from the start. Here are five handy hints on how you can get the most out of your employees from the get-go:

1. It starts with who you appoint

Staff performance is largely based on the people who work for you. Ensuring that productivity levels remain high begins with the hiring process. You might find yourself desperate for waiting or kitchen staff, but don’t let this blind you to recruiting the first person you interview. Ensure that they have the required qualifications, but more importantly, great references. Proof of hard work is invaluable and can ensure fewer headaches with underperforming staff down the line – not to mention going through the hiring process all over again.

2. Set out your service goals

When you started your restaurant, you had a clear idea of how you wanted patrons to be serviced. Write down those thoughts and turn them into your employee training bible. The more informed staff are about what is expected of them, the more likely they are to stick to those guidelines. Sometimes people tend to pay more attention and absorb information when they hear and read it at the same time. Make them sign a form on expected duties and keep it on file. If they don’t perform, you have proof and can take the appropriate action.

3. Provide the proper equipment

Nothing puts a damper on staff performance (and enthusiasm) quite like struggling with outdated equipment or a lack of necessary tools. If you can’t provide them with the equipment to do their job, why should they care about doing it in the first place? Keep staff performance high by properly maintaining kitchen equipment, keeping an eye out for any new technologies in the point of sale industry and helping waiting staff with their already overwhelming duties. You’ll be surprised at how far the gesture of showing that you care can go.

4. Reward hard work and show gratitude

If you want a stellar performance to cultivate itself in your workforce, you need to give credit where it’s due. You don’t have to walk around tapping everyone on the shoulder every time you see them and say “good job”, but some motivation at the beginning of a shift should do the trick.
Also, make a point of rewarding the best-performing employee of the month. This should be awarded to a staff member who really went beyond what was expected of them and include a gift – even if it’s something small. As the saying goes: “It’s the thought that counts”, and when it comes to employee motivation, the idea of a reward goes a long way.

5. Lead by example

As clichéd as this statement sounds, it still holds true. You can’t expect your staff to work hard when you’re sitting at your desk on the busiest night of the week scrolling through your social media feeds. There’s no need to look over everyone’s shoulder, but do check in with the kitchen staff and see how they’re coping, help to seat guests and perhaps deliver a meal to one of the tables. By doing this, you get to interact with patrons and give a busy waiter a moment to breathe.

Pilot understands the important role that staff play in the success of your establishment. This is why our intuitive point of sale solution equips you with a toolkit to help monitor your staff’s performance.

Our PilotLive business analytics solution allows you to gather valuable data about every single transaction made, bills closed, check-in and check-out times, and items sold by each staff member.

For more information on how data can help to improve your offering, download our free Guide to Restaurant Data: Everything you need to know..

Author : Rudi Badenhorst