Front- and back-of-house collaboration can easily get lost in the daily hustle and bustle. But restaurant owners should actively work towards building and maintaining this synergy to ensure the success of their establishment. Here are a few ideas to help your restaurant stay on course.

Well-trained waitstaff

Your waiters and servers are the link between your patrons and your back of house. The fastest way to sabotage your restaurant is to neglect to train them. The waitstaff sets expectations for your patrons that your back of house will have to meet. They must be able to take accurate orders and report them to the kitchen timeously, manage impatient patrons and report any dissatisfaction with meals directly to the chef. Waitstaff fulfils a pivotal role in your restaurants, so you can never train them too much.

Team menu tastings

It’s an excellent idea to host a staff meal each time you introduce a new item on the menu or rework the menu entirely. Not only has sharing meals been proven to be an effective team-building tool, it gives your front-of-house staff a chance to taste the food your back of house prepares. In this way, they’re in a much better position to convincingly recommend menu items to patrons. You can take it a step further by instituting weekly team meals, whether it’s a new menu item or not, so the staff can discuss the restaurant in a relaxed setting.

Servers, stay out

Servers tend to take unauthorised breaks by hanging out in the kitchen. It’s important for them to catch their breath during chaotic shifts even if it’s not at break times, but they should do it in the break room and not the kitchen. Your back of house is almost always twice as busy as your front of house, so the last thing your kitchen staff need are distractions from their chatty colleagues. Servers should only be in the kitchen to fetch and return orders.

Manager in charge

In my experience, everyone usually works better when their supervisor is around. The front of house always hustles under the eye of the floor manager and everyone in the kitchen is at the top of their game around the head chef. Additionally, employees feel looked after if their supervisors are present – the respective supervisors can always mediate disputes between the front and back of house before any plates start flying.

Encourage interdependence

The front and back of house of your restaurant know that they need each other, but they easily forget. It’s your job to keep reminding them to rely on each other as much as possible and to emphasise how this leads to easier shifts. For instance, if a patron is unhappy with a meal, report it directly to the chef and let them come to the patron’s table to hear them out. If a patron prefers their drink prepared in a certain way, let the bartender hear the specifications themselves. This promotes collaboration between front and back of house and as a bonus, it improves the customer experience.

Leave no-one behind

Teamwork happens best when every member of the team feels valued. Ensure that everyone working in the restaurant knows the full scope of their job and how it contributes to the overall operations of the establishment. Make it clear that the head chef, maître d’, busser, dishwasher, sommelier and host all feel like an equally important part of the team. They’ll perform better and take a vested interest in effective collaboration.

Download our guide, Secret Ingredients for a Successful Restaurant for more tips on how you can run a tight ship.

Author : Rudi Badenhorst