The holidays signals one of the busiest times of year for most restaurants. Between holiday parties and special events, your reservation books might be booked solid for the next 6 weeks. You’ll need your staff in tip top shape to tackle the amount of guests coming in and out of your doors. Prepare them for more than just the holiday tracks on repeat and they’ll be ready.
1. Be honest
There’s something to be said about being direct with your team. Sure, your staff probably figures they’ll be working longer hours during the season, but it’s different when they are told up front. Sit your staff down (all of them, not just for a pre-service) and take that time to discuss the upcoming events & reservations on the books—assure them that while the hours might be longer the payouts will be greater. They’ll not only appreciate your transparency and time you spent to meet with them.
2. Fix the little things
When you’re stressed, you find the smaller things might set you off more easily. Maybe the mop bucket has had a broken caster for awhile, or the blades on your prep slicer need replacing. You might not realize it’s a big deal, but ask the staff member who has to use it every day (even multiple times a day) and you might hear another story. Take the time to update these small items now before those frustrations build up and cause a larger meltdown later.
3. Be present
Think of this as the “We’re all in it together!” mentality, which really helps when you’re in the weeds. If your staff sees you on the floor helping where needed it’ll make a big impact on their overall mood. So next time you’re kicking back in the office, pop out front and help fill waters, seat a table, or just be available for questions from your team. Sure, some of this might be outside your typical scope of duties, but the holidays are a hectic time and your staff is hardly operating at 100%. Give them a helping hand, they’ll appreciate it, and work harder for you.
4. Gifting is never overrated
I know it’s 2015, post the economic meltdown of 2009, where things like bonuses and (most) lavish holiday parties went out the window in favor of just staying in business, period. I get it—operating a restaurant is a lot of work with a small profit margin. Thing is, your staff knows it too. It doesn’t have to be much; whether it’s a small gift card for coffee, or maybe some homemade goodies you took the time to create. Whatever the gesture, your staff will appreciate it and you.
5. Remember – your staff has families too
Unlike retailers, some restaurants are expected to be open on Thanksgiving or Christmas (brunch anyone?). Guests are interested in spending time with their families, not cooking. Same thing goes for your staff. Remember that they each have friends and a family as well, and might want to carve out some time with them. When scheduling your team, try taking volunteers for the holiday shifts first before assigning them—you’ll find a much smoother service when people actually want to be there.