How a Restaurant Pre-Shift Meeting Improves Communication and Profits

 In 1. David Scott Peters, Leadership, Restaurant Management, SMART Systems

A pre-shift meeting can improve communication and profits in your restaurant? How? Allow me to explain through example.

Running a restaurant can often feel like you are in high school. Remember high school and all the drama? There was a lot of talking behind people’s backs, spreading rumors and trashing people for no reason. High school is great training ground for learning all about reputation management when we have to go around educating everyone about what is and isn’t true about us, repairing relationships that fall victim to false information and misunderstandings.

If only you’d had an opportunity to communicate truths and facts before rumors were started. Too bad high school didn’t come with daily pre-school addresses.

You know, like a pre-shift meeting in your restaurant?

So often I see restaurant employees — no matter their age, cultural background or education level — punch in at the clock and leave their logical brain at the door, just like in high school. They start chatter and rumors on partial information or just plain make things up. They talk behind fellow employees’ and managements’ backs.

Management often has to spend hours trying to dispel false information and rumors and repair employee relationships.

What’s silly about this is a lot of this wasted time could be prevented if management held a daily pre-shift meeting. One of the most basic ways to ensure positive communication is happening in your restaurant on a daily basis, to keep everyone informed, to reduce the rumor mill and to make sure everyone knows what you expect regarding performance is to conduct a daily pre-shift meeting.

Also similar to high school, many restaurant employees still don’t know what they want to be when they grow up. They are working in your restaurant only UNTIL they get their big break in acting, UNTIL they get their real estate license, UNTIL they get their teaching certificate, UNTIL they finish school… you get the picture. A large portion of restaurant teams have a short-term mentality. This presents its own unique challenge to management, because they are trying to motivate a population that does not see the restaurant and its goals the same way management does.

This doesn’t make your employees bad people, nor does it make them losers. In fact, they are all winners who need direction from management, a work environment that is safe and positive and most importantly, they need you to clearly communicate what you need them to do, how you want it done, how well you want it done, how well they are doing and on everything that is going on in the restaurant appropriate to their level of responsibility.

And yes, you guessed it. All of this can be accomplished with a daily pre-shift meeting!

If you’d like to learn more about the usefulness of pre-shift meetings and how to use systems to make them work, request a free demo of our restaurant management software, SMART Systems Pro.

For an example of how to bring managers into the pre-shift meeting process, download our free report, The Secret to Holding Your Managers Accountable. You can also view tips for restaurant management training and restaurant management systems in your restaurant on this YouTube channel playlist.

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