Design Your Restaurant Culture

The secret to a purposeful, positive, productive work culture? Delighted team members.
How happy are your employees? Employee happiness has a huge impact on customer happiness. You see it every day – team members who are happy and enjoy their work create engaged customers more consistently than team members who are unhappy.
Employee happiness has a huge impact on customer happiness. 
Fully engaged customers have a tremendous impact on a restaurant’s business. Gallup’s research found that fully engaged customers make 56 percent more visits per month at fast casual restaurants than actively disengaged customers do. At fast food restaurants, fully engaged customers make 28 percent more visits each month.
The restaurant business is fast paced and hectic at its best. To ensure that every customer is served delicious fare promptly and kindly, every member of every team – reception, wait staff, kitchen, maintenance, etc. – must be of one heart, one mind and one voice.
The reality is that our organizations are not great places to hang out in. Gallup’s daily engagement dashboard indicates that only 35 percent of US workers are actively engaged on the job. The global percentage is much worse – only 13 percent. TinyPulse’s 2014 engagement and culture report found that only 21 percent of workers feel strongly valued at work.
Leaders must create a culture where values – how people treat each other – are as important as results, every day.
How can restaurant leaders create a purposeful, positive, productive work culture? They must craft an organizational constitution, then align all plans, decisions and actions to it.
An organizational constitution specifies your restaurant’s servant purpose – it’s “reason for being” besides making money. Your organizational constitution then formalizes your desired values and defines them with observable, tangible, measurable behaviors. It also includes performance expectations in the form of strategies and goals.
Let’s look at how Starbucks defines it’s servant purpose, values, and behaviors. Their purpose is to “nurture the human spirit.” Their values include creating a culture of warmth and belonging, growing the company and each other, treating everyone with dignity and respect, and being accountable for delivering promised results.
Make values – how people treat each other – as important as results.
Ritz-Carlton takes a similar approach. Their servant purpose is founded upon the motto, “Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen.” Their service values – called “Gold Standards” – are formally defined, monitored, and emphasized daily. Anticipatory service is their unique differentiator. Every team member is charged with building strong relationships, creating customers “for life.”
Defining your desired culture with an organizational constitution is, to be honest, the easy part. Aligning all plans, decisions, and actions to these new expectations is the hard part. Leaders must live the new servant purpose and valued behaviors, every minute. Only then will their organizational constitution be considered credible by team members – and worthy of embracing it by those team members.
It’s not science fiction. It’s what happens today in world class organizations like WD-40 Company, Ritz Carlton, Starbucks, Assurance, Madwire, and others I’ve studied. It’s real – and it’s rather astounding.
I can prove it. When leaders align practices and behaviors to their desired organizational constitution, three things happen within 18 months of implementing the change. Employee engagement goes up by 40 percent. Customer service goes up by 40 percent. Results and profits rise by 35 percent.
Don’t leave your restaurant culture to chance. Make values – how people treat each other – as important as results.
To learn more on this, watch here.