There are many reasons why chaos can ensue in your Front Of House (FOH) and Back Of House (BOH). The biggest problem is infighting between your staff, infighting can rear its ugly head at any moment and it is something every restaurateur must address.
The Cause – The hidden divide between waiting, bar and kitchen staff.
Every business has its own culture and inner clicks. The same goes for your establishment.
This separation of work makes sense from an operational standpoint. You have your Front Of House and Back Of House separated. Two different departments working in tandem to ultimately keep your customer happy. Operationally it works.
The challenge comes in when the people in these two groups interact or more importantly don’t interact. Your FOH and BOH will usually be interacting within their team far more than they would with those outside your team.
This is where your cliques begin to form. You either control it or it evolves organically. When it works you have a team that gels. When it doesn’t you have volatility and sometimes a hostile environment.
Staff turnover is already high and volatile and hostile environments only add to the fire. It’s costing you good employees and creates a nervous work environment where more mistakes are made.
Let’s change that, and stop infighting amongst your staff.
Stop infighting dead in its tracks with this easy-to-implement hack.
The hack to stop infighting is designed to reset your work culture. It starts with communication and ends with solutions to your challenges and builds a healthy working environment.
Open up for communication: I’m not just talking about chatting and airing out all your staff’s gripes. This is part of it, but only a stepping stone. It’s also communicating what the roles of each department are and the set standards for your staff to follow and to open a dialogue between departments.
Start by gathering your senior staff, and then, ask them all in a group setting – what the “House Style” is, and if they could run through it with you. While in front of them, take detailed notes. These notes are important as this is how you will convey this info to the rest of your staff.
Once you have your notes and defined what the “House Style” is gather all your staff and ask questions. Take more notes. Let them know how much you appreciate their feedback; how much you want to get it right because you want nothing more than total-team cohesion.
Finish by inviting them to offer suggestions whenever necessary.
Now that you have a better grasp of what’s happening amongst your team, it’s time to get them working together and talking to each other. Why? Because you want them to vibe.
What you want to get out of this:
- Get your staff to understand the importance of helping their team.
- Get them to talk constructively.
- Get them to learn the lay of the land.
You can do all this by instilling just one secret pillar of teamwork- be helpful to each other, and explain that when you’re training. “If you give someone else’s table good service, then they’re more likely to be back and they could be your table.”
It’s just good practise – especially when some staff members are slammed. This works for both FOH and BOH.
Examples of where you can focus on:
1) Clearing dirty plates from any table they can.
2) If they’re refilling water on their table do it for all the surrounding tables too.
3) When running each other’s food and drinks always ask every table if they can do anything else for them at the moment.
4) Getting the team to call things out to each other in the kitchen. Nothing’s better than trying to make a beeline across the kitchen to the bread oven and redirecting almost immediately because someone shouted “five minutes on bread!”. Saving precious few seconds by not having to check on certain things is invaluable to a server and your kitchen staff.
You want to build a culture of “If you need help, ask!” Where everyone is always willing to help with whatever you need if they’re not busy.
At the end of the day, your team’s individual successes all hinge on whether or not they work together and this needs to be taught and nurtured.