Culture - Restaurant Relief - Part 2

Culture (Part 2)

Your guest's experience will NEVER exceed your employee' experience. Ponder that for a minute.

Much like branding (Part 6), culture can only be directed by you and your leadership team. It cannot be forced. Culture is the collective mindset set of your team.

The first thing you need to accept is that every person you hire after you will care a little bit less about your business than you do. The faster you can understand that then you can begin to manage it.

Culture starts with your vision and direction. If you cannot clearly communicate the purpose and direction of your restaurant you cannot begin to map your actions and your teams actions towards that. Once you have determined your vision communicating it to the team and making sure you and your managers actions fit that vision is crucial. Then you can start to see who is on the bus and who isn’t.

Coach Up or Coach Out.

Great people want to work with great people. Millennials have become a scapegoat for tired leadership tactics. We no longer work in a system where having a paycheck is enough of a reason to stay somewhere. The work environment matters and managing with direction is crucial. Being skilled at hiring is less important than adapting quickly to the wrong hire. You can ask all of the right questions and the potential employee can give you all of the right answers. It won’t be until they are exposed to the reality of your culture that you know if they are a right fit or not. This is where you need to decide if you are going to coach up or coach out. Coaching should always be defined as correction with dignity. Too often managers think behaving a certain way is how they command respect however showing an employee that you want them to succeed in the environment they are in will gain more respect and more willingness to go the extra mile. A perfect candidate for coaching up is one who has a positive mindset and is willing to self assess and reflect. A candidate for coaching out is someone who plain and simply doesn’t care about your vision and what you want to accomplish. The less of these individuals you have on your team the better off you are.

That may sound obvious but consider this: imagine reducing your turn over by half over a 12 month period. Now multiply that by the cost of training per individual. Having a positive culture has massive financial benefits. Your team is more receptive to what you are asking of them, they may bring ideas to you because they feel valued, and more importantly everyone is working towards your common vision and when someone strays it is easy to identify quickly and address through simple conversations or self reflection. However coaching out is so important. Sometimes people just need to go. When you have more outs than ups on your team you are in trouble and need to buckle down for the process. When you have more ups than outs the ups will support you and you will feel less alone. It takes courage to fire someone who isn’t pulling their weight and your most valuable team members know that and will respect you for that.

At the end of the day it starts and ends with you. Not your #2 or #3 or entire management team if you’re so lucky to have one, it’s you. You have to make the tough calls and put in the hard work to communicate your vision and address it when it is off target. You can’t demand culture, it is a relationship that happens over time that needs to be nurtured from all sides just like any other relationship. It is living and breathing and is the heart and soul of your business.

Thank you for reading part 2! Part 3, Systems, will get very tactical and hopefully can bring you some value that you can use immediately in your restaurant. As always please message me, DM me, or email. I would love to have a conversation with you.

Mike Thorp

mike thorp