Most days, things run pretty smoothly at work don’t they? It can and does resemble a well-oiled machine when the desired output is achieved on time and on budget! That analogy applies very appropriately to the service industry. When everyone is on the same page, service is a breeze and customers are happy! Who could ask for more, right? Our biggest challenge can be keeping the TEAM on that right track.

What does the outcome look like when your team is not trained properly, doesn’t have good leadership and the required daily communication for success is not present? It can be chaos! It can result in lost business, loyal patrons and even quality team members. No one enjoys the frustration of not being in a smoothly run operation. 

So what does it take to have a well-run, service and guest-oriented restaurant operation? It takes planning, action, leadership, trust in one another, and above all, the confidence in the importance of engagement. The last I had heard, not every one of these key elements for service success can or should be left on the shoulders of just one person – it takes a T.E.A.M. to be successful. Everyone on your team must be a part of your success. Trust, Engagement, Action and good Management equals superior guest service.

Trust is achieved with open, honest, and ongoing communication. The only way that everyone can be on the same page, and potentially use their expertise toward the success of the business, is by knowing what is going on! Management must be willing to communicate the steps, plans and procedures for their operation with all of their team. When you do, you get essential and valuable feedback and possibly good problem solving ideas from all. 

Engagement is only possible after you have achieved Trust. How can you empower or engage your team if you do not have trust in them? It starts with your willingness to share the goals and objectives of your operation and then entrust them with the key components of success, engaging and serving your customers. Engagement includes allowing your team to become closer to, converse with and thereby become more aware of guests’ needs and expectations. It also includes giving them some leeway to do damage control without always having to ask for permission. 

Action refers to the necessary steps it takes to pull off your service objective. It means the process or steps you take to manage service each and every day. It also means that everyone is accountable for their part in the service process: from the person who orders your restaurant supplies and food stuffs, to the individual who cleans up the restaurant at the end of the day and turns off the lights. Each and every action is integral to the outcome of your business, operation and successful team engagement.

Management is your leadership, of course. But success is not achieved through poor management and bad decisions. To be successful, managers and leaders must share information, lead by example and trust their team to make good business decisions. They must set the tone by showing confident leadership, being firm but fair in their judgments and decisions and by not holding the reins so tight that they restrict their team’s success. 

Whether it’s scary, uncomfortable, or strange to you, building a successful team, and thus a successful business, takes the right combination of confidence and trust as well as leadership. Only with these important tools in place can you build the right T.E.A.M. and reap the rewards that only a cohesive and focused team can achieve! 

HR Question of the month: Please send your HR questions and concerns, or share your thoughts on your human resources challenges via email to the following address. Send input to Your comments, questions or concerns will help determine the direction for my next month’s column and earn you a copy of my book. Include your mailing address when sending your responses.