Why Company Culture Matters in the Restaurant Industry

The major transformation for restaurateurs by working with me is the change in their corporate culture. Have you heard people talk about corporate culture and why it matters? As a systems specialist who helps restaurant owners have a life and make money, I can tell you that the systems are the easy part. The part where restaurateurs have to change their corporate culture is the hardest part of the journey, but necessary to be successful.

Implementing systems is just one giant group of tasks. Although some of these tasks may take longer than others, the truth is that they are just a list of projects that need to be completed. Many of these systems, or tasks, seem silly and easy. For example, let me talk about three of them.

Checklists: These are the opening and closing secondary job checklists. Checklists as a whole are a clipboard system.

Follow-up of key elements: you track five to 15 items each shift to make sure they aren’t stolen. It’s a clipboard system in that it’s a simple form that you print out and put on a clipboard in the kitchen

Waste Tracker: This clipboard system tracks food discarded due to errors, such as improper preparation, incorrect front-of-house orders, and food spoiling. It’s a proactive tool to track silly mistakes so everyone can avoid making them the next day.

These three systems can technically be implemented in one day. If you’re doing retail checklists that I teach, this process will take weeks to months, but for the purposes of this example, you can get your first draft of a checklist and use it in a day. only if you had to.

Here is the point. The challenge is not to put them in place, but to use them daily. This forces restaurateurs to make serious efforts to change the culture of their business.

To put these things in place, to ensure that they are used daily, you need to do these five things:

1. Have a manager on every shift, or some sort of supervisor. This could be an hourly supervisor, a salaried manager, or somewhere in between. Someone must be responsible for ensuring that each of these systems is used on a daily basis. Otherwise, as soon as you stop tracking, they are no longer used.

2. View accountability as a coaching opportunity. Train people in what their job is, how to do it, how much it needs to be done, and most importantly, in what time frame. Have them demonstrate to you that they can do it on their own without your help so they can no longer use the excuse that they didn’t know. Then they know what their job is, the obligations to do their job, and they make the decision whether to do their job or not. This makes them responsible for their work. This makes them responsible to do it or not. So we take responsibility and change it into empowerment, which is positive because you change them, changing the culture of your company.

3. Don’t let a single employee hold your business back. You can’t let that longtime employee, family member, especially family members, stop you dead any longer. You’ll know who that person is because when you introduce the changes you want to make, they’ll be the ones saying things like, “Oh, no, our restaurant is different” or “That’s too difficult.” We tried that and it didn’t work. It stops you dead in your tracks. But as the leader of your business, you need to drive it forward, regardless of the opposition.

4. Invest in education. If restaurant owners want to change their corporate culture, they must be prepared to invest the time and money necessary for the necessary education. The most successful restaurateurs I have worked with follow the restaurant prosperity formula. They understand that they don’t know what they don’t know. They are looking for ways to learn all the time. They attend trade shows, workshops, seminars, webinars and read trade publications. They invest in things like coaching and classes. They go to YouTube and consume information all the time. They always learn because they don’t know what they don’t know. And some of these things, like coaching or workshops and seminars, take time and money to learn. But as they learn, they understand. But it doesn’t matter what they know if their managers don’t know it too. Reinvest time and money to train your managers. When your managers know they can help run the business, that’s a major shift in company culture.

5. Be consistent. It is so important that when you implement systems, even the three minor ones mentioned earlier, you pay attention to them on a daily basis. I often ask people, “Why do we have managers? The answer is to make sure the process works while giving you the freedom not to be the only one doing it.

When you hold people accountable and check things in everyday, you’re telling them that’s what’s going to happen to everyone. You change the culture of your company. There is no favouritism. It’s the same rules, the same systems, the same way every day, no matter who you are or how long you’ve been working on it.

When you train your employees, when you have managers who make sure the process works, when you’re ready to hold people accountable, when you’re ready to invest time, money and effort in learning and implementing systems, and that you are prepared to be consistent on all fronts, you are changing your corporate culture, a culture where everyone is treated fairly. A culture where systems are part of the way you do things every day, where accountability isn’t a dirty word, and where your company culture makes you an employer of choice.

It’s the human part that takes the time. You can set up clipboard systems in an instant. But training people and going through all of that, changing the culture of your business, changing the way you operate your restaurant, as team members change, as your managers change, so does your restaurant culture. and your restaurant becomes much easier to manage. Your turnover drops like a rock, your profitability increases, and ultimately your family sees you.

Remember that when you work towards your goals for your restaurant, success will come when you establish the right corporate culture.