Build Your Reputation, Build Your Service Staff

Restaurant, food and product photography

OpenTable partnered with Kristen Hawley, founder of the popular Chefs + Tech newsletter, to create the How to Grow & Thrive in the Restaurant Business e-book, the ultimate guide to serving guests and growing your business at every phase of a restaurant’s lifecycle. We’re sharing excerpts from each stage, so follow along and download the whole guide here.

Beyond vision and messaging, your staff is the front line of your restaurant’s image. A trained, informed staff member is an element of the restaurant product and should be treated as such.

Set the right expectations with your staff

Obviously, people bring experiences of where they’ve worked before to any job; that’s why they’re valuable members of a service team. Experience is important, but so is immersion in your specific idea, especially if it’s a new or complicated concept.

Start at the beginning, especially if you are opening a brand new concept. Encourage your team to learn the new brand first, then apply their experience and opinions second. This makes a new concept like a brand new birth instead of a collage of disparate experiences.

“From a service point of view and how things are actually run, I think it’s been a massive plus that we looked at it from a different angle. Instead of doing things because someone told us that’s how to do them, we looked at it from the perspective of, how can we make this awesome? How can we do this the way we would love if we were a customer?” – Kristian Klein, Co-Founder Mr. Miyagi.

Connect all the dots

Messaging and training don’t work in a vacuum. Instead, the process is fluid and involves lots of people. Make sure these processes work in tandem. This is where in-house marketing and communications teams (or specialists) become important.

If you’re a lean operation and don’t have internal marketing and communications, you as the restaurant’s visionary are responsible for the above. While these might seem like nuanced decisions, they’re vital to early success and are absolutely worth the time they take to establish properly.

Want more tips on staff training, continued education, and how to effectively communicate? Download the guide and visit page 7 for more.  

Photos courtesy of Kepos St Kitchen