Coach Your Employees Like Harbaugh

“Coaching is nothing more than eliminating mistakes before you get fired.” Lou Holtz
This picture is of NFL Coach of the Year Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers. He is an inspiring motivator of his employees. This includes his team, staff and the San Francisco 49er fan base. His motivational characteristics inspires those around him to be their best. This is the same in a restaurant management position.
Coaching the employees reflects the success of your team and of the customer’s experience. There is a fine line between managing and coaching an employee to be successful in the food and beverage industry. It’s whether you can coach them to be successful or to manage them.
Managing employees can sometimes be seen as following corporate protocol and installing the expectations onto the employees. The concept of coaching an employee is being a valuable leader to them. Coaching the employees is being a motivator and a leader when times are rough (like the current economic state we are in). It’s not easy but it adds value to the employee’s motivation and overall performance of their work effort. Customers will absolutely notice a difference in the service the receive.
In my following post, I’ll explain how to coach your employees. Have a you had a coach of any kind be an inspiration for you? Share your thoughts.

Robotic Menus Are Not Valuable

Employees  are the bread and butter for customer service. They are your front line, face of the company interaction with the customers. Training is important. So what about training customers?

Customers can be treated as a robotic system. The constant flow of customers can deprive them of proper service. How should they know if they are getting valuable service? There are a few ways. First, change-up the food and beverage offerings. Having the same menu and beverage choices draws lack luster customer service. Repetition on the restaurant’s behalf results in poor quality and operations. By adding a few details it shows the restaurant cares about the well-being of the customer’s experiences.

Customer surveys can be conducted on what is lacking from the restaurant. What do they want to see more of? Less of? This is a process to keep thing fresh for the customer’s experience. It trains them to expect a fresh menu and fresh services.

What would you  like your favorite restaurant to add to their menu? Leave your thoughts.

A Restaurant’s Bread & Butter

Your staff is the ‘bread and butter’ of your restaurant or bar establishment. They are the face of the business. Their interactions and customer service for patrons is valuable to the success of the business.

Hiring for talent should be a priority. Having outgoing professional employees will help build relationships with the customers and your business. Even hiring energetic and optimistic front personnel such as a host/hostess makes an impact on customer’s experiences.

How can you hire the best talent? Besides a basic application, the one-on-one interview is important. You can tell how they are by their body language, eye contact, tone, and their attire if they are professional and energetic. Hone in on those aspects and you’ll be on your way to hiring some solid talent.

How have you shown personal value in an interview? Leave a comment.

It’s Worth the Drive

Valuable customer service comes from going the extra mile for any customer. Here’s a prime example:

A hungry customer was on a flight back to his native New York City. He Tweeted that he was extremely hungry and it would be nice to have a Morton’s Steakhouse steak (@Mortons) waiting for him when he got off the plane. To his surprise, Morton’s had a 24oz Porterhouse steak with sides available for him. The process took upper management approval and a 24 mile drive to the airport.

The moral is to be dedicated to all customer’s requests. By creating value for the customer, you build a relationship and a network of positive communication. This one customer’s experience was spread all over the internet. Morton’s brand of outstanding customer service and dedication to its customers is a valuable lesson on how to properly treat customers.

When’s a time a restaurant or bar went the extra mile for you?

Restaurant Employee’s Picture Questions Personal Integrity

“It takes less time to do a thing right than to explain why you did it wrong.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

An underrated and sometimes overlooked variable in a restaurant or customer service setting is the integrity of its staff. Here’s an extreme example of poor integrity from an employee at a restaurant. Recently, a high-profile NFL player left a generous tip for a restaurant. This shows a humble and kind act of appreciation from the celebrity. The issue occurred when an employee posted a picture on the internet of the gratuity.

This is obviously unprofessional. The act of exploiting gratuity or lack thereof lowers the reputation of a restaurant or business.  The management of the restaurant is accountable for all actions of its employees. This leads to the integrity of the staff.

How can this be avoided? Management can hold weekly or monthly training or evaluations based on restaurant policies. If it is an establishment that may have celebrities or high spenders, maintaining the integrity of the restaurant is important (especially the customer’s privacy). Develop and retain the best employees to further the customer’s experiences.

What ideas do you have to avoid a situation like this?

How close was I?

“Accuracy of statement is one of the first elements of truth; inaccuracy is a near kin to falsehood.” -Tryon Edwards

Accuracy is important to customer service. You want to be able to correctly take a service request during the customer’s experience. The main objective in accuracy in customer service is to follow what is being asked by the customer and their needs along with your coworkers.

Start practicing active listening. There is a previous blog post about the importance of listening. Listening effectively leads to accuracy in a customer service setting. Begin by restating the customer’s need in your head. If you can’t, start by using a notepad. By delivering on a customer’s need, you’ve provided an accurate service.

By providing accurate customer service, you show the customer or coworkers that you care. It shows personal value in your work ethic. When’s a time when accuracy was important for a service? Did you have a to-go order? Leave a comment.

Do I have to do that!?

“Ma’am, I don’t doubt the steak was over-cooked, but did you have to eat it all before you complained about it?” Quote from the movie Waiting.

It can be overlooked maintaining emotional stability throughout the service. Too often I see servers and bartenders roll their eyes or make a snap or snobby comment about a customer’s request. This is very unprofessional and should not be disregarded. The integrity and emotional competency of the server and service is crucial to the customer service experience.

I’m not saying don’t defend yourself in a bad situation. It is not right to have someone cursing at you; you are human and people do make mistakes. However, if a customer requests something such as their food or beverage order is incorrect, acknowledge it and fix what they are requesting. It will take all of three minutes to fix the issue. Once fixed, move onto the next service; don’t get caught up in the request.

So, how do you maintain your emotional outbursts? Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Your emotions can subconsciously override your logic. Be in control of any emotionally challenging situation. Take a deep breath and move to the next service.

When’s a time you had a server or bartender lose their cool or get over emotional? Leave a comment.