Rules and policies are necessary for any business to function well. Along with these rules and regulations, however, managers need to implement a discipline and rewards systems for their employees. Staff members who are aware of their responsibilities and the consequences of not following them are more apt to perform at a higher standard.
Restaurant managers need to make their expectations very clear from the day an employee is hired. Managers should discuss all expectations for every job as well as every employee while on the premises. For example, a manager can include the following in the list of expectations:
- Arriving to work on time
- Properly clocking in for and out of a shift
- Exhibiting proper cash handling practices
- Performing daily cleaning tasks
- Implementing customer service techniques
An employee manual or handbook should include these expectations and policies for every restaurant employee. When the expectations and rules are clear, rewarding and disciplining employees is easier and much more effective.
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Establishing a reward system can be very simple. When employees know the expectations, they are able to perform accordingly and even exceed those standards. Rewards inform employees that managers pay attention and appreciate the employees' efforts.
Reward specific achievements.
When you reward an employee, let him or her know exactly why they are being rewarded so the behavior can continue. Have specific information about what is being rewarded or recognized so that employees understand exactly what kind of behavior is appreciated the most.
Make all employees eligible.
Anyone performing at or above standards should be eligible to receive a reward. Employees who made mistakes or needed discipline in the past should by no means be excluded from receiving rewards when they earn them.
Reward in a timely manner.
Waiting weeks to distribute a reward can cause a disconnection between the achievement and the prize, reducing the chances that the good behavior will continue.
Do not over do it.
When managers give out awards like clockwork, the value diminishes. Reward your employees when they have demonstrated above average execution, positive consistency or have set an example to others. This way employees do not grow to expect the rewards or gifts.
Appropriately reward the team.
When the entire team of restaurant workers performs well during an inspection, on a busy day or for a special event, the manager may see fit to reward everyone. Team rewards are usually up to the manager's discretion and might include group outings, dinner at a nice restaurant or gifts given to every employee.
Managers should reward employees appropriately based on the achievement. For example, a line cook or server who came in to pick up a last-minute shift due to another employee's absence might deserve a gift card or movie passes. A cook who shows dedication and commitment may enjoy praise and training directly from the chef. More ideas are below:
- Give praise publically, such as "Great job today!" or "Well done on that order!"
- Write out the recognition with a personal note to thank the employee.
- Make the owner or other managers aware of an employee's contributions.
- Reward employees with cash or gift cards.
- Provide lunch or take a worker out for a special meal.
- Schedule special opportunities, like events or company trips.
- Create a rewarding environment with special events, potlucks or outings for the whole team.
On the other end of the spectrum is the discipline policy. Discipline is essential to enforce expectations and policies in the restaurant, especially when problem behavior becomes an issue. » Learn More
Create a written policy.
Be sure to have all discipline policies written out. This is usually best done in the employee manual. Written policies are easy to reference for both managers and employees. » Learn More
Inform employees of their duties.
Making sure job descriptions and duties in the restaurant are clearly laid out helps employees know what they should be doing each day. This can help them avoid troublesome behavior.
Document problem behavior.
When problem behavior does occur, it is extremely important to document the behavior and any disciplinary actions taken. This provides a record of what went on and a reference for any policy breaches or behavior issues that may happen in the future.
Be consistent in judgment.
In order to gain the most respect and trust from employees, managers or owners should be as consistent as possible when dealing with problem behavior. Even if one employee is more likeable than another, both should be treated the same in the case of a policy violation.
Consider a flexible policy.
Although managers should always treat employees fairly and be consistent when rewarding or punishing, it can pay to be flexible. Many establishments implement "progressive discipline" policies that include several warnings before termination is considered. However, this kind of policy probably will not work for infractions such as theft or harassment.
Before You Discipline
Before doling out the discipline, seek to understand the problem and focus on the facts of the violation. Be sure to ask the employee if he or she was aware that the misconduct could result in disciplinary action and try to get at the root of the problem. Be consistent in your discipline policies, but be sure that the punishment is appropriate for the violation.
Restaurants should clearly outline their discipline policies in their employee handbooks and thoroughly explain the policies to all employees. Discipline can take many forms, such as the ones listed below:
- Counseling and coaching are typically good techniques for addressing minor problems that come up, and for ongoing reminders about appropriate behavior.
- "Three strikes and you're out" policies give the employee three chances to improve problematic behavior before they are let go.
- Progressive discipline policies can escalate from verbal warnings to termination. Document of Progressive Discipline For Employee File
- Verbal warnings are best for relatively minor violations, or for first-time violations.
- Written warnings are typically given after verbal warnings, or when the violation is serious enough for a written warning.
- Suspensions result from very serious violations, or after a manager has given both verbal and written warnings.
- Demotions typically happen when a manager determines that the employee is no longer able to perform the required tasks or responsibilities.
- Termination should be the final disciplinary action, usually taking place after multiple warnings