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Think GEM


All day service: effective team briefing

All day service: effective team briefing

Associate Director of Hospitality Culture, David Pepper, explores how hospitality providers can address the challenge of finding time for a team briefing in an increasingly 'open all hours' culture.

With the move to all day trading, traditional pre-shift meetings are no longer possible for some operators. The pace of hospitality is changing because of this. Where once formal ‘sittings’ and set shifts created opportunities to regroup and communicate, the lack of set service slots for restaurants open round the clock makes team briefings tricky.

Many all-day models serve a rolling menu. In commercial terms, it’s a great way to increase revenue, but the new open all hours approach poses a major challenge to hospitality providers. It’s tough to ensure continuity of service and successful teamwork (front and back of house), without having everyone in one place at the same time and re focused on key objectives for the session ahead.

However, even when a restaurant is open all day, there will be natural lulls in pace. A good front of house manager will take advantage of these, using them to give team-members mini-briefings, whether that’s taking waiting staff into the kitchen two at a time to discuss the day’s menu, or gathering your front of house team for a five minute heads-up on a big party that’s due in.

Like a pre run-out pep talk a sports team might have before they head onto the pitch, a few words at the right time can pull everyone back together, reminding them of the pace, atmosphere and communication guidelines, and encouraging them to work hard and stay on message for the rest of their shift.

Making sure everybody is briefed, particularly with unexpected changes to the menu or about expected customers with special dietary requirements or trading targets and incentives for that day or session, helps to ensure consistent guest experience. Where this doesn’t happen, there’s a danger that different team members can tell guests different things, creating an impression of disarray and poor team work.

It’s important to be extremely careful that in attempting to squeeze briefings in where you can, there’s not a negative impact on your guests. The appearance of staff in a group focused on one another, or a temporary lack of staff on the restaurant floor creates an impression of neglect. This is obviously to be avoided at all costs and will undo any good work you do during the briefing, rendering it completely counterproductive. HGEM research tells us that there’s little that frustrates guests as much as feeling invisible or ignored.

The creation of team cohesiveness requires more of an investment of time and energy, but this can be done at regular weekly or monthly meetings. Team bonding events can help to increase brand awareness and engender a spirit of collaboration throughout a team. When you’ve worked hard to build this team spirit, it makes each team member more responsive to buzz sessions mid-shift: in terms of commitment and brand awareness they’ll already be more than halfway there.  

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