Create a Positive Restaurant Culture

I wish there was a magic pill that you could take and poof all your restaurant problems disappeared. But since that doesn’t work, here are my tips for establishing culture in your restaurant.

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I often get asked, “How do I establish the culture in my restaurant?” I wish there was a magic pill that I could charge you $1000 for and send it to you. You’d gladly pay it if all you had to do was take that pill and all of the problems in your restaurant would be fixed. If I could, trust me I’d be working on developing it. There’s no red pill and blue pill like in The Matrix movie, and you already know there is no magic bullet.

What is the magic bullet? It’s work of course. You’ve heard me say this a lot of times: The restaurant business isn’t hard – what makes the restaurant business hard is doing a lot of little things really well. One of those little things that you have to do really well is establish your culture.

Culture is your standards:

Culture does not happen by accident, when people look at companies like Chipotle, In-N-Out or Chick-Fil-A as a shining examples of an amazing culture – it’s not an accident. When Truett Cathy was developing and growing Chick-Fil-A, it didn’t just happen that they built this amazing culture. It was incredibly intentional and based on one thing at their core, their standards.

What are your standards? What is acceptable to you and not acceptable to you? It might be acceptable to you that a bartender comes in with a little bit of a buzz, maybe it puts them in a better mood. Or maybe it’s acceptable for you allow them to have two or three shift drinks. If your standards are so lax that you allow your bartenders to do these things, you shouldn’t be surprised when they come in late or start becoming a no-show. You may think one has nothing to do with the other but of course it does.

It’s all about your standards, when you have a zero tolerance standard of absolutely no drinking at all! Period! End of story! Well a lot of other things may fall suit to that. Will you lose some of your current staff? Probably, but you’ve got to get rid of them anyways to establish the culture that you want.

If you’re building a new restaurant and you want to have this great culture, don’t think of it so much like a huge undertaking. Think of it as establishing your standards for the most important things to you. What is your tolerance for being late? If you have a zero tolerance policy on being late then you have to enforce that. If someone comes in late, what’s their punishment? Maybe they can’t work that shift or get taken off of a good shift, eventually people are going to learn.

If you want to improve or establish a great culture, it starts with your standards and how you hold people accountable to those standards. I hope you enjoyed this week’s video and I look forward to bringing you another one just like this next week.


Please leave your comments or questions below, I promise to respond to every one personally!


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