Is Your Restaurant Team Lacking Hospitality?

Is your restaurant team lacking some of that hospitality flair? Today’s video shares my five steps to change behavior in general, but more specifically personality type behaviors.

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Is your restaurant team lacking some of that hospitality flair? I got an email last week from someone overseas and they said, “I have this amazing team member, who’s my front-of-the-house manager. She’s great but she lacks that ‘hospitality’ flair.” They went on to explain that she’s a great employee, shows up on time, she cares and knows how to do her job, but she just doesn’t smile. She doesn’t have that outgoing personality. 

Is this fixable? If so, then how? Here are my five steps to change behavior in general, but more specifically personality type behaviors.

Changing someone’s behavior

1) You will not change somebody that doesn’t want to change. Don’t waste your time! If you are working with a person that exhibits a behavior that you’d like to see changed, if they don’t recognize it and don’t want to change then it’s never going to happen. Instead, you are going to have to have a conversation with the person to see if they recognize the behavior. Try pulling them aside, go grab a beer with this person, or walk outside the restaurant in a more casual environment and have a quick conversation. Say something like, “Hey, you ever notice that maybe you can smile a little more and be a little happier? I’ve heard from guests and employees that you’re wonderful at your job and they really like you, but you’re not smiling that much and don’t appear happy. Is that something you’d thought of before?”

There’s nothing wrong with saying something similar to that assuming you have mutual respect with this person. You’re never going to change behavior unless they want to recognize and change it. If the person says, “No, I’ve never noticed that and it’s not true. That’s not me, you don’t know you’re talking about. People love me, blah blah blah”. You’re going to have to decide if this is a battle that you want to fight. If this person responds positively like, “I noticed a little bit and I’m working on it. Just having a hard time improving.” Well great, now you can work with that.

2) You must help them attach a desired goal to this new behavior. What’s in it for them? If they change their behavior, it’s not for but about them. Hopefully at this point, you know something about their goals either long term or short term. Maybe they want to grow in the restaurant business. Maybe they don’t even want to be in it, but want to be something entirely different. Help them attach this change in behavior, using our example, from not having that hospitality flair to smiling and being happier is going to help them in life.

3) You must provide a model of the new behavior. This is where I often say that owners need to get more involved in operations. Owners need to model how they want their staff to act. I had a kid on my team who was great but he was shy and a first generation American so he didn’t speak great English, but it was good enough. He wanted to grow in the restaurant business so I spent a week personally training him. For two hours a day, he stood next to me and I would just model. I was over the top, happy, smiling and interacting with guests because I needed him to see what I wanted out of him. I pushed him a little bit and he got a little more comfortable. That first week or so I modeled the behavior that I wanted him to have, you can see the difference between how he was doing compared to me. Hopefully you have a big enough organization and you’ve done this with other people on your team that are capable of being the personnel you want them to be. If not, you’re going to have to step into this role and be that person so they can model after you.

4) Feedback, you must give positive and negative feedback. Remember, at this point they’ve given you permission to coach them. This is where most people make mistakes. We try to coach people into or out of behaviors that they either don’t recognize, don’t know they need to change or don’t want to change. Then you don’t have their permission to coach them so they’re not going to listen to you. But in this scenario, we’ve already had that conversation with them and gotten their permission. If they’re doing great then give them that positive feedback. If they’re going backwards or making some mistakes, give them that negative feedback but in a positive way. You have to deliver feedback on a consistent basis to let them know how they’re doing. Remind them of how this behavior change is going to positively help them reach their goals.

5) Help them stay consistent with this new behavior. Remind them if they’re wavering a little bit. If it’s been a couple of months and you haven’t had that much interaction with them and they’re a little bit off – remind them. It’s called cadence of accountability. If you have a weekly meeting with this team member, bring it up every week just for a moment. Say something like, “Hey I noticed you’ve been doing great and smiling a lot more. That’s wonderful!” This kind of relates back to feedback. Expect consistency out of their behavior because if we stop with that little bit of pressure, a little bit of accountability, we quickly go back to our old habits.

I hope today’s video helps you understand a little bit more about changing people’s behaviors. When you hear me say, “manage systems and develop people”, ‘develop people’ is the second part of what we’re talking about today. Owners should manage systems, but when we have someone that isn’t quite the person we need them to be to succeed at their highest levels or have desires to be doing better but aren’t quite achieving that, that’s where developing people comes in.

I have multiple videos on managing systems and developing people, you can search for that. I also have multiple videos on this idea of giving feedback and constant but never-ending improvement A lot of my videos are all related to these core topics that we talked about here because this is the basics of being a phenomenal manager and a great leader for your team. 

Of course, if you’re interested in learning more about management and leadership we have a restaurant manager certification that is designed for managers. Then we have SCALE, which is designed for owners. We go into a little detail in the restaurant manager certification, but a lot in SCALE, about other management and leadership techniques. I hope you enjoy this week’s video and that it was helpful for you. I look forward to bringing another great video just like this next week. Have a wonderful day!


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