The hardworking and committed staff you want are looking for a positive, honest and respectful workplace. Creating and maintaining that is a powerful way to attract and keep good people. It also flows through to the quality of service and care of customers.
The elements of a positive culture include:
- A Code of Conduct – in writing and publicly available. Short points about your commitment to honesty and hard work, plus care and respect for customers and for the staff. Doing to others as you would have people do to you.
- Approachable management: someone in authority who staff can talk to if they notice things aren’t right.
- Good internal communication systems – allowing staff and management to communicate freely. Systems like private Facebook Groups, WhatsApp groups or Slack can all be used to keep messages and feedback flowing.
- Posters and policies openly displayed, declaring the positive beliefs of the business.
- Consequences for good or bad work – praise and recognition for positive action, and an appropriate response for work that’s sloppy, faulty, wasteful or dangerous. Staff who undermine or break agreed rules are quickly moved on.
Managing stock correctly has a major impact on the culture of honesty:
- Regular stocktakes to check the integrity of ordering and the use of supplies. Best of all if done by someone independent of the business, especially for alcohol.
- Reliable data from the Point of Sale – showing the truth about sales, including proper correction of over-rings and elimination of ‘open key’ abuse.
- Up-to-date information about costs and percentages – sharing the results of stocktake and purchasing with managers. Open book management can be a powerful way to strengthen a good culture.
- Make time to carry out important tasks: checking of deliveries, floats, coin top-ups, stock transfers etc.
- A division of the audit and checking functions eg the person who counts the till doesn’t make up the float for the next shift.
- Rules and procedures with locks, keys and security systems – is your Key Register up to date?
- Staff lockers, with padlocks that work.
- A secure safe to hold money after hours.
- Alarm systems for when you’re open and closed, with staff trained to handle any problem.
- Proper reference checks on new staff.
- Rules for the boss and her family – if they help themselves to a side of beef or $50 cash, how can you expect staff to resist the temptation?
Restaurants and caterers are infamous for their ‘help yourself’ attitude to stock and alcohol. Your profits depend on a culture of honesty – now’s the time to take a stand and make improvements.