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News & Press: Insider Tips & Best Practices

Four Ways to Preserve Your Restaurant’s Culture

Thursday, October 09, 2014  
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When opening a restaurant, owners typically focus on the operational details and do not concentrate on leadership skills or the culture they are creating. To put it simply, the culture of your restaurant is you! It is reflected in your leadership style, your work ethic, your behaviors and the decisions you make. Your actions, demeanor, thought processes and overall attitude trickle down to all of the associates and define the culture of your restaurant. As time goes by, it becomes challenging to change the culture that has been created. Additionally, culture dictates the failures and challenges owners face.
Culture does matter and it is the defining aspect of your business! It is the invisible force that tells everyone how you are doing, where you are going and how you will get there. Due to its importance, it can have a major impact on your image, the performance of your employees and ultimately your bottom line. It doesn’t matter if you are leading a single employee or a large team, culture is the driving force. So as your team develops and grows you need to understand how to improve and preserve the positive aspects of your culture along the way. Here are 4 ways for you to preserve that positive, exciting restaurant culture.

1. Lead by Example. The most powerful way you can exhibit cultural values and behaviors you want your team to create or maintain is to lead by example.  Simply put, the culture of your restaurant will look a great deal like you. For example, if you want your employees to exhibit extraordinary customer service you need to demonstrate these qualities all the time. Everyone is watching you and will act like you. As a leader, you need to set the stage for how you want your team to behave!

2. Talk About Your Culture. Do not rely on people trying to figure out what the culture is and what the expectations are. Clearly, express your values in everything you do. Discuss what you believe in, your expectations about behavior and ethical concerns. For example, be sure to have new hire training. In this training, discuss your values, give new hires clear examples of your expectations and discuss scenarios that they may encounter and how to deal with them. Also, give examples of behaviors that would not be consistent with your culture’s values.

3. Reinforce Your Culture with Feedback – Both Positive and Negative. Feedback is a critical component for communicating your culture. If your restaurant is busy and you see inconsistent service and tables being neglected be sure to have a private meeting with the employees to express your concerns. Everyone can then learn from the experience so this won’t happen again. Be sure to discuss solutions that would be in line with your culture and have your employees communicate the positive values to you. You can also use the same strategy when you see your staff providing exemplary service. Praise them and their actions! Tell them how happy you are with that type of behavior and how it helps everyone achieve their goals!

4. Hire People that Fit into Your Culture. No matter how skilled a chef or server may be, if the individual does not have the values you admire in an employee do not hire this person. Only hire people that are aligned with your restaurant’s core values and be sure to discuss your culture as part of your interviewing process. Using this principle will save you money and increase performance over the long run.

This article was submitted as part of our Industry Insider program. Learn more >>

By Jim Stevens and Leo Giglio, Managing Partners of NP Hospitality Group

New Perspectives Group provides integrative and customized organizational development services and educational training across multiple industries. With decades of experience, our highly trained staff strives to achieve 100% customer satisfaction in all our projects. We are proud of our mission and record of past performance. Learn more at

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