How to Keep Passion Alive in Your Business

Posted by Patrick Maness +

It's often the case with new employees — especially those in the restaurant and food industry — that the first few weeks of work are a mixture of nervousness and excitement. They learn new processes, meet new people, gain new knowledge and, of course, sample some amazing new foods as part of their job. As with most jobs, however, a dull routine can grind down that initial enthusiasm.

Even those who dreamed of little else than becoming a chef can experience down periods during which their lifelong passion will wane. At these times, their work becomes less about fulfilling a creative drive than it is about earning a paycheck.

In light of this reality, restaurant owners and managers are challenged to keep their teams passionate about their work, helping them maintain enthusiasm on the one hand and handle the realities of the business on the other.

A big part of owning a restaurant is making your employees feel connected with the business. Ideally, they should think of their work as more than just a paycheck. These five tips can help encourage this perspective:

  1. Daily praise and weekly prizes. The easiest strategy to boost morale is to simply praise your employees for doing good work. Praise goes only so far, though, so remember to reward good work with an occasional prize — say in the form of a $25 gift card.
  2. Comped meals. While this is standard practice in many restaurants, plenty of restaurants don’t offer employees a meal or any kind of food during their shift. They may have a perfectly good reason for doing so, but employees may grow resentful if they don’t receive the same perks as their friends working in other restaurants. Even if you run a fine-dining restaurant and cannot sensibly comp $150 plates, you should try to have an employee menu or buffet in the breakroom, if only a couple of times each week.
  3. Continual training. When you offer a new menu item or make a change in the back of the house, take the time to educate all employees about it. Even if they do not directly work in the front or back of the house, this gesture will make them feel as though they are connected with the day-to-day operations of the business.
  4. Lead by example. It’s important to show your employees that you work just as hard as they do. Show them you know how to manage a restaurant by rolling up your sleeves and bussing tables, serving guests or doing some prep work. In addition to easing the work load, this will create a sense of unity between you and your workers.
  5. Team-building activities. Get the staff out of the restaurant and take them to a bowling alley, an obstacle course, comedy club or even another restaurant. A fun casual outing can help people get to know one another on a more personal level and feel more at home when they come back to work.

In this series of blog posts, we’ll delve into various business challenges in the foodservice industry and look at ways business owners can keep their staff's passion for food alive by simplifying or streamlining business processes, tools or operations.

In order to help your staff focus on their passion for food and use their creativity and skills to create great dishes customers will love, we’ll look at the following topics.

The dietician's role in hospital catering

We’ll look inside the business of hospital catering and at the challenge to create healthy and nutritious menus that decrease the need for both patients and non-patients to take supplements. How can hospital businesses streamline practices to deliver quality food choices? How do dieticians use their love for food to build great menus for patients? And how can other businesses learn from these practices?

How to build your staff's skills in the kitchen

In this blog, we’ll consider training options for chefs, staff and managers. What's the best way to work training and continual learning into staff schedules? Additionally, what can be done to ensure they become truly proficient with the equipment and knowledgeable about safety protocols?

Challenges and solutions to your catering business

If you own a catering business, you’re always aiming toward a goal, working long hours and stressing about the competition and your price points. With these challenges in mind, we’ll look at how you can streamline tools and operations so that you can remain focused on what you love: the food.

Skills for successful long-term careers in food management

How can foodservice managers and people passionate about food set themselves up for a successful long-term career in food? What are the current and upcoming challenges for those working with food, and what skills will be key for those trying to keep up with a changing industry?

No matter what sector of the food industry you’re in, you’ll find plenty of helpful insight and inspiration in these blogs to keep your staff motivated and your business doing what it does best: cooking and serving great food.

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