Unfortunately, no one has figured out yet how to make your staff read your mind while you get caught up on paperwork in the office. (Someone is working on that, right?)

A sense of urgency can be an allusive trait, and hard to pinpoint and train in employees. Ideally, it shouldn’t be panicked or anxious, your diners will pick up on that and feel rushed or unsettled. Instead, you want a sense of urgency in your staff that is enthusiastic and engaged. A bustling dining room is fun for your guests, but one that feels chaotic…not so much.

Here are some tips for helping to build the right sense of urgency in your staff.

Keep them well informed

By keeping your staff well informed, you are making sure they all have the information they need to tackle their shifts. If it suits your business, have a brief daily meeting at the beginning of shifts to bring everyone up to speed on any current situations, and solutions. This guarantees everyone has the information they need and knows what to do to be successful. Keep meetings short, efficient and agenda driven. 

restaurant guests

Focus on the outcome

Rather than having your team be task-focused, create a culture that is outcome-focused. Cultivate an atmosphere at your restaurant where all members of the staff know the outcomes that are expected from them personally and the staff as a whole, and be sure servers are trained in how to accomplish them. Offer one on one praise when appropriate, to keep staff feeling positive.

Prioritize effectively

Every task in your restaurant shouldn’t be treated as a number 1 priority, or inevitably nothing will be a number 1 priority. By training your staff on what actually is a number 1 priority, they will take it seriously and act accordingly. When new servers ask questions, take the time to give them an answer that includes your overall priorities.

Set an example

The best way to set the tone for your restaurant is to be on the floor as the example of what you expect. Be prompt, efficient, responsive and show the team through your actions what you expect from them. Show them that effective work done quickly doesn’t necessarily need to be rushed or chaotic. Keeping a level head during the chaos goes a long way to inspire the same in your servers.    

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Kristin lives on the West Side of Providence with her wine blogger husband. When she's not co-hosting their monthly wine tastings, she's planning her next travel adventure and daydreaming about Spanish jamón. She can often be found pouring over travel guides at her favorite neighborhood spot, Nick's on Broadway.