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Managing to get by

Keep your employees engaged by adding little rewards and a little bit of play to each day. Here are a few ideas which can help get employees excited and happy.

"A competitive world has two possibilities.
You can lose. Or, if you want to win, you can change."
~ Lester Thurow

I read someplace that if you want to make a change in your life, change something physical first. It could be as easy as parting your hair on the opposite side. Or it could be losing 10 pounds...not so easy. The point is, a physical change denotes in a very tangible way that something is different.

I suspect this is what's going on when I walk in the front door and the furniture has been rearranged. It's a subtle, yet effective way to get my attention. Make me notice. Keep me on my toes. Force me to engage my brain before I park my rear end in a chair that's no longer there. I think this technique might work for a manager too.

As a foodservice manager, you're charged with the responsibility of leading your team to excel each day. How is that possible when the routine can be so predictable? Why not make some subtle changes in the way things operate in your restaurant?

Try these ideas:

  • Surprise your staff with pop quizzes on your menu item ingredients and descriptions, and award correct answers with a $2 bill. Why a $2 bill? Everyone comments on a $2 bill, and your employees will be reminded of where they got it when they spend it!
  • Get a dart board. During your pre-shift briefing, throw a dart to hit the "magic number" for the day. Let's say it's the number 5. Give a $ bonus to the server who sells the 5th special that shift, the 5th gift certificate, or any other contest you can dream up. If darts are too dangerous or your staff isn't mature enough to handle sharp objects, you can always draw numbers out of a hat!
  • Here's a consulting Trade Secret. When management comes to a consultant with a problem, the easiest way to find the root of the problem, or the best solution is to ask the employees. You'd be surprised at how much your employees know about what's going on and how to fix it. But nobody thinks to ask them. Old trick, reliable results.
  • Be positive. No matter what happens during the shift, only comment on positive aspects. Remember every cloud has a silver lining. Find the good stuff. It's everywhere.

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