Unlocking the power of effective team development and cutting staffing costs

8 min read
Feb 20, 2024 9:38:14 AM


When running a restaurant, it’s crucial to have a hard-working, efficient team that delivers excellent service.

This can help cut staffing costs as you’ll spend less on recruitment and training, as effective employees will help boost profits.

Unfortunately hiring and retaining great staff has become increasingly difficult for restaurants, especially since Covid-19. The pandemic caused a significant amount of those working in hospitality to retrain and work in different industries. This has created a smaller pool of candidates, making the industry more competitive. This combined with wage increases has made hiring and training staff more expensive for restaurants.

While this can be daunting, there are a few ways you can combat this which will be highlighted in this blog.

What team development problems do restaurants face?

There are a variety of issues restaurants face when it comes to team development, including:

High staff turnover rates

High staff turnover rates can significantly disrupt team development and dynamics. Constantly needing to replace employees can strain existing strong working relationships and lead to a less experienced team. This can create inconsistent service and a team that lacks the depth of skills and knowledge required to excel in their roles. As a result, staff may feel like they’re not succeeding, causing a lack of motivation and an increased likelihood of notices being handed in. This can be costly for restaurants as the hiring process paired with training can be extremely expensive, leading to decreased profits. 

With this in mind, restaurants should focus on how they can keep their staff happy and support them within their current role and development processes to help increase retention. This will cut costs and improve profits.

High turnover can also lower morale and productivity, leading to some staff taking on additional tasks. This can be demotivating and can hinder team cohesion and productivity.

It can be hard to recruit new people

Recruiting talent within the hospitality industry is extremely difficult. The fast paced and demanding nature of the industry can often lead to high turnover rates and potential hires being deterred. 

Additionally, competition is fierce making it harder for restaurants to secure and retain top-performing staff. The constant need to recruit can strain team development as time, resources and efforts are usually put into hiring over boosting the current team’s skills. 

Furthermore, increased wages have made it even more expensive to train staff, which can significantly eat into profits. As a result, restaurants should be focussing on improving processes and nurturing their current employees to increase staff retention, as this costs less than hiring and training new team members.

All restaurants have staff that aren’t as experienced as others 

It’s natural for all businesses to have staff that are more experienced than others. This often leads to more experienced employees taking on extra roles like training new or inexperienced staff members. While this can create a sense of teamwork it can add additional stress to certain employees, which can negatively impact service levels. 

The difference in skill levels within restaurants can also lead to inconsistent service quality. Providing ongoing training, mentorship and growth opportunities can help teams work cohesively, deliver excellent customer service and improve team development. 

Lack of communication

Ineffective communication can significantly hinder team development, leading to errors, misunderstandings and service delays that can negatively impact customer experiences. 

Clear communication is essential for sharing information and delegating tasks. Without it your team may not work as cohesively and trust among staff may dissipate. To help team development get back on track, clear communication guidelines and expectations should be implemented.

Inadequate training

Inadequate training can put a significant strain on team development. When staff aren’t trained properly they lack the knowledge and skills required to deliver their roles effectively. This can lead to inconsistency in the quality of service delivered, customer dissatisfaction and increased stress on more experienced staff.

To improve team development, restaurants need to invest in comprehensive training that ensures all staff are trained in the same way to make sure expectations are met.

Lack of motivation

When staff members lack motivation they can become disengaged, leading to a decline in productivity, teamwork and overall morale. This can directly impact the level of customer service delivered, which can cause poor reviews, a lack of returning customers and new customers being deterred. 

Whereas when your team is motivated you’re likely to experience a more positive workforce, where teamwork and excellent service come easily. 

Rota issues

Rota issues like last-minute changes and no-shows can disrupt team development within restaurants. Unpredictable schedules can make staff feel uncomfortable and affect the trust within the team. It can also lead to conflicts, a poor work-life balance and prevent effective teamwork. 

To combat these issues restaurants should focus on creating rotas that create a good work-life balance and accommodate staff needs both inside and outside of work.

How can restaurants solve these problems?

Prioritize employee wellbeing

Prioritizing employee wellbeing makes staff feel valued and helps to significantly boost team development. When staff feel valued they’re more likely to stay motivated, engaged and productive, all of which contribute toward increasing retention rates. This not only creates a more stable working environment where staff can create stronger relationships and work well as a team to deliver excellent service but also helps to boost profits. As a result, restaurants can cut staffing costs as recruitment and training costs will lower.

Foster effective leadership

Effective leadership is essential to enhancing team development as strong leaders help set the tone for the entire team and create a culture of trust, accountability and collaboration. Having figures that provide clear expectations and guidance can empower team members to meet their responsibilities and the restaurant's expectations. 

Leaders should also actively listen to staff's concerns and address any conflicts quickly to prevent the work environment and relationships from declining. Ultimately when leadership is strong, team development tends to thrive as employees feel supported and motivated to complete tasks and deliver excellent customer service.

Offer incentives and benefits

Offering incentives and benefits to hard-working staff can help them feel valued and appreciated. Implementing performance-based bonuses and rewards can motivate team members to go above and beyond to deliver excellent customer service. This can help to improve both team morale and restaurant profitability. 

Many servers are incentivized by tips, as this makes up the majority of their pay packet. As a result, many team members focus on upselling dishes over providing great guest sentiment. While this looks good on paper, it can negatively impact the long-term success of a restaurant, as lasting customer relationships aren’t being built. 

While servers typically make more money by driving guests to order the most expensive items on the menu or a bottle of wine rather than a couple of glasses, this doesn’t offer genuine hospitality that keeps them coming back. We’re not saying that upselling shouldn’t be encouraged, but it should be done in a way where providing great customer experiences and upselling dishes are married together to allow restaurants to retain both staff and customers while boosting profits and tips. 

We analyzed our POS and Yumpingo sentiment data from over 30,000 servers across the US to see what percentage of servers were tipped compared to how guests ranked the overall restaurant experience (on a 1-5 scale). This highlighted that even though guests who had a great experience (5/5) tipped 19.38% on average, those who had a poor experience (⅕) tipped 19.02%. This is a very small difference! 

Even though this data shows that those who create a better experience for their customers get a larger tip, this is only marginal. It looks like servers may have caught on to the fact that they’ll make more tips if they upsell products rather than deliver excellent customer service. As a result, restaurants are suffering from not creating lasting relationships that keep customers returning again and again.

When all staff gain excellent guest sentiment while upselling dishes, they become more profitable, which offsets staffing costs for restaurants. 

If you find your staff are primarily focused on upselling dishes, there’s no need to worry as Yumpingo can help you create a development plan for each of your staff members. This will help them improve their skills and the level of service they deliver.

Continuous training and development

Continuous training and development can improve both individual progress and overall team growth and performance. This enables them to perform their roles, deliver excellent service and work well as a team, reducing errors and miscommunication. Not only does this upgrade overall team performance, but it also increases staff retention, reducing the need for new hires, therefore cutting staffing costs as recruitment and training costs will be significantly reduced.

Optimize scheduling processes

Optimizing scheduling processes positively impacts team development within restaurants as it gives staff regular working hours, reduced stress and a better work-life balance. This in turn leads to higher morale, increased job satisfaction and a more productive team. 

It also reduces conflicts and confusion relating to rotas, helping to keep working relationships strong. 

How can Customer Experience Management Platforms improve team development?

Customer Experience Management Platforms can highlight areas in which your teams are lacking. For example, at Yumpingo our platform can analyze what areas your weaknesses are in, such as consistent poor service, too large of a portion or cold food. This allows you to focus training on areas that need immediate attention so that you can improve the service levels your locations deliver. 

We use Smart Actions to help you improve your team development and business practices. This involves us sending you a weekly report along with three simple improvements you can make to boost processes and customer experiences. 

This can include things like:

  • Helping you to create a team development program that turns good service into great, while accelerating training of new team members.
  • Helping you to boost employee satisfaction, productivity and retention.
  • Helping you to deliver a significant improvement to overall guest sentiment.

How Yumpingo can help you grow your satisfaction levels

At Yumpingo we can help you grow your satisfaction levels by working with you to improve your NPS (Net Promoter Score). Each week we provide you with a report and simple actions you can take to improve your business practices and service levels. 

For example, if you’re looking to improve your team development we’re able to group your staff into different characteristics and provide them with a development plan to help them improve their performance and skills. Different staff have different characteristics, such as:

  • Speed.
  • Consistency.
  • Steps of service.
  • Knowledge.
  • Upselling.

For example, fast and efficient staff don’t necessarily create great guest sentiment. Every restaurant will have a range of staff with different skills. We’ll help you develop your team's abilities so that they complement each other to help provide excellent customer service and increase profits.

Tracking guest satisfaction to a server level allows you to optimize service steps and simplify menus and recipes. This can help to improve staff knowledge and skills, making it easier for them to grasp business processes and menu items, in turn creating excellent customer experiences. When server's roles are made easier it’s likely to improve their overall satisfaction with their job and the restaurant, increasing the likelihood of them working in the business for a sustained period of time. This once again boosts profits, as a happy and effective team reduces the need for new hires, cutting the costs of recruitment and training. 

Our satisfaction growth program categorizes your staff so that the right training support is provided to help create excellent service and build an effective team. Doing this increases team sentiment and retention, contributing toward improved overall guest satisfaction and reduced staffing costs.

When clients work with us to grow their satisfaction they see an increase of at least 13 NPS points as well as a 20% boost in sales. In fact, we’re so confident in our satisfaction growth program that we guarantee to grow your NPS in 60 days or your money back.

If you’re looking for support in improving your team development, get in touch with us today to see how we can help.

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