Your healthy staff and the environment in which they work is the beginning of success in your restaurant.  I have talked about health and how it affects people before.  Now I am addressing the health of your everyday functions.  You want to avoid a dysfunctional atmosphere in your restaurant.  The first signs of dysfunction appear to your guests when, after complaining about a distasteful situation, your server looks frightened and wide-eyed as if he/she doesn't know what to say, but manages to blurt out, "Let me get my manager."  It's like saying, "Before I say another word, I'm calling my lawyer."  Chances are your servers don't know what to say.  Have you empowered your staff with the responsibility to go above and beyond for your customers?  Your staff should be able to use his/her best judgement in a given situation.

 In a book entitled "Fabled Service," by Betsy Sanders, a former manager of a Nordstrom store in southern California, she documents the secret of her success in the retail world.  During the course of her career, she was instrumental in inspiring people to make awesome careers of customer service in the retail industry.  Since then, Nordstrom has been noted as the premier example of "fabled service," or outstanding customer service, no matter what.  One of the basic principles that caught my attention was the idea that if you give your staff the "roots" of what customer service is, then they have the "wings" to take their careers and yours to new heights.

 Entrusting your staff to do that requires that you hire the kind of people you know can handle that responsibility.  Your employees long for responsibility!  They need excellent compensation to live, but they really crave the responsibility that makes them feel valuable.  That is what will keep them interested in working with your company and not want to wander off to the competitor, thinking it must be better somewhere else.

 Basically, the roots are the following:

 Ø       Promotion opportunities:  Good people want an opportunity to grow.

 Ø       Recognition:  Take advantage of every possible excuse to celebrate successes.

 Ø       Benefits:  Being secure frees people to be successful.

 Ø       Amenities:  Workplace atmosphere denotes the level of respect for the individuals working there.

 Ø       Responsibility:  Being entrusted to do an important job well is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

 Encourage competition!  Keep this in mind when deciding on a suitable contest and the prizes you will give:

The key is not the size of the prize,
but the
passion it evokes.[sup]1[/sup]

 My favorite saying is, "Don't ask your staff to do something you yourself would not do."  That will keep you in line and make your employees feel that you are with them 100%!  That is a necessary feeling for them to have in order for you to be successful.