July 6, 2021

Boost Fast-Casual Restaurant Employee Culture to Improve Retention

What exactly is workplace culture? Fast-casual restaurant employee culture is demonstrated in many ways: the cleanliness and order of your restaurant, an employee’s appearance, personality, and how they interact with peers, management, and customers. Can a positive culture in a fast-casual restaurant improve retention? Absolutely! 

Fast-casual Restaurant Employee Culture is The First Impression

As a restaurant owner/manager, you already understand the immediate impact your employees will make. They are the first powerful impression customers will get of your restaurant. What is the message? Professional? Sloppy? Pleasing? Unhelpful? Employees will not only mirror actions and attitudes of your management style but those of others on the team as well, so make sure both are effective and positive.

The cornerstone in establishing an effective restaurant culture is to educate your employees not only what is expected but why. Rules without reason are less likely to be followed. You can maximize the culture of your fast-casual restaurant by being honest about your expectations, and explaining how each employee has the power to grow, (or fail) your business.

Use Audits To Improve Restaurant Culture

Many restaurant owners incorporate these expectations and guidelines into their regular audit practices. Fast-casual restaurant employee culture is just as important as food safety and operational regulations. Therefore, taking time to audit internal operations will allow you to see where your team is performing based on your expectations. To learn more about how audit programs contribute to your restaurant’s success, refer to our audit programs.

Let’s be honest. Most restaurant owners see staff as a necessary factor in running their fast-casual restaurant. But employees are so much more than a number in the expense column. As precisely stated by QSR Magazine: “Restaurant employees are assets, not expenses.” 

Start Now and Build a Positive Restaurant Culture

To build your specific restaurant culture, you must follow these four important steps:

  1. Set expectations – Train each fast-casual employee to do what it takes to elevate the customer experience. If all employees are targeting the same goal, the culture will be consistent and productive.
  2. Be a present and approachable leader – Actively coach employees on how their actions enhance or harm the culture of the fast-casual restaurant. Even negative behaviors can be thoughtfully addressed, reinforcing a supportive culture. “If we are not actively shaping that culture, someone else is.”  It is also important to value each employee’s feedback. For example, frequently ask employees for ways to continually improve the restaurant’s culture. A business’ culture is always evolving; clinging to static rules and standard operating procedures will not ensure a restaurant culture truly represents’ its staff and identity.
  3. Equip employees to thrive – As employees become more experienced, demonstrate your trust in them by giving them more responsibility. This sense of nurturing empowers employees to have a personal stake in the daily business. Most want to succeed, to justify your faith in them by becoming a valued employee.
  4. Coordinate audits with employee training – Audits are a necessary requirement for running a successful restaurant. Why not treat employee training with the same importance? Educate employees on the types of audits the restaurant has and why. Knowing that the restaurant will be reviewed and measured on such things as loss prevention, health, and hygiene, and general operational practices will equip staff to incorporate these expectations into their daily performance.

Culture Determines Customer Loyalty

Building a positive fast-casual restaurant culture can be challenging. By being a knowledgeable and approachable owner or manager, you define that culture. Culture is demonstrated every day, with every interaction. Aligning restaurant culture with required audits will lead employees to elevate their performance to create a positive customer experience. Satisfied customers become loyal customers.

Refer to Envysions Audit Programs for more about our extensive restaurant audit offerings that will track and measure tangible performance in such channels as health and hygiene, lost prevention, restaurant performance, operational, and incident tracking. Each audit will give you the tools to enhance your restaurant culture and create effective, engaged employees.

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