Ways to Increase Sales Through Your Staff: Hospitality

Monday, September 12, 2016 - 13:21
Ways to Increase Sales Through Your Staff: Hospitality

Happy employees lead to happy customers, which leads to more profits.

— Vaughn Aust, EVP of Integrated Solutions, MarketStar


Every business owner knows that they are only as good as their staff. A hardworking, well-trained and appreciated workforce can do amazing things for your business, especially if your business is hospitality. How can you boost sales through your workers?


Build a culture

The sort of culture you establish in your cafe or restaurant permeates every aspect of the business. If your staff is in a friendly, open and communicative environment, this will be reflected in their work. This positive vibe will then flourish throughout the business, creating a positive customer experience. Hospitality work environments thrive when there is a positive culture: you'll have less sick days, improved staff retention and your staff will enjoy coming to work.

People never work well in a 'fear' culture, where staff are afraid to raise issues, ask questions and fear being shouted at. This breeds mistrust and kills teamwork. Make sure you encourage everyone in your company and enable them to feel that the lines of communication are always open. Building a culture starts at the top, so consider your management style and where improvements – suchas positive feedback – will make a difference.

Train to gain

Every café and restaurant is different and, although your staff may have experience of other venues, one size does not fit all. If you don't train your staff adequately in your business’ practices, they’ll fall back on previous experience which might not be suitable.

A good way to do this is to write down what great service looks like at your restaurant. Things like "customers are always greeted at the door, seated and offered water immediately" or "plates are cleared as soon as all customers at the table are finished eating". Your venue has a series of processes - from set up to shut down - so running through every aspect of your business with a new start is essential.

Creating a staff manual is another thing to consider. It helps to be clear on how everything works in your own mind and make sure that all of your staff are on the same page. Having biannual or annual training days are also a good way to build teamwork, introduce new skills to your employees or just refresh their existing ones.

Make sure they have the equipment

Your team needs the right tools to do their job effectively. It might sound simple, but if there’s not enough glassware during busy periods, the coffee machine is broken or sugar sachets have run out again, your employees will become frustrated – not to mention your customers. A waiter can apologise in the best way possible to a customer for shortfalls but the customer still has an impression of a venue that's ill-equipped and badly managed.

On top of that, your staff will become disillusioned because their job is being needlessly made harder and may look for other work. If they don't have the equipment they need to give great service to customers and if the owner/manager doesn't care enough to ensure these things are done, then it's likely the staff member will care less too.

Communicate and reward

Weekly or monthly staff meetings are a great way to keep your staff appraised of how the business is doing. The more your employees know about how they are contributing to the business AND are being rewarded for it, the better they’ll work.

Giving away monthly rewards to a staff member who has performed excellently under pressure, gone over and above or dealt well with a tricky situation builds camaraderie, improves teamwork and encourages your people to strive harder. Everyone likes being acknowledged for hard work and a simple voucher is a low monthly cost for the positivity and camaraderie it can instil.

Lastly, hire people who love what they do

When hiring, try to look beyond the CV. While some people might have great experience, others learn quickly and are passionate about the industry and are naturals at offering excellent, heartfelt customer service. Picking, training and rewarding all the right people is one of the best moves you can make for your business.

And if you’ve got a black sheep in your team and don’t know how to manage the situation, read our tips on how to deal with difficult staff.