Team Building for Restaurant Employees: 9 Ideas That Work

 In Bar & Restaurant Operations

There’s no “I” in team – or restaurant, for that matter. The goal of team building for restaurant employees is to strengthen bonds between staff members. With team building, everyone is more motivated to work together towards a common goal: an enjoyable experience for your guests.

9 Ideas: Team Building for Restaurant Employees

Above all, team building for restaurant employees should be fun yet focused on building interpersonal bonds. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Ask a Manager
    Most managers started as a staff member before, so they may be able to recall some ways that they’ve bonded with their crew members in the past. You can use them as a resource for ideas that will make team building for restaurant employees fun yet effective. In fact, you’ll be making your managers feel like part of a team by doing this!
  2. Scavenger Hunt
    Get your team working together with a little friendly competition. You can have them pair up into teams and send them on a scavenger hunt throughout the restaurant. This is team building for restaurant employees that works double duty: it’s a way for your staff members to learn more about where they work!
  3. Trivia Night
    Host a Trivia Night for your staff on a night you’re closed, or if you open later, host a round of trivia before you open! Employees can show off their smarts while learning about each other’s interests. To boost the bonding factor with this type of team building for restaurant employees, make Trivia Night a monthly event and offer prizes to winning teams.
  4. Summer Camp
    Remember, team building for restaurant employees doesn’t need to be serious! Head to a local park or use the space outside your restaurant to host “summer camp” style games like sack races, the water balloon toss, and even a good old-fashioned game of tag.
  5. Structured Games
    Host icebreaker-style games as a type of team building for restaurant employees. One game to try is “2 Truths and a Lie.” Each employee shares 2 interesting things about themselves that are true, and one that’s a lie. Laughter comes naturally in this game! It also gives everyone a chance to feel confident as they share their skills and fun facts about their life outside of work.
  6. Charitable Events
    This is a quadruple win! First, you’re helping others in your community which is a win in itself. Second, organizing team building for restaurant employees around a charitable event is a great way to bring your team together. Examples include a walk, run, or bike ride for a local charity. Third, a study by Dale Carnegie Institute revealed that 54 percent of employees who are proud of their company’s charitable contributions are more engaged with their job. Employee engagement goes a long way in boosting employee retention and lowering turnover. Finally, getting involved in a charitable cause through team building for restaurant employees provides valuable visibility for your restaurant! Your customers will even be feeling the love when they see that your restaurant is stepping up and making a difference in the community.
  7. Sports
    Start a league with your staff in a sport that encourages team building for restaurant employees. You can challenge other restaurants or businesses in kickball, soccer, or touch football. Having your staff team up will build their loyalty and willingness to help each other, even when the game ends.
  8. Staff Mixers
    Team building for restaurant employees can also be a more relaxed affair. Give your staff a chance to mingle and learn more about each other in a casual environment outside of work.Pick a night when your restaurant is closed and host a staff dinner or a BBQ to show your appreciation for their hard work. This not only emphasizes their value, it gives your team a chance to speak with other members they may not interact with regularly.
  9. Events
    Plan a field trip…for adults! This type of team building for restaurant employees takes planning and does cost a bit, but it’s worth it. Treat your team to a fun event, like seeing a movie or watching a local sports game. Employees get to share a memorable experience together, which will strengthen their bond and give them something to discuss weeks after it happened.

The Importance of Team Building for Restaurant Employees

It’s helpful to think of your employees as more than “workers.” They’re your brand ambassadors. Your front-of-house team directly interacts with customers, representing your business with great customer service. Your back-of-house team maintains the quality of your products, and sets your customers up for a timely and delicious meal. Both teams play a vital role in driving repeat business to your restaurant.

However, rifts between front- and back-of-house employees are common in the restaurant industry. It can be due to job stress, or teams not respecting the pressure each side feels to maintain quality control. Whatever the reason for staff struggles, team building for restaurant employees can build up mutual respect between staff members on different sides of the “house.”

3 Benefits of Team Building for Restaurant Employees

Increases Productivity
A team that works well together can increase the efficiency and quality of service. The open communication and trust established by team building for restaurant employees carries over to their jobs.

When employees feel like their team has their back, they’re more likely to help each other, creating streamlined service for your business. Your customers will notice, and it will enhance their experience and your bottom line.

Lowers Staff Turnover
High turnover is a known issue with restaurants. It can be expensive – and time consuming. Replacing a service industry employee can cost your business around 16% of their wages.

That really adds up if you’re replacing new employees each month. Team building for restaurant employees increases your staff’s sense of belonging and loyalty to your business, which decreases their chances of leaving.

Motivates Team
If your staff members are happy, they will be more likely to go the extra mile for your business. Team building for restaurant employees should emphasize that everyone should work together. Once team members see other employees picking up the slack and pitching in, they will be motivated to do more as well. It’s a healthy dose of friendly competition!

Effective Team Building for Restaurant Employees

Knowing the importance of team building for restaurant employees is one thing, but how can you tell if it will work? After all, you want to make sure you’re spending valuable time on exercises that will benefit your team – and your bottom line.

To create effective team building for restaurant employees, here are some factors to include in your efforts:

  1. Informative: The activities you pick to enhance team building for restaurant employees should help team members learn more about the people they work with. Team building for restaurant employees should aim to establish bonds between staff members. Again, when employees are more loyal to their coworkers and your business, they’re less likely to leave!
  2. Focused: Clearly communicate your expectations to your staff when team building for restaurant employees. Let them know that this particular activity or event is intended to help them get to know each other better. Emphasize the importance of strong teamwork in your restaurant. Eliminate distractions so your staff can focus on the exercise. Ask that everyone puts their phones away.
  3. Fun: Team building for restaurant employees shouldn’t feel forced. Do your best to make it fun. Incorporate games or contests that gives team members a reason to show off. You can even host some non-mandatory team building events for restaurant employees. That way your staff can get to know each other in a casual setting.
  4. Ongoing: The best programs never stop! Once you’ve established strong team building for restaurant employees, continue your efforts with positive reinforcement. If you start to notice issues arising, address them promptly. If there is a particular employee that is clashing with the staff, try to get to the root of the issue and remind them that they are part of a team.

In today’s busy restaurants, taking an active role in team building for restaurant employees is important. While some team members may bond naturally on their own, most employees will need a little help through an organized activity or event. We know you’re busy – and so is your team – but now is the time to focus on team building for restaurant employees.

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