By Donald Burns
If you want or need to change the culture of your restaurant develop a “code of conduct”. I’ve tried the rules approach and had very little luck with it, then I though back to my day as a member of the USAF Pararescue teams and can remember to this day the “code” we took when we received our maroon beret and swore allegiance to that code of honor. So, I developed one that I just simply called The Code. I found that it really turned attitudes around! All I had to say to someone is, “Are you following The Code?” That, believe it or not, pretty much worked. Of course I leaned my head a little to the side, looked down and lowered my voice a little (those are NLP or Neuro-Linguistic Programming Techniques that we will get into later). I would make it semi-formal by giving them a copy of The Code and then have them sign an official looking document that they swore to The Code while working at my restaurant. People really love little ceremonial and secret club things like this. Trust me it really drives the message home.
You might have seen my Restaurant Coach Tips on the internet…they are brief little reminders of what we all know, yet sometimes do not place into practice.
Restaurant Coach Tip #65: Rules tell people what they can’t do; principles tell them what they can. Develop a “code of conduct” or principles that you run your business by. You will see a dramatic shift in the culture of your company or restaurant.
So here is The Code that I have used for the last 15 years with much success:
What we need to do to be the best.
- Respect. Is our core value. For the team, the equipment, the product, the guests and most importantly…yourself.
- We create memories for people that they remember for a lifetime…that is a big responsibility.
- Pursue excellence every day, all day. We can always get better.
- Never compromise on quality or the standards.
- Aim high, think big and do whatever it takes to exceed expectations…turn our guests into raving fans!
- Special requests for a guests are never a problem, if we can we will. Find more ways to say “yes” to guests.
- Good enough, never is. There is no room for mediocrity.
- Every service is a live “show” so we must put on our best performance every time, we only get one shot at a ﬁrst impression.
- Ensure that the guests are the happiest right before they leave rather than when they arrive.
- Talk daily about what we do right and what we didn’t.
- Remember that every task, every job is of equal importance: from sweeping & mopping, cleaning equipment, making stocks, cutting chives, cutting steaks, to service and answering the phone. Every little detail contributes to our “magic”.
- Very special people have come together to make a very special restaurant. We will continue to surround ourselves with exceptional people.
- Learning is our strength. We will ALWAYS be learning!
- We are a TEAM. First, last & always! Being part of a world class team means watching the back of your teammates and never putting personal agendas before the welfare of the team’s interest.
- You want better results? You need to ask yourself better quality questions. Refocus your mind to what can “I” do to make improvements or how can I take “personal responsibility”. Questions that start with “Why”, “When” or “They” take your personal power away.
Create a code for your operation and tell me about your results. I challenge each of you to try this philosophy out. Remember the definitions of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. My belief is that to reach a higher level of success you need to do things a little different than the majority. Try it, I think you’ll like it.