Performance Management Techniques for Bars & Restaurants

By John Waters

A good manager is always looking for new ways to make the day-to-day process of running a bar or restaurant easier. Using performance management techniques to evaluate your staff helps managers see who is performing well, who may need a boost, and who may need to be let go.

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Simply hiring good employees doesn’t mean your job as a manager is done. You must train them and measure their performance periodically to make sure the restaurant or bar is running at its optimal level.

As a business consultant for over 30 years, I have taught dozens of business owners multiple performance techniques and here are a few of the key ways a restaurant or bar manager can evaluate their teams.

Monitoring Bar/Restaurant Staff

Having the right point-of-sale (POS) system in place will help you evaluate the performance of staff members immensely. The right software can help you track sales, number of customers, turnover rate, inventory, and the efficiency of staff members.

Maximizing the use of your POS will simplify the process of managing your establishment and help keep track of opportunities to eliminate costs.

Inspiring Your Staff

Performance management isn’t an annual event, and you should be motivating staff members each day. Management must also lead by example every day. To inspire your staff to perform at the best of their abilities, you must be keeping the same high standards you expect of them. In doing so, your staff will notice your work ethic and it will rub off on them even when you don’t realize they are paying attention to you.

Managers all need to foster a productive team environment. Help employees understand that when the team succeeds, individuals succeed, and the bar or restaurant succeeds as well.

Set Goals

Setting expectations as a manager is also key in getting the most out of your team. If employees don’t understand the expectations of their positions, they can fall short in their performance. Give your staff members short and long-term goals and make sure your team meetings and training correlate with those goals and provide feedback and updates often.

As staff work towards goals you have set for them, managers must monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) to gauge their progress. Modern POS systems can generate detailed analytics on each employee so you can develop actionable insights. These can be the number of tables served, how quickly they turn tables, how many specials are being sold per table, and customer satisfaction through reviews. If an employee is meeting and especially exceeding their goals, then you can decide on ways to incentivize them. It is important to display some form of performance dashboard in the break room where your employees can visibly see their performance and their peer’s performance. And as the manager, it is your responsibility to update and review this dashboard display weekly.

Incentivizing Employees

Managers should evaluate and speak with their employees every week. This provides the staff with constant feedback and will help them become better at their position. If you notice an employee going above and beyond and consistently hitting or exceeding their goals, then it may be time to reward them. Incentives for employees can include pay raises, end-of-the-year bonuses, awards, and even extra vacation days. It is up to you to determine the best incentivization program for your staff.

Create a Performance-Based Culture

A performance-based culture will keep your team working at optimal levels because they know the better they perform, the more likely they are to get those incentives.

Create a chart or dashboard in an office or a break room that lists every staff member. For restaurants and bars, you can create categories for each position. For servers, you should have: number of tables served, turnover rates, customer satisfaction, and number of positive reviews. Kitchen staff should have their own metrics like the time it takes to get food to the pass, number of dishes coming back, and prepping times. By creating this chart for everyone to see, it will create accountability and let everyone know where they stand on any given day. This will show where they need to improve and help bolster performance.

Management should also place themselves on these charts so the team knows they are holding themselves accountable and expect a high level of performance out of themselves as well.staff training

Restaurant and bar staff performance will help drive your business towards success. If your team is performing their daily tasks diligently, then you know your customers will be happy and more likely to return to your establishment. Using these performance management techniques will keep the expectations of your staff at a high level and provide you with better overall performance from your team, which in turn will drive sales and customer satisfaction.

John Waters is the Principal of Waters Business Consulting Group, LLC in Scottsdale, Arizona. He is an expert at helping business owners and management grow their business.


Photos (top to bottom): Michal Lizuch from Pexels; Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels