Running and managing a bar can be fulfilling and rewarding. But no matter how busy and successful your bar is, one of your biggest concerns is managing and motivating your bar employees. You need to know that you can rely on your bar staff to provide excellent customer service every hour that you’re open.
However, bar staff management isn’t always easy – you need to find ways to build a positive work environment so that this enthusiasm is passed on to your customers. Here are 19 ways that you can better manage and motivate your employees.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Employee motivation and support through COVID-19
There’s no doubt that the COVID-19 crisis has affected both the morale and motivation of your employees and has made a significant impact on their lives.
As we all adjust to a new reality to see us through to the end of the pandemic, both you and your employees are no doubt hopeful that your bar will soon be open for business as usual.
Here are a few ideas of what you can do to motivate and support your employees when it’s time for them to come back to work:
- Host a small celebration to mark the end of the lockdown.
- If possible, give your employees a welcome-back bonus to support them financially.
- Thank each employee with a personalized gift or gift card.
- Provide advance pay for up to two weeks to help employees with urgent bills and/or debt.
- Be available to support and encourage. Being there for your employees to talk to and address any concerns they have even after the crisis is over will go a long way in building trust.
1. Keep it professional
It’s important that you remember your own position as a manager when dealing with your employees. While you want to build a strong rapport with the bar staff you’ve hired, you also need to be professional in your own actions. This includes using appropriate language at all times and avoiding taking part in any unprofessional behavior. Your personal discipline is what’s going to earn you respect from your team.
2. Lead by example
One of the most effective ways to manage and motivate your employees is to lead by example. After setting expectations and standards for your team to follow, you need to follow these guidelines yourself. From using patience to deal with a difficult customer to jumping in and helping during busy times, being a leader means you should “walk the talk” if you expect your employees to follow.
3. Be approachable to create a pleasant work environment
Employees are more motivated when they work in a comfortable space and a positive environment. One way to accomplish this is by being approachable for any issue an employee wants to bring up with you. Your staff needs to feel at ease when they come to work, knowing that they’re valued and can talk to you about both their job and any personal issues that are affecting their time at work.
4. Show your appreciation
It’s easy to get caught up in a cycle of only pointing out when things go wrong. You’ll get more out of your team if you show your appreciation and notice the positive ways that they’re doing their job. Just saying “thanks” can go a long way in motivating individual employees. This way, they will keep doing a great job and go further in providing great customer service and being a valued member of your team.
5. Involve employees in staff meetings
Most employees want to know that their opinion matters. Hold regular staff meetings and bring your team together so they can all share and provide their own input about management decisions. Although you have the final say, don’t let your position as a manager get in the way of learning that there might be a better way of doing things.
6. Pay higher wages
Money can be a big motivator for any employee. Although not always possible, paying your employees a higher wage than what other bars are paying can be extremely motivating. High wages can encourage your staff to do their best so they’re not jeopardizing their job. In addition, you’re likely to attract even better candidates when you’re hiring for new positions.
7. Job stability and regular hours
Job stability and having regular hours can make your employees feel more secure and less likely to look for work elsewhere. Whenever possible, try to maintain a set schedule with guaranteed work hours for your regular staff. It’s this stability and assurance that will help you build a strong team of employees.
8. Provide opportunities for advancement
Create opportunities for your staff to advance their careers. Growth potential can be a huge motivating factor for many employees to learn more and put their best foot forward. Whether it’s moving from dishwasher to a front of house server or host, even a small job advancement will mean a lot to most of your employees.
9. Broadcast customer compliments
Whether it’s at staff meetings, notes on a wall, or through an employee newsletter, sharing positive customer feedback and comments that individual employees receive can be highly motivating. Everyone wants to be recognized when they go that extra mile to provide good customer service. Broadcasting these compliments can encourage everyone on your team to try harder. Consider giving out incentives to those employees with good customer reviews. It can be as simple as a cash bonus or tickets to a game or concert.
10. Hold regular employee reviews
Giving each of your employees their own review is a good way to keep them on track. Consider implementing 3×3 reviews that are conducted every three months, with three goals being decided and agreed upon between the two of you. Take the time to listen to what your employee has to say and provide more positive feedback than negative.
11. Keep your bartenders involved
Your skilled bartenders are perhaps your most valuable tool when it comes to a positive customer experience. Once every three months, hold a meeting with your bartenders. This is a good time for them to weigh in on new drink recipes, creating event nights, and any other ideas they have to keep your customers happy and coming back. This is also a good time for them to be open and speak their mind about any concerning issues they have behind or in front of the bar.
12. Acknowledge and motivate your kitchen staff
Your kitchen staff doesn’t always get the recognition they deserve. Chefs, prep cooks, and dishwashers work behind the scene and are often the last in line to receive customer compliments. To keep them motivated and feeling valued it’s important that you praise them yourself whenever they provide great food service during a busy shift.
13. Establish that breaks are important
Not only are breaks a legal right of your employees, they’re also an important time for your staff to relax for a few minutes and unwind. Many bar managers make the mistake of allowing their employees to work through their breaks when the bar is busy. Don’t fall into this habit. Make it clear to your staff that breaks are important and that you need then to take these breaks at scheduled times.
14. Provide a private break area
Once you’ve established the importance of breaks with your team, it’s just as crucial to provide them with a private break area where they can feel at ease. If possible, set aside a space in the back with comfortable chairs for staff to put up their feet and rest. Working long shifts on their feet can be strenuous and exhausting. Showing you care about their health is a big motivating factor and makes employees less likely to take unscheduled breaks behind your back.
15. Delegate new responsibilities as a reward
Take the time to recognize those employees who want to go over and above their job description. Many of these employees are eager to learn and take on more responsibilities. Allowing them to take on new tasks and add to their skillset goes a long way in building a team that you can count on. Go a step further by proving these employees with external training opportunities that can advance their career in the hospitality industry.
16. Make some fun changes
Working busy and long hours day after day can be daunting and start to weigh down your team. Shake it up and keep your staff motivated by making some fun changes now and then. It can be as simple as dressing up for Halloween, having a casual t-shirt Friday, or taking pictures of everyone wearing a silly hat and displaying photos for both employees and customers to see. The point behind these fun events is to boost employee morale and build enthusiasm.
17. Offer individual and group incentives
Giving your staff small rewards is a big incentive and can make a huge impact on motivation. Purchase gift cards and set goals and milestones for both individuals and teams to meet. Group incentives will require that employees work as a team. For example, see which team can sell the most cocktails on a Saturday night.
18. Host biannual staff parties
Nothing shows your appreciation more than a staff party. It’s also a great way to build camaraderie among all your employees. Take your team to dinner where you can all relax away from work. It’s events like these that show you value each employee and aren’t taking the work they do for granted.
19. Be present
As bar manager you’ll have your own list of tasks to complete each day. Try to complete those tasks that require you to be in your office during slow periods when you won’t be missed. It’s important that you’re present and at the front of the house when it’s busy. Your team needs to know that you’re present and there, ready to pitch in at any time when needed or when problems arise.
As the face of your establishment, your bar staff is the most important and productive part of your business. Implementing some of the ideas here can help you improve employee performance and motivate them to perform their jobs at their very best. This motivation will quickly translate to providing your customers with a great experience that keeps them coming back to your bar so you can continue to grow and expand your business.
Glimpse provides business analytics and loss prevention technology for bars, restaurants and nightclubs.
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