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5 Tips To Improve Restaurant Company Culture

On top of providing high-quality food, the glue that bonds restaurateurs and staff members alike is the company culture. A restaurant’s culture is a shared understanding of the company’s unique values and the daily application of those values in their actions. Strong company culture will not only improve your employee retention rate but it will likely create brand advocates out of team members and foster a sense of community with customers as well.

Take Starbucks for example. Regardless of where you are in the world, when you walk into a Starbucks you know what to expect. The ambiance is warm and welcoming and the baristas are friendly and helpful. But this consistency isn’t merely a product of coordinating decor or telling the staff to be friendly. It is the result of the company’s core values coming through in every structure of the organization and every action performed. It is the coordination between the company culture and the business strategy.

How can you improve your restaurant’s company culture? Here are 5 tips to get started.

Embody Your Mission

Spell out the mission and values of the restaurant so that the employees can easily connect with it. Make your values obvious in everything that you do, everything the company creates from training manuals to the menu and in every process and procedure.

Support Training and Development

Mentally stimulated employees are happy employees. Challenge your employees by providing additional training and advancement through certifications or implementing mentorship programs. During a time of financial crisis, Starbucks invested in staff training which included coffee tastings and even some courses that qualified for higher education credit! At Mountain Sun Pub and Brewery in Boulder, Colorado, the employees are cross trained – they learn how to work as a host, a server, a food runner and even a cook.  Every employee is trained for each position and the tips are earned as a team.

Promote teamwork and camaraderie

Even if the previous option isn’t feasible for creating the ultimate team environment, you can plan team events, lunches, holiday dinners, sports – basically any activity inside or outside of work. Many restaurants also offer shift meals – free meals before, during or after a shift. Shift meals support well-being and offer an opportunity for team members to arrive early or stay later, further developing the sense of community amongst the team.

Support Health and Well-being

Proving a healthy work environment is an invaluable benefit to an employee. One way to establish a healthier workplace is by creating schedules weeks in advance so that employees have more flexibility with their hours, shift changes, and requesting time off. Another option, depending on the size and profitability of the company, involves providing health benefits – at Starbucks, even part time staff receives stock options and health benefits (in the US).

Recognize and Reward Hard Work

Establish a rewards system – make it clear and transparent. Rewarding your staff not only boosts the morale of the recognized staff member but it boosts the morale of the rest of the team knowing that there is a system in place to get rewarded.


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