September 17, 2022

As Restaurant Staff Trend Younger, Feedback Gains Importance

Young woman operates point-of-sale system in a restaurant.

One of the appeals to working in restaurants is that there aren’t five layers of hierarchy.

In general, restaurants have flat org structures. There are many employees for every manager, and many managers for every owner or above store and executive employee. 

There are pros and cons to this. In many ways, it can be quick to get things done in restaurants because you don’t need to spend weeks running decisions by different levels of decision-makers.

But a flat org structure creates bottlenecks in other ways. For instance, consistent and constructive feedback between managers and their direct reports (i.e. the service staff) is rare. Managers don’t have enough capacity, so conversations with employees fall down their priority lists unless there’s an urgent problem.

The Shifting Profile Of Restaurant Staff

Restaurant managers and service staff are trending younger and less experienced than ever before. Their expectations at work are different from previous generations. Nowadays, restaurant staff want more immediate feedback, and they want more opportunities to grow their careers (and grow quickly). 

In their personal lives, they share updates on social media and get rapid responses. They use personal fitness apps to track their progress. Banking apps show their financial performance in real-time. Why should working in a restaurant feel like entering a time warp or black hole? 

Occasional check-ins with managers and scarce transparency around performance are not cutting it for restaurant workers these days.

For instance, it’s not uncommon for employees to think they earn less than what they do. We’ve seen service staff who think they make $12/hour, but when you combine their wages, tips, and service charges, they could be earning twice as much. 

When this occurs, employees feel underpaid, and their job satisfaction is lower than it could be. They may create negative ideas in their head about the workplace that are not real because they don’t know what the real story is. The byproduct of this is poor morale and higher employee turnover.

This is completely avoidable, and it’s why we created Axial Commerce. When restaurant managers and staff have reliable, transparent feedback that they can review together, it makes conversations much more constructive. Also, when managers have less administrative burden, it frees up bandwidth for them to spend coaching their employees. 

It’s difficult to overstate the value of these conversations, particularly with this generation of restaurant staff. For more information on how to improve communications between restaurant managers and service staff, click here.

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