What makes a great food service team, and as an employee, how can you tell if you’ve found one? Maybe you had an interview for a local place where everyone seemed nice enough but a few months into the role you’re seeing signs that you may be in a toxic environment. Favoritism, jealousy, and bad attitudes are making you dread clocking in for your next shift. It’s time to find something better, but how?
The truth is creating a good food service team takes a lot of effort. In the fast-paced world of dining services, carving out time for team building can be a challenge. Here’s how you can spot a food service team that works together and appreciates everyone.
Training & Expectations
Make sure the food service team you join has a good training program. Even if you’re a seasoned professional you still want to learn the team’s way of doing things. During the interview ask what kind of training you’ll receive. If it’s a good team, the food service director should be able to tell you exactly what to expect during your first few days. Training may even include learning about the company’s mission and values along with food safety protocols. Ideally, you’ll be able to spend some time shadowing other employees so you can learn what is expected of you in your role.
When roles and responsibilities are clearly defined it makes it working together easier. It eliminates situations where workers can push off their work duties to others and makes everything fairer. A good manager should also be able to explain the goals of the operation and how staff can contribute to achieving success. When goals are clearly defined, it helps the whole team move in the same direction.
It’s important for the whole team to practice good communication. Ask the manager how they communicate information with the team. Does it happen on a regular basis? Are employees encouraged to contribute to the conversation? Observe if the rest of the team seems comfortable speaking to the manager. A good manager will be open to feedback from the rest of the team. After all, good ideas can come from anyone! Every person in the kitchen has a unique perspective depending on their role. Look for ways employees are encouraged to provide feedback.
How are the manager’s listening skills? During the interview does the manager listen to you or do they tend to cut you off? Listening with the intent to understand is an important part of managing a team. Every team member should feel like they are able to speak freely without fear of being fired.
Knowledge & Attitude
A good food service company will have a way a successful way of doing things called “standard operating procedures.” New employees should be trained to understand these policies and procedures. They should be written down and posted throughout the kitchen to reinforce proper behaviors. These procedures and policies will provide a level of consistency in day-to-day operations. The food service manager should be knowledgeable about all procedures and able to explain them to other team members in an effective way.
Successful food service managers know that their behaviors and attitudes set the tone for the rest of the kitchen. If the manager has a consistent and positive attitude, it will be reflected by the rest of the staff. This positivity and knowledge will allow a manager to make corrections with staff without it seeming personal.
A great food service team recognizes employees for excellent teamwork. When employees go above and beyond to help others or the business, it’s important to recognize their efforts. It may be as simple as a few kind words or a small reward like a gift card or weekend off. When people are rewarded for helping each other, team building occurs easily.
Ask how team members are recognized for doing great work. The company may have formal incentives or they may talk about a recent staff event or events that occur throughout the year. A good food service team will make sure employees are shown appreciation for all their hard work. Being appreciated at work makes a big difference for hardworking employees.
A role in food service can be the start of a rewarding career! No matter what role you’re applying for today, make sure there are ways for you to grow within the company. A good manager should engage in a conversation with you about your career goals. They can help you recognize the individual strengths you already have and skillsets you’ll need to get from point A to point B.
Ask if there’s room for growth. Has anyone in the kitchen received a recent promotion? Look at every job as an opportunity for success.
There’s no place where teamwork is more important than in a kitchen. It takes special people to make sure everything runs smoothly and everyone must be a team player. A good food service team will have great training, open communication and positive attitudes. They’ll recognize great team members and create paths to grow with the company. It’s easy to recognize a great food service team once you know what to look for.
Here at Top Nosh we take great pride in operating business dining accounts that offer our clients fresh, innovative dining solutions. But we know that doesn’t happen without amazing people! Are you looking for a dining solutions provider that provides great people AND great food. Contact us!