3 Ways to Promote a Better Culture

3 Ways to Promote a Better Culture

Restaurants have this stigma that it’s not a real job. It’s a means to an end until you finally grow up and do what it is that you want to do. But that’s what I absolutely love about the industry. You have the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life, from all stages of life and you get to meet some pretty interesting people.

I will admit that working in restaurants for over 14 years, the first eight of those years were of that mindset. This was a way to pay the bills and as soon as I could, I’d leave for my grown-up job. Interestingly enough, I joined a company that was a small mom-and-pop restaurant and because of their culture and the way that they treated their teams, I ended up falling back in love with the industry. I knew that it was the industry I wanted to be a part of indefinitely.

When you think about culture, it’s hard to pinpoint what that even means. It’s this term that is being thrown around by leaders in various industries. The best way to describe culture is that it’s basically the personality of the company. It encompasses the values, the goals, the mission, the work environment, the way we communicate with staff and each other, etc.

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The Internal Benefits of Good Branding

When we talk about branding it is usually in the context of external benefits. Things like attracting customers and increasing sales. However, there are also plenty of internal benefits that come from having a good brand.   

First, let’s define some key points of a good brand.

  1. A good brand speaks clearly and consistently.

  2. A good brand knows what it stands for.

  3. A good brand understands the underlying problems its customers face and how it can solve those problems.

  4. A good brand knows how it is different than the competition and how to communicate that.

These points affect how you will connect with potential customers and fuel the marketing of the brand. But let’s consider how a good brand affects the team internally.

  • A clear brand creates focus.

Bringing clarity to your brand will allow your whole team to begin to understand why they do what they do.

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Identifying and practicing brand values will foster decision-making that contributes toward a common goal. When everyone is working together towards the same goal the results will be more attainable.

If your brand position is to be the most convenient eating option for busy people, your team can understand why you have certain procedures in place. They will be able to make meaningful progress toward attaining the desired position.

  • A clear brand turns employees into brand evangelists.

By identifying the problems that you can solve, your team will be able to act in more meaningful ways. You will be able to speak to your customers on a human level and cut through the noise.

Does your team believe in what you’re doing? Do they understand the higher purpose of their work? This is key for creating an environment where people are motivated to grow the brand.

Include your brand strategy in the on-boarding process to help new team member understand the value they bring. Keep the brand values and mission visible for existing employees. Look for ways to weave the mission into every day tasks until it becomes instinctive.

  • A clear brand generates excitement.

Humans thrive when they feel like they’re accomplishing a goal and making a difference. What difference are you making? Are you doing anything that your team could get excited about? There are likely several things, but the difficult part is being able to articulate that clearly throughout all levels of the organization.

When your brand strategy is clear, it will create an atmosphere of purpose and enthusiasm. This excitement translates into happier customer experiences which reinforces a strong brand. This reciprocal effect should be cultivated daily.

If the leadership is excited and focused, the rest of the team will feed off of that. Set a clear vision of where you want to get, and then implement daily, weekly, and monthly tasks that will support it.

Branding affects every area of your business. If sales are down, employee turn-over high, or marketing ROI weak, you likely have a branding problem. Evaluating and addressing the areas of your branding should be a regular practice. Invest in strengthening your brand and the returns will be both external and internal.

By Dustin Myers, Industry Expert

With The Focus On Casual-Dining, What Is The Future Of Our Industry?

In this episode of On Foodable Weekly, guest host, Eric Cacciatore, the man behind Restaurant Unstoppable, sits down with Michael Cheng, director of the Food and Beverage Program at Florida International University  and Christopher Koetke, vice president of the School of Culinary Arts at Kendall College. They talk about how FIU and Kendall College are preparing the next generation of food industry leaders— millennials studying hospitality or in culinary school— through the introduction of culture within the restaurant business.

Understanding Food Culture

Culture could mean many different things, especially when talking about food and the restaurant business, as a whole. Culinary students learn about international cultures through the diverse dishes they are taught to make, cultures within the food world, and amongst other topics, business culture within foodservice.

As Koetke explains, culinary school means more than just mastering soft skills, like “learning how to chop something.” He believes business skills, nutrition and sustainability are critical to the development of a sound food business culture.

“Food has gotten really competitive, and it’s hard to say, to do food better than we’re already doing it… What’s going to make you successful in this industry is how well your culture is, how well you take care of your employees, how well you tell your story through your brand, creating something that means something, that people want to be a part of… What trends are you seeing in culture, in that regard?” asks Cacciatore.

From Chef Hats to Baseball Caps

Cheng replies “When you’re moving into the casual dining environment, you’re no longer wearing ‘chef whites,’ you know? They are wearing aprons and baseball caps in the kitchen,” says the Malaysian-native whose passion lies in restaurant management. “... I think it’s not because they don’t respect the chef’s white jackets, but really more the focus is on the food and the quality of the food and the experience that the customer gets from it.”

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Sweat the Small Stuff?

“The difference between a very good restaurant and a truly great restaurant is just a million details,” says Chris Koetky. “...it’s not that they are somehow doing something [monumentally] different, okay? But what they’ve managed to do is get all the pieces in place and do all of them really well, they treat their employees well, they know how to manage them well, they get the greatest products, they have design features that are done really well, their bathrooms are exquisite.”

Trend To Watch

It may sound cliche, but like with trends in the fashion world, what’s old now becomes new in a matter of years, sometimes decades. Who knows how long it will be until it is true for the fine-dining industry, but one thing is for sure… experience is king and it may just be a matter of time until a specific type of experience resurfaces to become the next hot thing. At least that’s what Koetky, believes:

“People say fine-dining is dead, I think it’s just… I think the focus has moved away, but now there’s an opportunity,” says Koetky, who has traveled all over the world and can attest that casual-dining is fast growing in popularity. “I recently ate in a great fine-dining restaurant, I mean like... old school… And I walked out and I said, you know “All this casual stuff, is awesome, you know? But that experience…” (Looks like it left him speechless.)

Watch the episode to learn more about trends within the foodservice business culture and tips when hiring millennials!