What really impacts your bottom line is the attitude of your front line — when hiring, listen long and hard to how they answer your questions. You will hire the person with the best attitude every time. Attitude is everything.
I recently gave a keynote speech about the fundamentals of success and goal setting. The basic foundation of the speech was the importance of a positive mental attitude and the impact it has on overall individual success.
The bottom line is to get to the ground level of your organization. The front line needs to effectively control how much cash comes in the door on a daily basis. As a restaurant owner in this economy, you are probably focusing on how to improve your training, your operations, your customer service and even better, your personal management skills. If not, you should be.
Having said this, the single biggest thing you can do right now that will change the direction of your sales is to hire and grow positive, enthusiastic people. People who have a naturally positive outlook on life tend to see the opportunities that exist even in times of great turmoil — like today. Positive people also have a great ability to not sweat the small stuff. They are the ones that others gravitate toward to gain a sense of calmness and positive outlook in times of uncertainty.
It's important to have a team of positive people dealing with our guests and our employees. Of course, you need to be a realist. You don't want a happy, enthusiastic manager running your unit if he just lost you $50,000 of real income last month. Positive doesn't mean lack of responsibility or ignoring obligations. It means keeping focused on the fact that this, too, shall pass. In the meantime, focus on the positives, no matter how small.
Stop right now and take a quick assessment of your front line. Are your hosts, bartenders, servers and managers positive? Are they happy to see your guests? Are they focused on achieving a great guest experience? Are they able to handle the little disasters that occur daily with a smile on their face? You cannot afford to have rude, cranky, or inefficient staff interacting with your guests in this economy. Every single guest interaction matters. Consumers are dining out less and spending less. One bad visit in your restaurant could mean the final visit. A server with a genuine positive attitude can make an important connection with your guest — an intangible connection that inspires your guest to make a return visit.
A positive attitude for a front of house employee is worth far more than skill in this economy. A good training program can develop most people to do their job very well and to satisfy the guests that come into your door. The best training program cannot maintain happiness and a positive attitude in your staff. Of course, you can facilitate programs to motivate people, improve staff morale and encourage a happy workplace, and you should. Having said this, most miserable people will always be miserable and most happy people will remain happy people.
As you look at all levels of your operation, make sure to examine each employees' attitude. How do they relate to your guests, coworkers and managers? How do they look at life? If they see the glass as half empty, they can derail your plans to grow sales and improve guest service. If they exceed your expectations, tell them. If they don't, tell them what they need to do to get there. If they don't, show them the door.
In closing, hire people who naturally enjoy their jobs. Train them for success, then create an environment that helps their attitude grow and thrive. It's the least expensive way to improve sales and improve morale in any organization.
Dave Magrogan is the CEO of Kildare's Irish Pubs and Doc Magrogan's Oyster House. He is also CEO of Rhinoliving, a training and motivational company that inspires people to charge at their goals and eliminate obstacles in their lives. To contact him visit www.rhinoliving.com