In Staff Spotlights

by Stephen Willson – Front of House Manager

The culture at Gracie’s is one which I hope is not unique to our magical little restaurant. I would like to believe that there are countless other restaurants in the world with similar values and goals as ours. We are trying to change the world for the better, one person and one experience at a time.

We often hear uplifting corporate phrases thrown around in our daily life; “It starts from the top”, “creating a culture”, “keep your team engaged and fulfilled”, etc.. I hear these phrases so often that I sometimes become callused to their meaning. What is culture? What starts from the top?

In order to create a dining experience that meets our standards, we must make sure every single employee is dedicated to said experience. This means believing in the importance of making guests feel special and always looking for ways to create long lasting, positive memories.

Then how do we go about achieving that? Well, the leaders in the organization have to be dedicated to the company values and the overall guest experience. They also have to be able to convey these values in a way that inspires their team to adopt them. People won’t believe what you don’t believe and they certainly will not adopt principles that do not get positive results. Practice what you preach, preach what you know is right, and lead by example.

Principles that create positive results for the company must also offer the same level of fulfillment for its employees. People want to feel like they are making an impact on something. They want to know that they are doing great work and getting great results. It is so important to let your staff know that they are appreciated. Celebrate successes!

Be invested in your team’s growth both as a whole and on an individual basis. Encourage creativity, resourcefulness, and growth. When mistakes are made, work on solutions rather than punishments. Set goals for personal growth and follow up on those goals. Celebrate achievements and allow each team member to shine in his or her own way. Employees who feel cared for, encouraged to be creative, and unafraid to make mistakes  perform at their peak! Create the best environment for your team so that they can give you the best results.

How do you turn around an industry that was built on the backs of overworked, underpaid, underappreciated employees? How do you take a culture that works people to the point of exhaustion, that often times leads to substance abuse, failed relationships, and resentment; and turn it into something nurturing and sustainable? One way is to create an establishment that operates with the employee’s wellness and success in mind. Show them that your values and principles get the best results, create the friendliest and most productive working environment, praise them when they deserve praise, and coach them in the areas which need improvement.

Culture is the energy, mood, values, standards, and personalities within an organization. It is people sharing ideas and practices for the good of a common goal. Create the right culture, nurture your team, and make them feel appreciated. In turn, they will share their culture with others, and so on. When you throw your stone in the water, the ripples will surely reach a wider area than the initial splash. What can you do to make sure your ripples are spreading the right message?

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