Updated: Nov 16, 2021
Working in a busy kitchen means spending a lot of time with your team. Like every other workplace, the old saying ‘there’s no “I” in team’ rings true. The most successful restaurant teams have strong connections, work easily together, and have a good rhythm in the kitchen. Team building in the kitchen should be regularly considered, as it stimulates even the most successful teams.
With team building, everyone is more motivated to work together towards the common goal, which in turn makes your restaurant an enjoyable place for the whole of your team and guests alike.
Here are our top tips for creating great teams in the kitchen. Decide what’s most important to you and your restaurant and your customers, the culture you create within your team, will say so much about you.
No trust, no team. Build a culture where trust truly means that you have each other’s backs, that everyone works together to achieve every shift and trust that the leader will support the decisions and actions of the team as a whole.
Respect each other
Teams work best when there is mutual respect. Every single member of staff is an important part of the kitchen team, For the operations to be successful we must be given due respect for our roles. This means that everyone should be willing to help when help is needed. Think of the team as a well-oiled machine and you can’t go wrong.
Communication is key!
Complete, honest, consistent, and timely communication from the top down and the bottom up is the number one rule used by successful teams. Keep the information flowing, don’t let gossip or rumour rule in the kitchen.
Never stop learning, strive to be better
This is a must to create great teams. The best teams are never happy with being ‘good’ they always want to learn more and become the best. Even the best football teams rely on weekly practice, working on their weaknesses, building on their strengths. Individual sportsmen do the same. Michael Jordan was arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, yet he practiced 100 free-throws before each game so that his team could trust that he was ready to perform. They depended on him, and he had no intention of letting them down. Every cook and every chef can benefit from ongoing training and the opportunity to learn from others.
We are in this together
Consistently great teams don’t point fingers at each other, when something goes wrong, they don’t blame, if the team fails, it is likely because a process is wrong, or something was just missed. This is the work environment that must be created in kitchens. If someone is off his or her game, it becomes the group’s challenge to step up and help. If they don’t, then the team should be feel confident to be open and honest so that processes can be fixed easily and if someone just misses a trick, they can learn from the mistake and move on.
Sharing is caring
Successful teams share knowledge, share success, share in each other’s pain and joy, and share the blame and the opportunities that come to them.
Chefs should always encourage their teams to be better, coach team members to master their skills. When you can’t focus on coaching, encouragement can be an amazing way to motivate and develop your team. Don’t ignore those opportunities, help them raise their game.
Set your expectations and accept nothing less
Setting your expectations and letting your team know what your expectations are, is one of the most important rules of a successful kitchen. Setting out how you want your team to work together is a great way of building that bond and strengthening a great team culture. We only know what we know right? So be vocal and make sure everyone knows what is expected of them.
Great teams know that there is no substitute for hard work. This is the foundation of a team, an expectation of all involved and a unifying factor that will help a team exceed expectations, every time.