With employees being central to any organization, I am sure we can all acknowledge the trials and tribulations that the hospitality and restaurant sector in particular face in the quest to retain an engaged and committed workforce. I would like to share with you a great story of how this General Manager recognized her employees’ contribution – highlighting the fact that it’s often just a bit of “out of the box thinking” and the small things that count!

The highs and the lows
Cape Town, South Africa, being renowned as one of the top tourist destinations, can very well encounter four seasons in one day, which is not unusual. This clearly has an enormous and direct impact on restaurant owners and related service providers within the hospitality industry, especially when it comes to keeping your people on the frontline energised.

The summer tourist season attracts a glut of visitors with restaurants often bursting at the seams, having to literally make hay while the sun shines, capitalising on this opportunity to attract as many customers through their doors as possible. Contrary to this, the winter months brings with it the challenges of restaurants battling to fill their venues, reducing prices through winter special meal offerings and increasing their efforts to keep staff motivated.

In the midst of our present high season, with warm summer months and the vibrant hustle and bustle of curious tourists, I sit within the same local restaurant as I did last winter and reflect on my discussion with a very inspiring and true and caring Leader – the General Manager of a renowned pizzeria.

As one of the popular restaurants who experienced the unpredictable ebb and flow of patrons over the trying winter season, she shares with me her stories; how she went about keeping her committed team of waitrons motivated throughout the quiet, often very lean period.

Educate and Treat
On one occasion, she confirms how her employees arrived punctually at work as per normal to be faced with an empty restaurant with very little happening. Little did they know that their General Manager had organized a surprise outing to a renowned wine farm where she had been previously employed. Here her team were wined and dined, also receiving a comprehensive education on the farm’s various top selling wines, and visited a part of their cellars normally restricted to regular visitors. For those employees who didn’t drink, it was a fantastic experience to feel what it was like to be a customer. For those who did enjoy the wine tasting, it gave them invaluable knowledge to utilise when serving their own customers back at the pizzeria.

And the upshot of all this
Not only is this restaurant now showcasing and selling this reputable wine farm’s products, but also its waitrons are now equipped to confidently articulate and promote wines that they have experienced first-hand and to which they now have a strong affiliation.

And there’s more……………

With the General Manager understanding that employee motivation and engagement is an ongoing exercise, she pulled me aside to whisper in my ear that they’ve scheduled another surprise on their calendar. The plan is for her and her dedicated team to work their shift as usual, after which she’ll walk them down the road to attend a popular concert performance at the local theatre.

Customer Excellence
What was very evident here was the fact that this restaurant was staffed by both a very resourceful and caring brand leader, as well as by a genuinely friendly, committed and hardworking team of waitrons. People who went that extra mile to offer us exceptional customer service from drinks order to bill presentation time.

Sustaining a distinct and exemplary level of customer excellence is an ongoing exercise and the moral of this story is if you take care of your employees, they will take care of your customers.

Read how some of these restaurant owners went the extra mile to support their employees. https://bit.ly/2QZ7eCY
As Brand Leaders are you doing anything uniquely different within your specific industry sector that you could share with like-minded progressive Employer Brand Leaders? Please share them with us as post on our Employer Branding SA Linkedin page.