The most successful restaurants and businesses in the world all have something in common: a strong company culture.

A strong company culture is all about creating an environment where staff are happy to go the extra mile and where customers can’t wait to come back. The result? Your restaurant’s revenue skyrockets.

But creating a strong company culture is much more than just coordinated uniforms and a slogan. It starts with having a clear mission or purpose, sharing it with your team, and developing repeatable processes that reflect that purpose and cultivate a happy, productive work environment.

A great restaurant culture starts with purpose

Company culture refers to the shared values, attitudes and behaviors that shape the working environment and the relationships among employees, customers and the community. A positive and supportive workplace culture can have a significant impact on your restaurant’s bottom line, from attracting top talent and boosting employee retention to building customer loyalty and reputation.

Often referred to as the company’s “why,” having a clear sense of purpose can create excitement and motivation within the organization, as employees understand their role in contributing to something bigger than themselves. 

Think about it this way: why does your restaurant exist? Why should the public, including both customers and staff, care about your restaurant?

Yellowhammer Coffee does an excellent job of defining its mission and empowering its team. They are laser-focused on creating a thriving culture and go above and beyond to give their team the knowledge and skills to offer high-quality, specialty coffee to the community.

Not only does their employee-focused culture help founders Jeff and Monique Roberts attract and retain top talent, but it also shows in their success. Yellowhammer Coffee currently has 6 locations across Alabama.

Ray, team member at yellowhammer coffee, holding a company culture card.

One of the things I’ve learned is that we’re not just giving people a cup of coffee, we’re creating a coffee experience. Part of that is knowing how we can best serve people, and making sure that we’re doing it in the best way possible. Knowing that we have the authority to step out, make calls, and help people is all about what we do.

Ray, Yellowhammer Coffee

Pal’s Sudden Service: A Case Study in Building a Strong Company Culture

Another excellent example of a restaurant with a successful, strong company culture is Pal’s Sudden Service. Pal’s is a fast-food chain with 29 locations in Tennessee and Virginia. Despite being in the fast-food industry, Pal’s has an incredibly low turnover rate of less than 10%, which is unheard of in the industry. So, what lessons can we learn from Pal’s success?

Lesson 1: Invest in Training

Pal’s Sudden Service invests heavily in training its employees. In fact, the company spends twice as much on training as its competitors. This investment in training has paid off in the form of highly skilled and knowledgeable employees who can provide excellent service to customers. 

>> By investing in training, Pal’s has created a culture of excellence and continuous improvement.

Lesson 2: Focus on Clear Expectations

Pal’s Sudden Service has a clear set of expectations for its employees. The company has developed a system called “Pal’s Business Excellence,” which outlines specific expectations for speed, accuracy, courtesy, and cleanliness. 

>> By clearly communicating these expectations to employees, Pal’s has created a culture of accountability and excellence.

Lesson 3: Build a Positive Work Environment

Pal’s Sudden Service has created a positive work environment where employees feel valued and respected. The company has implemented several programs to recognize and reward employees for their hard work, including a “Wall of Fame” that showcases outstanding employees and a “Star of the Month” program. 

>> By creating a positive work environment, Pal’s has built a culture of loyalty and engagement.

How to Build a Strong Company Culture in Your Restaurant

So, how can you build a strong company culture in your restaurant? Here are a few tips to get started:

  1. Define your values: Identify the core values and beliefs that define your restaurant’s mission, vision, and personality. Communicate these values to your employees, and make sure they understand how their roles contribute to achieving the company’s goals.
  2. Invest in training: Provide your employees with the training and support they need to succeed. Make sure they understand what’s expected of them and how their work contributes to the overall success of the restaurant.
  3. Set clear expectations: Develop a clear set of expectations for your employees, and communicate them often, to develop a culture of accountability and excellence.
  4. Build a positive work environment: Create a workplace that inspires, motivates, and engages your employees. Implement programs to recognize and reward exceptional performance and behavior.

By prioritizing your company culture, you can create a successful restaurant workplace that inspires, motivates and engages your employees and attracts loyal customers. Investing in your culture is not only the right thing to do, but it’s also a smart business strategy that can help you stand out in a crowded and competitive market.

Tools to improve employee engagement

Uplevel how you manage staff and make it easy for employees, too! Table Needs + Homebase has everything you need to manage your hourly team: scheduling, time clocks, payroll and more.

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