7 Tips for Effective Restaurant Staff Meetings

Charlette Beasley

Charlette is a writer and content strategist in Florida. She writes payroll content for Fit Small Business and helps her own clients create industry-specific copy for their business. In addition, she loves “beaching” with her two kids.

The way in which you hold staff meetings for your restaurant staff can determine the success of your team and business. It’s important to consider times that work for all staff in addition to issues that may be of interest to them. Strive to ensure everyone feels included; the time you spend in the meeting should add value to your life and the lives of your employees.

Restaurant owner using calendar to plan an effective restaurant staff meeting.

Here are tips you can use to hold effective meetings for your restaurant staff:

Set a start & end time for the meeting

In the restaurant industry, time is of the essence. You’ll need to set a start and end time for the staff meeting that makes sense for the information you plan to cover. You don’t want to short yourself on time that you’re unable to fully discuss the topics for which you planned, but you also don’t want to allot so much time that you begin to cover unnecessary details that don’t pertain to the purpose of the meeting. Set a realistic time frame, and stick to it. 

Select a reasonable meeting location 

Many restaurants, especially smaller ones, don’t have designated spaces for staff meetings. However, it is important you select the best one you can so your employees are comfortable and able to focus on the meeting. For instance, having a meeting in the freezer wouldn’t be reasonable. If you only have a few staff members, meeting in your office could be appropriate. However, for larger groups, you may need to use the supply room or even the kitchen. Just be sure the location is safe and the best option you have in which to gather within the restaurant.

Plan ahead for business operations

If you must hold the meeting while business is operating, you’ll need to consider the fact that all staff members won’t be able to attend the meeting at the same time. In fact, you’ll need to consider holding multiple meetings, so all employees have the opportunity to participate. Be sure to plan in advance who will work during each meeting; it’s also a good idea to select at least one staff member to be in charge since you’ll be busy conducting a meeting. 

Have a meeting agenda

To help keep the meeting on track, create an agenda. It should list the start and end times of the meeting along with the topics that will be discussed. This should be a simple schedule that both you and your employees can follow along with easily. It ensures you don’t leave out any pertinent information and gives the employees insight into what to expect. It’s a good idea to distribute the agenda to employees prior to the meeting, so they can prepare questions in advance.

Consider staff schedules & notify them in advance

Be mindful of your employees’ schedules. If you know that over 50% of your staff will be off next Thursday, don’t schedule the meeting for that day. When you set a time and date, it’s a good idea to notify your staff as soon as possible. This gives them the opportunity to plan ahead if they need to. For instance, if one of your staff members is a single parent, he or she may need a sitter if the meeting is outside his or her normal hours. 

Make the meeting valuable to employees

When you decide to hold a meeting, it’s essential that the meeting has a purpose. Businesses in Corporate America are notorious for scheduling non-value-added meetings that could have been substituted for an email. 

Be sure you know the purpose of the meeting before even setting the agenda, and double-check that it’s important enough to require a meeting. For instance, don’t schedule a meeting in which you plan to spend 30 minutes chastising your employees for not achieving their goals. Instead, hold one-on-one meetings with each employee to give them positive and negative feedback, or meet with the group to brainstorm ways that can help everyone start reaching their goals.

Allow time for questions

When you set a timeframe for the staff meeting, allow at least five to 10 minutes to answer your employees’ questions. Encourage everyone to come forward if you mentioned anything they didn’t understand. It’s also a good idea to ask for suggestions. Showing your staff members that you value their input can work wonders at making your meeting a success. When employees feel valued, they are more productive and loyal to the company

To make your restaurant staff meetings effective, show genuine respect for your employees’ time and presence. Leave them with something of value that ensures they won’t wish the staff meeting was an email. And be realistic; planning ahead and getting organized beforehand is a surefire way to create a successful meeting.

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