Tips to Create a Positive Restaurant Culture That Lasts

Chris Rumpf

Founder and CEO, 15+ Years of Restaurant Technology Innovation

Tips to Create a Positive Restaurant Culture That Lasts

How is your restaurant’s culture? Do you have one?

A good restaurant culture is positive and uplifting. It lends itself to increased productivity and open communication. It’s something your customers – and employees – feel and resonate within and out of the restaurant.

Do your employees know and embrace the same restaurant core values, mission, and vision? Do they practice actions that lead towards a common goal? They should. This is what creates the ties between your customers, your employees, you, and your business.

What is culture?

To create a restaurant culture, we must first understand what “culture” is. The Merriam-Webster dictionary has various complex definitions of the term, but the most relevant is: “The set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization.”

Culture is huge. It’s the difference between employees who brag about their workplace to their friends and employees who clock out and spend their days off trying not to think about work. It’s the difference between customers who’ll post pictures on Instagram and advertise for your restaurant and customers who come, like the food, but aren’t rushing to return.

You see, a strong and positive culture is the foundation of a business that lasts, retains committed employees, and attracts raging fans. Why? Believe it or not, it’s not all about the good food.

It’s about the attitude.

As someone walks into your restaurant, there should be a common attitude that sets the tone. Is the attitude upbeat, spunky, and quirky? Focused, proper, and confident? We’ve all walked into a restaurant and felt a negative attitude by a surly hostess or stressed waiter. What does that do for the rest of the experience?

Determine what kind of shared attitude you want in your restaurant. What kind of tone do you want to set? How do you want your customers to feel?

It’s about the restaurant values.

What do you value? Quality ingredients? Competitive prices? Educating on unique ingredients or local sourcing? A fun, family experience?

Determine what your restaurant values are, and communicate them with your team and customers. When your values align with those of your customers and employees, they’ll be eager to offer their loyalty and support.

It’s about the restaurant’s mission.

This is business school homework 101. Create a mission statement. Write it down, perfect it, and live by it. Share it with your employees and customers so they know why you are doing what you do.

To build a mission statement, start with the “who.” Who are you trying to reach and serve? Then, move to the “what.” What are you providing that is unique to your restaurant? Lastly, the “why.” Why is this important?

Read the mission statements of companies or restaurants that you admire. See what they stand for and reflect on why you support them. Do you see a connection? Is there a reason why you are aligned?

It’s about the restaurant’s vision.

It’s easy to get roped into the day-in and day-out of operating a restaurant. However, what will set you apart from the competition and create a solid following in the process is your ability to communicate and work towards a future goal.

How do you envision the future, and what role does your restaurant play in seeing that vision to fruition? For example, if you operate a farm to table restaurant, perhaps you envision a future where everyone in your community is conscious about where their food comes from. Perhaps you envision a future where people are educated in the benefits of shopping from local, small farms.

Perhaps you envision a future where people know when they’re eating true, authentic Mexican food; like your grandmother used to make and your restaurant makes now. Whatever the case may be, your customers should know that you’re impact-driven in some way and that you’ve got a big vision in mind.

It’s about the practice.

Once you’ve got the above in place, it’s time to practice what you preach. Live by your culture and encourage your employees to do the same. Invite your customers to share in your vision, and show them how – by visiting your restaurant – they are a part of the culture you’ve created.

By creating a strong culture, you turn your customer base into a unified tribe and your restaurant into a hub of connection that goes deeper than a simple transaction.