Ten steps for success

Posted on In Focus Jul 2010 - by Tandoori Magazine
Ten steps for success

Ajmal Mushtaq gives Tandoori 10 steps to ensure your business is not only efficient and successful, but also one that fulfills customer expectations.

Having run many high-performance teams ranging from FTSE 100 clients to running my own team at Mushtaqs restaurant in Hamilton, Scotland, the first step to success for any restaurant must be to align the team and set themselves up for success.

The foundation block for success is the same regardless of industry, type or size of company.

I want to explain the 10 steps one can take to align the teams’ behaviours, characteristics and attitude. The result is managing a team that is completely focused on serving up great customer service. I believe building a solid platform is the most important starting point for success and this is always the first thing I implement.

Customers are becoming increasingly demanding and it’s more important than ever that restaurants achieve high standards of customer service. So here are my 10 steps to setting up for success:

Punctuality: What does an 11am start mean? Previously, team members would arrive for 11am, have a chit chat, change clothes and then slowly start work around 11.15am. Now 11am means 11am. The team must arrive at least 15 minutes before their start time and be ready at their stations at exactly 11am to take the first instruction of the day.

Organisation: The working environment needs to be clean and clear at all times. This makes working with efficiency much easier. At Mushtaqs, a strict clear as you go policy operates and this helps ensure exceptional levels of health and safety are maintained.

Appearance: A uniform inspection takes place at the start of each shift. All team members are expected to be immaculate. The team is lined up and an inspection takes place from head to toe - hair, face, nails, shirts, trousers and shoes are all checked to ensure high standards are maintained.

Communication: All forms of communication are scrutinised closely including spoken and non-verbal (body language). No slang, swearing or back-chat is allowed on the premises. Non-verbal communication is very important as 90% of what we communicate is with body language. Sharp, responsive body language is the goal at all times in this customer service environment.

Leadership: Our managers are coached to lead from the front - ‘know the way, go the way and show the way’ - they are expected to be experts in their area of responsibility and the focus is on respect rather than being liked by the team members.

Pro-activity: Individuals are taught problem solving, rather than reporting problems. Instead of just highlighting problems, team members are encouraged to propose ideas and present solutions. This helps them to develop a deeper understanding of issues and build their own knowledge.

System: Have a system for everything. This makes the teams job much simpler and it allows them to take on additional responsibility with confidence as they are working within the system that you have set. Further, it makes delegation much easier and management can have greater confidence.

Flexibility: Customers are the number one priority. This means we often have to adapt our plans to get the job done and be constantly flexible to meet the customers’ needs. A requirement may to be come in early, work late or out of normal rota hours. This gives the team a chance to earn more and the management the confidence to meet the customer demands.

Responsibility: You are fully responsible for your area of work - team members should be empowered to take full responsibility for their area of work. This enhances their confidence and gives them additional motivation to take complete ownership of tasks and complete them in a manner that often exceeds expectations.

Relationships: It is very important for the team to build relationships and team members are actively encouraged to get to know each other and their families. This strengthens the bond and inspires trust and respect. Too often we can work with people and not know anything about them.

I have implemented these steps into various teams for many years and it is a very powerful method of fusing individuals into one very strong team.

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