Many entrepreneurs and chefs consider managing, or even opening a restaurant–but what types of responsibilities come with that? One major part of the job is balancing the social butterflies in the front of house (FOH) with the serious culinary artistes in the back of house (BOH). FOH staff (servers, hosts and bartenders) deal with customers directly, while the BOH staff (chefs, line cooks, dishwashers) does not–this creates the greatest source of conflict between the two.
Excellent communication and conflict resolution are the keys to managing a happy FOH and BOH staff. Trying to keep a smooth line of communication between the two is important as it reduces conflicts such as a customer receiving the wrong order or not getting their food in a timely manner. However, you can’t always eliminate such situations, that’s why conflict resolution is equally important. Attempting to resolve disputes between your FOH and BOH at the end of the night makes for a much more pleasant atmosphere tomorrow. Here are a couple tips for effective conflict resolution in the workplace:
- Assume positive intent. Give each party the benefit of the doubt. Approaching situations like this with an open mind to each side will help each person feel like their voice is being heard.
- Clearly define roles and responsibilities. Making sure that the responsibilities and duties of each role in the restaurant are clarified to all employees so as to help them understand and accept what is expected of them. For example, politely make it clear to servers that apologizing for mistakes or mishaps is part of a server’s job, even if it is not their fault, as their role is customer service.
A restaurant manager will constantly work at making these two very different sections of the restaurant co-exist in harmony. It’s a challenging task, but certainly one that never brings a dull moment!