I once heard it said to seek first to understand, then be understood. When giving feedback to your employees, this statement is very true.
Feedback is the lifeblood of the fast food industry, and quite possibly the most important tool in the manager’s arsenal. Feedback should be immediate, tailored to the individual, and continuous.
Feedback that is given too long after the fact is ineffective. To alleviate this problem, the feedback must be given as close to the behavior as possible. The feedback must be specific. Always target the behavior and not the person–even when giving positive feedback.
Here is where One Minute Praisings and One Minute Reprimands come in handy.
Feedback should be tailored to the individual for two reasons. First, generic feedback will seem insincere. It will seem as if you don’t care enough to observe performance. I’ve been over this in previous posts. “Good job!” is not nearly as motivating as, “You make a perfect Whopper every time. I appreciate that, and so do our customers. Keep making those beautiful sandwiches!”
Specific, positive feedback can be very motivating. Not only will the employee keep up the good behavior, but they will feel good about it. Once people start taking pride in their jobs, it will make the entire restaurant run much more smoothly.
To tailor feedback to the individual, it is first necessary to understand each individual’s motives and reason for being in your restaurant. Managers with hearts are so rare, and the manager who puts in this extra effort will earn people’s commitment. This pays huge dividends in the running of your restaurant.
Continuous feedback is important because it will keep the employees focused on the customers. We all know that once service goes awry, it will be very difficult to get back under control. In really high volume restaurants, service goals are impossible to attain if your staff suffers even one misstep.
But don’t overdo the feedback. You don’t want to be a micromanager. Everyone hates those guys. The real trick to good feedback is finding the balance between too often and not enough; positive and negative. Master that, and feedback is a powerful tool.