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Culture is Everything...

Bonji Foods Aficionado Smart Brief: Volume 22


Why Your Restaurant's Culture Matters


Hi all, welcome back to the Bonji Food Aficionado Smart Brief! We hope the weekend treated you well and you are ready for a new week full of new opportunities! Culture is the center point when hiring and retaining employees; and unfortunately, it often gets overlooked. During this time of mass resignation and difficult financial forecasts, keeping your business's environment positive isn't the simplest task. All of this leads back to culture and the leader's ability to properly implement resources, training, and tactics. Thus, Bonji is here to supply you with a few tips to help build and maintain an exceptional culture that will not only keep employees wanting to work but also bring customers in the door.



Tips For Keeping Your Culture Strong and Shining 1. Emphasize Ethics This may seem all too simple for most leaders. Holding core values and good ethics is one of the first things we learn about being a leader. In fact, since 2000, employees that say they work in an ethical environment shot up from every 1 in 10 workers to 1 in 5 workers. Although this number still should be higher, it's great to see leaders taking the time to put ethics into place. However, at the same time, pressure to compromise those ethical standards is at an all-time high. Globally, around 30% of employees say they have felt pressure to put the ethics code in jeopardy (a 2X increase since 2017). Many factors may play a role in this, like cutting costs in an unethical manner, but it's not easy to pinpoint. Yet, setting standards and an ethical code remains the top priority for a leader when establishing culture. This is the framework that all owners, managers, & employees should understand & maintain as they go about the workday. Here are a few examples of good ethics to implement from day one:

  • Trustworthiness

  • Transparency

  • Accountability

  • Honesty

  • Kindness


2. Let Those Ethics Shine Owners and managers should be the ones highlighting and showcasing these ethics whenever possible. Without leading by example, you shouldn't expect any employee to follow your ethical code. Thus, when you hold yourself to the highest standard and set the tone for your business's culture, the rest will follow. Additionally, this will encourage your employees who are interacting with customers to let the positive culture shine. In other words, “don't just let tell people what stand for - show them what you stand for.” These ethics and whatever else you decide to put forth into your culture should be as lively in action as they are when you teach them. Truly, this may all lead back to training. We've discussed how important the training process is for employees, but it's something that should be emphasized even more. Most training programs are dull, monotonous, and outright unfulfilling. Yet, this is the time when you should be putting the most energy you have into your new hires. Proper training will carry your business much further than boring new hires to death and probably causing them to leave or tarnish your culture. All in all, you want your culture to burst with energy, attaching customers to the positivity you shine.


3. Consider What Your Employees Want It's already difficult enough to keep employees motivated to come into work and be at their absolute best every day. However, from our experiences, the restaurants that burst with a positive culture often have the kindest, full-of-energy employees. We've all been to a restaurant that is dark and ominous, giving off this lackluster culture that leaves employees and customers completely unengaged. On the contrary, we've probably all experienced a bright and joyful restaurant that has employees dancing and truly enjoying their job. This directs us right back to the culture of the business. If the leader is thinking about what employees want when they come into work, the culture will be enhanced without even trying. Let the employees determine what type of vibe or energy is being shown off, after all, they are the ones handling customers. Studies have shown these are a few of the culture enhancers that EMPLOYEES want:

  • Improved Manager/Employee Relations (genuine human connection)

  • Support Employees When Dealing With Difficult Customers (the customer may always be right, but make sure you respect your employees)

  • Offer Incentives To Encourage Their Best Performance (a $20 bonus when they sell every smoothie on the menu that day)



Final Thoughts: Overall, your culture is your's to design and maintain. But sometimes, it just feels like restaurants lose touch with their original culture. Usually, people stop returning as much or new customers stop flooding in and we think it's something about the quality or a bad review. Yet, at Bonji, we believe it stems from a culture that is falling apart. Maybe the leader is busy and can't focus on the restaurant as much. Maybe the employees weren't trained properly. Whatever the case may be, when a culture begins to falter, so does business.


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