By Scott Haas, NRA Show 2013 Speaker
As the only clinical psychologist with a James Beard Award for reporting on restaurants and food, I have had the great good fortune to use my skills as a doctor in understanding what works and what doesn’t in the restaurant industry. The best restaurants tell the best stories, whether it’s at a hot dog stand in Hyannis or a high end establishment in Napa, and guess what? It’s not just about the food: It’s about the emotional and mental well being of the people working in your restaurant--Getting their best performance consistently.
The key to success is team building. In the four psychiatric hospitals where I provide service, the doctor is a valuable member of the team and its leader, but everyone else working to provide patient care--nurse, receptionist, floor worker, housekeeping, social work--is provided with the respect that makes the team efficient and productive.
The best chefs know this: They know that the restaurant is not just about them and their celebrity. Instead, they create working environments in which staff show up and get the job done because they want to be there and share in the restaurant’s mission.
Old school chefs tell me of their humiliating starts: “Bastille days,” Chef Daniel Boulud told me in my new book on the psychology of chefs, “Back of the House.” Beating and cruel jokes, were the rule and not the exception.
Nowadays, a deep professionalism characterizes the restaurant industry, which is why we are all here for this year’s National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show: To share ideas, to listen to one another talk about what makes the most productive work environments in restaurants.
Why should bad behavior be tolerated outside of locker rooms and boot camps? Not only is it counterproductive, it leads to high staff turnover, acting out, substance abuse, and a shift from taking care of the guests to...taking care of the staff.
The best chefs know it is the team’s job is to create a memorable experience in the restaurant. The challenge of motivating restaurant workers, keeping the great ones and shedding the troublemakers, is ultimately a psychological challenge.
Can we talk about that?
Be sure to check out author and award-winning Scott Haas and more than 250 other professionals from across the industry who are the best at what they do...only at NRA Show 2013. Badges are 50% off for a limited time. Visit Restaurant.org/Show to get yours now. In addition to Twitter @NRAShow and Facebook, you can also join the NRA Show following on Linkedin, Pinterest and YouTube.