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How to Conduct a Restaurant Performance Review and Why They are so Important 

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How to Conduct a Restaurant Performance Review and Why They are so Important 

By Pablo Sanchez - November 3, 2023

Restaurant performance reviews are a great way to motivate your staff, grow your business, and iron out any creases with tasks and responsibilities. 

But knowing exactly how to tackle these reviews is easier said than done. 

What should you say? How should you approach it? What do you say after? 

It’s a lot to digest (pun intended). The good news is, you’ve come to the right place for answers.

In this article, we’ll show you some best practices for delivering a successful restaurant performance review for your employees. Plus, we’ll explain why these reviews are so important in the first place. No need to thank us, you’re welcome. 👊

What is a restaurant performance review?

A restaurant performance review is an evaluation of how your staff are performing. 

It helps you measure the effectiveness of their work, identify areas of improvement, and set objectives for the future. It’s also a chance for restaurant staff to share feedback and discuss their professional development goals.

Tea shop staff members preparing bubble tea

These reviews take place on a regular basis — anywhere from once a month to once a year. The duration varies depending on how frequent they are and what you need to discuss. Typically speaking, they last around 30 minutes to a couple of hours.

Why are performance reviews so important in hospitality? 

Let’s not beat around the bush — turnover rates are high in hospitality. Check out these figures:

Performance reviews can help you motivate staff and build relationships, which can boost employee retention. In fact, this study found that one of the main benefits of frequent and meaningful feedback is retaining talent. 

So, if you want to build a happy and dedicated workforce with less turnover, performance reviews are a step in the right direction. 

Plus, they’re generally helpful for your business. 

When you review employee performance, you identify what they do well and what can be improved. As a result, you can focus on how to improve systems, processes, and training to ensure that staff can do their jobs as well as possible.

And when all your staff are working as effectively and efficiently as possible, your entire restaurant operation runs smoother. Staff can be more productive, and customers get a better dining experience.

How do restaurants evaluate employees? 

There’s no right or wrong way to evaluate restaurant employees, so it’s really up to you to decide what format works best. 

You’d use these scores to measure performance against different criteria (more on this later). Here’s an example: 

  • 1 – Unacceptable
  • 2 – Needs improvement
  • 3 – Meets expectations
  • 4 – Exceeds expectations
  • 5 – Outstanding

Most employee performance reviews are one-on-one meetings, with the restaurant manager or owner leading the fray. During the meeting, you discuss different elements of the employee’s role and their performance.

For instance, if you’re evaluating a server, you might review their efficiency in delivery meals, accuracy in taking customer orders, and overall customer service. Or, if you’re evaluating a manager, you might discuss their performance managing other restaurant staff.

This raises another good point — how you evaluate employees depends on who you’re reviewing. 

A performance review for front-of-house staff (where you might discuss customer service) can be pretty different from reviewing chefs and cooks (where you’re more likely to talk about quality of food).

Restaurant performance review

But no matter who you’re evaluating, there are some best practices you can follow to conduct a successful performance review.

Let’s take a look 👀

Set the scene

Start by outlining the key information you’ll cover throughout the review. Explain the purpose of the review, how long it should take, and a top-level overview of what you’ll discuss. 

You should also give them a chance to ask questions before you get started, just in case there are any concerns or queries they’d like to address. 

Here’s how this introduction might sound: 

“Hi [xxx], thanks for meeting today. So, we’re going to conduct your performance review to take a look at how things are going in your role. We’ll discuss your strengths and achievements, any areas of improvement, and your goals for the future. It shouldn’t last longer than 30 minutes. Do you have any questions before we begin?”

This will make sure that you and your employee are on the same page. You know what you need to discuss, and you give them a chance to ask questions before you begin. 

Outline the performance criteria

Performance criteria are the standards and benchmarks you put in place to measure employee performance. For example, if you’re reviewing a member of your waiting staff, your criteria might include:

  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Customer service
  • Problem-solving

By outlining the criteria from the offset, employees are more prepared for what’s to come. There won’t be any curveballs, which can put their mind at rest. 

Review strengths and achievements

Put yourself in your employees’ shoes for a second. You’re about to enter yur performance review, and the first thing you talk about are the ways you didn’t hit the performance criteria.

You’d feel pretty bummed, right?

Well, that sets the tone for the rest of the review. It’s hard to come back from a low blow right at the offset. 

That’s why it’s always a good idea to start by reviewing the highs and outlining the positive feedback. That way, people are generally more receptive to constructive feedback. Highlight the employee’s strengths, accomplishments, and the different ways they’ve met the performance criteria. 

Position negative feedback as areas of growth

Negative feedback doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Think of it as an opportunity for growth — both for your business and the employee. Positioning it this way can make it easier for employees to digest, and more motivating. 

Let’s say a chef hasn’t quite met the criteria for food quality. Instead of focusing on why they haven’t hit the performance criteria, you could discuss training and development options to rectify the issue. 

They get the opportunity to develop their skills, and food quality improves at your restaurant. It’s a win-win. 🎉

Review employee satisfaction 

A performance review isn’t just a chance for you to evaluate employee performance — it’s also a chance for employees to discuss their experience. 

Ask employees how they’re finding their work, what they enjoy about it, and whether there’s anything they’d change. It’s a great opportunity to find out more about your employee, and how you can improve their working conditions.

Use Nory to streamline employee management 

Restaurant performance reviews are a great way to motivate employees, showing them that you care about their role and identifying ways to improve their performance. 

As a result, you can boost employee retention, improve your business operations, and help your restaurant go from strength to strength. 

If you’re looking for a way to centralise all your workforce management, why not give Nory a try? 
With our software, you can seamlessly engage and reward your employees — plus, you can manage your entire restaurant operations. Track your performance, manage your inventory, and create a more efficient business to boost productivity and increase profits.