HOW TO PLAN TEAM ROLES FOR REOPENING YOUR BAR
New ways of working mean that the established roles in bar teams have had to shift and adapt to meet the constantly evolving regulations. Hyacinthe Lescoët, co-founder of The Cambridge Public House, Paris, shares his approach to creating a flexible and effective team structure.
Since having the fortune of reopening Cambridge Public House, my first observation was, a lot has changed. We very quickly had to adapt to this new little world, to implement necessary safety measures, and get our staff up to speed on the new ways of working. Right now, we are lucky to be operating safely and glad to be able to share insights we gathered along the way.
ROLES FOR THE NEW NORM
Many of the roles required for the new hospitality landscape already exist. They’ve simply had to expand in order to allow for additional responsibilities to meet hygiene and safety protocols. We see three roles in the industry being increasingly implemented and proving key, particularly in larger venues
- Host - this role has always been an important one, but in light of the current situation, it comes with additional responsibilities to ensure your venue is adhering to hygiene and safety measures. Those venues who have not previously had a host in place will likely reconsider.
- Servers - table service is becoming increasingly popular.
- Cleaners - assigning one or two team members the role and responsibility of cleaning throughout their shift enables you to stay on top of the heightened cleaning standards.
ASSIGNING CLEAR ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Depending on the size of your venue, local guidelines, and the pre-lockdown organization within your team, there’s a simple question to answer: should I assign roles to my team members or should everyone be skilled and carry out all the necessary duties?
We like to ensure that all our staff is skilled across every role, that way if needs be we can effortlessly assign someone to another area of the bar safe in the knowledge they can do an excellent job and uphold the standards required. Since reopening, we continue to operate in this system. We find that this requires a great deal of organization and strict enforcement of procedures to ensure no part of the system is forgotten at any time.
Ahead of each shift, we lay out exactly who will cover certain areas and when, while reminding the team members of the relevant checklists for completion. There is always a manager present overseeing operations to ensure that standards are being upheld and staff has the support they need to do their job.
Larger venues we have spoken with are understandably assigning specific roles and duties to the team in order to closely manage operations. Roles are assigned based on who is already a strong member in that area and they are then trained on the additional duties necessary for this function.
Rotas and shift plans are then communicated physically on print outs in staff rooms or back office as well as more casually in WhatsApp chats with the team. Examples of some of the additional responsibilities include:
- The host will likely capture contract tracing information and/or conduct temperature checks. They may also seat guests in a manner that meets social distancing.
- Servers, on top of waiting tables, may act as runners to make sure guests follow the correct flow of traffic through the venue rather than moving around as they wish. They will likely handle contactless payments and recommend drinks.
- Cleaners will be in operation during service hours, continually patrolling the venue disinfecting areas on a time-based rotation. They may also need to supervise the number of guests in toilets and ensure toilet stock levels are maintained.
Whatever approach is best for your venue, clear communication and training are essential in order for staff to be doing their job competently and safely.
NURTURING OUR TEAMS
Making sure the entire team is catered for and feels safe in the work environment is important in this industry, now more than ever. We stay close to our staff by sitting down with them regularly and simply having a conversation. It’s nothing official and is a great opportunity to chat about any issues.
Perhaps, the most important thing we had to do ahead of reopening was to retrain our team to make sure every member of staff was on the same page in order to provide a world-class service while keeping everyone as safe as possible.
This training was very precise and had to be designed from scratch for each role in our venue. Training covered things like –
- Customer service: how to greet guests and make sure they respect the new health and safety procedures (wear the mask, clean their hands, pay contactless)
- People management and managing situations: How to react and deal with uncompromising guests
- Hygiene: how to correctly and thoroughly clean equipment and furnishings, etc.
What we have found is that there’s no golden rule but to adapt to your specific situation. The key is to stay alert to new directives and to follow what you think is best for your team. The art of management finds beauty in adaptation and attentiveness: your staff and guests will need you more than ever. Be there for them.
- Roles needed for the new norm already exist, they just carry more responsibilities
- The need to assign roles will depend on the size of the venue and local guidelines you are facing
- When planning rotas ensure you have someone skilled in all areas for each shift
- Encourage open communication with the team and be available to them
- Training the team in new responsibilities is crucial for staff to do the job safely and well