Circle of Satisfaction

- By keeping employees satisfied, restaurants can ensure happy customers.

By David Lipton
July 2000, Foodservice and Hospitality

If you're having trouble with customer satisfaction, take a good look at your employee satisfaction level. You may find the two are more closely linked than you thought. Take the example of two employees working in the same position for different companies - let's call them employee A and employee B. Employee A loves his job, looks forward to going to work everyday and performs his duties to the best of his ability. Employee B, on the other hand, goes to work everyday because he has to and can't get through one day without the thought, "when is it going to end?" running through his head. When it comes to dealing with customers, employee A takes great care to make sure the customers have all they need, while employee B does only the minimum requirements and as a result, the customers suffer. Dissatisfied customers tend to tell twice as many friends about a bad experience than a good one, and undoubtedly will never return to your establishment.But as employee A and employee B illustrate, if you want to satisfy customers, you need to satisfy employees first. Satisfied employees take pride in their jobs, and in turn, serve customers with skill and enthusiasm.It's a circle of satisfaction. In a restaurant situation, for instance, it's likely that employee A would receive a substantially larger tip than employee B. This would reinforce employee A's enthusiasm for the job, causing him to continue satisfying customers, while a stingy tip to the less enthusiastic employee B reinforces his loathing for his job and the customers he serves. So how can a restaurant ensure employee satisfaction? While there are no guarantees, the right attitude from the top down goes a long way when it comes to keeping staff happy. Here are several factors that are sure to influence employee satisfaction levels:

The job itself must be interesting and well suited to the individual employee.This depends on job tasks, the level of employee training, and whether or not the employee has any decision making authority.
The employee's relationship with his/her supervisor must be one of mutual respect.Offering recognition, feedback and fair evaluations are important ways for managers to gain that respect.
Management's beliefs on how employees should be treated reflect on the happiness of the staff. Information sharing must exist from the top down, and managers need to express how valuable the employees are to the company.

Opportunity for career advancement or job security increases employee satisfaction.
An attractive salary package, benefits and rewards are important determinants of employee satisfaction, since no one wants to be paid less than they feel they're worth.

In terms of physical layout, the work environment must be comfortable and easy to work in.Essential supplies must be accessible, since getting a job done without the necessary tools can be frustrating.

Relationships with co-workers are also important.Co-operation, communication and teamwork contribute to employee satisfaction levels, and businesses need to foster a good team environment. Satisfied workers will show enthusiasm and go out of their way to satisfy the customer. The happy customer will likely let their satisfaction become known (in the form of a large tip, positive comment card, or verbal conversation or compliment), which will then further fuel the worker's enthusiasm for the job, and the circle of satisfaction will continue.

Print Email