Sometimes you've chosen well with staff who smile and share their enjoyment of life. And occasionally a gloomy character slips through: it's been months since they saw the lighter side of anything, but their speed or efficiency saves the day.
This has been a tough year, and through it all you're job has been to keep smiling while customers feel anxious and gloomy. OK, not all the time, but more than 2008! There are many ways to 'build in the fun' so it doesn't depend on having a comedian at the bar.
Cheerful music: a happy, lively beat that lifts the spirit. There's a billion-dollar music industry designed to create enjoyment. South American music comes to mind immediately - who helps you put your music mix together? A skilled DJ can help with selections, or staff at a small music retailer.
A friendly, hand-written note on the account as it goes to the table: this was standard at my cafe and staff swore that it helped with tips.
Share some humour on your website: most of them are so serious and self-important! Here's how Spirit House Restaurant shares their sense of humour in the Fun Stuff section of their site.
Calendar Events: you'll find hundreds of great options in the Promotions Calendar - some funny, some more serious, and all creating word-of-mouth.
Desserts make us happy: a sweet ending to the meal. Something creamy, rich with chocolate or juicy, fruity. Does your selection tempt people to 'sin a little'?
Joke of the Day on your blackboard (eg >>>) - would it be so hard?
Tell us about happy customers and events: let's face it, they're happening all the time when you serve hundreds of people. Take some inspiration from the great blog by Little Red Bike Cafe.
Staff parties: It's hard to fit them in at this time of the year, but don't forget to do something generous and memorable; sometimes smaller, regulare events have more impact than a big bang once-a-year.
Happy people to work with: Negative Nick or Nasty Nancy can cause lots of damage if left unchecked - are they the reason Happy Harry left after a few weeks? Anyone need to move on in January?
Recognition makes us happy: thanks for a job done well or in difficult circumstances. Congratulations on exam results or for handling a crazy customer. Usually it's verbal, but a short 'Thank You' letter will be highly regarded (and kept). Useful examples ready to use in the Downoad Center.
Fortune cookies? They may not fit your cuisine, but they can raise a smile...
Well-organised work spaces make staff happy: when they arrive for a shift, all the equipment is clean, working and ready to go. Fridges stocked and work lists waiting. Anything to improve next year?
Time off makes us happy: with friends, familiy and pets. Balancing hard work with relaxation - sure to be ways to make more 'me time' in 2010...
How do you rate the big happy smile on job applicants? Paul, the smart owner of Green Zebra told me recently that he immediately hired a girl who giggled all through the apptitude test in her job interview: where there's a spark, make sure you grab it!
Help make other people happy: staff and business contributions to a World Vision sponsored child, Oxfam or a local community group - they lift everyone's spirits.
And finally, money helps to make us all happy! Good pay, tips and bonuses make staff smile, and a full till at the end of the shift makes the hard work worthwhile. Your profit strategies for 2010 will give you the resources to buy equipment, repaint the walls, pay more for a better manager and afford the holiday you deserve.
Profitable Hospitality offers management and cost-control systems (Manuals & CD-ROMs) for restaurants, cafes, hotels, bars and clubs. The systems are based on the extensive consulting and operating experience of CEO Ken Burgin, and enable busy owners and managers to set up complete operating and cost-control systems in minutes, not months. Profitable Hospitality also runs regular management training workshops in the areas of kitchen profit & efficiency, restaurant marketing and functions management. A free monthly e-newsletter keeps you up to date on the latest industry management issues. www.profitablehospitality.com.
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