There is no arguing that Peyton Manning is one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game of football. He confirmed his place in history this weekend, setting the record for the most scoring throws in a season at 51 against the Houston, Texans. His no huddle offense is extremely effective in leading his team to victory, as he’s able to quickly call plays without having a discussion with his team beforehand. While this style of management is extremely effective in football, using the same methodology with your restaurant/retail team would most likely not guarantee the same results.

Holding a team discussion, otherwise known in the restaurant/hospitality world as a Pre-Shift, before each shift starts is essential for getting the entire staff on the same page. In this short meeting with their staff, the shift manager should guide the team with common goals, strategy, and focus in order to have a more successful shift.

Since many of the ShiftNote team members have managed great restaurant teams in the past, I decided to get their advice on how to run an effective pre-shift, and am passing on their words of wisdom to you.

Tips for an effective pre-shift

1. Learn from example
Use a previous shift as an example to provide light on what worked and what didn’t. Don’t dwell on the negative, but suggest ways on how things could have gone better and use that to help motivate the team.

2. Celebrate each other
Recognize birthdays, anniversaries, and special events among the team. Use this time to encourage fellowship among employees. The family that serves together makes more $$ together!!

3. Knowledge is power
Make sure everyone knows about any VIPs or special parties that are taking place during that shift. If you are running any specials, make sure you have a staff tasting at line up. They can sell it better if they know how awesome it is and how much LOVE the chefs put into it. Also make sure to go over any drink or menu changes.

4. There’s no such thing as downtime
If you have time to lean, you have time to clean. Let your team known you expect them to be doing side work and helping out their fellow team members during any downtime. It will save you labor dollars and help your staff have a pain free shift.

5. Provide Motivation
Money talks. Run contests with prizes for the highest check average, most desserts sold, etc. and detail the contest at the beginning of the shift. People are competitive by nature, and encouraging up-selling by use of a fun game or contest will make the shift more fun and increase sales for everyone.

If you have additional advice or tips that you use in your pre-shifts to help ensure a smooth shift, please do share in the comment area below!

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Matt Thompson

CEO of ShiftNote
Matt has let his lifelong passion of food and people lead him to 15 amazing years as a restaurant manager and another 9 years working as a Director with a major food service distributor. He has channeled this passion to help create and run ShiftNote. When he's not dominating the food service industry, he's spending time with his 4 children and cheering on the Tigers as a Mizzou Alumni.