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When teamwork is the requirement, not an option – The learnings of the teamwork in fast-paced restaurant environment



Kirjoittanut: Vilma Pekkala - tiimistä Ei tiimiä.

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Esseen arvioitu lukuaika on 7 minuuttia.

“On ou two is ready for the main course” I told the chefs in the kitchen. Next I have to run to make three cocktails and mark on the computer a new dessert order. I take a look for my area and I see new people sitting on the table. Shit, I should go there, but I don’t have time yet. I have to prioritize and keep my mind clear to remember all the tasks which are on my list. I see my colleague and ask if she can help me with the coctails. I get an answer with a smile: “Yes, or course.” Ah, what a team we have.

Working in a fast-paced environment is all about keeping a clear mind and prioritizing. Even more important is the team. Good team work is the core factor to success. But how does it work? What makes a good team? And what are the most important features in a hectic environment? This essay will hop on the secrets of teamwork in a fast-paced work environment in the restaurant. As well as to find solutions on how to utilizing the findings in the other environments, too. What can we learn from the environment where teamwork is the requirement, not an option?

 

Parker (3, 2009) starts the book of 20 steps to success teamwork with the question which follows the answer: “where does the team begin… and end? It all begins with a goal.” Goal is one of the most important factors that comes to a successful team. It gives the guidelines as well as direction to the whole team on what to do, where to go and how to know where we are at. (Parker, 3, 2009.) Parker (3, 2009) highlights specific goals, which are set by using the SMART tool. SMART comes from the words specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound (Indeed editorial team, 2021). As important as setting a goal, is to find the right people to the team and define the roles as well as increase the trust in the team. It helps to keep the useless conflicts away as well as keep the focus on the right tasks. (Parker, 6-8, 29, 33, 2009)

In the fast-paced restaurant environment, the goal is very important. Based on my own experience the goal has been to serve the customers and create an experience full of food, relaxation and luxurious. And all the employees are committed to the goals. At least the money ensures everyone’s commitment to the same path. Also the people, who have the ability to work under pressure and a fast-paced environment makes teamwork easier as well as well divided roles. For example, I have seen it very helpful to have your own table to keep under the eyes as well as to know who is incharge of food and who takes customers to the tables. To me it means that it is easier to keep the focus on one’s own area as well as to keep everything under control. According to my own experience, trust between the team increases even faster in the fast-paced environment. I think it’s because there is no time and chances to work untrustworthy as well as the work requires teamwork and the fact is that you have to ask help and trust your co-workers.

 

Communication is sharing and receiving information (Harris & Sherblom, 5, 2011).  According to Parker (31, 2009) communication in the team is separated into two themes: information based communication and interpersonal based communication. Information based communication means all the information which aim is to share the information and interpersonal means to share feedback, feelings, ideas as well as disagreements openly to others. Both of them are an important part of fluent communication. 

 

I have noticed that in the fast-paced environment communication is the real key to success. First of all you have to communicate with the customers, then with yourself as well as co-workers. It has to be effective, open and communicated in a friendly way. Big part of the communication in restaurants is based on asking for help, giving the help as well as giving the feedback. In my opinion, all of them are pretty natural parts of the hectic environment where in “normal” life the feedback and asking for the help are not that easy to communicate. Fast-paced environment requires it. If you are not asking for help when you need it, you will fail. What comes to the feedback, I have very positive experiences about giving and receiving feedback in the fast-paced environment. I think it is easier to give and receive it in the place where it really matters. If you won’t give the feedback, the person will continue doing it and it will negatively affect the work. And there is no time for that. For example, I got feedback on how I send the food orders to the kitchen. It was helpful, because it negatively affected my work and also the chef’s work. The feedback was open, it told me what I did and how it affects as well as how I could improve and do it the next time.

Last, but not least, celebration. Celebration in the team makes the accomplishments visibility as well as to make the person noticed by the good work. Celebrations can be organized by yourself, too, because waiting for others to notice and organize might take too long. Parker (41, 2009) summaries it well: “people are quick to criticize, but low to praise”. Celebration is an important part of seeing the result and the path behind. (Parker, 41, 2009)

“Good job! I did great tonight – give me a high five”. Celebration. That makes the difference. High fives to each other and cheers to the team who worked well – I like that culture. I like that people come to you, give a hug and say thank you for the good work – if it is deserved. In my opinion, there doesn’t always have to be expensive parties to celebrate good work and team. What matters more is the celebration which is there everyday. In the fast-paced restaurant the little celebration feels very good. It is not happening after every shift, but it is happening when the team really works together that well that everyone knows it without the words.

But seeking into the question, what can we learn from the environment where teamwork is the requirement, not an option? I have a word in my mind and it is communication. The other words in my mind are the goal and defining the roles. After my own experiences and the findings of the essay, I would like to highlight those three elements as key elements of a successful team. Without a goal, there is literally nothing. In the restaurant environment the goal would be, for example, to create a five star food and service experience. That is the goal, which comes outside and is the aim the whole team is working for. This essay made me think that it is not enough to have a goal, which is made for the team. It is also important to have a goal of your own, which comes inside and is one of the reasons you are part of the project.

The team goal is very important and strongly highlighted. But what is the role of the individual’s goals? We are working for the goal we have set up with the team and which serves the team’s preferences. It can also be part of our individual’s goals, but the direction which is created by multiple  people can’t be the only truth or direction of your own. In the restaurant the individual’s goal can be for example, to earn money, learn a new language or adapt to the new environment better. Those goals are as important as the team goal and it drives the motivation to work, to develop and to give your best every day. It is also something which is created by yourself and the truth you have. For example, in the university world someone’s individual goal might be to get a degree whereas some others are more interested in having their own company after university. Or there is one who is interested in trying different business ideas and projects and the other’s goal might be to make a big profit and get the leading experience. And these are the goals which are the reason why we want to give our best for the team everyday. The team goal is the one, which is leading us in the right direction as a team and is where we are heading to.

 

Secondly, I understand the importance of role dividing. In the hectic restaurant world it helps to focus on the right things and it’s easier to ask for help, if something is needed. I also think that defining the roles in the team helps to keep the focus on the tasks as well as it is easier to understand who does and what. I don’t see a role defining as putting team members to the different slots. It is more to share the responsibilities as well as tasks to the team members.

 

After all, I think that without communication there is nothing. It is something which is mentioned in Parker’s book, in studies in ProAkatemia as well as I have noticed in real life action to be a very important part of successful teamwork. I really liked the example of different kinds of communications: the information and interpersonal based. I think both of them are developing the team in a good way. I have noticed that the informal one would be good to be specific, clear, communicated straight to the person as well as based on the subject and on the neutral environment. The feedback which is informal is easier to receive as well as change the action, if it’s needed. Interpersonal communication requires trust as well as an environment which is supportive to be heard. Based on my own experience, interpersonal communication develops the relationship between people and also increases trust. In the fast-paced environment, interpersonal communication is not developing that fast, because there is no time for deeper chats. But that happens at the end of the shift or during the breaks. I also think it goes straight deeper, because work together is so intense that it feels natural to share personal things too. Overall, communication is the only way to share and receive. In the team, it is important to ensure the direction the team is going and working on, as well as give and receive feedback. It is all about communication. 

 

This essay focused on the fast-paced restaurant’s teamwork and the elements of what we could learn from there. I think the environment requires us to use team working skills even more than in a low-paced environment or jobs. This made me think, how to develop these elements to the teamwork which is not in a fast-paced environment. An answer for that could be intense weeks, where the whole team works with limited time as well as trying to solve the given problem or task. The essay also highlighted the three elements: goal setting, dividing roles and importance of communication, which I see to be the core factors of a successful team. Same way as shouting “one ou two is ready for the main course” to the chefs in the kitchen, I will now message my essay group that: “One new essay in the essay bank”. 

 

Resources:

Indeed editorial Team. 2021. Indeed. SMART Goals: Definition and Examples. Read: 23.3.2022. Link: https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/smart-goals 

Harris, Thomas. Sherblom, John. 2011. Waveland press. United States of America. 

Parker, Glenn. 2009. Team work: 20 steps to success. Human Resource Development.

Picture: fauxels in Pexels

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