Many modern catering and hospitality teams are made up of large numbers of people spread over multiple sites, which presents unique operational challenges.
These teams include those working for large hotel chains or catering at major events like music festivals and sporting meets, or one-off occasions such as weddings, corporate functions, and private parties.
One of the greatest operational challenges for managing these catering and hospitality teams is maintaining effective communications across all departments, sites, and teams. When hors d’oeuvres trays need re-stocking, or a drink spill needs immediate attention, kitchen and frontline staff need to have real-time communication tools for uninterrupted guest service.
The solution lies in the omnipresent mobile phone. Mobile phones and other mobile devices like tablets are now instrumental in customer bookings (51% of searches for hotel bookings this summer were made via a mobile device, according to a recent study). What’s more, it’s likely that the majority of your hospitality team has and frequently uses a mobile device. This makes the implementation of mobile technology that can be easily accessed and effectively managed a natural choice for your improving your internal communications and operations strategy.
Traditional communications methods create problems
First, it’s worth considering what the issues are. Many catering and hospitality teams still rely on traditional methods of communication such as staff bulletin boards and emails, which often creates problems communicating with the whole team, especially for remote workers.
These communication issues include not keeping all team members in the loop with company information (employees aren’t always alerted to a new addition on the bulletin board). They also include vague orders from management, and information shared with one shift team not being shared as consistently or effectively with other shift teams.
As remote workers often don’t have face-to-face access to management to ask questions, a build-up of these issues can often lead to poor operations and inadequate service, which leads to too many customer complaints.
Adopting a digital platform for internal communications
More and more catering and hospitality teams are now adopting digital tech as a solution to overcome these operational communication problems. They are using mobile apps as an operational communication platform that helps organisations to communicate effectively with frontline staff and manage tasks efficiently in real-time.
Beekeeper can be instantly accessed by any team member via their mobile phone, connecting the entire organisation and setting the tone for what employees can expect when they report for their shift that day.
This is especially handy for communicating within large teams that contain temporary workers who may not have much experience working within the team, such as those working in catering and beverage staff at large events.
The right operational communication platform can also help to achieve employee and company goals. For example, if you asked your employees what their goal was for the next month, would they have a clear idea? What about your company’s goal for the year?
If you haven’t properly communicated what you want your employees to work toward every day, how can you expect them to deliver? The key is to communicate your mission early and often, and this can be done on a consistent, workforce-wide basis with internal communications tools.
Employees also know what’s happening in the upper levels of the organisation through corporate announcements, as well as other company events or news. Properly setting and managing expectations often goes a long way in making employees feel connected and engaged, which in turn leads to substantial operational improvements.
Better access for all team members to the right information
An operational communication platform that employees can access from their mobile devices can also improve the employee on-boarding and training process. New staff members can access key information like product details, company policies, and health and safety training videos and documents where and when it suits them, no matter where they are based. Again, this is particularly helpful for supporting remote workers who don’t have consistent face-to-face access to management to ask questions or access to company IT systems.
Letting mobile workers quickly access the right information can be vital for them to ensure smooth operations across large teams separated by location and shift. An internal communication platform also allows all team members to give feedback to management and directors to make sure key messages from the ground are being communicated up the organisational chain in a timely, well-organised, and efficient manner.
Happy employees equal happy customers
Operational communication platforms also ensure that your company is communicating regularly with all team members so that they feel considered and valued team members.
When employees are successfully engaged, informed, and given an opportunity to voice their feedback, they feel more invested and this will be evident in the level of guest service they provide customers. Internal communication strategies ensure your company is making this happen. The way your managers treat your employees is how your workers will model their behaviour for your customers. A mobile operational communication platform is an ideal way of aligning your entire workforce, while ensuring your catering company’s vision, mission, and culture are clearly demonstrated to provide an optimal guest experience.
Ultimately, adopting the right digital tool will give all members of large catering and hospitality teams a mobile communication platform, which can vastly improve operations and transform any catering or hospitality organisation’s performance.
By Cristian Grossmann, CEO and co-founder of communication platform Beekeeper