Hospitality Team - KSB Recruitment

5 Easy Strategies to Turn Around an Underperforming Hospitality Team

How well has your hospitality team been performing recently? At this time of year, business can be slow, and that’s understandable. But is it just a blip, or a sign of something more serious in your underperforming hospitality team?

With hospitality and retail organisations having to stay one step ahead of the game in an increasingly difficult economy (for example, The Restaurant Group, which owns Frankie & Benny’s announced at the end of last year that they are to close 88 branches over the coming six years) having a high-performing team in place has never been more essential.

This article includes some inspiration on how to turn around an underperforming hospitality team, the signs to look out for before things get serious, and real strategies to implement in your establishment.


1. Identify the Problem Areas


Underperforming Hospitality Team KSB Recruitment


Identifying the crux of the problem is where you need to start. Have sales been down recently, have you have a few bad Trip Advisor reviews, or are you struggling to retain staff?

ne of the key elements to a high performing team is high staff retention, so it will be in your best interest to find out why employees are leaving.

Often, this means sitting down and having the potentially tricky conversation with employees about where the problems lie. If you don’t already, start conducting exit interviews with employees who leave, to try to find out how you can make changes which will keep staff happy and in their roles.

If you have had some bad reviews, try to identify the members of staff or the areas which the customers were unhappy about.

Sometimes it can be something as simple as a kitchen employee was called to help out on FOH because it was busy and you were short-staffed. They were unhappy with being called upon to do a job they’re not properly trained for, and so they didn’t give excellent service. This can be avoided in future by making sure you have enough staff for busy times, but also only calling on team members who are fully trained to help out on FOH.

2. Train Individual Members

When you are faced with an underperforming team, it is likely that not every member will need extra coaching; there might just be a few employees who will benefit from additional training.

You need to strike the right balance between the team and the individual. It might be unnecessary to revisit training with the whole team on certain issues, but likewise, individual members might feel singled out if they are given extra attention. A good way to combat this is to ask all team members where they would like additional training and work together with them to create a development plan for each employee.

3. Give Praise


Hospitality Team Underperforming KSB Recruitment


It can be shocking when talented candidates tell us at how little they received any form of praise or reward and recognition for their work in previous positions – unfortunately, this is a common theme in the hospitality industry.

A little R&R can go a long way. It doesn’t even have to be an ‘employee of the month’ board; employees appreciate being told there and then when they’ve done an excellent job. As a discerning manager, it is up to you to notice which employees are giving excellent service and manage them accordingly.

4. Focus on Constant Feedback

Often, managers feel unable to bring up issues with their team due to a lack of confidence, or a lack of real knowledge as to where the problems lie. But nothing you say to your employees should ever come as a shock if you focus on constant feedback.

In the same way that you would give praise on the spot, if you see a team member doing something against the normal practice or in a different way than you might expect, challenge them. It might be that they haven’t been trained properly or they aren’t sure what to do.

5. Be Present


Hospitality Team Underperforming KSB Recruitment 02


Finally, perhaps the best thing you can do as a manager to increase your team’s performance is to spend more time with them.

A big problem in the hospitality sector is that managers and supervisors aren’t present enough during the day-to-day goings-on. This can mean that poor practices are allowed to go on for long enough for them to become the ‘norm’ – this can be the demise of a once-great team.

Being present does not mean watching their every move, it is more about making your team know that you are there whenever they might need you for help or advice, and to make sure that no-one is struggling day-to-day. Managers who spend lots of time away from the daily activities of their hospitality business are missing out on the real issues that need attending to.


Are you struggling with an underperforming hospitality team? If you need new, highly talented hospitality and catering staff to turn-around your team, we can help.

We help businesses recruit the best hospitality and catering staff in the UK, get in touch with our team today to discuss your recruitment needs and how we can help you.

About KSB Recruitment

We are expert recruiters in the catering and hospitality industry with over 28 years in business, placing the best candidates in their perfect roles with obsessive attention to detail.

KSB is proud to be a Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) member, accredited investors in people, and both Data Protection and Home Office Compliance registered.

We specialise in roles in Birmingham, Staffordshire, the West Midlands, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Worcestershire and Northamptonshire.

Who is Dawn Bannister

Dawn has over 30 years recruitment experience recruiting for the likes of Sainsbury’s plc, Holiday Inn, Barclaycard, ISS, Royal Mail, West Midlands Police and the NEC – to name a few. She also oversaw the company’s Investors in People accreditation in 1999 – (and held ever since) and has recently been selected to attend the prestigious programme run by Aston University’s Business Growth Programme.