Back to Blog
Ann Holtzapple

Six Tips for Managing Conflict with Restaurant Employees

In a perfect world, everyone would get along with everyone all of the time. In the busy and often stressful restaurant world, conflicts can and do occur. When tempers flare in the kitchen (and in the dining room), the right response can make all the difference. Read on for a roundup of six conflict resolution tips for restaurant managers.


1. Understand the problem before getting involved.

From internal conflicts between employees to external conflicts between employees and customers, suppliers and other parties, many different issues can arise in restaurant settings. The key to reaching mutually agreeable solutions? Understanding the cause of the tension. Whether there’s an ongoing personality issue or an acute problem has arisen, identifying and addressing the root issue can lead you to the best solution. That said, promptly addressing an issue can stop it from festering, so don’t hesitate if your involvement is necessary.


2. Hear both sides of the story.

In order to reach a fair and mutually agreeable resolution, awareness of both sides of the story is essential. But keep in mind that neutrality — especially for managers — is also critical. If team members perceive that you are “taking sides,” a situation can quickly go from bad to worse. Having a second manager present can further support objectivity.

And remember: Validating employee feelings while remaining neutral is important. Sometimes the mere act of being heard can mitigate a concern.


3. Take it “outside.”

We don’t mean literally outside. We do mean removing any conflicts from public settings. Not only is arguing in front of customers bad business, but the presence of an audience can escalate the situation — especially in today’s social media-centric society.


4. Don’t forget about the customers.

Whether customers witness an altercation between employees or are involved in the altercation themselves, take immediate steps to remedy the problem. Offer your apologies on behalf of your restaurant, explain how the situation is being handled, and move on. One of the quickest ways to divert the attention of dinners impacted by a conflict in your restaurant? Offer freebies, such as an appetizer or round of drinks.


5. Touch base later.

Just because you reach a solution in the moment doesn’t mean the issue is gone for good. Remaining vigilant about the situation and following up with the involved parties not only ensures that the situation is completely dealt with, but can also head off future problems.

If you’ve had to take punitive action, be strict with its enforcement. This not only engenders in employees an understanding of the direct relationship between poor behavior and consequences, but also creates a safer workplace for other members of your community.


6. Have a zero-tolerance policy.

Some conflicts are of a more serious nature than others, such as racial discrimination and sexual harassment. Providing clear guidelines regarding what behaviors are unacceptable and will not be tolerated is an effective management tool.

One last thing to keep in mind? A positive environment is a natural defense against negativity in the workplace and the conflicts which arise from it. Putting a premium on staff morale is one of the best ways to facilitate accord in your restaurant.

Related Posts

PreciPan™ and TCM: Your Dynamic Duo in the K-12 Kitchen

Read More

The Ultimate Holiday Helper: Vulcan VCH16 Cook & Hold

Learn why a Vulcan cook and hold oven can be a valuable addition to your busy holiday season menu.
Read More

Tiny Space, Massive Flavors: How the Vulcan Minijet™ is Changing the Game

Read More

The Benefits of Scratch Cooking in K-12 Kitchens

Hoping to minimize processed, pre-packaged ‘heat-and-serve’ school meals, many schools use scratch cooking as a way to keep students full, nourished and growing.
Read More

5 Tips to Keep School Kitchen Cooking Equipment Clean

Routinely cleaning your K-12 kitchen cooking equipment not only supports efficient cooking operation, but also extends the life of your equipment. Follow these best practices to keep your Vulcan equipment performing its best for years to come.
Read More

Is a garden right for your school kitchen?

Everything from understanding plant biology while planning the garden to the architecture of a garden while building it. Kids of all ages can see first-hand what it takes to go from a seed to food.
Read More

QSR Food Safety: Safe Handling of Takeout

These days, customers enjoy having as many options as possible when it comes to safely picking up their meals.
Read More

Why Your Commercial Kitchen Needs a Steam Kettle

Steam kettles can provide your kitchen with immense benefits. Equipped with advanced technology, steam kettles can change your kitchen’s operations completely.
Read More

Restaurant Staffing Issues Continue. What Can You Do?

Restaurant work has not had the best reputation among workers, who may view it as fast-paced and stressful, thankless, low paying, lacking benefits and hard on family or social life with night, weekend, and holiday hours.
Read More

Proper Use of a Salamander Broiler

A salamander can do everything a cheesemelter can do and more. Its higher range of heat gives it versatility and much-needed speed, especially in busy commercial kitchens.
Read More

Seconds, Please! Creative Ways to Incorporate Vegetables into a School Lunch Menu

Read on for a closer look at the many benefits of eating vegetables, school lunch program nutrition standards for veggies and a roundup of ideas aimed at helping you incorporate more vegetables into your school lunch (and breakfast) menus.
Read More

Commercial & Restaurant Kitchen Equipment Guide

Read More

2021: The Return of the Restaurant

Read More

The Case for High-Efficiency Fryers

Read More

Rare Remarks: A Conversation with Dan DeRoma

Read More