Behind every great cafe and bar is a strong team. Teamwork is the foundation that excellent service is built on, and it's also the indefinable magic that creates atmosphere.

A dream team will be happy and relaxed, energetic and efficient. All members will work together and support each other. Most crucially, they will be having fun on the job, which will percolate into the bar and elevate the mood of your customers.

So how exactly do you create and maintain positive team spirit? Here are our top tips.


The recipe for a dream team

First, communicate your vision. What makes your cafe or bar unique? How do you like it to be run, and what constitutes perfect service? What kind of atmosphere do you wish to create? Articulating your expectations will help your team understand what's important to you and get them working towards a shared goal.

Define each person's role so that everyone understands their responsibilities. This will ensure that team members work together efficiently, don't duplicate tasks, or allow jobs to slip through the net on the misplaced assumption that someone else will do them. If team members are clear about their roles, they will take ownership of them – and take pride in their work.

Responsibility breeds autonomy. So trust your team to do their job. Don't hover over them or micromanage them. Allow individuals to do their work and treat them like the responsible people you hired. Let them shine in their role and bring their personal stamp to it. Give new approaches a chance even if you question the method behind them. Your team will respond positively when they see that you trust them and their judgment.

Acknowledge excellence and reward it. This applies to individuals and to the team as a whole. Rewarding your team will motivate them to keep up the good work and reach for excellence. It will also make them happy, and that feelgood factor will travel beyond the team, into the cafe or bar and out to your customers.

However, if performance falls short of expectations or errors occur, hold your employees accountable. Poor performance will affect other members of the team who will need to work harder or take on additional responsibilities to compensate for the shortfall. If poor performance affects service levels, this will negatively impact your customers and could damage the reputation of your venue.

Encourage mentorship so that skills are passed down from experienced staff to juniors. From the operational side to the artistry of drinks creation, on-the-job learning is the best way to learn the business. It builds a rapport, creates friendships across skillsets and age divides, and unites the team as a whole. Your cafe or bar can become a hub of learning, with expertise retained within the team even when valued members leave.

Two females standing in a cafe in front of a drinks fridge. They are looking at an iPad and a sheet of paper as if they are stock taking.

Lead by example

As an owner or manager, it is your job to create the ideal conditions for team spirit to flourish. Set the tone and lead by example with these final three tips.

Create a respectful environment. Show each team member that they are valued and treat people well. This is particularly important during busy and stressful times, or when a team member makes a mistake.

Promote open communication. Hold regular team meetings and always be available for individual members so they can voice any work concerns or personal issues they may have. Master the art of conflict resolution. If conflict arises within the team, step in and mediate to defuse the situation and come to a resolution. Allow both sides to express their viewpoints without attributing blame. Offer a solution that works for both parties, and encourage all parties to reconcile and put the matter behind them. Then it's back to work, and service with a genuine smile.

We hope our mini-guide to bar and cafe and management helps you build and maintain your dream team. The results should speak for themselves, with low staff turnover, increased efficiency, greater profitability and healthy footfall, as more customers come in for a taste of the magic that only your venue can serve.

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