Building a Positive Culture in Underperforming Restaurants

Paul Segreto
3 min readFeb 22, 2024

In the realm of reviving underperforming restaurants, change management is not just about tweaking the menu or refreshing the décor. It extends profoundly into the human aspect of the business — its staff — and the cultivation of a culture that resonates from leadership all the way down and back up. This culture should be characterized by full transparency, open communications, and a collective effort to enhance every facet of the restaurant’s operations. As we continue this week’s focus on reviving underperforming restaurants, let’s dive into establishing the right culture.

Leadership and Transparency

The foundation of any successful change management initiative in a restaurant setting is leadership that is committed to transparency. Leaders must openly communicate their visions, the reasons behind changes, and how these alterations serve the collective goal of the establishment’s revival. This transparency helps in demystifying the process of change for the staff, making them feel valued and part of the journey.

Open Communication Channels

Creating an environment where open communication thrives is essential. Staff should feel empowered to voice their ideas, concerns, and suggestions without fear of retribution. This can be achieved through regular meetings and feedback sessions, where everyone — from the head chef to the waitstaff — is encouraged to share insights on improvements. Such a practice not only fosters innovation but also strengthens the team, as it reinforces the notion that every opinion matters.

Team Environment and Collaboration

The eradication of the “it’s not my job” mentality is pivotal in reviving underperforming restaurants. Encouraging a team environment where collaboration is the norm rather than the exception ensures that the staff operates like a well-oiled machine. In such environments, the focus shifts from individual tasks to the collective success of the restaurant. This is achieved through regular team-building activities and fostering a culture where helping each other is not just encouraged but expected.

Creating Positively Memorable Experiences

The ultimate goal of these initiatives is to create positively memorable experiences for customers, which, in turn, is a direct result of creating a positive working environment for the staff. When the staff is happy, valued, and feels part of a cohesive team, they are more likely to go above and beyond in their customer service efforts. This commitment to excellence from the staff can transform a dining experience from mundane to memorable, encouraging repeat business and positive word-of-mouth.

Moreover, when staff members see their ideas being implemented and their efforts recognized, it instills a sense of ownership and pride in their work. This emotional investment in the restaurant’s success is contagious, affecting every interaction they have with customers.


The revival of an underperforming restaurant through change management is a complex process that goes beyond the superficial elements of the business. It requires a deep dive into the human aspect, focusing on building a culture of transparency, open communication, and teamwork. By prioritizing these elements, leadership can foster an environment where staff members are motivated to contribute to the restaurant’s success, thereby ensuring that customers leave with positively memorable experiences. This holistic approach to change management not only revives the restaurant but also sets a solid foundation for its future growth and success.

Make it a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!



Paul Segreto

Franchises & Restaurants | Management & Development Consulting | Entrepreneurship Coaching | Visionary Thought Leader | CEO & Founder