Manager’s Tip #9: Simplify Language Barriers

Written By: Andrew Baughman

Does everyone on your team speak the same language?

It is not uncommon to have multiple languages spoken in hospitality workplaces. While this can be beneficial and create a diverse, unique environment, peer-to-peer communication may be difficult. Addressing communication barriers is an opportunity for leadership to:

  • improve team chemistry
  • reduce frustration
  • impart the importance of all team members
  • foster a more communicative work environment
  • increase workplace efficiency

            Solution: Provide resources and tools that simplify language barriers, and get your team involved:

  • ask employees what they would find useful; every team has different needs
  • translate menus and other commonly used items (instructions, lists, etc.)
  • use code words and abbreviations, such as:
    • “comp” for “complimentary/on the house”
    • “86” for “out of stock”
  • post common terms translated into the different languages

Encourage your team to utilize the resources provided, and be sure to participate in this process yourself. Leading by example will set the tone for inclusivity, communication, and workplace morale! For resources and more information, visit or contact us at



Abbot, Elisa (2019) Barriers to Communication: How to Overcome Language Barriers in Your Restaurant? The Rail.

Meet Your Next Best Employee – Fintech!

Written By: Matthew Bruner

Staffing issues? Tell us about it!

If your business is dealing with labor shortages, increased wages, and unreliable employees, it can be daunting to try and maintain a positive customer experience because you are bogged down with time-consuming manual tasks.

A recent survey of on-premises retailers asked what they think will be the biggest driving factor behind revenue growth in 2023. The resounding answer was that customer experience, driven by unmatched service and ambiance, would be the best path toward increasing revenue.

When looking at what goes into running a successful business, where can managers turn to ease their burden so they can focus on the customer experience?



Reward Your Customers’ Trust with Exceptional Service

Customers have so many options available when going out to eat or for a drink. If they happen to choose your business, you need to create a memorable experience from the moment they walk in the front door.

People get into this business because they love the art of hospitality. Unfortunately, that passion can be stifled by the laborious manual processes associated with back office paperwork and management.

Fintech can help create efficiencies by automating your back office so that you can focus on the front-of-house. And at such an affordable rate, you will wonder why you didn’t bring us on full-time earlier!


How We Drive Immediate Efficiencies

We can automate payments for all your alcohol invoices. Whether cash-on-delivery or by terms, our solution pays all invoices on time, every time.

We also clean all invoice data and integrate it into your back office accounting system via electronic file. We can drill down further by GL coding your products, keeping copies of all invoices online for up to 15 months, and using competitive market analytics to monitor price fluctuations.


Your Best Employee to Date

Why hire Fintech? We never call in sick. We never miss a shift. We are never late. We cost less than one day of admin labor for a month of services. And we don’t ask for any benefits.

Over 200,000 businesses trust Fintech to automate their back office management to free up the time to address front-of-house concerns.

If you want your business to excel in 2023, give yourself the right tools to help you focus on what matters most – your customers.

Check our credentials here and see how Fintech can make your life easier.

Healthy Hospitality: Manager’s Tip-Professional Development Opportunites

By: Andrew Baughman

Statistic: 79% of hospitality workers say that opportunities for professional development would be most impactful in promoting a supportive workplace environment.

Problem: Evidence suggests that hospitality industry training, in general, is “poor,” which poses an array of problems. Inadequate professional instruction “jeopardizes service quality, and can demean and embarrass employees,” and often causes “employees [to be] disciplined for their inability to perform.”

Due to the industry’s high turnover rate, it is uncommon for hospitality management to:

  • be invested in thoroughly training employees
  • recognize the professional desires of many employees

However, “training and development affect job satisfaction and organizational [sic] commitment, which in turn affect staff retention.” A lack of professional investment in employees increases the likelihood that they will leave, often in search of jobs with more opportunity and consideration for their ambitions.

Solution: Gather ideas from your team about professional opportunities they would like and support them in pursuing their goals. Consider providing:

  • cross-training in the workplace
  • opportunities to be responsible for a project
  • de-escalation training for navigating tough conversations with peers and customers
  • food and alcohol safety training
  • ask-me-anything sessions with management

For resources and more information, visit or contact us at

Active Minds, Optum. (2021). Creating a Culture of Support in the Workplace: A Best Practices Resource for Managers in the Hospitality Industry. Washington, DC; Active Minds.
Poulston, Jill. (2008). Hospitality workplace problems and poor training: A close relationship. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management. 20. 412-427. 10.1108/09596110810873525.

Shawmut: Industry Trends, Success Stories & More

Can you introduce Shawmut to our readers?

Shawmut Design and Construction is a national construction management firm with 11 offices nationwide, including in South Florida’s Miami and West Palm Beach. Shawmut has been active in South Florida for the last 25 years and has thoughtfully executed countless signature projects for the region’s top hospitality groups.

Please explain to readers about the services/solutions that Shawmut provides to clients.

Shawmut is a construction management firm that is dedicated to providing clients a better building experience. Throughout the entire journey—from pre-construction to the grand opening—we act as a true partner, becoming an extension of our client’s team to ensure flawless execution. We help bring our clients’ visions to life, utilizing our deep expertise in the market coupled with best-in-class construction management practices, innovative technology, and a unique ability to facilitate upfront collaboration with all stakeholders that enables diversity of thought. (Pictured: Tim Barges, Director, South Florida, Shawmut)

Can you explain trends in “maximizing and monetizing every square foot of a business?”

In result of the pandemic, hospitality industry leaders have been evaluating their service models, figuring out ways to become more efficient, and finding new ways to drive revenue. That is why we are seeing new creative strategies emerge to maximize and monetize every square foot of a property. In particular, hotels are examining the effectiveness of their used—and unused—space. For example, extra lobby space is being used to accommodate food and beverage, and existing amenity space is being transformed to be flexible and multi-purpose so revenue can be generated 24 hours a day.

Shawmut is employee owned. Can you discuss how this business model improves quality?

Being 100% employee-owned means every employee has an invested interest in the success of the company and the success of their projects. Shawmut team members bring an owner’s mentality to everything they do to consistently exceed expectations. Because of this, we deliver an unmatched client experience and finished product.

Would you share some of the projects that you’ve worked on in Florida, and also some of the memorable hospitality projects that Shawmut has managed?  

I’ve been working in Florida since 2014 and some of my favorite projects have been for The Diplomat Beach Resort and L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon Miami. Currently, our Miami team is working on the completion of Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina’s new event center.

Shawmut has been involved in South Florida’s hospitality industry for almost three decades, completing projects that span from fine dining restaurants to fast casual chains to upscale hotels. We played an instrumental role in developing the Miami Design District into a vibrant high-end retail and hospitality haven; built some of Miami’s most iconic, high end, and trendiest restaurants; and completed work for award-winning hotel groups. Notable clients and projects include Soho Beach House, Le Jardinier, The Surf Club Restaurant at the Four Seasons, Fontainebleau Miami Beach, Smith & Wollensky, and Pink Taco.

What are you seeing in industry trends for 2023 and beyond?

  • The guest experience will remain top priority, but business models will pivot to reduce operating costs without sacrificing experience.
  • Sustainability practices such as making buildings self-sufficient and energy independent will be implemented.
  • There is a renewed focus on wellness in hotels and resorts.
  • Hotels will capitalize on remote/hybrid work by generating revenue from rooms in new ways. For example, rooms that would normally be empty during business hours will be rented out as an alternative to working from home.

Learn more HERE.


By The Florida Natural Gas Association

A staple in the food service, hospitality, and lodging industries for decades, natural gas appliances have never been so easy to use while saving money. Have the ability to; prepare food, heat water, dry linens, and provide other services to keep your business going with limitless natural gas. Not to mention the rebate incentives available on top of the substantial energy savings.

Natural gas appliances are the smartest choice for your business. Why? Because you can enhance your equipment’s performance standards, reduce equipment failure, and save money on overall energy costs by replacing electric appliances or even old natural gas appliances with new natural gas equipment.

Consumers can identify appliances that are energy-efficient by looking for Energy Star certification. According to Energy Star, if all commercial water heaters sold in the United States were Energy Star certified, energy cost savings would be nearly $890 million. In addition, more than 17 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions would be prevented from entering the atmosphere each year.

Wondering how to make the jump? Florida’s natural gas providers are committed to helping Floridians switch to cleaner, cost-effective, and reliable natural gas by offering appliance rebates, which help to accelerate the conversion and keep even more money in your pockets. These rebates include thousands of dollars in qualifying commercial equipment, such as natural gas commercial water heaters (tank and tankless), natural gas commercial ranges and ovens, natural gas commercial fryers, and natural gas commercial dryers.

Some utilities offer rebate programs tailored to specific industries like hospitality and lodging, food service, laundromat and cleaning services, and small businesses. Different rebate options are available for electric to gas replacement, gas to gas retention and new construction.

In addition to rebate programs, some utilities like Peoples Gas, have an energy conservation program, which provides cash-back allowances to eligible businesses, designed to help your business start saving right away.

To check if your utility has a rebate program or for details regarding rebates that your business may qualify for, visit your utility company’s website to learn more.

Lower your energy costs with high-performance, energy-efficient natural gas equipment, and save even more with natural gas rebates. Saving energy and reducing costs has never been easier.

Gas South Makes an Impact with Giving in the Southeast

By Topher Jensen, Director of Commercial Sales at Gas South

One of our biggest priorities at Gas South is giving back to the communities we serve, which is why our mission is to Be A Fuel For Good. Each year, we’ve committed to giving 5% of profits to children in need, which takes many forms. One unique and powerful way we give back is through our annual impact investments, where we award $50,000 to six deserving nonprofits.

Rather than simply selecting groups our leadership team is involved with or donating money to the same organizations year after year, our employees get to decide the beneficiaries, making the impact investments so much more personal and meaningful.

The process to distribute the $300,000 in critical aid begins by assessing the needs in the community. We open an online portal for applications in the spring of each year, and organizations are encouraged to be specific in explaining their mission and how the funds will be used.

Once the nominating window is closed, we empower our employees to drive the selection process, providing video interviews of the applicants and even opportunities to meet them in person to learn more about their goals and overall mission. Our success and ability to give these game-changing gifts is because of the tremendous work our employees do every day, so putting them in control of this decision is a key pillar of our corporate culture.

This year, our employees chose to reward two Florida-based charities making a meaningful difference, with $50,000 going to both the Ronald McDonald House and North Central Florida YMCA in Gainesville.

Ronald McDonald House Florida supports “Our House,” a home that provides lodging and meals to families traveling to Gainesville to seek medical care for ill children. The nonprofit is currently renovating to expand its services to more families, and Gas South’s donation will sponsor a room at their new location.

The North Central Florida YMCA offers programs that build a healthy spirit, mind, and body for all, and the donation will be used to build a community STEAM lab for local children and teens, giving them the ability to learn life-changing skills and explore new technologies.

Additionally, our impact investments in the backyard of our corporate headquarters in Atlanta will allow more children with special needs to receive therapeutic horse rides from Beyond Limits Therapeutic Riding, fight childhood hunger across the city through Feed the Children and Second Helpings, and inspire teenage girls to be confident leaders through Girl Talk.

Once the $300,000 is delivered to the selected organizations at the end of the summer, we take a step back to fully appreciate the impact the donations have on the organizations receiving them. We never take for granted the opportunity to impact the lives of children and families, and we’re so grateful to our customers for being the engine that allows us to Be A Fuel For Good.


Lease Renewal Do’s & Don’ts for Restaurant Tenants

By Dale Willerton, The Lease Coach –

Approximately two million commercial lease renewal transactions take place every year in North America. Negotiating a lease renewal is not an overnight process. It can take some time and involves a number of steps (as found in our book, Negotiating Commercial Leases & Renewals FOR DUMMIES, and as summarized below):

Do start the lease renewal planning process well in-advance. Beginning 12 – 15 months in advance allows ample time for negotiating, completing paperwork, searching for alternate sites (if necessary) and accounting for Murphy’s Law.

Do create competition for your tenancy. Restaurant tenants should negotiate on multiple locations simultaneously – especially with lease renewals, even if they don’t want to move. Create options and play one landlord against another.

Do talk to other tenants. For lease renewals The Lease Coach often talks with other tenants at the property who have recently renewed leases, asking how these renegotiations went and what the landlord was willing to agree to in terms of rental rates and further tenant incentives.

Do negotiate for lease renewal incentives. Restaurant tenants often neglect or are simply fearful of negotiating for lease renewal incentives. Ask yourself what inducements (e.g. free rent/tenant allowances) would the landlord give to a new tenant coming into the property?

Don’t accept an inappropriate lease length. When renewing, a tenant should not automatically sign for the same terms as the initial lease without considering their own future. The business may be sold and/or a restaurateur may retire. Don’t get locked into a long-term lease renewal if a shorter term is desired.

Don’t settle for the same rental payment. Achieving a rent reduction on a lease renewal is a very real possibility and something The Lease Coach specializes in for clients. If the landlord is leasing space to new tenants at less than what the tenant is currently paying, a rent reduction could be achievable.

Don’t allow the landlord to retain the deposit. If the tenant has paid the landlord a deposit, they should ask for this back upon the lease renewal date. If the tenant has faithfully paid rent over the initial term, then why should the landlord keep this money?

Don’t unnecessarily exercise your option. This may prevent you from getting a rent reduction or other incentives.  Alternatively (if the landlord wants you to stay anyway) The Lease Coach simply negotiates a Lease Extension and Amending Agreement in your favor.

Dale Willerton is The Lease Coach. A professional lease consultant, Dale is the author of Negotiating Commercial Leases & Renewals FOR DUMMIES and frequently speaks at industry events such as the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show where you can see him again this year. Visit to request your complimentary copy of Dale’s book.


National Restaurant Association: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Report

The National Restaurant Association recently released a landmark diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) report measuring the awareness and perceived effectiveness of DEI practices among employers and employees in the restaurant industry. The research, conducted in collaboration between the National Restaurant Association(Opens in a new window), the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation(Opens in a new window) (NRAEF), the Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance(Opens in a new window) (MFHA), and Cornell University Nolan School of Hotel Administration(Opens in a new window), found an association between the impact of DEI strategies and foodservice workers’ job satisfaction. The study also highlighted differences between a company’s perceptions about its DEI effectiveness and its employees’ experiences. Ultimately, the report reinforces the critical importance of effective DEI policies in driving employee engagement and retention within the restaurant industry.

To support the development of effective DEI programs across the industry, MFHA created ELEVATE – A Menu for Change. The framework provides restaurant operators with proactive business strategies and plans for building a more diverse, inclusive, and engaged workforce.

Key Findings of the Report

Employer reporting of employee demographics over-estimates the number of historically marginalized communities in the restaurant industry, especially at the mid- and upper levels of management, compared with how employees self-report.

Employee and employer perceptions of current DEI initiatives differed on the effectiveness and awareness of the policies.

When restaurant employees leave the industry, many do not return. Respect and a culture of belonging are associated with job satisfaction and intent to stay in the industry.

ELEVATE – A Menu for Change Framework: A Proven Guide to Creating Successful DEI Programs

To drive positive change in DEI initiatives for enterprises and employees, the MFHA created ELEVATE – A Menu for Change – a step-by-step toolkit with proven best practices and proactive business strategies. Each step reflects actions to be taken by company management to create and foster effective DEI programs. The framework includes tools to help enterprises assess DEI throughout its organization, identify stakeholders, examine what it currently offers, and establish a strong foundation for meaningful change. It also covers topics such as fostering stakeholder communication, establishing goals and success metrics, conveying value to employees, and resources for building successful training and measurement practices.

MFHA plans to support industry execution of the ELEVATE framework by providing a range of supplemental resources, including expert-led DEI sessions among stakeholders, employers and employees, management coaching, and ongoing support for groups of similar organizations moving through the framework together.

“The restaurant workforce is the most diverse across the U.S. economy. The new insight provided by our research and the MFHA’s ELEVATE framework creates an opportunity to develop a standard for meaningful DEI programs across the industry,” said Michelle Korsmo, President & CEO of the National Restaurant Association and CEO of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. “Our industry historically has welcomed all people looking to chase their American dream with a solid career and ownership potential. As our current and future workforces focus on new goals and change their expectations, we want the industry to continue to be a place that welcomes all and supports personal and professional growth.”

The research survey was conducted in August and September 2021 in two tracks: An online survey of 200 enterprise representatives from a population representative of the U.S. restaurant and foodservice industry; and an online survey of current and former employees, and individuals who have never worked in the industry. The combined 5,180 individual respondents were representative of the U.S. restaurant and foodservice industry workforce.

Find more information about the DEI Report on the Restaurant Industry 2022 and ELEVATE – A Menu for Change framework here(Opens in a new window).

About the National Restaurant Association 

Manager’s Tip- Establish Team Trust

Manager’s Tip- Establish Team Trust

By Andrew Baughman

Establish Team Trust

Statistic: 33% of hospitality workers say that a lack of trust from or with management is one of the most stressful parts of their job.

Problem: A certain amount of trust is demonstrated when someone is hired to do a job. Despite this, employees often encounter stressful displays of distrust, such as unnecessary micromanagement, surveillance, and suspicion from leadership. This can cause low morale, bitterness, and lots of stress—very unhelpful when considering turnover rates and team success. In fact, “feeling trusted can lead to improved service performance,” so pursuing a trustful relationship with employees is a win for everyone.

Solution: Communicate and demonstrate trust in your team; encouraging trustworthiness goes a long way when it comes from leadership.

  • Assume that your employees have the best intentions.
  • Model trust by actively listening to your employees when a conflict or challenge arises.
  • Trust your employees’ needs when they request time off.
  • Trust your employees to know what is best for their health, unless you are given reason not to.
    • Most employees do not have medical benefits and cannot afford to pay for a doctor visit. Asking them to prove their illness with a doctor’s note is problematic.
  • Tell your employees about your trust in them, even if it is difficult.

For resources and more information, visit or contact us at


Active Minds, Optum. (2021). Creating a Culture of Support in the Workplace: A Best Practices Resource for Managers in the Hospitality Industry. Washington, DC; Active Minds.

Jigang Fan, Xiaolong Wei, Ilsang K., How do hotel employees’ feeling trusted and its differentiation shape service performance: The role of relational energy, International Journal of Hospitality Management, Volume 92, 2021, 102700, ISSN 0278-4319,

November Mindful Minute: National Diabetes Month

November Mindful Minute: National Diabetes Month

By Andrew Baughman

As of 2016, 7.7% of service industry workers in the US said they had been told by a doctor or nurse they had diabetes. This means that diabetes is more prevalent in our industry than in it is most others, for a variety of reasons that deserve more attention. Shift work, lower-incomes, race and ethnicity, and less access to health care are all interrelated factors that create risk factors of their own, and some are named below. One in ten adults in the world were living with diabetes in 2021—now is the time to learn about it, help those living with it, work to prevent its prevalence in the future.

There are three major types of diabetes:

  • Type 1: an autoimmune disorder that usually manifests in childhood; the immune system destroys cells that make insulin
  • Type 2: develops over time, usually in middle age; the body is unable to use insulin properly to regulate blood sugar
  • Gestational: occurs during pregnancy; the body does not use insulin properly


Diabetes can put people at risk for a number of serious health issues, including nerve damage, heart disease, limb injuries, vision issues, and an increased risk of serious COVID-19 symptoms and side effects. People are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if they are older than 45, overweight, physically inactive, have a family history of type 2 diabetes, and have had gestational diabetes in the past. As mentioned before, systemic inequities cause significantly higher rates of diabetes (specifically type 2 and gestational) for people with lower incomes, people of color, and other underserved communities in the US.

Prediabetes is even more common, affecting over one third of Americans. You can stay informed about being prediabetic by getting your fasting blood sugar tested regularly, and don’t worry—both prediabetes and diabetes can be managed!

Here’s how you can help prevent and manage prediabetes and diabetes:

  • Consume fewer processed carbohydrates and foods with added sugar; consume more unprocessed foods and non-starchy vegetables—a healthy diet is the most powerful tool in managing prediabetes and diabetes
  • Get 30 minutes of exercise daily, five days a week
  • Monitor blood glucose levels regularly, and take any medication as prescribed
  • Get support from friends and family
  • Start small, because too much change at once can feel overwhelming and unsustainable


Together we can build a world that minimizes the risk of diabetes and helps those living with it. Consider what you can do within your hospitality workplace to address the risk factors workers face. Visit for resources to help you and your team stay physically and mentally healthy throughout the year.