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.