Get the most out of team meetings: insights for restaurant, retail, and service teams

For service-based teams, team meetings play a vital role in fostering collaboration, aligning goals, and driving success. But planning and executing effective team meetings can be difficult when your team operates across different shifts. 

In this comprehensive blog post, we’ll highlight the types of meetings that are essential for service-based teams, explore how to make your meetings more effective, and provide actionable tips to improve employee engagement. We’ll also share how digital tools can bridge the communication gap to eliminate unnecessary meetings. 

So, say goodbye to wasted hours in unproductive meetings with lackluster results. It’s time to revolutionize your approach and reclaim your time!

What are team meetings?

A team meeting is a scheduled discussion where team members or colleagues discuss shared projects, tasks, or goals.

Typically led by a team leader or facilitator, these meetings provide an opportunity for collaborative decision-making, information sharing, and progress tracking.

Team meetings can be conducted either in person or virtually through video conferencing platforms. Regardless of the format, team meetings support effective communication, promote alignment, and drive collective success.

What’s the purpose of team meetings?

Team meetings serve as a vital platform for team members to come together and achieve common goals in the service industry. While the specific reasons for each meeting may vary, team meetings are typically used to facilitate effective communication, foster collaboration, and drive productivity. 

These gatherings also provide an invaluable opportunity for team members to share crucial updates, coordinate projects, address challenges, and make informed decisions together.

In the context of the service industry, where operations span multiple shifts, team meetings hold even greater significance. They offer a dedicated and structured time for team members, working across various shifts, to synchronize their efforts and collaborate seamlessly on important issues and projects. By providing this regular forum for engagement, team meetings contribute to a cohesive and well-coordinated service delivery, which ultimately leads to enhanced customer satisfaction and organizational success. 

What do bad team meetings look like?

Regardless of how well-intentioned a meeting may be, it can quickly become unproductive without proper planning and management. 

Meetings that fail to identify a clear purpose or agenda tend to veer off track and fail to achieve their objectives. When team meetings are consistently unfocused, your team starts to consider them a waste of time—and that equals tuning out. Unfortunately, when team members are disengaged, they participate in group discussion less, which can further inhibit your ability to lead a productive meeting.

Similarly, meetings that start or finish late can communicate a lack of respect for your employees’ time. When this consistently happens, some members of your team may become disruptive. If unaddressed, this type of disruptive behavior can encourage others to follow suit and create a toxic workplace culture, with far reaching consequences.

The last characteristic of a bad meeting is all about the action plan. Failure to accurately identify next steps can leave your team feeling like the meeting lacked purpose. Over time, holding unproductive meetings that aren’t genuinely required can lead to meeting fatigue and ultimately contribute to employee burnout.

How to improve team meetings

Since team meetings are especially beneficial for leading service-based teams working varied shifts, establishing a way to improve your team meetings is critical. By focusing on the four Ps (purpose, product, people, and process) you can create an environment where discussions are focused, and meeting objectives are consistently achieved.


The “purpose” of the meeting emphasizes the why behind the gathering. This should extend beyond a weekly touch base to include clearly defined reasons for discussing a particular issue.

Once you’ve identified a specific purpose, share it in the meeting invite along with your desired outcome for the meeting. 

This ensures everyone has enough time to gather their thoughts and prepare to have a productive discussion. Not only does a clear-defined purpose help guide the direction of the meeting, but it also keeps participants engaged and motivated to achieve the intended outcome.


For a meeting to be deemed productive, it needs to produce results. The purpose of your meeting should be directly tied to the product or outcome. This is essentially your end goal for the meeting. 

For instance, let’s say a restaurant holds a meeting to prepare for its busiest summer months. A product of that meeting could be coming up with three new summer dishes to add to the menu or collaborating on how time off requests should be managed during peak vacation times. 

By keeping the focus on a tangible and actionable outcome, you can ensure that your meeting remains productive and moves the team forward.


Establishing a clear meeting purpose and product will only produce results if the key players are in attendance. Just consider how unproductive the restaurant meeting discussed above would be without input from the head chef. That said, the meeting should be relevant to everyone in attendance.  

So, while it’s critical to include your chefs and servers in a meeting about menu changes, it may not be as relevant for your bartenders or bussers to attend. By selectively inviting team members based on their relevance to a meeting, you demonstrate a respectful attitude towards their time and can potentially boost their engagement when they do participate.


The process is essentially a meeting agenda that outlines how your meeting will run. To get the most out of your agenda, send it out ahead of time so that everyone knows what to expect. A solid meeting agenda should include the purpose of your meeting, the expected outcome, and a brief timeline. By designating individuals to lead specific segments of the meeting, your speakers will have clear guidance on when to take charge, resulting in a more streamlined process.

Before ending the meeting, briefly summarize what’s been said, the action plan, and a reminder of deadlines if applicable. This recap reinforces that the meeting has been productive and reminds your team of their responsibilities going forward.

How to run effective team meetings 

Ensuring focus and efficiency in meetings is vital, but it’s equally important to determine the right frequency, purpose, and strategies for enhancing engagement. In this section we’ll explore how setting clear objectives, creating an agenda, fostering active participation, and implementing actionable follow-up items can help you optimize your team meeting process.

How often should team meetings be held? 

While the purpose of your team meetings will influence how often they’re held, establish the right cadence to ensure they’re effective. Holding meetings too often places additional strains on an overworked team, which can negatively affect team morale. Similarly, the absence of sufficient meetings can leave your team feeling directionless and prone to making mistakes. 

These guidelines will help you determine how often your team meetings should be held so you can avoid both scenarios.

  • Quarterly: A quarterly cadence is ideal for progress reviews or planning future initiatives at a high level. Detailed action plans require a more frequent cadence.
  • Monthly: A monthly cadence is more suitable for departmental meetings, management check-ins, or project team meetings that require a bit more detail than quarterly reviews.
  • Weekly: Team meetings are ideally scheduled weekly to review the previous week’s progress and establish projections for the coming week. Many managers also schedule one-on-one meetings weekly to keep an eye on employee productivity and morale.
  • Daily: While some teams have a daily check-in meeting, this can be particularly disruptive for shift-based teams. With staggered start times, it can be challenging to get the entire team in one place, even for five minutes. Sending a team message via a messenger app allows you to communicate important reminders without the need to have your team physically in one space.

Ideas for team meetings 

Although your team meetings may become more casual over time, they’ll always need structure to run smoothly. To start, all team meetings should have a clear agenda with specific objectives. Send the agenda out before the meeting so that your employees have time to prepare. Remember, only invite those who really need to be there. 

At the onset of the meeting, remind your team to turn off their phones and select someone to monitor the time. Begin with the issues that require immediate attention and share your desired outcome. This establishes a solution-oriented approach rather than a disorganized discussion, which will improve the outcome of your meetings. Encourage participation but set ground rules for interruptions and disruptive behavior.

End your meeting by summarizing the key points, decisions, and action items. Then, be sure to follow up to track progress. This could require another meeting or a team message that reinforces action items or deadlines.

It can also be helpful to ask for feedback from your team. Did they find the meeting relevant? Was there a different way to communicate the info? Simply seeking employee feedback can boost engagement and improve meeting outcomes going forward.

Topics for team meetings 

Team meetings hold significant value for service-based teams that operate across multiple shifts. They serve as a crucial platform for ongoing communication and the dissemination of important updates. So, let’s explore a few meeting topics that will keep service-based teams running smoothly.

Routine communication and coordination

Since shift-based teams work different hours, it can be challenging to find an opportunity to directly communicate with your entire team. That’s why it’s important to schedule regular meetings to maintain communication and coordination. During these meetings, team members from different shifts can align on ongoing tasks (such as inventory), identify team objectives, discuss challenges, and coordinate shift handovers. Maintaining routine communication meetings helps maintain consistency and minimize disruptions between shifts.

Training and knowledge sharing

Team meetings also serve as a platform for ongoing staff training and knowledge sharing. Whether your team requires routine training for proper food handling, safety protocols, or regulatory and compliance measures, meetings ensure everyone receives the same information. Team meetings also facilitate knowledge sharing amongst team members with diverse skill sets and experience. Through the sharing of best practices and valuable insights, individuals can elevate their expertise and overcome knowledge deficiencies, fostering a culture that encourages ongoing learning. These initiatives benefit new hires, ensuring you’ve equipped employees with the necessary knowledge and skills for their roles.

Performance review

Leaders can use team meetings to share sales targets and performance metrics while providing a platform for their team to share sales techniques that have worked for them. These types of meetings provide an invaluable opportunity to learn from each other’s experiences and address common challenges or obstacles.

Team building

Working different shifts can create a sense of disconnection among team members. Meetings can offer the chance for employees to interact, build relationships, and create a stronger team spirit. By prioritizing these types of meetings, team leaders promote a culture of camaraderie and support that can significantly improve team morale.

New products or processes

For restaurants or retail businesses, team meetings are an efficient way to introduce new products or processes. This ensures that you’ve informed all team members about the offerings. Now, they’ve got knowledge ahead of time, enabling them to provide accurate information and upsell to customers effectively.

Setting agenda items for team meetings 

As we’ve previously discussed, setting an agenda is a crucial aspect of any productive meeting. But what exactly should your agenda include? Well, it depends on the meeting, but here are a few pointers to get you started.

  1. Start with a meeting agenda template: Create a meeting agenda template that works for your team’s specific needs. While it may take some time initially, it will streamline the process going forward.
  2. Identify the purpose and desired outcome: Clearly identify the reason for your meeting and your desired goal or outcome. Try to be as specific as possible. This will help your team come up with relevant solutions or input before the meeting.
  3. Break down related tasks: Break down your main goal into smaller tasks to ensure the meeting is focused and productive. For instance, rather than setting a goal to boost overall sales (which is difficult to conceptualize), you could set a monthly goal to sell more sneakers. From there, it’s easier to break down actionable steps to achieve it.
  4. Establish a meeting timeline and identify speakers: Create a timeline and identify who will be covering each topic. This prepares your presenters for their turn and keeps the meeting on track.

 Once you’ve created an agenda with a clearly defined purpose, desired goal, related tasks, speakers, and timeline, your agenda can be sent to your team for feedback. Use a team communication app to ensure everyone gets it, and avoid risking spam via personal emails, or getting ignored on a lunch room bulletin board. Ask your team if they have any related topics or questions they’d like covered and adjust your agenda accordingly. And don’t forget to follow-up after the meeting with your team’s next steps.

How to make team meetings more engaging 

If you’ve ever watched a movie on repeat with a toddler, you know that even the best things in life can be ruined by repetition. So, although it can be beneficial to use the same agenda for your team meetings, it’s even more important to prioritize engagement. Fortunately, with a few minor changes you can improve participation, boost engagement, and make your meetings more enjoyable for everyone.

Focus on the positive

Boring meetings can quickly become something your team dreads. So, if you’re looking to boost engagement, grab their attention from the get-go. While it may not be a radical suggestion, starting off by asking everyone to share a personal or professional ‘weekly win’ can help your team get to know each other and set a positive tone for the meeting.

Mix up your presenters

Even if your favorite stand-up comedian hosts your team every week, eventually you’d get bored. So, it makes sense that your own team might be a bit tired of hearing you host every meeting. Try mixing things up by having managers or shift leaders take turns hosting the meeting. Not only will this shake things up enough for your team to pay attention, but it can also help your team build valuable public speaking and leadership skills.


Creating a culture of collaboration is key when it comes to actively engaging your employees in problem-solving initiatives. One study even found that participants spent 64% longer on a challenging task when they worked collaboratively with others. Just imagine how effectively your team could solve problems if everyone gave an additional 64%! While including time for collaboration during your meetings is critical, not everyone will feel comfortable sharing their opinion publicly. So, share your agenda ahead of time and encourage feedback via communication tools to ensure even your quietest employees are heard.

Get creative

Since employee engagement is all about shaking things up, don’t be afraid to get a bit creative. Consider taking your team meeting outdoors over ice cream or hosting a half-day retreat to an amusement park. Regardless of how far you choose to take this, breaking free from the monotony of every day is key for boosting engagement.

How to effectively schedule team meetings 

Understandably, scheduling an in-person meeting will be slightly different than scheduling a virtual one. Although virtual meetings have become the norm post-pandemic, in-person meetings represent one of the only times your entire shift-based team gets together. Platforms like Microsoft Teams allow you to easily schedule and host virtual meetings, but scheduling in-person meetings for your service-based team can present a bit more of a challenge.

Unlike desk-based teams who typically schedule meetings exclusively over email, service-based teams check their emails much less as their shifts are spent on their feet. So, if you’ve been struggling to communicate with your service-based team via email, you’re certainly not alone. To avoid missing emails and meetings, service-based teams are increasingly using cloud-based apps that send notifications directly to everyone’s mobile devices.

With Homebase’s internal communications tool, you can easily send individual, group, or all-staff messages to inform or remind your staff of team meetings. And since the communication app seamlessly integrates with our scheduling app, you can check everyone’s availability before scheduling your meeting. Once the meeting has taken place, you can use a team communication app to recap key points, share meeting notes, and even send reminders regarding any action items.

Improve communication with Homebase

While the Homebase app can streamline communication before and after meetings, it can also help you eliminate unnecessary meetings altogether. The truth is, not every issue or announcement requires a team meeting, especially one that’s held outside regular business hours to ensure everyone’s attendance.

Our business messaging app, allows you to organize deliveries or shift coverage across multiple locations, eliminating the need for logistics meetings. With our integrated built-in messenger tool, you can communicate with your entire team in real-time. So, instead of constantly organizing meetings to provide feedback, rectify miscommunications, share product and process updates, or send safety and compliance reminders, you can do it all from your mobile device.

Regardless of the size of your business, keeping it running smoothly is a time-consuming task that is only worsened by unproductive and unnecessary meetings. With Homebase, you can facilitate more productive team meetings, eliminate unnecessary ones, and ultimately run your business more efficiently.

Try Homebase’s built-in messenger app to facilitate more productive team meetings. Get started for free today.

Team meetings FAQ 

What is a team meeting?

A team meeting provides a dedicated space where team members or colleagues gather to participate in organized conversations about a specific topic. Whether in person or virtual, these types of meetings bring team members together to discuss mutual projects, objectives, or share important updates.

What is the purpose of a team meeting?

While the specific purpose of each team meeting varies, they serve as a platform for team members to share important updates, coordinate projects, discuss challenges, and make work-related decisions

What is a bad team meeting?

A bad team meeting typically occurs due to a lack of planning, which results in an unstructured meeting without a clearly defined purpose or goal. Not only do bad team meetings waste valuable time, but they also lead to frustration and even disengagement over time.

How can I run an effective team meeting?

Running an effective meeting requires careful preparation and organization. An effective meeting begins by crafting an agenda that outlines a distinct purpose and objective, identifies essential discussion points and presenters, and concludes with actionable tasks for participants.

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