There are many careers that require critical thinking or “common sense” to be successful in a specific role. Restaurant managers need to make fast and optimal staffing decisions on an hourly basis to remain profitable. Doctors and nurses must make accurate diagnoses and determine treatment plans for patients. Construction workers need to make the right decisions to maintain profitability and integrity of a building for safety and longevity.

Whether you’re a manager or conducting a self-review, here are performance review sample phrases you could include in an employee assessment about critical thinking skills. I share examples you can use for employees who meet or exceed expectations and even some blunt feedback for those who aren’t hitting the bar.

Critical Thinking Comments for Performance Review

Critical Thinking: 43+ (Good & Bad) Performance Review Phrases.

Performance Review for Critical Thinking.

Positive Performance Review Comments about Critical Thinking 

Over the past year, your exceptional critical thinking skills have been a driving force behind our restaurant’s success. Your strategic decision-making has not only enhanced operational efficiency but also significantly boosted our bottom line. Your ability to analyze sales trends and adjust inventory accordingly has reduced waste and maximized profitability.

[Employee name] thoughtful hiring decisions have resulted in a team that is not only skilled but also highly motivated, contributing to an atmosphere of excellence that keeps our customers coming back. Your knack for forecasting staffing needs, especially during peak times, has ensured smooth operations, enhancing our reputation for prompt service.

The employee’s critical thinking skills have been a key asset to our management team. Your decisions are always well-considered, taking into account both immediate needs and long-term objectives. This is particularly evident in your approach to cost management and menu pricing, which has had a direct positive impact on our profit margins.

You’ve built a team that not only delivers exceptional service but also works efficiently, reducing labor costs while maintaining high-quality standards. Your ability to align staffing levels with business needs has been remarkable, ensuring we operate at optimum capacity without overstaffing.

In your role as restaurant manager, your critical thinking abilities have shone through in various aspects of the business. Your decision-making, particularly when faced with unexpected challenges, has helped maintain operational continuity and protect our bottom line.

Related Reading: 51+ (Good + Bad) Job Knowledge Performance Review Samples 

[Employee Name]’s ability to critically analyze complex issues and make informed decisions quickly has been instrumental in navigating the team through challenging projects. [Their/His/Her] foresight and strategic thinking have consistently delivered outstanding results.

[Employee Name]’s critical thinking skills have been a major asset, especially during crisis management situations. [Their/His/Her] knack for assessing risks and creating contingency plans has ensured our team’s success under pressure.

[Employee Name]’s keen eye for detail and analytical thinking have greatly enhanced our financial processes. [They/He/She] consistently identify areas for cost savings and efficiency, significantly contributing to our fiscal health.

Excellent management of the produce section, showing innovative approaches in display and waste reduction.

[Employee Name]’s critical thinking skills have revolutionized our inventory management, leading to significant reductions in overhead costs. [Their/His/Her] innovative solutions for streamlining logistics have set a new standard in operational efficiency.

In a world full of noise, critical thinking is your best filter.

Your best filter.

Met Expectations Examples 

You demonstrated exceptional critical thinking skills in the XYZ project by identifying potential risks and proposing innovative solutions.

Your ability to analyze data from various sources and draw insightful conclusions has significantly contributed to our team’s success.

[Employee Name]’s meticulous attention to detail in financial reporting has ensured accuracy and compliance, directly contributing to our organization’s financial stability and integrity.

[Employee Name]’s timely and accurate budget forecasting has been instrumental in helping us make informed financial decisions, positively impacting our bottom line.

[Employee Name]’s proactive identification and resolution of discrepancies in our financial records have safeguarded us against potential losses, enhancing our financial health.

Consistently high-quality bakery products; however, there’s a reluctance to experiment with new, healthier recipes.

[Employee Name] has consistently met the expectations of their role as a Marketing Coordinator. They have delivered all their projects on time and adhered to the department’s guidelines. While their work is reliable, there is room for taking more initiative and bringing innovative ideas to the table.

Good performance in food preparation and hygiene but lacking initiative in customer service and product promotion.

Continue to hone critical thinking skills, particularly in crisis management, to lead the team more effectively during challenging times.

Related Reading: 45+ (Excellent – Poor) Performance Reviews for Interns 

Expertise in butchery is evident, but customer queries regarding meat origins and sustainability practices often go unanswered. Use critical thinking to understand and communicate the importance of organic and sustainable meat sources to customers.

Employ critical thinking to educate customers about the benefits of sustainable seafood choices.

[Employee Name] has met the expected sales targets this quarter and has maintained good relationships with existing clients. However, there is potential for increasing new client acquisition and demonstrating more proactive sales strategies.

[Employee Name] has effectively managed their administrative responsibilities, ensuring smooth day-to-day operations. However, there’s an opportunity for them to enhance their role by improving their time management skills and taking on more complex tasks.

Did Not Meet Expectations Samples

While your analytical skills are strong, further developing your ability to consider diverse perspectives could lead to more comprehensive solutions.

I encourage you to take more initiative in questioning assumptions during our brainstorming sessions, as your insights are valuable.

Adaptability is crucial in the culinary world, but [Chef’s Name] has shown difficulty in evolving [their/his/her] cooking style and menu offerings to keep pace with industry trends. This resistance to change has hindered the restaurant’s potential to stay relevant and competitive.

Successful campaigns, but a lack of data-driven strategy to reach a broader, health-conscious audience.

[Chef’s Name] has struggled to innovate and create menu items that align with current consumer tastes and preferences. There’s a noticeable gap in [their/his/her] ability to develop forward-thinking recipes that could potentially attract a broader customer base.

[Employee Name] has shown a lack of critical thinking in their approach to marketing strategies. There’s a noticeable deficit in analyzing market trends and consumer behavior, leading to less effective campaigns.

[Employee Name]’s financial analyses often lack depth and foresight, showing a deficiency in critical thinking. Their reports rarely offer strategic insights or forward-thinking financial solutions.

Critical Thinking Comments for Students

Businesses that prioritize critical thinking are better equipped to adapt, innovate, and thrive in a rapidly changing environment.

Prioritizing critical thinking in a rapidly changing environment.

Excellent Critical Thinking Sample Phrases

  • [Student Name]’s ability to analyze complex topics and present well-reasoned arguments is exceptional. [They/He/She] consistently demonstrate deep understanding and apply critical thinking skills effectively in [their/his/her] assignments.
  • [Student Name] excels in critical thinking, often providing unique insights during class discussions. [Their/His/Her] approach to problem-solving is sophisticated, showing a high level of analytical ability.
  • [Student Name] displays a good grasp of critical thinking, particularly in [their/his/her] ability to analyze different perspectives. Continue to develop these skills by questioning assumptions and exploring alternative solutions.
  • [Student Name]’s critical thinking skills are evident in [their/his/her] work, but there’s room for growth. [They/He/She] show potential in analytical thinking; further cultivating these skills will enhance [their/his/her] academic performance.

Critical Thinking Meets Expectations Examples 

  • [Student Name] shows some understanding of critical thinking concepts, but there’s a need for more consistent application. Try to delve deeper into topics and question underlying assumptions more frequently.
  • [Student Name]’s critical thinking is developing, but at times, [their/his/her] arguments lack depth. Focus on building stronger connections between ideas and backing up [your/his/her] points with evidence.

Poor Critical Thinking Skills

  • There’s a significant need for improvement in [Student Name]’s critical thinking skills. [Their/His/Her] work often shows a lack of analysis and reliance on unsupported assertions. Engaging more critically with material will be essential for academic progress.
  • Critical thinking appears to be a challenge for [Student Name], as seen in [their/his/her] reluctance to question or analyze information presented. It’s important to develop these skills to enhance [your/his/her] understanding and academic performance.

Conceptual Thinking Comments for Performance Reviews

Conceptual thinking involves the ability to understand complex ideas, see patterns and connections, and apply abstract concepts to solve problems in innovative ways. Employee with strong conceptual thinking skills can grasp the bigger picture and devise strategic solutions that drive progress.

Excellent Conceptual Thinking Feedback

  • [Employee Name]’s ability to grasp complex concepts and apply them innovatively is impressive. [Their/His/Her] strategic thinking significantly contributes to our team’s success.
  • [Employee Name] excels at connecting disparate ideas to form cohesive strategies. [Their/His/Her] conceptual thinking skills are a valuable asset to our organization.
  • [Employee Name] demonstrates a solid understanding of abstract concepts and often applies them effectively. Further development in this area could lead to even more innovative solutions.
  • [Employee Name]’s grasp of broader concepts is good, but there’s potential for deeper exploration. Continue to hone [their/his/her] ability to think abstractly and apply it practically.
Critical thinking is the cornerstone of informed decision-making.

The cornerstone of informed decision-making.

Meets Expectations Conceptual Thinking Feedback

  • [Employee Name] shows some capability in conceptual thinking, but there’s room for more consistent application. Try to think beyond the immediate task and consider the bigger picture.
  • [Employee Name]’s ability to understand abstract ideas is developing. Focus on making more connections between theory and practice to enhance [their/his/her] conceptual thinking.

Needs Improvement Feedback 

  • [Employee Name]’s work reflects a need for significant improvement in conceptual thinking. Engaging more with abstract ideas and understanding their practical applications is crucial.
  • There’s a noticeable difficulty for [Employee Name] in grasping broader concepts and applying them. Focusing on developing [their/his/her] conceptual thinking skills is essential for [their/his/her] role.

Checklist for Measuring Critical Thinking

Here are some ways to build critical thinking int your goals during the annual review process. Keep in mind that every role may have slightly different critical thinking objectives.

For All Employees:

  • Problem-Solving Skills: Demonstrates ability to analyze problems and develop effective solutions.
  • Analytical Thinking: Breaks down complex information into understandable parts.
  • Decision-Making: Makes informed decisions based on analysis and understanding of consequences.
  • Creativity and Innovation: Generates new ideas and approaches to challenges.
  • Questioning and Investigating: Regularly questions assumptions and investigates alternatives.
  • Adaptability: Adjusts thinking and approach in response to changing situations.
  • Communication of Thought Process: Clearly articulates the reasoning behind decisions and ideas.
  • Open-Mindedness: Shows willingness to consider different perspectives and ideas.
  • Evidence-Based Reasoning: Bases conclusions on appropriate evidence and data.

Specific to Restaurant Industry Roles:

  • Menu Development and Adaptation: Applies critical thinking to menu design and adaptation based on customer preferences and seasonal availability.
  • Cost Control and Waste Reduction: Strategically analyzes and implements methods to minimize costs and waste.
  • Customer Feedback Analysis: Effectively analyzes and responds to customer feedback to improve service and offerings.
  • Staffing and Scheduling: Thoughtfully considers staffing needs and creates schedules that optimize labor and service quality.
  • Health and Safety Compliance: Diligently ensures compliance with health and safety standards through careful analysis and implementation.

Why is Critical Thinking Important for Businesses?

In the business world, critical thinking is the bridge that connects information to action.

The bridge that connects information to action.

Not sure if critical thinking can really help your business? One real-world example of a food service business that improved due to critical thinking is Starbucks’ with the introduction of mobile ordering and payment.

Back in the mid-2010s, the global coffee brand faced challenges with long queues and wait times, affecting customer satisfaction and sales. Starbucks employed critical thinking to address this issue. They recognized the growing trend of mobile usage and the potential to leverage technology for customer convenience.

In 2015, Starbucks launched the Mobile Order & Pay feature in their app, allowing customers to order and pay for their drinks and food items in advance and pick them up at a selected store.

The introduction of this feature had a significant positive impact on the companies bottom line according to earnings releases:

  • Increased Sales: The mobile ordering system contributed to a considerable increase in sales. For instance, in the third quarter of fiscal 2016, Starbucks reported that mobile ordering accounted for 5% of U.S. transactions, a figure that has been growing steadily.
  • Improved Efficiency: The mobile order and pay system streamlined operations and reduced waiting times, enhancing overall customer experience.
  • Customer Loyalty: This innovation boosted the Starbucks Rewards loyalty program with more customers signing up to use the mobile app. You can order anything on the menu through this app and earn loyalty points or stars with each purchase. You also get some valuable perks like a free birthday reward.

Now that you’ve seen an example of critical thinking in action, what ways could this skill be utilized to improve your business? By prioritizing innovation and encouraging creativity in the workplace you could come up with ideas that are truly transformative to your business.

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