Sep 13, 2022
Hiring Restaurant Staff: Building your Dream Team

The challenges a restaurant business owner deals with are rather unique. They not only need to perfect their product offering (food and drinks), the service needs to be on point as well. With more and more restaurants mushrooming in every nook and cranny the competition is as intense as it can get. The secret behind making your restaurant business a success is a stellar team that can deliver products and services on point every time.

Hiring the right team is crucial and it takes more than just hanging a “we are hiring” board outside your restaurant door. Having a sound and robust hiring strategy is thus imperative for the long-term success of your restaurant business. Whether you are starting out new or have been in business for years, it is never too late to think through a hiring strategy to build your restaurant's dream team. But before you start putting a hiring strategy in place, ask yourself this:

  • Is your current hiring strategy helping you get the right fit for your restaurant?
  • Are you doing enough to retain employees who are performing well?

Answering these questions will help you identify the loopholes in the current process and areas that need improvisation. In this article, we will help you with the tips and tricks to hire and build a team you have always desired. Let’s get started.

Identify the number of people you actually need

Be it a big or a small establishment, it takes a village to run a restaurant. However, both over-hiring and under-hiring can harm your business and bottom line in the long run. Before you start hiring, clearly establish the number of people you will need, the skill set required, and the personality type. You will typically need to hire front-of-house (FOH) staff – guest-facing and back-of-house (BOH) staff.

FOH team comprises:

  • Restaurant manager
  • Bar manager
  • Bartender
  • Host
  • Server
  • Busser
  • Runner 
  • Cashier

BOH team comprises:

  • Head chef
  • Sous chef
  • Line cooks
  • Prep cooks
  • Dishwasher
  • Cleaning and maintenance staff

The number of people required for every position will depend on your restaurant's size and scale of operations. Determining the right team size is the first step toward building your dream team.

-Create irresistible and clear job descriptions

Attracting the right talent requires more than a simple “we are hiring” post on LinkedIn or a job portal. The job description must talk about the skills required, experience, level in the hierarchy, working hours, pay scale, and perks associated with the role, and explaining a little about the company's work culture is an added bonus.

-Good talent attracts more good talent

It is good to have super-charged, self-motivated individuals, and people from your own circle who align with your values and vision when starting out. This close inner circle will help you put in place the right strategy to hire great talent and will act as a magnet to attract like-minded people into the realm. Start with putting together a core team of experienced and like-minded individuals to help you expand your team.

-Leverage technology

Technology has simplified many spheres of our life including hiring and retaining employees. Consider investing in a robust, feature-rich application tracking system (ATS) and an interview tracking system (ITS). It will help you keep a track of and automate your recruitment process end to end. Sort resumes, and job applications, rank candidates based on qualifications and interview scores, track the progress of applicants, and more with an ATS and save significant amounts of time and money. Keep track of interviews, compare questions to see what worked better in getting a good hire, and up your interviewing game.

-Create your unique brand identity and culture

Great work culture and environment go a long way in retaining your star employees and attracting quality talent. Apart from satisfactory remuneration, pay-raise, and bonuses, the way management treats its employees, and the work culture plays an integral role in making people stay with you for years. Make sure to talk about positive employee experiences and work culture in your job descriptions and social media platforms. Create a brand identity and leverage it to attract quality talent.

-Incentives for win

Appreciating your employees and incentivizing them from time to time is a great way to retain old employees and attract new quality talent. Get innovative with incentives, it could be a fully-paid meal for the family to show appreciation, a course sponsored by the company to enable employees add new skills, gym memberships, and a lot more. Happy employees make good brand ambassadors, they sure will talk about these benefits in their family and friend circle. For all, you know you may find your next dream team member in these circles.

-Ask the right questions during an interview

Getting the right fit for your team requires asking the right questions. Ask questions that help you assess an applicant's character, work ethic, the kind of company culture the applicant is looking for, etc. Ask scenario-based questions to make sure the candidate suits your business culture, possesses the right skills, and knows how to handle different situations that are common in the restaurant service industry. 

-Offer flexibility

Working in the restaurant industry entails true laborious work, long working hours, unrealistic work pressure, and truly a lot of sweat and blood. Very few people are capable of handling this pressure and performing well. Giving flexibility with regards to shifting timings, and hybrid and remote work options to administrative staff can go a long way in attracting your dream candidates and building your dream team.

-Background check

Interviewed a candidate and found him to be a perfect fit for your organization. Still, getting a background check, and getting first-hand feedback from people who have worked with the individual in the past truly helps. It helps you assess how well a person can fit in your organization's culture. 

-SOPs and a simple streamlined onboarding

Having standard operating processes (SOPs) for all business functions including your hiring process helps you identify the right person for the job. Once you have a ready reckoner on skills and traits you are looking for, nothing falls through the cracks, and your hiring team is well aware of what's expected of them.

The endgame

Restaurant failure and closure rates are pretty high and the competition within the industry is quite intense. The very nature of this industry requires finding the right people to do the job even more important for restaurant business owners. Running a restaurant is not a one-man show, only a highly capable, dedicated, and committed team can help restaurant business owners to realize their dream of running a successful restaurant and achieve their long-term business goals. As a business owner, one needs to be clear on who they want, what they expect from their employees, and what they can offer to employees in return for their skills, labor, and experience. It all starts with the right team, managers, and owners who know what their business needs to build their restaurant's dream team.

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