It cannot be stressed enough that employees make up the restaurant. Your employees are your biggest resource as the reputation of your restaurant is heavily dependent on the service that your employees present to customers. There is a very high attrition rate in the restaurant industry that leads to inconsistencies and delays, which can hamper the overall restaurant operations and service. Therefore, finding the right talent, and retaining them is one of the biggest challenges of running a restaurant.
Tips to restaurant hiring
1. Determining staff requirements-
Start with the basics: before you start putting out classifieds, take a moment to evaluate the staff requirements of your restaurant. It is important to be aware of the number of vacancies for each position, and how many staff you need according to the restaurant capacity. List the positions you have vacant at your restaurant and the number of openings for each of them.
2. Preparing a good Job Description (JD)-
A JD is the first thing that a potential employee looks at while applying. The JD should be crisp, and to-the-point, and must list the exact requirements of the job.
List out the specific tasks the hire is expected to perform, the qualifications and the desired experience. You must clearly mention the number of hours at the job, salary range, and the exact job requirements. Even though a majority of the positions in the hospitality industry are untrained labor, each position has a separate set of tasks assigned to its role. For example, waiters often prefer to only wait on guests and serve them, and not clean up the table after.
A clear JD works well to attract the desired talent who are serious about the job and also helps to filter out frivolous applications.
3. Channels of hiring for your restaurant
Referrals are the traditional way and are so far considered to be the best way of hiring. Traditional hiring includes referrals from friends and family, where the recommendations come from the word of mouth. It can be assumed that the recommendation would turn out to be a good fit in the restaurant, as the person referring a new hire is aware of both the restaurant’s culture and practices, and the person he is referring to as well.
2. Agency Hiring
Agency hiring is also a great way to source potential employees. Agencies are expected to churn out candidates who are professional, well trained, and possess the desired traits required for a certain position. However, hiring through agencies is a little expensive as the agency charges a certain sum for each hiring.
You can also use job portals such as naukri.com to help you connect with potential employees.
Putting out classifieds in newspapers and online advertisement are the tried and tested way of advertising that you are hiring. Newspaper ads work very well to attract job applications, and now social media is turning out to be a very effective medium for advertising. Posting job openings to your social media pages can turn your fans and follow into potential employees. Facebook also offers geographic targeting of paid ads, which reach the people close to the location of the restaurant. Running Google ad words with specific keywords is also a good idea.
You must also remember to add the Hiring notification on your website, listing the JD and the vacancies.
Interviews can be just as stressful to the interviewers as they are to interviewees. A lot of resources are spent while hiring, and finding the right talent is extremely important. Judging a person based on a few meetings is difficult, and a lot is at stake since the addition of a new person, especially in a small team affects the restaurant’s reputation as well as the team. The most desirable behavior trait in your restaurant staff is humility as the hospitality industry thrives on humility. An outgoing personality is a must in waiters and servers, but not a compulsion in the back-end staff. Therefore, choose your employees on the basis of their personality and behavior. Also, list out the questions that you need to ask the applicants for each position
Apart from looking at the desired qualifications and experience, do remember to check the applicant’s recommendation letters as well.
No hiring is ever complete until the newly hired have been properly trained according to your organization. No matter how experienced your staff is, everyone must undergo proper training to understand the format and culture of your restaurant. Trainable employees are the best employees, and it is always recommended to make your employees serve a probation period for a few weeks to make sure that they are a good fit in your restaurant. In a restaurant, there will always be some part of the staff that is unskilled.
You must set aside a budget, and hire a trainer to cultivate the principles of your restaurant into the staff. In case that is not affordable, you can yourself create a written training program to educate your staff. It is also a good idea to have an employee manual within the restaurant for your staff to refer.
6. Transparency and communication
The restaurant industry is a tough one, and communication is extremely important to deliver seamless service to the customers. The entire staff, from the waiters to the kitchen staff must work in sync with each other to avoid delays. Therefore effective communication and transparency are imperative for the functioning of a restaurant. Etiquette training becomes extremely useful in this case, not just for tending to the customers, but also for communicating within the team.
You can also create audits within the team to reinforce positive behavior. Regular assessments and appraisals help to also help to raise the morale of the team.
7. Employee Retention
The last, and albeit the most important aspect of running a restaurant is employee retention. The attrition rate in the restaurant industry is extremely high, especially at the junior level. It is five times costlier to hire a new employee than to retain an old one. Data suggests that a turnover in waiting staff decreases customer loyalty. Regular customers who have become familiar with the restaurant’s waiting staff are more likely to return more often, and order more as well.
There is also a reduced risk as you already know the candidate from beforehand, and they are familiar with your restaurant environment. Here are a few tips you can use to increase your employee retention-
- Incentive program– Usually incentive programs are based on the sales target achieved. You can create targets for the backend team as well, and reward them. You can start an Employee of the Month to motivate your staff to perform better.
- Clear hierarchy– Your employees must be aware of the hierarchy of the restaurant. By being aware of their position in the structure, they can strive to get promotions for the desired job. Hiring within the restaurant by promoting your deserving staff gives them the incentive to stick around and reduces turnover in the long run.
- ESOP– To increase employee loyalty and retention, you can offer ESOP (Employee Stock Option) to your staff. However, this may not apply to single or small chain restaurants and is feasible only in corporate chains.
- Other perks– Added perks such as weekly offs; paid holidays etc help to keep your staff happy. Have a clear overtime policy, as each extra hour put in by a restaurant staff, directly results in extra revenue for the business.
Remember these tips before sending out that Offer Letter. We hope these would help you build a great restaurant team 🙂