If you’re a Russian princess looking for a ‘garden boy’ or a baronet needing someone to polish your vast collection of ancient weaponry, you can turn to staffing agencies, or maybe the creators of the Brit show “You Can’t Get the Staff.”
While those sound like tough shoes to fill, it’s even harder to find great restaurant employees. If you are an experienced owner with lots of industry contacts, you likely rely on word of mouth to find your next GM. For managers and servers, maybe you try a Craigslist post. But for an industry that’s so cutting edge and innovative with food, we seem to struggle with hiring practices. In many industries, a person is hired for a position mostly owing to ability, with a small part relating to cultural fit. In a restaurant setting, cultural fit is everything. FOH & BOH interact with people all day long, whether it’s other employees or guests.
I once worked in a restaurant with a girl with the worst attitude. She hated everyone who walked through the door. She even hated a few fellow servers. She really hated the bartender. She had a German accent, which made her English swearing kind of hilarious. She had an ongoing war with another server because he liked to disappear for an hour or so every now and then and she never wanted to take his tables. One day, he put a gummy bear on her head. A split second later, she grabbed a pitcher of water and dumped it over his. And that was the end of both of their serving careers at that particular restaurant.
This is just one day, in one state, in one city, in one tiny restaurant. Staff stories are endless. You can find great ones all over social media. Can restaurants afford to be picky and find better staff?
There are two solutions. On the front end, use a recruiting firm like TalentServed. They specialize in restaurants. After you find the talent, treat the good people right and they’ll stay. This is the proposed answer in Andrew Freeman & Co’s 2017 Operations Forecast = Creative Management = Staff Retention. In other words, treat the good people right and they’ll stay. And with rising labor costs, management has to get creative to make it happen.
From Restaurant Hospitality:
The report declares it’s time to think outside the box on ways to keep labor percentages manageable. That includes designing menus that require less labor in the first place.
Here’s what John Griffiths, a member of AF’s trend panel and chef at Bluestem Brasserie in San Francisco, says can be done.
“In operations, I think the single biggest issue in the San Francisco Bay Area is the challenging, ever-shrinking labor pool. Everyone is constantly evaluating their business to look at ways to recruit and retain staff, while also having to do more with fewer people in the kitchen due to the wage increases.
And technology can pay a role in this, fostering communication, a team feeling and giving the staff better scheduling visibility. HotSchedules & 7Shifts are just a few examples of these. GraTrack is interesting newer software that automates the tip process, putting tips on a weekly or bi-weekly paycheck. One consequence has been happier servers who don’t blow their cash.