Tips for choosing the right people to work in your restaurant

Premium Supplier 13th February 2020

Tips for choosing the right people to work in your restaurant

Even though you may be running the kitchen yourself, the success of your restaurant business will still be heavily influenced by the calibre of your front of house staff. Yes, the food will certainly enhance your reputation, and your efficient business processes will give everything a professional feel, but these features are unlikely to compensate for sub-standard serving staff and others who look after your customers. So how can you be sure to get the best people? Here are some important tips to guide your path:

Consider a multiple-interview approach

You know what you’re looking for. But if you want the very best, then HR experts advise at least two interviews (with a different interviewer each time). That gives a more rounded view of your candidates, and also helps ensure you get someone who is likely to be adaptable and performs consistently in different circumstances.

Furthermore, it’s a legitimate way of raising the bar and observing how your potential employee responds, and also sends a message about your own standards and the exclusivity of your staff post.

Hire in line with your company culture

Being able to specify what you’re looking for becomes a lot easier when you know it is aligned with your corporate values. The value of this approach is that prospective candidates get a clearer idea of what’s on offer.

So even though pay, job descriptions and work schedules will always feature in the conversation, clarity about expectations and ambitions can also add substantially to the profile of your ideal worker and will thus help you attract better candidates.

Be sure to take steps to make sure your vision is in line with the understanding of your present staff, otherwise you risk a culture clash and a bad beginning.

Don’t rush to recruit

When you have a post to fill, there’s a temptation to cut corners in the hiring process just to get back up to full strength. Just remember the critical role your front of house people must be able to fulfil, otherwise you may end up not just short-staffed, but damaging the value and reputation of your business too. Follow this link for more information on how to value your business:

Hiring good people takes time, and your reward will be finding someone happy to commit to the role long term who becomes a real business asset. And in terms of salary, if you have identified someone who has got what it takes to move your business forward, don’t just make them a fairly derisory offer. They may take the job while continuing to look for something permanent, leaving you in another mess sometime very soon.

Consider a trial day

If you get two or more really good candidates and can’t decide, or if you think someone might have potential but some questions remain, consider a trial day. This will give you time to see how your would-be restaurant staff actually perform ‘on stage’, giving you some hard data to inform your decision which you could not obtain in any other way.

Remember your final choice will involve disappointment too. So do the decent thing by giving the unsuccessful candidates some payment and detailed feedback to help them apply for further posts.

Staff attributes

Your front of house post will require someone with excellent people skills, a calm unhurried manner, a good knowledge of the sector and an ability to interface well with kitchen and other staff. If you have a candidate with great potential but some rough edges, be sure you already know what you can improve with time and training and what are your must-haves from the outset.

Personal qualities and qualifications

First and foremost, you must have someone who is punctual and of tidy appearance with an absolutely trustworthy character. But the importance of sector qualifications will depend on your needs and perhaps your point of view. Perhaps it’s worth considering a good candidate who may be prepared, and motivated, to study for the certification you require (within a specified period).

Clearly you would not wish to compromise on personal character – which leads to the question of references. As a responsible employer, you should never consider appointing any candidate who cannot produce independent evidence of their employment history and good character. It can sometimes happen that even the most promising candidates, with the most warm and innocent explanation for their lack of references, have these documents missing for a reason. Always approach hiring staff with good faith as a high priority – but on both sides.