Building and managing your restaurant team is a delicate balance. Every week’s staffing needs can be different and not having the right positions filled sets up a shift for disaster. Restaurants experience high staff turnover rates at 75%. Enacting solid scheduling and hiring practices will help keep your staff happy while providing them a path for growth. Here’s what you need to know to make that happen.
As an independent restaurant owner or operator, you can’t do it all on your own. Here are the key positions you should hire for:
Managers are your go-to staffers for running the restaurant. These are seasoned hospitality professionals with 2-3 years of experience. The should be comfortable not only leading but dealing with conflict. Since burnout is common with restaurant managers, having a general manager and designated shift managers will help even out the load.
Responsibilities: Closing and opening shifts, tracking inventory, supply purchasing, training staff, enforcing restaurant best practices, supporting staff’s needs during a shift.
Depending on the size and style of your restaurant, you’ll want to think about hiring a head chef and a support staff of sous chefs to staff each shift. Head chef’s should have 2-3 year solid kitchen experience and the ability to manage fellow cooks effectively. Sous chefs or cooks don’t need to have as much experience, but most definitely an eagerness to learn. All should demonstrate the ability to have grace under pressure.
Responsibilities: Prepare food for service, execute and expedite food during a shift, prepare family meals.
These are your front of house soldiers who handle most interactions with your guest. They should be able to juggle multiple tasks while keeping a calm, welcoming demeanor. In the case of a bartender, they will need to have a base of beverage knowledge and know their way around a bar.
Responsibilities: Pre-shift prep work, taking and entering orders, talking with guests, pouring/making drinks, delivering food, handling guest payments.
These are entry-level, but no less crucial in your restaurant. In fact, 9 in 10 restaurant managers start in entry-level positions, so these are great slots to fill with new potential talent. Bussers and bar backs should be eager to learn and quick on their feet. You’ll want at least one of each per shift.
Responsibilities: Bussing glassware and food, restocking bartender and server stations, filling water glasses.
Dishwashers are the unsung heroes of your restaurant. Plan on having at least one per shift. They should have good attention to detail but also be able to work quickly.
Responsibilities: Wash dishes, glassware, cutlery, etc., run any restaurant washing and drying equipment.
Whoever you hire as your host will most likely be the first person your restaurant guest sees when they walk in in the door. They should be friendly and cool under pressure.
Responsibilities: Greeting guests, answering phones, taking and managing reservations, managing restaurant wait times, escorting guests to their table.
With over 600,000 restaurants operating in the U.S., hiring quality staff has never been more competitive. To snatch up the best talent there is out there, use these hiring streams:
Once you have hired your new staff, you want to get them on-boarded efficiently to get them on the floor ASAP. Make sure you include the following training steps so they feel comfortable in their responsibilities:
This is a time to give an overview of your restaurant, it’s mission, best practices and menu. It’s also a good time for a general walkthrough, intros and filling out any paperwork.
Pro Tip: Create an employee manual so that new hires can take notes as you review restaurant policies and always have a reference to go back to
Train by demonstrating. This could be showing a barista how to pull an espresso or a dishwasher how to use a glass cleaner. The key is that these are hands-on learning sessions that take place outside of busy shifts so that new hires can see and then practice new skills.
Pro Tip: Schedule demo training before a shadow shift so they can see what they have learned in action.
A shadow shift allows a new hire to work alongside a seasoned staffer. The trainee can take over parts of service with confidence because they have a guide with them. Pro Tip: Find time at the end of a shadow to let your new hire sit with you and sample food or beverages on the house so they can learn about the menu more.
Only about 44% of restaurant employees work in the industry full-time, which means over half your staff is likely juggling other jobs. Figuring out weekly shifts can feel like you’re trying to finish a neverending jigsaw puzzle. Here are some tips to help make scheduling easier on both you and your staff:
One tool that can make scheduling a lot easier is staff scheduling software. These apps and management programs can help you organize shifts and enhance staff communication. Here are some things to look for when you are assessing these tech platforms:
Once you’ve got your staff and scheduling in place, the best way to minimize turnover is by investing in your team. Here are a few tactics that will make a difference in the long run: