Creating or Maintaining a Restaurant Culture - Hiring the Right People

We all know that the turnover rate is high in the restaurant industry and, as I mentioned in my post "Creating a Culture," in order to stop losing money we need to start focusing on creating a culture that promotes staying power.


For more information see articles "The Cost of Turnover" based on hotel service and "A National Study of Human Resource Practices, Turnover, and Customer Service in the Restaurant Industry."


I believe that - if we train managers to ask different kinds of questions in the interview process, communicate better, and give potential new hires more information - we can decrease this turnover rate.

If for instance, after asking all the normal questions and you are thinking of hiring someone, ask questions like:

1. Where do you see yourself in five years? The answer can guide you in areas the potential new hire wants to go.

2. Are you interested in moving up in the company? This gives you the opportunity to tell them about any advancements they can make in the company.

3. Are you going to school, are you thinking of going to school, and if this is the case what do you want to major in? These kinds of questions can help determine how your restaurant can help them to achieve their goal.

If an individual is interested in:

  • Sales and Marketing - teach them how to upsell items to guests, ways to bring guests back and to come up with new ideas to attract new guests etc.

  • Finance - give them the opportunity to work in the office, teach them how to handle labor cost, cost control, and even teach them how to handle personal finances like basic budgeting, compound interest, and how to create credit etc.

  • Computers - teach them about new computer systems in the restaurant industry, the importance of social media, and have them think about new applications or programs that may benefit a restaurant.

  • And if they are looking for a career in hospitality, the number of jobs available to them are tremendous - hotels, travel, car rentals, event planning etc.

If you show them all they can learn and what the job potentials are, especially in the company, you will create more staying power.

Once you get a good idea of what they are looking for you can ask more personal questions such as:

1. What do you like to do in your spare time? hobbies, sports etc.

2. What is your favorite restaurant?

3. What is your favorite food item?

Those type of questions will help you learn what that person feels is important and will help to determine possible appreciation gifts or rewards you may want to give them for a job well done. I will talk more about appreciation in a future article.

people bored

Hiring the right person is also a judgment call based on posture, eye contact, enthusiasm, and how questions are answered etc. You certainly do not want to hire a person who is glum, shows no excitement, shies away from making eye contact, or hire anybody just to fill a position! And absolutly not any of the people in the above photo! See a book by Jim Collins called, "Good to Great".

To get the best possible information from an interviewee and see if they are suited for the position I suggest that you have a senior person, who is currently holding that position — or even two seniors separately — also interview them.

I know, you might not think that this is such a good idea and say, “It’s a manager’s job and not a staff member’s job,” but think about the benefits.

The benefits could include:

  1. That the other interviewer might find faults or benefits with the applicant that you overlooked.

  2. They may find that the new person does not fit into the work ethic or culture you have created.

  3. Their questions may find new results.

  4. The applicant may become more open and relaxed answering questions because the staff member is not the boss.

  5. If the senior staff members accept the new person, he or she will be readily accepted by all, hence creating the ultimate teamwork environment.

But if you are worried about questions the senior interviewers may ask, you can make a list of questions and have HR sit in if needed.

These employees may stay with your company, or they may leave, but the main focus is that a good relationship with staff members can be built through generations, spread to all their friends - that your restaurant is a great place to work or eat - and that relationship should remain for any future possibilities. Stay or leave, in either way, you can win!

Please remember that all of the advice given in my posts are suggestions and ideas and may not be suitable for all restaurants.

Next Post: Understanding Turnover

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