Biggest Hiring Mistakes: How to Choose the Right Staff for Your Restaurant

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waitressesRestaurants are a business with one of the highest employee turnover rates. So it’s safe to say that you shouldn’t get too attached to any of the employees you hire. Restaurants are often a pit-stop for people simply needing income and aspiring for other careers.

But that doesn’t mean you have to put up with unreliable or incompetent employees. Some of the hardest working people staff restaurants and many do end up deciding to make it a lifelong career. There are a few things to look for when hiring, and to focus on when training, that will ensure your restaurant is staffed by all-stars.

Wait Staff:
One of the most important qualities of a great server is something that most managers completely overlook; a knowledge and passion for food. Serving isn’t only about being personable and carrying a tray. You wouldn’t trust someone with no knowledge of automobiles to sell cars, so don’t allow people to serve your food unless they are experts on it.

Up-selling, making recommendations, and answering questions are going to be the some of the greatest challenges for wait staff. A server’s knowledge of food should be comparable to the kitchen staff. In every restaurant, the best servers have been cooks at some point in their career.

Another benefit of hiring a server with kitchen experience is that they will have a good knowledge of how things run in the kitchen, which can better equip them to communicate with the back-of-the-house and keep things running smoothly.

chefs in the kitchenKitchen staff:
Cooking is hard work, period. It’s a sweaty, fast-paced, and dangerous job. Don’t focus so much on credentials and culinary degrees that you end up hiring someone who can’t hack the actual labor of kitchen work.

Even in this day and age, where education and credentials are everything in most industries, many of the most successful chefs have not even completed a culinary education program. Many of them dropped out of culinary school to work more hours in a restaurant.

Cooks can be trained on the job, but the ability to be reliable and work long hours can never be taught.

Last modified: February 15, 2013
Sasha Smith


This story is part of our Small Business Corner, a peek into the life and trials of small business owners.

Category: Insider's perspective, MPR Authored, Restaurants, sales, Small Business, Small Business Corner, small business owners, tips

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