Archive for the ‘Employee Management’ Category

Hiring and Recruiting Strategies for Restaurants

January 13, 2014

In today’s world of employment, restaurants must rely on a combination of both high and low tech strategies to recruit and hire employees. Along with tradition methods of managing, recruiting, and hiring in-house, there are a variety of web-based employment services that can be utilized as well. Some of these offer a full suite of hiring services – from recruiting to onboarding – and use tests and assessment tools to help find your business optimal candidates.

The fact that much of the employee life cycle (from hiring to onboarding to training) can now be digitized ends up saving both time and money while producing higher quality applicants. Here are a few strategies to put into play while looking for that next best employee.

Make Sure Your Restaurant’s Recruiting Materials are Targeted and Compelling

Regardless of what vehicle you’re using to post your hiring opportunity, it’s critical that all of your recruiting materials are targeted towards the demographic you’re seeking to hire. It’s also critical that your recruiting materials are compelling. Focus on using language and visuals that speak to the crowd of prospective employees. The Millennial crowd in particular (those currently around 18-25 years old) are visual learners who are highly dependent on technology to get their information so it makes sense if you are recruiting from this crowd to have materials which speak their language.

For instance, this crowd will respond far better to a headline which says, “Get a job that doesn’t suck,” than they will to one which says, “Start your career today.” Post videos of current employees talking about what it’s like to work with your business, use lots of pictures and visual content, and ensure that the entire application process can be completed electronically.

Utilize Existing Relationships and Social Media Outreach to get Quality Staff

Posting an ad on Craigslist about your hiring opportunity is going to garner a lot of responses, but typically yields very few people who actually follow through and show up for the scheduled interview. A more cost-effective approach to notifying the public about your employment opportunity is to tap into your existing relationships – such as your social media crowd and professional contacts.

Along with posting your opportunity on your own social media pages, ask your industry contacts if you can post on theirs as well. Make friends with HR offices in culinary schools. Offer a “finder’s fee” to anyone who refers an employee who stays on board for at least a month. Using the people and professional contacts in your life to help find employees is often a better approach, because you’re working with people who already have at least some level of vested interest in your business.

Save Time and Money Using Digital Assessments

Along with being able to speed up your own hiring and training process by making it all digitally available, you can save time and money by using digital assessments to pre-screen your applicants. As you well know, an employee’s ability to be successful at their job often has less to do with their work history and more to do with their personality and work ethic.

Fortunately, you can now use online job boards to pre-screen your applicants according to aspects like personality or work ethic, because the vast majority require prospective employees to fill out personality profiles before they can search for jobs. These profiles typically include everything from work history to personality questions and can be very instructive in terms of finding employees that are well suited for your restaurant’s particular work environment.

The Best Response Restaurants can have in the Face of an Employee Strike

December 30, 2013

As thousands of fast-food employees around the country organize strikes in demand of higher wages and the ability to unionize, it’s smart for restaurant operators to have a strategy in place for how to deal with potential employee strike demonstrations on their grounds and within their ranks. Ideally, restaurant operators should keep the following guidelines in mind.

Anticipate Restaurant Strike Activity and Ensure the Safety of Guests

Whether or not your own employees may take part in the demonstrations, you would be wise to anticipate the potential of strike activity so that you are prepared to respond appropriately. It’s important to remember that if two or more employees want to create an action, they have the legal right to do so as long as they don’t vandalize property. The worst you can do to them is fire them or cut their hours in retaliation — though this response tends to only worsen the situation.

Instead, it’s best to do what you can to ensure your employees’ satisfaction and focus instead on ensuring the safety of your guests should a demonstration arise on your business’s grounds. If the demonstration gets too big or rowdy, be prepared to close the establishment. Guest comfort and safety is paramount.

Avoid Confrontations when Dealing with Strike Activity

How you handle strike activity is critical. Running out to shout at the protestors to get off of your property is only going to land you a spotlight on YouTube. Instead, support your employees’ right to voice their opinions. Instead of combating them, focus on publicizing the investments you have made into employee benefit programs. Demonstrate that you hear and understand their concerns. Recognize that everyone has a right to believe what they will and that the best action you can take as a representative of your business is to maintain a neutral attitude towards the whole issue, especially in public.

Educate Your Restaurant Employees about Advancement Opportunities

It’s important to keep an open doorway of communication going on between management and employees. It’s also important to show your staff the opportunities for advancement that already exist. Let them know that they can take additional training, get certification, and strive for performance bonuses if they’d like to make a higher income.  Educate them about how your restaurant promotes its staff and the steps that an employee will need to take if they are to receive a promotion.

In short, aside from having a plan of action for ensuring the safety of your guests if strike activity occurs on your property, there isn’t much you can do about the action itself. Instead, it’s better to educate your employees about how they can make more money with your business. You need to listen to and really hear their concerns about their wages and you must possess the ability to tolerate any demonstrations that do occur with a benign eye.

Doing these things will ensure that your public image remains untarnished and that your relationship with your staff and employees remains as unobstructed and positive as possible. We can’t control what other people do, but we can control how we are going to respond!

E-Learning Ideal for Restaurant Staff Training

December 25, 2013

Digital technology has revolutionized the way that we can provide training, education, and information to our restaurant employees. Instead of printing lengthy manuals and watching long training videos, we can now transfer manuals online, send regular training updates to our employees via video text, and ensure consistency across multiple locations all while increasing relevance and lowering costs. It’s a convenient way to provide education which is more consistent, timely, and accountable than traditional means of getting training to your staff. In short, digital training provides a host of new and exciting options to more efficiently train and manage your team. 

Digital Training Improves Performance Tracking while Empowering Restaurant Employees

Utilizing digital training avenues in your restaurant doesn’t have to be an overly expensive or elaborate affair. It can be as simple as making short, instructional videos about new methods or how to use new products and texting them once a week to all of your staff. You can embed a link to further information, track who has reviewed the information, quickly update training modules, and even see exactly which test questions employees are stumbling over. Some restaurants even use employees’ test scores from weekly material to determine who gets put on the schedule for the following week.

This method of training is convenient for your employees as well. They can take the training on their own time and review materials repeatedly until they can pass the test. However, while your Millennial employees are going to relate particularly well to this form of imparting information, it’s important to keep in mind that older generations may still need more traditional training methods to thrive.

Digital Education is Perfectly Suited to Teach Skills Needed in Restaurant Employees

Digital training is particularly well suited to teach certain skills essential to restaurant employees. For example, instructions for how to properly prep a dish, place a fork, or fold a napkin are technical skills that are easily imparted through digital technology. It is especially useful for teaching pre-hires how to place an order or use the POS system ahead of time, so they can better pay attention to other details they receive in one-on-one training.

Soft skills, such as how to greet a guest or make menu recommendations, are not as black and white as technical skills are and can be somewhat more challenging to teach online. That said, digital modules can still be utilized to assist employee training in these areas as well, especially in terms of situational protocol simulations or memorizing scripts, for example.

Digital Training should Compliment not Replace Hands-On Learning

Providing digital education for your staff should never replace one-on-one, hands-on learning and time spent under the tutelage of your restaurant’s management. Solid interpersonal relationships between your managers and their employees are critical to the successful functioning of your team. Instead, digital training should be used as a tool to compliment and enhance your employees’ training experiences. Doing this creates further team cohesion and efficiency, as well as a highly trained, effective staff.