I ended my last blog still thinking about you adding your passion and your talent
I ended my last blog with the discussion of staffing and surrounding yourself with strong competent people. I discussed “the core,” or those who understand your business philosophy and will work with you to achieve it. The restaurant industry employs over 13 million people and there are currently over three hundred culinary schools that serve over fifty five thousand students. The service industry is the fastest growing sector in the country. Finally, it’s being taken seriously!
Can you handle it?
Consider the old adage “If you can’t handle the heat, get out of the kitchen.” This is a starting point, and needs to be examined before hiring your kitchen staff. It’s not just the temperature I am speaking of, it’s also the mental challenge that the kitchen creates. Depending on your concept, your staffing needs will vary. If your concept is fine dining, then there are very specific skill sets necessary to perform daily tasks. On the other hand, if it is causal, your options are broader.
The kitchen is a vital part of your future success and taking the time to interview and check references is important. When looking for your chef or kitchen manager, you need to ask about their ability to manage and work with your other staff members. Do they lead by example? Do they create an atmosphere that fits your business philosophy? Their creative and technical skills matter, but if the staff can’t follow their lead, they will not be a successful manager. Chefs have been known to be hot headed, opinionated, egotistical, and have a few other attributes we won’t mention. Lastly, remember that it is a business and their ability to manage food and labor costs is primary. Creating a great dish that is profitable and staffing your kitchen efficiently will have you and your customers asking for seconds!
Table for two?
One of my pet peeves has always been when you enter a restaurant and the first thing you hear is “Table for two?” How about “Good evening folks! How are we this evening?” Or “Welcome to the Surf Steakhouse”? I’ve said before that the two most important employees you have are the hostess and the dishwasher. The hostess provides your customers’ first impressions and without clean dishes, production stops.
When hiring the dining room staff, remember that they should be customer driven. I know that you have had so-so food experiences, yet with prompt and friendly service it was bearable. This doesn’t mean so-so food should be acceptable, but it does explain that the combination of things that create what’s called “the dining experience” should be your focus. The food, the service and the atmosphere will set the stage for the customer’s total experience. These components are reflected through your staff. Just as on Broadway where they say “the show must go on,” the entertainment that is your restaurant begins when you open the doors. Take the time to set guidelines for your restaurant and train your staff accordingly to give you the best chance for great show!
Break a Leg!