Food Service Employment - If You Are Hiring Now?
Author: Chef George Krumov
Hiring staff for the food service industry is one of the biggest challenges and nightmares for every restaurant owner or hiring manager, especially during the busy patio season. Every establishment needs good workers with the right work ethics but often the new hires don't work out the way they should. Training new staff requires a lot of investment in time and energy, but often the new employees simply don't care much, they are choosing this line of work to simply support themselves while going through college, because of the free food or because there is nothing better they can do. An unqualified cook with low work ethic can cause more harm than good. That's why thorough screening of the candidates is very important prerequisite to hiring.
However with the aging of the population in the Western societies there is presumably an increased demand for food industry employees and this combined with the shrinking demographics in the younger age groups makes it harder for managers to be too strict when hiring kitchen or wait staff. It is not only difficult to attract good staff, but to keep them as well. Turnover in the restaurant industry is notoriously high and you should have an effective anti-turnover strategy in order to retain your best workers. On the other hand an employee who is lacking any motivation and with low work ethic can be a big liability for your establishment, and the best thing you can do is to fire that employee and do a better screening for the next candidate. Hiring talent, not just a warm body to fill a position is essential. Doing so will decrease your turnover and increase productivity.
However, not every company manager has the resources and time to identify and recruit talent, but at least you should try to fill your most important positions such as Head Chef and Restaurant Manager with employees who are dedicated, professional, loyal and have a thorough understanding of the service industry.
Some of the factors to consider about the employability of the candidates are:
1. Good work references.
2. Flexibility. Food service employment often requires long hours, working on evenings, weekends and holidays.
3. Willingness to learn and grow within the organization.
4. Clear criminal and driving records.
Businesses that manage to attract and more importantly to retain the best staff enjoy a significant advantage over the competition. In order to constantly and consistently attract the best staff you must have good reputation as an employer. After recruiting the best staff you can possibly get, on-the-job training is very important, but also consider some forms of providing your employees with other forms of training and education in order to increase their qualification. Doing so will help you retain your good employees for longer and tremendously increase productivity and help your bottom line in the long run.
Food service employment, although not as glamorous as it looks on the TV cooking shows, can still be a great career and there is no reason for any recruiting manager to rush through the hiring process out of fear that there might not be any talent left for hire.
Chef George Krumov
(P.S. If my article gives you some food for thought and arises some questions or doubts in your mind, I am more than willing to answer any questions you might have, just drop me a line.)