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15 tips that can help you build your own A-team for your restaurant

You've picked a beautiful location for your restaurant, you've researched the menu, you've got everything planned. But you know what else is crucial for the success of your restaurant? An A-team that will give your clients the best service that they'll remember. 

Even if you're super passionate about your restaurant and spend every waking hour working on it, you can't possibly be the one to interact with each and every one of your clients. So to make sure people have the best time at your place, you've got to make sure your staff is always on their top game. Here are 15 tips on how to build a great team:

1. Use an app or a system to create flexible schedules

Consider seasonality, holidays, marketing campaigns, and other changes in your business when creating schedules for your employees. Flexible schedules instead of fixed weekly ones help in keeping you within your budget. Additionally, this helps your employees achieve their work-life balance.

Sassco, a Hospitality POS developer shares:

"Creating a roster for a restaurant is a challenging job. Microsoft Excel can help you with this but you are better off with downloading an app or software program that can help you manage these rosters."

2. Monitor requests for switching shifts

If it can’t be avoided, frequent switching of shifts should be monitored regularly. These requests can lead to employees working a lot of overtime hours which can quickly drain your budget.

3. Look for loyal employees

When hiring, look for candidates that have loyal work histories. Loyal employees who will stick can be trained as they will stay longer, making them worth investing time and money on.

4. Go for experienced candidates

Donald Cooper, an international management speaker and business coach says: “Not hiring the right people carries a huge cost in missed opportunity, wasted training costs, inefficiency, destroyed morale, frustration and wasted time. And getting rid of ‘bad hires’ is costly and disruptive. ”

Also, consider a candidate’s work experience when hiring. Experienced employees will need less training and the time that could have been spent on training an inexperienced new employee can be better spent on focusing on guests and other important concerns.

5. Mix full-time & part-time employees and consider outsourcing

Balance both part-time and full-time employees. Part-time employees tend to be less committed and less reliable. Have them help with tasks that don’t require too much expertise and commitment instead – reducing the risks and stresses for your business.

You might also want to consider outsourcing. According to Murray Wright, who specialises in executive coaching and leadership development:

“You can basically outsource anything these days, from having the books done to doing simple errands. If you find yourself or people in the business spending time on a lot of non-core tasks – ask the question: Can someone else do this quicker and better and free us up to do what we are best at? If the answer is yes get online and find the help you need.”

6. Keep your employees healthy

Frequently ill employees will increase the amount of sick leave you pay that could’ve been saved. Keep your staff healthy by making sure they have a clean and germ-free environment to work in. Keep your commercial kitchen clean and sanitary at all times with an Alsco clean and hygienic tea towels and linen.

7. Avoid overstaffing

Always remember – even minimum wages add up quickly however small an expense a few employees may seem. Having too many staff on the floor might also mean your servers will receive less in tips, easily deflating their morale.

8. Focus on training and development

Any under-performing employee, new or a veteran, will cost you time and money as you have to improve these employees through training. The key to a successful business, after all, is to surround yourself will brilliant and talented people.

Give them the training, resources and encouragement to do their job well and then empower them to do it. When we don’t train our staff properly, we’re telling them that how they perform isn’t important. And, if we don’t think it’s important, why should they?“ Donald Cooper

Ben Carroll of Applejack Hospitality also shares that while recruitment strategies are important, it is working on culture, training, and development that guarantees staff retention, and staff retention means less time and money spent on recruitment.

On the training side of things we run a group internal cocktail competition, the 6 finalist battle it out at an event held at one of our venues with great prizes up for grabs (Trips to Melbourne, Booze etc). The cocktail bartenders work with the groups bars manager (Lachlan Sturrock) to help create the perfectly balanced drink whilst also having to name it and price it to ensure it has the correct GP. We run these comps quarterly and have invite down industry celebrity to assist with the judging. 

The benefits of this competition are fantastic. So good, in fact, that we are looking at starting up something similar for our chefs, like a ‘mystery box’ competition.  From the roots up there are training and development strategies in place for every position in our company.

9. Do regular staff reviews

You will always find something to improve on in your team by doing regular employee evaluation. Set management priorities and predetermined references to evaluate as this will help your team consistently deliver excellent service.

10. Provide task checklists to your staff

Checklists encourage people to start good habits. This would help your staff focus on their daily or weekly tasks, follow important restaurant procedures, and remain accountable.

11. Have regular staff meetings

Hold regular meetings with your staff to announce important things such as changes in the menu, new policies, and even small victories. Do it every day, pre-shift. Having regular huddles with your team will help reduce mistakes and power-up everyone’s motivation and efficiency.

 

12. Create a solid employee handbook or an employee training plan

This handbook or training plan will make it easier for you to evaluate individual employee performance. Steps or processes such as initial guest greeting up to handing them the check should be included in this handbook. Having a solid training plan will also help you get rid of unnecessary steps or inefficiency. Here’s a useful template you can follow when crafting a restaurant employee handbook from Toast.

13. Manage unwell employees

You can’t force sick employees to work. Aside from risking their health, you will also be risking your business. If a staff is showing signs such as diarrhoea, vomiting, or fever, send them home to get rest and make sure not to assign them to tasks that involve being in direct contact with food. Remind your employees that it’s essential to inform the management whenever they feel sick.

14. Create an employee recognition program

Celebrating small victories and sharing success stories will help foster camaraderie among your employees. It’ll bring the team together and make everyone feel a greater sense of job satisfaction.

15. Set clear expectations

Make it crystal clear what your staff can expect from you, and then what you expect from them in return…Do that and they will deliver what your customers expect from your establishment. – Matt Gimpel

These tips was first published on alsco.com.au's  100+ more tips on restaurant planning strategies article. Alsco offers cost-efficient rental services that are tailored for your business. including first aid kit rentals and training services, linen and workwear, and hygiene systems.

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