Hire kitchen staff, wait staff and bartenders who fit your concept. Chef Nicola says, “Treat your employees as you want to be treated. In the end, they will be the one to make you a business success.” Ensure your staff fully understands the concept. “Teach them the concept you desire.”
Developing a comprehensive HR program, with roles clearly defined, is crucial to building an effective and efficient staff. Understand wage and labor laws and ensure that you are reporting tips properly. Set a plan for both initial and ongoing training.
Retaining staff is also a top concern for operators. Look to the National Restaurant Association to help develop appropriate employee training programs.
Be sure to pay your talent—promotions, bonuses, raises, etc. Chef Nicola warns, “Unless you have a great sous chef, losing your head chef can be critical to your operation.” He feels the staff host or hostess can be the most important part of the front-of-house operation since he or she will be the first person a customer speaks to when contacting your restaurant. This person needs to be mature and able to manage a busy time without having the customers get frustrated.
He also stresses the importance of instilling cleanliness into your restaurant culture. The small space of the bathroom can have a huge impact on the overall perception of your operation. It’s an unwritten rule that a clean bathroom equals a clean kitchen.
Make Service Central
Keeping your regulars happy is going to be essential to a lasting concept – treating people with a servant’s heart will keep them coming back. “Understand that although you may become friends with your regulars, they are Mr. and Misses in the restaurant.”