Ask any restaurant owner/manager what their biggest challenge is, I guarantee, hiring and keeping the best staff will make the top three on their list.
Restaurants have high turnover, averaging over 66% annually, and with the payroll standard of 30-35% of total sales, let’s face it, there isn’t any room for hiring and training the ones that will bring your business down.
You as a restaurant owner are putting your business in your employees hands every single day: they are the ones interacting with your guests, they are the face of your business, your brand, and representatives of what you stand for. Nothing will spin your business in to the ground faster than having the wrong people in it.
You may be saying to yourself: “I can’t find good people”, “this generation is lazy, no one wants to work”. Truth is, your beliefs are keeping you from finding and keeping the right people.
As a business owner, getting out of denial is step one to taking responsibility. Once you take responsibility, you take actions necessary to create the results you want.
It starts with 3 questions you must ask yourself:
Am I being the person people actually WANT to work with or for? Am I constantly growing and developing my people? Am I invested their dreams? Yes, THEIR dreams!
If the answer is “no”, “I don’t know”, or “what the heck do you mean”, you’ve got some work to do.
1- Become the person you want to find. Culture is a pattern of thinking, behavior and practices that exist within a business. Culture always flows down, it never flows up. If you don’t think it starts with you and you think others are the problem, you have a long and expensive lesson coming your way. You may as well save some time, energy and a whole lot of money and shut your business down, now. You as the business owner must embody the thinking, behavior and practices that you want your staff to carry out. If you want your staff to be knowledgeable, dedicated, care about your customers, work well with each other, take their job seriously and have fun doing their work, that’s who you need to be and do in order to attract and keep them. In business and life, you don’t get what you want, you get who you ARE. When you become a great employer, great employees will find YOU.
2- Grow and develop your staff daily. This is crucial if you want to keep the quality people in your business. Progress equals happiness. If your people don’t feel that they are progressing every day, they will not stay loyal to you and your business. When learning stops, life stops. You must pour in to your people daily to help them grow personally and professionally. Get to know your staff and what their strengths and weaknesses are. Once you do, build on their strengths and help them work on their weaknesses. If Sally’s strength is connecting with people, give her opportunities to meet more guests, she will keep them coming back and will have fun doing it.
3- Become the means to their dreams. The restaurant industry is a transit stop for many. 1 in 4 people have worked in restaurants on the way to their chosen professions. Most of your staff won’t be with you in couple of years, no matter how great your business is, how awesome of a leader you are or how much money they make. It is just not a business for everyone. As a leader, get to know your staff on a personal level and find out what drives them, what their dreams are, and become the resource to their dreams. Sounds crazy? A selfish leader is not a leader. When you know what really drives your staff and look for ways to help them get there, it strengthens your relationships with your team and that strengthens your business. Your staff will appreciate you beyond belief when you care about them and their higher needs. If Joe want to be a photographer, look in your network and see who you can connect him with to get him some clients or mentors. Or, seek out opportunities within your business for your staff to get to their dreams. For example, maybe Joe can do a photo shoot for your restaurant's ad campaign or your website. The possibilities are limitless. As long as you are invested in your people, they will invest their time, effort, energy and heart in to your business!
People are a main moving part in making a restaurant work. Create the winning culture by becoming the person who you are looking for, help your people grow by playing to their strengths, and always support their dreams. Build yourself, so you can build your people, and in turn, people will build your business.