How To Hire Your First Restaurant Employees

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How to Hire Your First Restaurant Employees

Besides creating an impressive menu, hiring the right staff is an important aspect of opening a restaurant.
Remember you’re only as good as the people that are working with you.
When you are preparing to hire your first employees, you have to proceed with caution.
Committing to an employee’s salary and benefits can be costly.
A start-up restaurant can’t afford to have even one employee who isn’t working to full capacity.
Firing an employee can mean not only severance pay but also having to spend more time and resources to finding a replacement.
It’s a challenge just to get the first staff of people who are going to be productive and represent your restaurant well and are trainable to the level you need.
Typical questions start-up restaurant entrepreneurs wrestle with are whom to hire, when and where to find them.

Here Are Some Basics On Hiring Your First Staff!

What positions do you need to fill first?
What position to fill first will differ, depending on the skills of an owner?
What skills as the proprietor do you have?
What position(s) and responsibilities are you filling?

In the beginning, you must boil down your staffing plan to a handful of people who can get the job in the startup phase.
A full staff shouldn’t be hired until the restaurant has seen some significant growth.
Networking is usually a good way to find employees. Ask for referrals from your friends, industry related colleagues and advisers, such as your accountant or attorney.
Look at this way if one of your advisers or colleagues recommends somebody, they’ve done some of your employee ground work screening already.
Startups typically find their first employees this way.
Once you’ve hired a new employee, you’ve immediately opened up your candidate pool. If that employee is good at their position, there is a much higher likelihood that the person they recommend will be successful at their job. In most cases an employee is going to recommend only someone he or she thinks will be successful, to prevent tarnishing their reputation.

If this style of networking becomes exhausted or isn’t working, which will happen on and off in the restaurant hiring cycle you might want to consider online job boards.
Boards such as Craigs List,, and Ladders while they have their advantages, they can bring in an overwhelming amount of resumes. A startup doesn’t have the time or resources to sort through all of them. Try smaller niche sites and narrow your interests to applicants in your industry.
Also, keep an eye on industry blogs, Facebooks groups, and sites in your industry.

between the kitchen and the custoemr

*If you are an owner that has not been involved in the restaurant business before, you need to make two key hires FIRST. 
Key Hire #1 – At least a month before you open, hire someone to run the front of the house if it’s not going to be you. That title can be a general manager or assistant manager.
Key Hire #2 – At least a month before you open, hire a production chef or cook to run the back of the house if it’s not going to be you.
One or both of these key people should have the experience and expertise to help with the staffing and maybe even the hiring.

Once you hire your first staff, don’t stop interviewing. Restaurants should always be accepting resumes and interview candidates whether or not they have job openings.
Interviewing is an ongoing process or as I like to say a revolving door. It doesn’t just stop when you think you have your staffing filled.
The last thing I’d like to mention in this post is as soon as you have your first hire you’ll need to have a policy and procedure manual ready to distribute.
They should include everything from what the training is going to be to where employees will change their clothes and park their vehicles.
I will go over employee policy and procedure manuals in next week’s post. Be on the look out!

 If you would like further assistance in hiring your first staff or with any other startup procedures, please check out our services and resources. We are the startup experts.





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