Biz-help, Guidance

How to Hire Restaurant Staff – and keep them

Team Members!

If you intend to have employees in your food business, here are some tips on how to hire restaurant staff and get them on your side quickly. So, how do you hire and mould them to be team players who will embrace responsibility with pride?. The answer is simple and will be dependent on your integrity to look after the welfare of the employees. This is what will win their trust, make them want to give more and ultimately determine the success of your business.

Learn & Lead

Finding and keeping good crew members is one of the biggest problems you are going to face when running a small food business, especially if you are dependent on a Chef. Food operations are unlike other businesses since they vary so much from one to the next and each Chef has his own take on cuisines unless you are running a franchise.

As a small food business operator, you will have your own cuisines and tastes your customers will become accustomed to and you must be ready to replicate this at short notice in your Chef’s absence. This need not be a worry if you can get the Chef to produce your dishes, or you quickly learn to reproduce his dishes by working closely with the Chef during preparation.

The UK food scene is arguably among the best in the world and we are lucky to have cuisines from almost every corner of the world. However, restaurant businesses are going through challenging times and are facing a big shortage of hospitality workers due to political changes in the UK and this means you will constantly be thinking about how to hire restaurant staff.

Whatever size of business you are, it’s going to be hard to find and keep good staff and your success will depend on your approach to staff welfare. If you neglect this area, opportunities are in abundance and they will move on elsewhere.

Posting Vacancy & Recruiting

When posting a vacancy, be transparent about the job role so there are no surprises later which will dent employee confidence leading to losing trust.

Be clear about the position of the company, your goals, your expectations, your ideal candidate, working times, your policies and attitude towards the environment and the local community.

Have a clear vision of your ideal candidate and when you have found that person, it will be a good idea to get them to do a trial day so you can evaluate their skills before making your final decision.

Since we are in an industry where staff longevity is hard to retain, ensure you look at previous employment and educational history to establish whether the individual will be good for your need.

If you have previously employed people and have experienced staff leaving, do a post mortem on the reasons and use your findings positively when next recruiting to avoid a repetition. 

Another important aid in helping you find the ideal candidates are their references and you should ask for both personal and employment references. Read between the lines when assessing references and understand that a good employment reference is normally short but to the point.


Although money is not always the most important consideration for a new employee, its good practice to discuss this along with salary reviews and bonus schemes they can expect. Making employees feel as if they are crew members from the start will make them shoulder extra responsibility subconsciously since they know success will bring rewards.

Make your key staff the face of your business and have their photos and job roles pinned to a wall in an eye view area. Promote Chef and his specials on an A-Board for passing trade. This will bring the best out of your Chef consistently and will ensure a constant flow of new customers.

Don’t play a hand in deciding who and how tips should be handled by. This should be left to service personnel and they will soon figure out a fair system among themselves to include all staff.

Offering work flexibility where possible will be mutually beneficial allowing employees to manage personal life around work and you in return asking for cover during busy periods.

Costs to Business

Taking shortcuts by neglecting staff welfare to stretch finances could cost the business dearly. The staffing difficulties food businesses go through will prove to be even more costly when you consider recruiting, training and business interruption costs.

Failing to plan and ignoring to build team spirit with all departments can lead to a fragmented business with opinionated individuals amplifying negativity.

Building your business and branding from the start should be a shared responsibility of the whole team. The team’s ability to interact and build relationships with local customers will be key to the success of this task. To continue and sustain this bond with the customer, it is important the team stays together for the long-term and you the employer ensure you have the team members best interest at heart or you will lose them.


Build a team environment and encourage new members to adopt team spirit.

Be a leader by being a great learner and working with the team.

Never forget the hard work of team players and ensure they are rewarded well and appreciated.

When in doubt, calculate the cost of not having skilled team players.

Look out for next blog as we uncover essential tools and those we can do without.

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