Find the right people and keep them! Here are a few methods that can help!
Good people know good people
Ask every new job applicant to provide three references of people they’ve worked with (not just a supervisor’s name) and then call and ask those folks if they know anyone who’s looking for work. You’ve now tripled your potential labor pool. You may also want ask all current employees to suggest two people they used to work with at another restaurant that might be a good fit at your place. Maybe pay a $50 bounty for all new leads that turn into new hires if they stay with you for at least 90 days.
Get Out of Work Free Card
A barbeque restaurant operator in Minneapolis stages sales contests for servers and kitchen crew with a unique prize: a “get-out-of-work-free” card. The winner gets to choose any manager to work a scheduled shift for them. It’s fun, good-natured, and results in most managers creating better camaraderie and gaining better understanding of the challenges of each position through this unique “walk a mile in my shoes” incentive.
W.M.O.D.D. Lists Help Retention
A root cause of employee turnover is frustration with the day-to-day tasks they face in this labor—and people—intensive business. Broken ice machines, not enough silverware, too few POS terminals, rude guests, curt co-workers, all add stress to an already tough job. Each day leave a blank sheet titled “WMODD List” (What Made Our Day Difficult) by the time clock and encourage your team members to write down answers to these kinds of questions: “What made you mad today?” “What took too long?” “What caused complaints today?” “What was wasted?” Each week (or each day) post reactions and solutions to these challenges. Don’t make the simple things complicated.
Use Non-Traditional Sources for Recruiting
Don’t overlook your Distributor Sales Reps when looking for kitchen help or managers. “Ask your DSRs to keep their ears open for you,” suggests Steve Reynolds, co-owner of the high volume Yardhouse restaurants in Orange County, CA, “and offer them a bounty for bringing good referrals to you.” DSRs know more kitchen workers and managers than you do, and often they’re the first to know who’s looking for a change of venue (as well as which restaurants are struggling).
Hire nice people
Training people to be nice is a pain in the butt. Good employees stay longer when they work with nice team members. Customers get better service from nice people. Nice people stay longer—if the boss is nice too. “Today, more than ever, if a company is bleeding people it is bleeding value,” says author Marcus Buckingham.