6 Tips for Hiring An Effective Wait Staff

Hiring new staff, especially in an industry with such high turnover, is no restaurateurs favorite task. Yet it’s not something you can afford to do poorly because inefficient wait staff and staff turnover costs you money. When it comes to growing your team, remember that the harder you are on hiring, the easier managing will be for you in the future.

Need some advice for doing this well? Check out these expert tips.  


Manage Your Reputation

Before you even get around to hiring, you want to be sure the conversation about you in the community is positive. You want your reputation to be that you treat your workers fairly, and that your employees are happy. Former employees should never leave disgruntled, and current employees should be your best ambassadors. Also, don’t forget those online reviews. You need to pay attention to what is being said about you and respond appropriately when necessary. More and more, people begin their job search by online research and try to get the pulse of a restaurant through their reviews.


Assess Your Current Staff

A great staff is one that’s balanced with different personalities and skill sets. Each job requires particular skills that anyone must be able to accomplish, but beyond that, pay attention to what each individual uniquely brings to the job. Look at what types of personalities you already have, and what is missing. Maybe you need another super outgoing server, or someone who is more meticulous and detail oriented. Whatever it may be, look for that in new applicants.  


Actively Recruit

Rather than letting people come to you, actively recruit new hires. Think about seasonal workers that you were happy with but you couldn’t keep during slow months, and ask your current staff if they know anyone looking. Current employees have a huge stake in who gets hired too, as they’ll be working closely with these people. Happy employees can be advocates for your business, and very helpful in finding new people. Consider instituting an incentive program such as a one time bonus for a new person who gets hired from a recommendation.


Interview In Person

Always interview each applicant in person, and consistently. Prepare questions ahead of time that are meaningful to your particular business, and be sure to ask each applicant the same questions, and always encourage the applicant to ask you questions. Both parties should be sure that working together is a good fit.


Check References

Even if you have the most impressive applicant who shines through the whole interview, always follow up by calling at least two of their references. Ask about the applicant’s punctuality, work ethic and contributions to their business.


Promote From Within

Restaurants see a higher turnover rate than many other industries, partly because employees are looking to grow and need to look elsewhere for advancement. Hiring from within promotes an environment where employees feel loyal and invested in your business, because they see a career path for themselves at your business.


If you would like to learn more about creating effective employees check out Split, an innovative solution for restaurants that helps track and set goals for staff.


Writer Bio: Kristin Crane is a writer and designer living in Providence, Rhode Island. She works with small businesses to help them promote themselves in various industries including food, wine, and the arts. She also contributes as Travel Editor to The Lady Project blog.