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Do You Have the Right Hiring Mindset Part II

In our last blog post, we spoke with well-known industry consultant Donald Burns aka The Restaurant Coach about the recruiting challenges restaurant managers are up against today. He dished on some sourcing strategies for restaurants that you should definitely read before diving into this next part which is all about attracting the right employees to […]

In our last blog post, we spoke with well-known industry consultant Donald Burns aka The Restaurant Coach about the recruiting challenges restaurant managers are up against today.

He dished on some sourcing strategies for restaurants that you should definitely read before diving into this next part which is all about attracting the right employees to your restaurant.

So we’ve talked about ideas to source people, but what can restaurants do to attract the right candidates?

The first thing they can do is create a culture of excellence. The problem restaurants encounter is that they discount their ability to be a really great place to work. They’ll say things like “oh, I’m just a tiny little taco place … that kind of stuff doesn’t really matter.”

What they actually need to be saying is “how can we be the BEST taco place in town?”

What happens when you make the switch to a culture of excellence?

What you’re saying as an organization is that you have high standards, you don’t let just anyone walk through our doors and serve your guests.

Those high standards are top down too. Are you the kind of manager or owner that yells and screams and belittles your employees? You’re going to get an entirely different set of candidates than someone who is known for giving their employees fair pay and a flexible schedule.

Speaking of, what do you think today’s hourly workforce wants?

Today’s workforce – which we know is increasingly millennial – want flexible hours. They want to come to work and do a great job but they also want to enjoy their time off. They don’t want to work 80-90 hours a week. They want a fair and flexible schedule and I think you have to pay them a little better.

Does that kind of environment produce results for restaurants?

There are examples of it everywhere. I worked with Wolfgang Puck and let me tell you, he has no problem attracting top talent. And sure, his namesake helps. But more importantly, the chefs and managers who stay for five years have an opportunity to become a managing partner or an owner.

There’s another group in Albuquerque, N.M. that pays their manager six figures. That might seem like a lot, but there managers don’t leave.

What if you can’t provide that kind of opportunity?

The biggest thing is providing a growth path. Talent pushes you and they want to see that there is a way to progress and that there are places to go in your organization.

I’ll give you another example. I was working with a six unit pizza chain. There was an employee working as a counter server for a couple of years. They moved her into a manager position which is valuable because she’s got that on-the-floor experience that she can pass along to new hires.

What are the benefits of hiring someone that is in culture vs. hiring someone who walks off the street?

In-culture is always better. They are climatized and want the same thing as you. Hiring bodies to fill an urgent and immediate void is never good. You end up in a situation I call “handcuffed management.” Which is essentially when you give up your leverage by hiring out of desperation. The employee knows it and uses it to make all kinds of demands about what they can or can’t do. They know you’re going to say yes, because the alternative is that you’re out of help again.

But realistically, I might actually need to consider someone applying in-store or coming out of the wood works.

Make it hard to join the team. Make it a challenge. Your employees will spread the word about your culture when they’re talking with other people.

Also, never hire on the first day. Even if you meet someone and you know they’re going to be a good fit, always ask for a second interview. If you still want to hire them at the end of the second interview, tell them that if they want the job, to call you at 10 a.m. the next day.

If they call, hire them. If they aren’t able to call at 10 a.m. then they might not actually be the right person for the job. It’s gotta be important enough to them.

Final thoughts, what hiring lessons can you pass along to our readers …

Early on I made the mistake of hiring for experience and skill. Then I made the shift to hire for attitude and behavior. You can’t make a lion into a lamb. But you can teach talent new skills. In fact, talent is going to push you for more.

When I speak to restaurants about my program The Hire Attitude™ I tell them to hire for behavior and train for skill. Inevitably, someone in the audience says to me, “Donald, what if I train my people and they leave?”

And my immediate answer is “What if you don’t train them and they stay?”

Donald Burns’ Performance 7 Restaurant Consulting & Coaching offers cutting edge programs that combine behavioral science with the tools and techniques of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). He works with the restaurant and hotel industry and culinary professionals. You can learn more about his coaching and consulting services on his Website at donaldburns.net

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