Restaurateurs and hoteliers always claim that employees are the most important assets of their businesses. Yet only few pay enough attention and care to select the most suitable individuals for front-of-the-house positions.
One of the most important aspects in hiring is according to the vacancy’s requirements. You can hire a dish- or pot washer without any knowledge of the country’s language. He/she does not need to be the most personable or sophisticated individual, but must be reliable, willing to work, and disciplined.
On the other hand, a front-of-the-house employee must look the part, dress appropriately or be in uniform, and comport him/herself accordingly.
Hospitality congeniality, friendliness and a warm smile cannot be taught. Everything else can be, providing the individual in willing to learn.
You must hire people who love their profession, and tell them exactly the mission statement of the establishment. Just showing their workstation, giving them a job description, and expecting them to perform to your fullest satisfaction is insufficient.
You must train new hires according to your standards of service and philosophy, be tenacious, tell them exactly what you want them to do, and if necessary, show them.
In short, you must hire individuals for the position and with the “hospitality gene” in their DNA and then mould them according to your standards and philosophy.
“Training by trailing” through an old “trusted” or experienced employee does not work.
The trainer must be the manager of the department and a good communicator.
In restaurant chains the general manager hires, but he/she must follow clear head office guidelines and exercise good judgement in selecting the right people for the right position.
In North America, mostly students and actors between jobs become servers. Some are great; others do an adequate job and most may “cost” you a lot through lost patrons.
Obviously, while interviewing, the right questions must be asked to ascertain that the interviewee is the right individual.
Today, many young people may answer your questions correctly, but still fail to perform to your satisfaction.
Here is a suggestion. Tell the prospective employee that you are willing to have him/her “work” for three or four half-shifts under your strict supervision or that of your manager. If you see potential, this is the individual that will perform satisfactorily for a long time, and be a loyal, valued employee who may even be worth promoting into a managerial position.