Hiring hospitality staff? Be sure to follow these tips.

Working in hospitality can be fun, fast paced and social, but with the energetic pace of the job comes the highest staff turnover in the world.

We know that hospitality recruitment can seem overwhelming and trawling through endless resumes can make it seem impossible to know who has the personality, skill and experience compatible with your business. Here are a few tips to minimise the brain ache and ensure you find the perfect candidate for your hospitality and foodservice staffing needs.


Define Your Needs

Before you even begin to write your job description, identify the key traits and characteristics you need from your potential candidate. Pinpoint the character traits that will work well within your brand and culture. By being concise with your wants and needs, the interview process can run smoothly. One of the most effective ways of keeping staff relations positive is by communicating what you expect from an employee and in turn what they can expect from you, putting this into action from the first meeting will benefit you greatly in the long run.

Hiring a chef

Did you know that the role of chef is one of the most commonly advertised jobs in the world? But hiring a chef can be pretty daunting if you’ve never hired one before or not sure what to look for. Make sure you’ve really defined the criteria for this position, and ensure that the job description is well thought out and has clear vision. Think about the cuisine you offer, and at what level. Consider the skills of each candidate: do they have an impressive back catalogue of inspired menus? Do they have suggestions in terms of a team they would like to work alongside them in the kitchen?

One of the main things to remember when hiring a head chef is to recognise the fluency they have in keeping control of their kitchen. A commercial kitchen is a high stress area, so look for someone who is confident in handling his or her operations. A head chef must be able to organise stock, talk about food cost control, keep inventory and oversee Su chefs and other kitchen staff in a professional manner.

When interviewing, be sure to question them on these matters, and ask how they plan to tackle them if they were to work for you. Be realistic about what you require from kitchen staff – you won’t need to hire a Cordon Bleu chef for your pizza parlour, but still demand quality. The best way to judge is to watch them work, rather than allow someone to oversell their abilities by their word.

Hiring Kitchen and Bar Managers

Hiring a hospitality or foodservice manager, whether it be a kitchen or pub/bar manager is different to hiring for any other management position. This role requires someone to oversee and control the flow of operations, so industry knowledge, experience in scheduling, supply management and a whole shed load of customer service skill is vital. They’re the first point of contact for both the customer and your employees so sensitivity and encompassing a personable nature is key. Remember, a venue is only as good as its personnel.

Bar managers have the tricky task of coordinating your other staff members, as well as facing any difficulties with potential troublesome clients; a friendly but firm nature is best suited to this role. Another way of ensuring you hire the best bar manager possible is to make sure your candidate has adequate training. Do they have certificates to serve alcohol responsibly and are they aware of the laws of service of alcohol? Do they have appropriate health and safety certificates? It is important they have an astute understanding of the legal implications of providing alcohol and this is equally as important as hiring for their personality and work ethic.

When hiring a manager, remember they are largely responsible for bringing customers to your business. Ask what their vision for your venue might be, do they have suggestions and methods to increase revenue, and if so, how have they done so at their previous place of employment? By following this line of questioning, you’ll be able to identify valuable assets to your business who will contribute to your bottom-line.

Apply Some Sensitivity

The hospitality and foodservice sector demands a lot from its workers, the hours are often long and anti-social and require a fair amount of physical and mental strength. Keep your staff in tune with your vision by providing regular training sessions and offering feedback wherever possible. Another way of maintaining a decent rapport with employees is to offer fun but profitable weekly incentives and host out of hours staff functions. Better relationships ensure a harmonious work environment and increase productivity.

To minimise interpersonal problems at the work place, it is necessary to hire managers who are able to approach sensitive matters tactfully and with respect. Staff members may often feel tired, and from time to time it is normal for people to feel under the weather. Managers often have to act as HR by default in the hospitality industry, so make sure to employ people you instinctively trust to be kind, courteous and fair. Managers should be able to defuse situations where the mental or physical wellbeing of their staff may be compromised. 

At Search Party we recognise the value in honing in on the needs and requirements of your company to get the best out of your employees. By applying just a few of these methods the next time you recruit, we know you’ll see relevant and fine tuned results. 

Hiring a chef, pub manager or kitchen manager? Search Party works with many recruiters that specialise in hospitality and foodservice. Sign up now to add your job brief and we’ll help you find the right person for the job in no time. 

Emma Hart

Emma coordinates and creates content for Search Party and JobAdvisor's marketing activities. Originally from the UK, Emma studied Marketing Management in Newcastle and has a real passion for researching new trends and discovering exciting developments to share with the world. She is now an adopted Aussie, working in Search Party's Sydney office.

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