I have recorded 50+ episode for the podcast to date, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that 2/3rds of those conversations have gone down the rabbit hole of the issues that independent restaurants face day in and day out. The most pressing issue of them all…staffing. Recruiting and keeping quality employees has turned into one of the most challenging aspects of this industry over the past handful of years.
I had one guest tell me, off air, that they had to let someone go after their first day of work because it smelled like the new employee hadn’t showered in weeks. In this industry, where you’re dealing with people on the regular, personal hygiene is a no brainer an d an absolute must.
While not showering and showing up to work in a less than ideal state has very little to do with the employer it did made think. It made me think, what is the responsibility of the workplace, owner, managers etc.? What are they on the hook for when it comes to bringing on and nurturing new and talented employees?
Here’s where it gets tricky. Take some of my dear friends for example that work far too much as it is to keep their restaurants running 12 months of the year, they are close to running on empty. Most of them don’t have the capacity to concern themselves with how well they are doing at creating a culture or creating a fun and exciting place to work. However I challenge my friends and everyone else that is out there that impacts culture in their given restaurant, cafe, or bar to dig just a little bit deeper to find another gear, again.
Finding that gear that will allow you to fully understand your responsibilities and will give you your power back. Power to fully understand what you can control, and I would argue as the owner or manager of the space you truly can control it all.
Look at some of the globes best workplaces. SALESFORCE (32,000 employees), HILTON (161,000 employees), MARS INC. (100,000 employees), & HYATT (110,000+ employees) and what some of their employees are saying.
“We embody the hospitality that we show to our guests. This allows for a very friendly culture. Our leaders are approachable and accessible and someone you can relate to. For being almost a 100-year-old company, we act like a start-up fostering and nourishing new ideas and innovation and being quick to market with those ideas.” HILTON Employee
“There is a sense of inspiration that comes from the leadership taking strong positions on social issues and making volunteerism such a key part of our culture. This sustains us during the difficult times.” SALESFORCE Employee
Are businesses that fundamentally different that the local pub can’t act like a HYATT?
Can we, each and every one of us in this space, that have the opportunity to impact the environment and culture do what these massive companies are doing? 100% yes. 100% we can.
Whether you own 1 small coffee shop and employ 5 people or own a group of restaurants and employ 500 people you have an opportunity, and an obligation to the bottom line to create a SALESFORCE-like workspace. Take this on, be relentless on your culture just as you are with your food, lighting, and music, and I would be willing to bet you can kiss those days of people just not showing up for their shifts good-bye.
If a company like HILTON can be so nimble and flexible in the market, can’t we all follow suit. Can you spend 1 hour every few days working to ensure your workspace is an intriguing one for your would-be employees? Invest this time up front, and on a continual basis, and watch your staffing dynamics change dramatically.
What does an awesome workplace look like?
Offering challenging and meaningful work - If you have a spot that is busy from open to close, this won’t be an issue, and staffing these hot spots is rarely an issue due to this buzz. However if you’re not packing guests in 7 days per week you will need to get creative. Give staff guidance and then the freedom to take on tasks that are outside of the scope of their roles. You can only polish so much cutlery and reorganize the walk-in cooler so many times. Perhaps give trusted staff the freedom to take on the role of your social media “manager” in down times on shift. Curating playlists for your spot and their workplace can be extremely empowering and could create an even more enjoyable space for them to work in.
Reward Employee Contributions - This industry is abundant with contacts and hook-ups. Use these contacts to your benefit and use these industry perks to reward your staff. Maybe you have a Cook that came in on her day off to completely save your a$$ during a random busy Monday night. Hook her up with that special bottle of wine you were given by one of your 4 wine reps and throw her those concert tickets your dry-goods sales guy gave you. Use your ability to lift people up and make them feel appreciated by curating a night out, taking care of a dinner for them and a friend at your space or use your industry pull to make something unique happen for them. This will pay immediate dividends.
Invest in Training and Development - This one should be a no-brainer in our space with so many different angles to consider on the daily. Consider local courses on leadership, winery or distillery tours with an education piece, or industry masterminds that are popping up more and more. Get behind some local forums and groups that you can engage your team in. Send them to represent your brand, or attend with them and build that bond.
Take the power back, find that extra gear, and create THE workspace that you’d want to populate as well.
See you and your bartender at the next mastermind!
& For more ideas on how to create an attractive culture in your business reach out to me for a FREE ONE HOUR conversation.