NRA Show 2017 Recap

For the second year in a row, Team Harri was thrilled to be an exhibitor at the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show, the largest annual gathering of the restaurant, food service, and hospitality industry!

The NRA Show offers more than 65,000 restaurant and hospitality professionals from around the world a taste of the next big trends in the industry.

Here are Harri’s highlights from this year’s event, which took place at the McCormick Center in Chicago May 20-23:

 

Helping the Hospitality Industry

 Over the course of 4 days, we heard a lot of questions—everything from, “How can I control my labor costs in real time?” to, “When is someone going to create a platform that does it all?!”

The goods news? We're actively working on all of the above!

Our tech-savvy booth allowed us to dive deep into an individual’s issues and show them exactly how our groundbreaking products could help their business.

(Click here if you're interested in scheduling a demo!)

Folks who stopped by our booth loved test-driving TeamHub, Harri’s brand new cutting-edge tool that helps hospitality managers track employee time precisely, streamline the payroll process, plus monitor and optimize workplace culture.

In particular, our biometric facial recognition tool was a big hit! This amazing tool has the ability to recognize staff and functions as a digital punch clock, thereby eliminating wage miscalculations. 

We’re so proud of the innovations we’ve made in the past year—from perfecting our Source + Hire platform to launching the hospitality industry’s premiere scheduling resource, TeamLive—and we’re already excited to unveil even bigger things and meet even more people at NRA 2018!   

Powerful Partnerships

It’s becoming increasingly common for brands in the hospitality space to partner together in order to provide more tailored solutions for the industry. If you were at the show, you may have noticed many amazing brands who teamed up – including Harri and Upserve!  

We recently announced our own partnership with Upserve, the industry's leading full-service Restaurant Management Platform. Upserve manages $11 billion in annual transaction volume, making it the largest provider of cloud-based point of sale and analytics for the independent restaurant industry.

Did you know that restaurant staff composes 10% of the American workforce? We’re thrilled to join Upserve's workforce management program, which is instrumental to recruiting, training, and scheduling the talent that is the driving force behind the amazing hospitality industry.

Plus, we had the pleasure of co-hosting a fun happy hour with our friends at Upserve at the RM Champagne Salon. We’re all about ‘Happiness in Hospitality,’ after all!

Millennial-Minded Tools

Technology is becoming increasingly important for the hospitality industry to drive business, help retain employees, and boost job satisfaction. Many of these tools target Millennials, who are expected to comprise half of the workforce by 2020.

Harri spotted some cool companies, such as Sprinklr, who are working to help the hospitality industry manage and reap the benefits of social media outreach.

(P.S. – we’re on social media, too!)

Tech Talk  

Tech companies were responsible for generating the biggest buzz at this year's show - booths of companies like Mopro, Toast, and OpenTable attracted the most visitors. (Of course, we have to brag on ourselves for being another hospitality tech company attracting a lot of attention!)

Food & Fun

 Chicago has a reputation as a fantastic city for foodies, and Team Harri was not disappointed! From sampling food and beverage trends at the show to checking out local hotspots like Girl and the Goat and RM Champagne Salon, the team enjoying taking in all Chicago had to offer before heading back to the Big Apple.

Though the NRA Show ended on May 23, we’re already excited for next year’s NRA Show—bring on 2018!

A Step-By-Step Guide: Talent Pool

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At last, you can organize your candidates all in one place!  

The Harri Talent Pool gives you the ability to create a categorized list of ideal candidates by tags. Allowing you to create up to 20 different tags to streamline your search and attain the best people for your available positions. Using our filters, you can narrow down your Shortlist by on tags to find your perfect employee.  Let's go through all the steps of how Talent Pool can help you hire more efficiently.

1) Select the Talent Pool Icon  From the Harri.com homepage, select "Talent Pool" on the upper right-hand corner of the page.  

2) Create Your Tags and Go To Your "Shortlist" Customize up to 20 different tags to organize your candidates to make it easier to share with your team and invite to apply to certain positions or locations

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3) Choose Candidates for Talent Pool Once you are in your Shortlist, select the candidates you want to add to your "Talent Pool" (Note: Have your tags in mind while selecting applicants) 

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4) Assign Tags to Candidates Add tags to the candidates you selected, you may add up to 5 tags per candidate.  Doing so will make it easier for you and your team to search for candidates, and note who you have screened previously.

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5) Return to Talent Pool and Double Check your Tags Once you're back in your Talent Pool, double check your tags to ensure that each candidate is labeled correctly.  This is also your chance to edit and remove tags, before the next step.  

5a) Make Notes for HR Team and Managers If you go into candidates' profiles directly you may add notes to inform your team and managers.  This gives little more guidance to the people interviewing candidates, but may not be screening them.    

 6) Invite Candidates to Apply for Available Positions When all candidates are labeled and noted, you may proceed to invite them to apply for the open jobs.  While we provide you with a template to message your applicants, you are free to customize this.  (Adding payrate, hours and benefits is highly encouraged here)

FAQ's

Is there a limit to the number of tags?

You are able to create up to 20 different tags for your Talent Pool. In addition, you may assign up to 5 tags to a specific candidate.

Will Talent Pool be sorted by tags?

Your Talent Pool will not be sorted by tags. Using our smart filters on the left-hand side of the page, you’re able to narrow down results based on tags, position, years experience, availability, and more.

When I create a tag, is it automatically assigned to the user?

Tags are not automatically assigned. Simply click on the newly created tag to add this label to a candidate.

Can I share my Talent Pool shared with anyone else?

Your Talent Pool can be accessed by anyone with a login for one of your brands.

How do I add notes to a candidate?

When you select a member from Search & Connect, click the “Notes” icon on the right hand side. Simply type anything you wish to save to a candidate’s card and click “Add notes”. Notes can be viewed by anyone with a login for one of your brands, as well as who posted the note and when it was added.

How do I contact people in my Talent Pool?

From your Talent Pool, click “Select” under each candidate icon that you wish to communicate with. On the top right of the page, click “Invite to Apply” and select the position from a dropdown menu. Type a message and click the “Invite” button to send your response.

Using Talent Pool, you’re able to create a customized list of top hospitality professionals who are the perfect fit for both current and future openings with your company. This new feature is another way for you to collaborate with your colleagues to build the most qualified team of talent for each of your brands.

Happy Hiring! 

Looking to Hire in Hospitality?

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Management Tips For Effective Restaurant GM’s

Choosing to be a General Manager in hospitality is less of a career choice and more of a lifestyle.  It takes a great amount of dedication, passion, tenacity and an incredible amount of self-sacrifice to do the job well.  GM’s work very long hours, often opening and closing the restaurant; double shifts are not uncommon; and holidays are basically nonexistent since time off is rare. A great majority of your job as a GM is putting out other people’s fires, even if it’s not in your job description.  Every. Single. Day.  So, how do the best of the best make it work?  We combed through our network at Harri.com, and asked some of our best GM’s how they manage to keep it together in this high-stress position.  Chris Finkenor of LAVO Nightclub, Nikki Pasquale of The Counter, and Tim Meyers of Santina discuss their views on what it takes to be a great GM.  

Set the Standard

 Being a great leader is not just a title, but a series of actions that earn the respect of your team.  Not everyone has the skill set to maintain a team with the decorum of GM’s in the hospitality industry.  The way you manage your space not only trickles down to guests but the entire staff.  Chris Finkenor of LAVO Nightclub explains; “I try to be the first one in and the last one out every night to show [that] a GM that doesn't quit until the last team member has left the building.”  When employees see you working as hard as they do, they recognize it, and will have your back during service.  

According to Nikki Pasquale of The Counter, to be a great GM, you have to be a master of “time management, efficiency, dedication, [and] knowledge [of your restaurant]”.  Honing your management skills sets the standard for your staff that not only do you practice what you preach, but are worthy of their trust and work ethic.  Taking full ownership of your restaurant requires the ability to obtain influence: as Tim Meyers from Santina analogizes, “She [the GM] is a politician lobbying on behalf of owner to landlord; of chef to vendor; of policy to staff.”  As a General Manager, you are the ultimate diplomat, and serve as the liaison from the top (owners, investors) to the bottom (line-level staff and guests).  The life of a GM can be overwhelming at times--well, most of the time.  If you remember to lead how you would want to be led then things will begin to fall into place, and your employees will follow.    

Keep a Positive Attitude, Even in Chaos

Leaving your drama at the door is easier said than done in any profession, but it’s even more important in hospitality when you constantly have face time with guests and staff.  Maintaining your optimism is key, even though you’re down 3 servers and the kitchen fan decided to stop working during dinner service.  Despite the chaos of operations, Meyers claims that a capable GM “[...] will set the mood in every room she enters and [...] know everything there is to know about the store she leads.”  When staff and guests look to you to lead, you must keep calm under pressure no matter the circumstances.  The same goes for whatever situations may arise in your personal life. Finkenor realizes that “[e]xhibiting a positive attitude, day in and day out, [..] leaving whatever is going on outside of work is what makes a solid GM. ”  There are those managers, who might argue an aggressive or even an angry approach is more effective to get things done.  However, at the end of the day, do you want your staff to fear you or respect you? Re-think positivity as the way to go because everyone knows: you catch more flies with honey.  

Never Lose Sight of Your Team

All hospitality spaces are delicate ecosystems that need constant attention to flourish.  Only a competent manager and capable staff can give a restaurant or nightclub the high level of maintenance required.  Meyers stresses the importance of this concept as, [a]n effective General Manager understands her influence and makes a conscious decision to invoke self confidence, positivity and company culture in every interaction that she has with her team.”  Having the awareness that you are the driving force of your team will give you a better perspective on how to delegate and communicate to your team effectively.  Meyers continues,  “I have found that the most effective General Managers do not regard themselves as mentors, but instead earn this title from the team they lead.” GM’s must have the expertise to captivate and lead their staff with purpose.  It takes great skill to command this sort of respect.

Authenticity is a must in this profession, as disingenuous intentions are always picked up by employees. According to Meyers, a solid GM “[...] will not guide with her ego or make the business a place to develop an agenda. Instead the effective General Manager recognizes that the success she is expected to achieve comes from allowing the owner’s vision, the guest, and the team to tell her which area to begin and end her day.”  To not see the value in working towards the success of those around you is a disservice to your team, yourself, and ultimately the business.  It all comes down to realizing that the backbone of this industry is its people.  

Expect to Go Above and Beyond

Working in hospitality is clearly a team effort, and like any sport, no job is too small.  As a GM you have to be capable of doing the jobs of all of your employees, if not better.   Pasquale testifies to this fact explaining that General Managers should, “[a]lways expect to do your job PLUS 10% more {at least].”  There is always work to be done, and when a busser is failing to refill glasses or clear tables, you need to step in.  Expecting the unexpected is a huge part of the job-- according to Pasquale, “[t]ake what you know and your skill set [into consideration], and keep your expectations open 100% because you may have to handle something out of your element.” If a bathroom begins overflowing toilet water into the dining room during a busy service at 10 PM, YOU have to find a solution until a plumber can reach you--all while maintaining your staff, the floor, and ensuring your guests are happy.  At LAVO Nightclub, Finkenor attests to this concept that you cannot be afraid of “getting your hands dirty whether picking up glasses, moving barricades or even helping bus a bunch of tables is what makes [...]” a great GM.  If you believe that any task is “below you”, then being a General Manager is definitely not the job for you.  Great GM’s have the drive and passion to do whatever it takes to keep their spaces up and running.   

Utilize The Tools Around You

    Holding any leadership position in the industry is a challenge, but there are systems that can help you manage your team better and cut costs.  Make sure your team’s schedules are clearly posted and organized.  Some managers swear by Excel; some prefer to use Word; and some still use a pen and paper--but there are better, more modern solutions.  TeamLive is a great option for those managers who are looking to communicate with their team members, create schedules faster and proactively manage track of labor costs all on one platform.  Staff can also communicate on TeamLive to facilitate shift changes, and managers can be notified for permission.  Tools like this can save you what little time you have to spare to focus on running your business.  Also if you have a choice in POS Systems, figure out what is right for you.  Aloha, Digital Dining, and Micros are very popular, but crash easily and take a lot of back-end maintenance.  iOs POS systems are becoming more common: Salido, Brink, and Revel lead the way with their seamless iPad systems.  The only downside is that iPads can be very fragile, which is tough in an industry where equipment durability is a virtue.  However, maintaining the system and changing buttons around are much more user-friendly.  Remember: tools you have will remain just that, unless they are put to work by great managers.  

Love What You Do


      Overall, being a General Manager is a hard job, and requires a special type of person to take on the position.  There is the rush of service, the high from leading a team through a rough shift (or two if working a double), and the thrill of knowing that your efforts make a difference.  After working at The Counter for almost four years, Pasquale attributes her longevity to one statement: “Above all, love what you do”.  Life is too short to not do what you enjoy, and too long to be stuck in a profession you dislike.  At Santina, Meyers sentimentalized, “[a] General Manager loves her restaurant, and because of that each of these tasks, while exhausting, continue to feed the fire she earnestly walks through everyday.”  While the job may be taxing and take some toll on your social life, it’s satisfying for those who have the passion for it.  As a club promoter-turned-GM, Finkenor jests, "[i]f you don't love it, then what are you even doing here?"  Unfortunately, some managers choose to push through the job even if they know it’s not for them, dragging their teams and business through the mud.  So, to those people, do your team and the industry a favor and quit.  Leave it up to the Finkenors, Pasquales and Meyers of the world, who truly love what they do, and are capable of doing it well.

Maria Gee

Maria Gee is a Digital Marketing Manager for Harri.com.  A restaurant worker turned blog-writing-video-directing machine, she aims to educate and entertain those in the hospitality field.  She spends the majority of her spare time posting food pics on Snapchat and Instagram at @mariaalexag, and frequenting as many hospitality focused networking events as she can fit into her calendar.  Feel free to reach her at maria.gee@harri.com

Welcome to your new Smart Talent Dashboard

Work the way you think. Maximize workforce productivity, contain labor costs and run a more efficient operation by accessing all your sourcing, hiring and management tools in one place.

Your Smart Talent Dashboard includes the following modules:

  • My Team: View your entire staff within your organization in one place. As you add new employees to your team, their details will be stored here.
  • Scheduling: Set and assign shifts for multiple locations without ever running into overlapping issues with TeamLive™.
  • Hiring: All of our hiring tools found in the previous version of your dashboard can be found here. Manage your live jobs, keep track of your new applicants, message from candidates and move them through to interview.
  • Communication: Ditch email and text messaging. Send photos or messages, and inform them of the latest company updates in a fun, newsfeed-style format.
  • Interviews: Schedule and confirm interviews with candidates easily in this module. Keep track of applicant attendance with our Manifest.
  • My Documents: Your digital filing cabinet is here. Access and retrieve all your employee’s paperwork with just a few clicks.
  • On-boarding: Digitally send new hire documents like company policies, I-9s and more. New hires will then e-sign documents and your paperwork will be stored in the cloud.

Learn how to navigate the new dashboard with the following tutorial: 

Hiring the Best Chef for Your Restaurant (According to Tenured Chefs)

       As a former recruiter of a high-volume restaurant group, I can tell you first hand that hiring great management is a serious challenge, not to mention chefs.  Of course, experience managing a kitchen, efficient in execution, budget consciousness, and training staff are all no brainers in hiring a top notch BOH talent, but once someone takes the reins in your kitchen things can change- fast!  A green chef can sometimes switch it up for better, but more often than not for the worst.  Since it’s too damn hot in the kitchen to just let anyone manage your BOH Team, Harri turned to our vibrant hospitality network to see what some hiring managers / owners might miss in their chef search.

1)   Transparency & Trust

    Like prep before every service, lay out your mise en place …or in this case your honest expectations of the job at hand.  Have a written description ready and make sure that duties of the position actually fit the title.  A “full disclosure of expectations, [and] making sure you are advertising for the right title”, will prevent any confusion during an interview and post hire.  You should not expect an Executive Chef to run food or Kitchen Managers to interact with guests.  This also keeps your interests at heart, as anyone can say a duty is not his/hers but if there is a paper trail, then no one can deny it.

     According to Chef Cash you should also be as upfront as possible with any obstacles your restaurant has faced in its past – high food costs, line-level staffing, inconsistent plates, varied ticket times, paying invoices on time, etc.  Having “transparency in the challenges the restaurant is facing "could be a deal breaker for some, but if a candidate has come across these problems before and solved them, it could [be] true game changer for your overall business.  Since hiring is a two-way street, “be prepared to trust who you hire”. Try your best to throw in questions about integrity (ie. Tell me about a time when your morale was compromised, what did you do? etc).  If this person is taking on a leadership role in your business, having faith in his/her abilities is crucial.  Be sure to not let prior issues cloud your judgment, and lead to micromanagement.  The last thing a great chef wants is someone breathing down his or her neck.    

2)   Belief in Concept

     The best chef in the world has absolutely no value to your restaurant if they have zero interest in the concept.  Chef Landas urges that viable candidates, “at the very least, [should have] a strong interest in the cuisine style of the restaurant”.  Hiring a chef with 5 years experience at a farm-to-table, Italian restaurant will most likely not benefit a Chinese restaurant specializing in Dim Sum.  If your concept’s brand relies heavily on a set menu, make that fact crystal clear to your prospective chef.  Otherwise you could end up with,“ managers and chefs who will try and make the place ‘their own’, deviating from your restaurant’s theme.  A nice way to approach this is keeping the set menu through a certain period of time (maybe a season or quarter) and allowing the new chef to explore creativity through specials. Seeing how well the specials sell can be a good indicator on whether or not to let him/her tweak the menu, before changing it all together.

3)   Ego

     This is a notoriously “touchy” subject, especially with chefs.  Always remember that no one is special enough to treat others with disrespect in your business, most importantly your BOH Team.  Leading a great team in any field requires a certain level of humility, great chefs “should be confident, but not cocky”, and still maintain a “willingness to learn” per Franklin Becker, even at a high level in their careers.  There’s nothing worse than a tenured chef, who comes into a kitchen with no room for compromise.  This attitude is counter-productive and drives kitchens into the ground.  Chef Landas recalls, “I’ve seen many instances where highly qualified chefs scare off good quality staff because they were a**holes”.  The my-way-or-the-highway days are over, even in the best restaurants, look at Noma and Alinea.  They dedicate nights when cooks of all levels can present different dishes to the team and brainstorm menu ideas.

Collaborative mindsets with staff make a huge difference in service, and gaining line-level staff trust is key.  According to Mike Landas, “It’s important to design your interview [process] to see if the candidates will have chemistry with the staff”.  This is where trailing is important, choose your busiest shift and throw them in the mix – brunch and Thurs – Sat @ 7-9 PM dinner service are highly recommended.  After he or she leaves, ask the line-level staff/ cooks, what they think and if they would listen to this person.  If this seems counterintuitive think of it this way: you want to put the best captain at the helm of your ship, it’s best that your kitchen does not become the Titanic, and that all the lifeboats are onboard.

 

 

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