The 3 Best Ways to Find Cooks

      Finding excellent cooks is one of the most challenging of the restaurant industry.  Cooks are the backbone of every restaurant, they are usually the ones executing the food that brings in revenue. Good cooks are essential to any thriving restaurant.  The best cooks are able to follow instructions accordingly to their respective chefs’ recipes, have some experience (but no ego), know that creativity is reserved for after they prove themselves in the kitchen - all for hourly wages and low pay.  Some of the usual obstacles of recruiting for these difficult positions include: no shows for interviews and training, candidates not looking to stay for a long period of time.  With all of these challenges turnover is high and all chefs need competent cooks - fast! There are better ways than posting on every individual job board and waiting for candidates to come to you.

1. Referrals

    When a position is open, referrals are usually the first route chefs and managers take to get someone through the door, especially for finding skilled cooks.  If your guy on grill is killing it every night and has never called out once, chances are he might know other hard working people like him.  You get his friend through the door from his old job, and she happens to be a beast in prep - problem solved!  However, referrals can be risky just as they are successful.  Be wary of hiring just anyone your employees ask to hire.  Set some parameters and restrictions on who can be referred.  The last thing you want is a husband and wife working in the same space arguing about the kids, while you’re waiting at expo for a steak on the fly because table 12 ordered steak tartare and didn’t know it was supposed to be “raw”.  Referrals are a pretty safe bet for filling a few positions, but if you hire referrals only because you need a “body on the floor” it could be a disaster.   

2. Proper Job Promotion


    Posting on job boards is very effective but posting to multiple job boards is a painstaking process.  If your job happens to be posted on the wrong board then great candidates can miss an opportunity to work for you.  Cooks have hectic schedules and a limited amount of time to apply for new jobs, so more exposure is always better. Harri’s Job Distributor takes all of the strengths of Craigslist, Indeed, ZipRecruiter, CareerJet, Jooble and more, then posts them all at once. You will be able to see your jobs (host, waiter, and chef jobs) right away. You receive the volume and quality of all of the job boards in one place, and it saves you time from posting on each one.  As an extra plus, candidates can use their smartphones to apply through the application, so they can come through your restaurant doors quickly!

 

 

Courtesy of @lupulonyc Instagram 

Courtesy of @lupulonyc Instagram 

3. Social Media

    Much like referrals this could be a hit or miss.  Being aware of peak times to post is key for having job ads on social media.  This takes a little more preparation than posting an ad on a job board or asking a cook if he has any friend or past co-workers for referrals.  A good job post on social media must be very image driven.  Usually restaurants collaborate with their marketing or PR Teams to get this completed, then they can use the same ads whenever there are positions to be filled.  For example Chipotle went all out by dedicating an entire Facebook page to gain more candidates, while Lupulo kept it simple with an Instagram post with the positions available.  When posting on Facebook remember to do so with with images and video.  Studies have shown that have 39% more post engagement, than just posting text alone.  If you go the Instagram route then note the most successful times to post are Mon-Thurs from 6AM -12PM. One of the largest drawbacks can be that expense if you don’t have internal resources to create these posts.  Overall, posting positions on social media is effective because almost everyone has a cell phone and the reach is not only instantaneous but shareable.   

 

 

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5 Steps to Successfully Onboard Restaurant Employees

Now that you have completed the task of finding and interviewing the right candidate for your restaurant, the next step is onboarding. Studies show that when employees properly onboard staff, it leads to higher satisfaction levels, decreases turnover and high retention rates. Not only do you want to remain compliant, you want to keep potential hires happy and make them feel valued.

Here is a checklist of must-do’s when onboarding your new staff:

#1: Send hires onboarding papers

At Harri, we make this step super simple for you and your employees. Send new hirees offer letters and necessary onboarding documents online. You save both time and money with digital onboarding. (And think about, you probably do not want to deal with piles of paperwork anyway.) In addition, you will be 100% compliant to labor laws. You do not need to stress about putting together an onboarding package because everything is already pre-loaded onto Harri. All you have to do is select whichever forms are needed, and send it over to them digitally.

#2: Plan out an onboarding first day

On the new hires’ first day, they will not know their way around yet, so do give them a tour around the restaurant. After, sit them down once more to review what their jobs’ responsibilities and duties are. They probably will feel like a lot is being thrown at them and it seems daunting. Don’t scare them away on the first day already. Set aside some time during their shift to do an icebreaker session with the rest of the team during mealtime. Provide a welcoming atmosphere for them so that they can get more comfortable with everybody.

#3: Run a trail and stage training

Run a trail (or stog) on the servers, chefs and others during the onboarding period. Remember – It is illegal to stage a candidate unless their onboarding paperwork in 100% complete. Monitor how their work ethic is like during their shifts and how they interact with the rest of the team. Keep note of these things so that at the end of their trial, you can make an informed final decision to hire or not hire the candidate.

#4: Assign mentors to new hires

Before you assign one of your current staff to mentor a new hire, make sure to ask them if they would be willing to take on the position. If they agree so, encourage them to help out their mentees get settled in and get them up to speed with the workings of the restaurant. The new hires can also shadow and learn from their mentors during this time.

#5: Provide feedback on performance

Schedule a meeting at the end of the first shift to go over the new hires’ performance. Things to review include their general performance, attendance, attitude, cooperativeness with the team, amongst other job specific-related details. Do not forget about your staff’s approvals as well. It is important to hear their comments too, since they will be working with the new hires as a team.

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  • Post unlimited jobs to Harri's network plus post to multiple job boards and receive up to 37MM views with one click.
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  • Send offer letters and on boarding document digitally to new hires.
  • Create media rich, on-line profiles showcasing their company's culture and therefore, attracting the right type of talent. 

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Women-Owned Restaurants Driving Growth

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In 48 states plus the District of Columbia, women-owned restaurant businesses grew faster than the state’s overall restaurant industry between 2007 and 2012, according to the NRA’s Chief Economist Bruce Grindy. His Economist’s Notebook commentary and analysis appears regularly on Restaurant.org and Restaurant TrendMapper.

Women-owned restaurant businesses grew at a rate more than three times faster than the overall restaurant industry in recent years, according to newly-released data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Between 2007 and 2012 (most recent data available), the number of women-owned restaurant businesses in the U.S. jumped 40 percent. During the same five-year period, the total number of restaurant businesses in the U.S. rose 12 percent. 

As a result of these strong gains, 33 percent of restaurant businesses are majority-owned by women – up from 26 percent in 2007. Another 15 percent of restaurant businesses are equally-owned by women and men. Taken together, nearly one-half of all restaurant businesses in the U.S. are at least 50-percent-owned by women. 

Throughout most of the country, women-owned businesses have been driving growth in the restaurant industry in recent years. In fact, in 48 states plus the District of Columbia, women-owned restaurant businesses grew faster than the state’s overall restaurant industry between 2007 and 2012.

Mississippi saw the fastest growth in women-owned restaurant businesses between 2007 and 2012, at 95 percent. Delaware (86 percent), Nevada (73 percent) and Arizona (71 percent) also saw strong growth in the number of women-owned restaurant businesses during the five-year period.

The states with the highest proportion of restaurant businesses that are majority-owned by women are Georgia (44 percent), Mississippi (43 percent), Texas (42 percent), Alabama (41 percent) and Louisiana (40 percent).

The states with the highest proportion of restaurant businesses that are at least 50-percent-owned by women are Montana (63 percent), Idaho (62 percent), Wyoming (62 percent), Washington (61 percent) and North Dakota (59 percent).

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5 Reasons The Restaurant Industry Is In Good Shape

The restaurant industry started the year off weak, at least based on sales indices. Black Box Intelligence said same-store sales fell 0.8 percent for the month. According to MillerPulse, same-store sales increased 1 percent. Both were the weakest figures in years.

But both numbers mask what was, in reality, a good month for the industry and what could be the start of a profitable year. Here’s why:

The two-year trend is still strong. Both MillerPulse and Black Box were comparing themselves to a January 2015 that was the strongest month in recent years thanks to a run of stupid good weather. So sure, January’s sales weren’t quite as good as the previous year, they were still quite good on a two-year basis. MillerPulse’s two-year same-store sales trend of 6.3 percent was the strongest for that index in two years. For Black Box, the two-year trend is 5.3 percent. Two-year trend numbers factor out one-time events like weather that can influence a single year’s same-store sales.

Overall sales were stronger. According to recent federal data, sales at food services and drinking places increased 6.1 percent in January, to $53.5 billion. Federal data tracks all sales, rather than same-store sales, and so it can account for increases in sales from new units as well as independents. Overall retail sales excluding auto sales, by comparison, increased just 2.5 percent. Sales at grocery stores, 2.3 percent.

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Restaurant owners are hiring. This is the best indication of an industry still in expansion mode. Restaurateurs hired 46,700 workers in January, or close to one out of every three jobs the economy created in the month. Over the past year, the industry has added more than 380,000 jobs. What’s the point of adding workers if you don’t think your business will need the added labor?

Gas prices are still ridiculously low. Gas prices averaged $1.70 per gallon as of Tuesday, according to AAA. While that’s a bit higher than it was a week ago, it’s still 60 cents per gallon cheaper than a year ago. Gas prices are expected to be low for some time, as long as there remains a glut in oil, putting money in the pockets of more consumers. When consumers get more money, they really want to spend it on dining out.

Food costs are coming down. These additional sales are coming as beef costs finally join other commodities in deflating. Lower prices for beef, pork and chicken should make for a more profitable industry in 2016. Indeed, Texas Roadhouse executives said on the company’s earnings call Monday that they expect higher margins this year thanks to more sales and lower food costs.

None of this is to say that there aren’t challenges in the industry. But barring some major calamity, it appears this could be the best year for restaurants since the start of the Great Recession.

(via Nation's Restaurant News)