Selecting and Training Staff
Posted 19 December 2002 - 10:07 AM
How do you select people to join the team behind the bar? Do you select from among current waitstaff, or applicants with experience in the spirits industry, or newcomers? What qualifications do you feel are absolutely necessary for a person to succeed as a specialist?
Posted 19 December 2002 - 01:04 PM
That is the twenty thousand dollar question!! Staffing is the key to success in the bar and restaurant business. Friendly, knowledgable, honest, and efficient staff that is all I want…what so difficult about that?
At the Rainbow Room after my initial hire in 1987 of a complete staff I never hired bartenders again with maybe one or two exceptions. I designed the beverage staff at rainbow with a full compliment of barbacks as well as bartenders. The style of drink making required that kind of staffing and the price of the drinks reflected the staffing and the fresh and premium ingredients we used. I had an apprenticeship program in place that worked like a charm. I hired barbacks that were hungry to advance to bartender and after a year on the job most of them were capable of picking up shifts behind the bar. I used them as replacements for vacationing or sick bartenders and eventually when a bartender moved on I could move an experienced person into the position and hire an entry-level barback to replace the employee I advanced.
Whatever size staff you have there are a few things you can do to make the staff turnover smoother.
1. Put in place a training program that is on-going.
2. Don’t be to quick to give up on an employee that you have invested in…find the problems and see if they can be solved before dismissing a staff person.
3. Hire on the basis of personality and people skills even above experience. If you have a cracker jack training program it will allow you to do this. I don’t want an unfriendly very skilled bartender, I can teach bartending but not friendliness.
4. Do pole your employees and find out where they really want to be…maybe a waiter would prefer the bar and maybe a bartender would much rather be in the kitchen. If you have ongoing and thorough training, mandatory for some but open to all staff in all areas horizontal and vertical movement within the existing staff can solve lots of problems.
5. Keep a really complete file of resumes.
6. Work with culinary schools to offer internships etc.
7. Create a good working environment with good benefits, learning opportunities and hands on management to avoid large staff turn over. Many of the bartenders I stated with in 1987 at the Rainbow room we still with me in 1998 when we lost our lease.
8. Finally the most important quality a prospective employee can exhibit is passion for what they do.