How to Hire Good Waiting Staff
By Colin Lawson
The hospitality industry is infamous for its huge employee turnover rates. Because hiring and training an employee is costly and time-consuming, you need to do everything in your power to hire quality staff that will stay with your business long-term. This is becoming more and more difficult as laws protecting a person's privacy are created because in many places, the only information that a former employer can give you is the dates of employment. Though you will never be able to know for sure that the person that you are hiring is going to benefit your business, there are several key questions and observations that you can make during the hiring process that will be helpful.
In general, a competent person that really wants to work for you is going to put a lot of effort into the initial interview. They will probably show up ten to fifteen minutes early and should be well-groomed. They don't have to be wearing a suit, but make sure that what they are wearing is professional. You don't want to hire a person to represent your business that would show up to an interview in cut-off shorts and flip-flops. Hair should be tidy and fingernails should be clean and trimmed.
One of the main qualities that you need in a server is an out-going personality. During the interview, the person should offer to shake your hand, make good, consistent eye contact and speak in a clear voice that is easy to hear and understand. A confident person will also think to ask questions of you along the way. If no questions are asked, offer them an opportunity to ask questions at the end of the interview. If the questions seem like something an experienced server should already know, you may want to question them further about their experience.
Give the person real scenarios and ask them how they would respond. Some good questions are "What would you do if a guest is unhappy with his meal?", "What would you do if a guest was choking" and "What would you do if a guest forgot his credit card in the check presenter?" These questions not only give you an idea of how well their personal practices match your policies, but will also give you an idea of how experienced they actually are.
Finally, ask what their idea of teamwork is and why they feel that it is valuable in a workplace. The last thing that you want to do is hire a server with a chip on his shoulder that won't ask for help, or give it if somebody needs him. This can sink the ship in the middle of a dinner rush and will lose you guests. If they can't provide you with good examples of teamwork, and a quality answer to this question, you may want to keep looking.
Hiring quality staff is imperative to the success of your business because your front-of-house staff are the face of your establishment. If you don't have quality people working for you, you won't be in business for very long, so hand-pick each employee and remember that you aren't just hiring somebody to serve food and drinks; you are hiring somebody to represent you and your business.
About the Author
COLIN LAWSON is the Founder & CEO of the International Caterer's Guild, he has decades of catering and business related experience. The International Caterer's Guild (also known as tICG) is the number one online resource for anyone involved in the catering industry no matter what his or her position in the business and no matter what his or her location in the world.
It is a place to find the answers to questions to help you in your business or career, to network and meet others who can help you. It is a superb place to meet new professional associates that can even become personal friends. No matter how long you have worked in this profession tICG is a great place to learn more about your chosen career.
It is completely free to join the International Caterer's Guild at Associate level.
The International Caterer's Guild - http://www.caterersguild.org