Ken Burgin

Recruit the Best Staff

How Large Restaurants, Hotels and Clubs Can Recruit the Best Staff

Large hospitality groups have big advantages when it comes to purchasing food and beverages. They also have extra strength in negotiation with service suppliers and landlords. So why do so many of these operators ‘think small’ when it comes to recruitment, pay and conditions? It just doesn’t work in the race for talent…

It’s time to flex your advantages when it comes to recruitment and retention – you can offer ‘the best job in town’ if you re-organise and think large. In a time of staff shortages, it’s more important than ever to invest in staff and play to your strengths.

Offer A-Grade employment conditions

  • Provide benefits beyond the hourly rate – pay and conditions are usually more organised with large groups, and there may be additional perks. There are dozens of low-cost or free benefits than most operators seem to forget about.
  • Offer time-based perks – with a large team you can cover time away from the workplace without adding extra cost. This could be for trade fair or supplier visits, bonus time off for excellent work, or traning opportunities. In a small business, every hour counts and this flexibility is not possible.
  • Offer security with flexibility – most small operators stick to casual or hourly employment, with little security. When you have the size and strength, the offer of permanency will appeal to people who are ready to make a commitment.
  • Offer ongoing training & development – online and in person, through training providers or developing your own short modules offered by chefs and managers. Online courses from groups like Typsy can be an excellent foundation for this.
  • Opportunities for promotion and job variety – this is way more than a small cafe or restaurant can offer, and your size means you can appeal to more career-minded people. See how the Merivale Group in Sydney describe the opportunities they offer.
  • Opportunities in the management team – talent is identified, and promotion and development are offered whenever possible.
  • Make a feature of health & safety – whether it’s Covid protocols & vaccination, safe use of equipment or food safety systems, the priority given to a safe environment is noticed by the people you want to attract.
  • Provide quality uniforms – it’s an investment, and adds style and snap to staff pride and presentation.
  • Celebrate wins and special occasions – birthdays, special days and occasions. Done generously, and not just a booze-up.
  • A system of recognition for achievements – it could be certificates, stars or badges for each year of service, completing courses, positive customer feedback, or taking on a trainer role. A blog on the venue’s website can be a great place to mention these events – don’t just keep it as internal news.

What supports the employment success of large hospitality businesses?

  • A strong brand with a good reputation – another way to attract people who are career minded.
  • Professional HR and payroll systems – recruitment is handled quickly and methodically, and staff problems are handled promptly.
  • Profitable menus and services, ensuring that there are funds to support business growth and protect against downturns. Excellent financial management systems are the backbone of these systems, and all managers are kept aware of profit, KPI’s and sales trends.
  • Diversified product offer – successful large hospitality groups have branched out with bars, food, events, online sales and even takeaway.
  • All talent is recognised – employing and promoting the best people from Australia, Nepal, Ireland, Indonesia and everywhere else. Male and female, older, younger, gay, straight and every belief or none – diversity is more than just a word, and is a key part of the strength.
  • Resilience through lockdowns – these are the groups that kept trading during Covid restrictions, and bent over backwards to keep their staff. They are quick to apply for government grants and training subsidies when available.
  • Professional recruiters are part of the mix – they often have access to the best candidates, and do the work for you. Fees can be high, but the cost of poor recruitment decisions is even higher.
  • Reach out to trainees – take on school and college students and support their study. There can also be a role for employment services who provide job-ready candidates who’ve needed extra training.
  • Enter and win Industry Competitions – best training program, best new apprentice, best recycling & green initiatives, best dessert menu. There are many possibilities and they’re usually hungry for entries – staff take pride in these achievements, and the process of preparing for them creates other improvements.
  • Managers keep developing their own skills – training and growth is not just for the service levels, and senior management actively encourages new thinking.

If you have the size and financial resources to employ dozens, maybe hundreds of people, think big with what you offer and the culture you provide. Businesses that do this will have staff who never want to leave…

🤚 Check the weekly discoveries on Hospo Reset – information & inspiration for restaurant, cafe & foodservice operators.

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