How to Hire Restaurant Employees



You’ve put the word out that you need qualified wait staff, supervisors, chefs and other personnel for your new restaurant and the applicants are pouring in. How do you hire restaurant employees that are hardworking and a good match with your business? Knowing what to look for and what questions to ask during the interview will be a great help in choosing the best applicants.


The following article offers some methods that you can use to ensure that you start your restaurant off right with the best help that you can possibly get.


If you put the applicant at ease right at the start, the interview will go more smoothly and you’ll learn more about the potential hire. You may want to interview in the dining area if your restaurant has opened already, where there’s plenty of space so that the person doesn’t feel confined. Natural light through the windows will also put them at ease and elicit more natural responses. If for some reason there are no windows, make sure that there is ample light so that you can see each other and read over any materials that you need to discuss.

Read the application before the interview so you don’t waste time. It might be a good idea to see those with experience first. You may hire some wait staff that has never worked in a restaurant but if you have a core of experienced workers they can share their knowledge with the newbies.


Take a good look at the applicant as they walk into your restaurant. Do they slouch and have poor posture? If so, they’re sure to call in sick with back or foot problems as waiting staff often have to lean over the tables. Are their fingernails clean and well cared for? This is an excellent indicator of their hygiene habits as well as their self respect and esteem issues. Someone who respects themselves and cares how they look will usually also give your restaurant guests the respect that they deserve.


Ask good questions that will give you a handle on their work ethic and their suitability for the job. Why did they leave their last place of employment? Ask them to describe their last manager in one to three words. Do they enjoy working with the public? Quite often a person who loves to work with people can be a much better employee than a more experienced worker who has questionable people skills.


Never hire someone just because you like them. Take notes while you’re interviewing them so you’ll be able to jog your memory while making your decisions. Hiring someone on the spot will solve your staffing problem but it might not be a good hire. Always check references, do a background check and take some time to reflect on the interview.


If the interview is going well and it looks as if you have a good prospect, let them know your policies on time off, sick days, employee leave, payroll arrangements and expected behavior while on duty. Let them know the chain of command and what their options are if they have problems with other employees or with customers. If they express interest in the position after you’ve fully explained it and they have impressed you as a good prospect, put them on your short list of people that you would like to have working in your restaurant.


Constant staff turnover plagues many restaurant owners and recruiting can become an ongoing hassle. Take the initiative and put a great hiring system in place that is able to weed out the quality employees from the bunch. Try to identify the employees who seem like they will stick around for a while.


Get your restaurant off to the best possible start by having a great set of employees on opening day and solid plans to keep up the high standard over the long term.

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