Restaurant Training – Selecting Your Restaurant Cast
The hospitality business is like show business.
When you are casting, it is important to place people in suitable roles. The costs involved with hiring an individual should be a strong deterrent to rushing into decisions you may regret in 1 weeks time. Remember, once the casting decision has been made, your entire production’s reviews are going to depend on the various people you’ve chosen for the performance.
Don’t be fooled by first appearances and beware of being overly impressed by what appears to be an excellent Resume/CV. Although these can provide a valuable insight, neither may be truly indicative of whether an individual is suitable for the role you wish to fill.
Obviously the show must go on, but it is important to invest the time and effort needed to get the right person- A well planned approach can go a long way in accomplishing this.
Here are a few casting tips to get you started.
1. Treat every vacancy like an open role in a play. Define the role you are auditioning people for in terms of the part the new cast members must play and how they’ll have to relate to the other members in the cast. Make people skills and technical knowledge of equal importance in your hiring.
2. Identify the skills needed for the role. Once the interview begins, it’s too late to start thinking about what you want to learn. Based on the job description and your knowledge of the role you are casting, what traits or personal attributes do you want new cast members to possess? Friendliness? Courtesy? Optimism? Creativity? How will you judge the presence or absence of those traits to your satisfaction? Focus the various stages of the selection process on the real-world skills demanded by the part you’re trying to fill.
3. “Screen test” your applicants. Consider the way applicants treat your staff, which may be a good indication of how they will treat your customers and their co-workers if hired. Try role-playing difficult customer situations with applicants, or posing “what would you do if” questions based on the kinds of situations likely to occur on the job. You don’t want to listen just for “right” or “wrong” answers. You can train them to use the right words later. Listen for orientation and attitude.
4. Use multiple selection methods. Remember test anxiety in school? Job applicants get it too. Instead of sifting all applicants through one coarse screen, use a succession of fine ones to help you differentiate.
5. Ask the right questions. There are questions that can be very effective in determining the general suitability of an individual applying for a role in your show. Following are several that can be adapted to your particular requirements
-What does “great service” mean to you?
-When was the last time you experienced great service and how did it make you feel?
-In visiting the restaurant today, did you feel welcome- did you notice things we could improve on?
-The restaurant business is a people orientated business- What
-Characteristics do you have that you feel are well suited for this role?
-How would you handle a difficult customer?
-What do you like most about being in the hospitality business?
6. Emphasize mutual selection. Applicants need to make as good a selection decision as you do. Just as you want to pick the right person, you gain by helping them pick the right position and organization. If they make a poorly informed decision and discover it only after being on board for a while, you will end up with a competent but unhappy camper.
7. Recruit actively. Good people may not always find you. Sometimes, you have to find them. Where have your best people been coming from? Reward your people for introducing new candidates by paying a bounty for bringing in friends, former colleagues, even relatives who are capable of filling roles in your production.
8. Hire people that are right for the role they need to play. Customer focused organizations have whatever kind of people it takes to dazzle the customer and bring them back again. It’s very human to overlay personal beliefs, values, likes, and dislikes on the selection process, but it’s seldom in the best interest of the customer to do so.
Restaurant Training – This Is Show Business
In today’s increasingly competitive hospitality industry, owners and managers are constantly seeking the answer to an important question- How do you recruit, retain, and motivate staff who are responsible for creating a “magical” experience which exceeds your guest’s expectations?
Some answers may be found by looking to successful companies that are consistently achieving these goals.
William Shakespeare wrote, ‘All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players’. One company that has exemplified that quote is the Walt Disney World Co. based in Orlando, Florida.
Disney is recognised as one company which creates such “magical”experiences. The Disney challenge is to ensure that all of the 36,000 staff are playing a role in a show which exceeds all expectations.
The Disney approach to people management has helped gain them the reputation of providing a leading benchmark for quality and service in America.
Disney does not just “hire” people for jobs, they “cast” performers for a “role” in the show. The emphasis is in finding ‘people oriented’ cast members who are willing to adapt to the high standards established, and not necessarily on the skills an applicant may have.
Their ‘casting process’ introduces each applicant to the culture of the company, and the important role which they will play in the future success. This way there are no surprises, and it is this approach which helps to maintain turnover at approximately 20%.
Success on the “Restaurant Stage” requires the development and choreography of many different aspects, such as a great cast, script, support and direction.
Quality ‘Casting’ or recruitment, is critical to everything else in the production.
As an owner or manager, you are more director and choreographer of a performance. Your front of house staff, are the actors, and your customers are the audience for whom they must perform.
The supporting crew is responsible for ensuring the script and show is executed as planned. As director, you have to prepare your cast to recognize guest cues, deliver their lines and improvise when it will add to the enjoyment of the performance.
Think of a typical theatre performance- the audience files in, the curtain goes up, the actors make their entrances and speak their lines. If each and every cast member, not to mention the writer, director, stagehands, customers, makeup artists, and lighting technicians, have prepared themselves and the theatre well, the audience enjoys the show and tells others about it.
However, despite the proven talents of individual members of the cast or the presence of an award-winning director or the skills of the backstage crew, the whole thing can be a magnificent flop if just one person fails to do a job on which everyone else depends.
Filling out your service cast with people who can star in their roles is the key to success. But casting for a restaurant show is far more involved and difficult than hiring just anybody to answer a phone, or take orders and deliver food.