Restaurants open many doors of business opportunities, especially to young enthusiastic restaurateurs who are looking for a starting point in their careers. The restaurant industry can potentially be a major economic driver, especially in areas of tourism and holidays. Restaurants vary in sophistication and size and therefore their staffing requirements may vary. All restaurants, however, have similar operational needs to meet and roles for restaurant employees to fill that require a lot of skill, experience in many cases, and resilience.
You may be thinking about working in a dining establishment or perhaps even opening a restaurant one day. Having a fundamental understanding of staff needs and the positions involved as well as a restaurant personnel list of qualified and competent employees for different roles can pay off. It’s important to have reliable and trustworthy staff, especially in circumstances where you can’t be on site. This is where the importance of having a restaurant manager comes into play.
Contrary to what many people think, restaurateurs spend a lot of their time away from their business. Known as absentee business, this structure requires a manager to oversee operations and performances of restaurant staff. For that reason, a manager should be on top of your restaurant staff list to hire. A restaurant manager can be seen as your side kick as he/she is responsible for seeing that services from both the front and the back of the house run smoothly. The duties of a restaurant manager range from equipment delivery to hospitality. In many circumstances, an executive chef may assume the role as a manager and handle the business, inventory, administrative work and assist in the hiring process of restaurant staff in addition to managing an entire food preparation team.
Back of the House, or working in the kitchen, is usually overseen by an executive chef or sometimes by a sous chef. The executive chef is the head chef who designs the menu, creates specials, orders the food, and overall manages all the activities in the kitchen. The executive chef handles scheduling, hiring, and firing kitchen staff. He/she is also responsible for the quality of food that is prepared in the kitchen and served to the customers. Every detail of the kitchen’s operations is accounted for and traced back to the executive chef. The position of an executive chef is customarily offered to the candidate with a strong culinary background and several years of restaurant management experience. Detail orientation and the ability to thrive under stress in a fast paced environment are the 2 most important aspects in the role of an executive chef.
The sous chef is next in command of an executive chef. He/she serves as an assistant to the executive chef and handles the operations when the executive chef is not around. Sometimes, the sous chef may work a particular station or fill in on the line of expediting orders to a chalet of prep cooks, line cooks and bakers. While many small restaurants don’t keep sous chefs on staff, the role for a sous chef requires the same set of skills, experience and training as that of an executive chef, especially at larger and more reputable dining establishments. Sous chefs can move up the ladder very quickly depending on the restaurant they work at, their performance and dedication.
A dining room manager or a maître d at more formal restaurants, generally supervises all operations in the dining room, or in Front of the House. The dining room manager is appointed to oversee service staff including bartenders. They are also responsible for scheduling and maintaining inventory. Larger restaurants may enlist help from a head waiter to manage all the servers. Servers take orders from the customers and deliver their meals to them.
Hiring the right serving staff for your restaurant is just as important as recruiting the right general manager and executive chef. Waiters are the employees who have the most interaction with the patrons and therefore set the tone of service as they are the front line of your operation. The servers you hire must make a favorable impression among customers to keep them coming back. Akin to chefs, servers are expected to work under pressure, handle multiple orders, and meet the customers’ demands at several restaurant tables while maintaining a pleasant demeanor. Most new restaurants hire experienced servers as they don’t require a lot of training. As these restaurants become more established overtime, restaurateurs may consider developing a training program to help their restaurant staff gains a better understanding of the restaurant’s philosophy and the image they want to project.
Depending on the style, size and how busy your restaurant is, you may need someone to take reservations, greet guests, seat them at their tables, and sometimes even act as a cashier. You may only need someone on a part-time or temporary basis to cover your restaurant’s busiest hours and have the servers or manager assume these duties during slower times. Candidates for these host positions should be organized, personable, and customer service oriented as they make first impressions in which guests will form of your restaurant.
Bussers work part time during peak hours and high school/college students are typically hired for these positions. They are tasked to set up and clear tables and (re)fill water glasses when customers are seated. Just like wait staff, bussers are assigned to stations and are trained to pay close attention to them. Bussers and servers generally work together as a team. They are tasked to make sure that condiment containers are clean and full when restaurant tables are turned and support the servers.
Many restaurants feature a small bar which customers can grab a few drinks after dinner or during happy hours. A bartender with a couple of backups should be sufficient to run your bar. But if your bar is driving a lot of sales to your restaurant, you may need at least two bartenders. The more customers you attract from your bar, the more staff you may need to enlist – one full time bartender, a bar manager and a couple part timers to assist during busy periods.
The bartender prepares the bar for service with condiments and mixers to make drinks with for the day as well as ordering supplies. The bartender also needs to maintain the liquor requisition sheet, maintain inventory and restock occasionally. If you have a computerized beverage dispensing and inventory management system, the bartender can use it to check the meters and hook up bottles. It’s important to hire a (experienced) bartender who can juggle multiple drink orders, pour regular, popular, and specialty drinks while making small talk with customers. They also need to know if and when to stop serving drinks to intoxicated customers.
Owners of large and busy dining establishments might hire additional restaurant employees for different purposes. Some use a physical ledger or a computerized database as a receptionist to maintain the restaurant’s reservation book. Some restaurants need administrative assistants and a full-time bookkeeper/ accountant to record all transactions. Whether you seek the service from an accounting firm, hire an in-house bookkeeper or decide to manage all the finances yourself, standing on top of costs and revenue is crucial for the profitability of your restaurant. Certain POS systems can help you manage your books and records by tracking inventory costs, labor costs, various payment methods, and sales reports.