Staffing your restaurant



There’s a lot to consider when beginning the process of staffing your restaurant and for that reasons I’m going to write this blog post as an introduction to futures posts with more detailed information on each of the points I raise below.

I’ve used the term “make or break” a lot throughout my blog but that term is 100% appropriate when it comes to staffing your restaurant. You want good staff representing your restaurant.  Customers might come for the food initially but if your customer service isn’t on point you can almost guarantee they won’t return and even worse, will tell their
friends and family about it.

When I set up a new restaurant there are four types of staff I look for and I’ll discuss these below:

  1. Senior Staff
    This category covers myself as the restaurant owner (and any investors or partners), the head chef and restaurant manager/host. As I’ve set up numerous restaurants, my hiring techniques have changed and developed from my when I first started out. Nowadays I hire my head chef and restaurant manager first and generally (depending on the restaurant niche and circumstances) let them both hire their own staff. The head chef hires his kitchen staff and the restaurant manager hires wait and bar staff. I try to sit in on the final round of interviews so I can meet candidates and answer any questions. I’ve found that having the head chef and restaurant manager hire their own staff helps build a more fluid and successful team.
  2. Kitchen Staff
    Depending on the size and concept of your restaurant you could need any of the following kitchen staff: sous-chef, line cook, pastry chef, dessert chef, salad chef and of course dishwashers. As a restaurant owner I have more confidence in my head chef hiring qualified kitchen staff over making that decision myself. A head chef will consider personalities, qualifications and previous experience when hiring his team of staff.
  3. Wait and Bar Staff
    Wait staff are key in making your restaurant great. You want friendly, engaged and on-to-it wait staff who know your menu like the back of their hands. Again, I leave my restaurant manager to hire wait and bar staff, however I always oversee the final round of candidates to make sure they’re a perfect fit for my establishment.
  4. Cleaners, Maintenance and ‘Other’
    You’ll need to hire cleaners to professionally clean your restaurant. Kitchen and wait staff can be expected to take care of the kitchen and bar area, however I leave vacuuming, moping, bathrooms and dusting to professional cleaners. If you’re lucky enough to have an outdoor seating area at your restaurant, you’ll need to consider maintenance staff for lawn mowing and grounds-keeping. Finally, under ‘Other’ you’ll need a book keeper or accountant (or both) to oversee the finances of the business. I have a team of book keepers and a couple of accountants that look after my business finances.

hiring-wait-staffFinally, it’s important not to forget that as an employer in Australia you need to ensure you’re complying with the relevant laws. Health and Safety and the Super Guarantee are two of the major ones you’ll need to be on top of. Strict penalties apply if you do not adhere to relevant laws and tax requirements so be sure to seek professional advice if you don’t fully understand your obligations.


hiring-bar-staffI’ve only very briefly touched on hiring staff in this post but, as I mentioned, I’ll do some future blog posts on this topic as it’s so crucial in having a successful restaurant.

As usual, any questions drop them below.