It’s hard to believe that summer is almost over. I know by the rules of the calendar it only began a few weeks ago. But in restaurant time it is going to peak in another week or two, Gilbert, Sally, Anne, and Jason will be adding up their tips and reviewing the schedule, almost hourly. Are there a lot of travel brochures about Europe in the kitchen and wait stations? It may be the middle of July, but to a returning student, summer is coming to an end. Soon you will be looking for replacements for those waiters that only seemed to have hit their stride a few weeks ago. It is the season of restaurant rotation.
What should you do? The answers are easier than they seem.
1). During one of your regular pre-shift meetings address the subject of back to school. It’s better if you bring up the topic rather than waiting for someone to leave without adequate notice.
2). Ask any of your summer temps if they have friends or family that would be interested in becoming a waiter for the reminder of the summer.
3). Begin placing ads in your local paper or online for a full time waiter. Do not search for a part time waiter in July. You will never find one who is qualified.
4). Is there a bus boy who can move up the ladder and become a server?
5). Do any of the bussers have friends or family that could fill the position?
6). Consider rearranging the dining room sections so servers on the can handle more tables.
7). Is anyone in need of extra hours? There is that possibility that some
8). Can a schedule be worked out so that a floor supervisor goes back on the floor a few nights a week?
9). Inquire if the summer staff plans on returning to work during school breaks, holidays or next summer? If they are, you can use their future employment as a negotiating tool.
10). Let everyone know that you need to know well in advance when they are returning to school. Send out a form that list schedules and questions. In the long run it may seem like a lot of work but planning for a replacement team, and training them will make the transition easier for yourself, your staff and your customers.