Where does all the money go? Do you ever ask yourself that question, always coming up with the same answer? Of course you do. We all do. In most cases we don’t know where or how or even when the funds dissipate. Many a night I would leave one of my restaurants after doing a register read and on the way home I would be thinking about all of the improvements I could finally make since I was holding heavy in the finance department only to learn the next morning that the money was already gone, paying bills from months ago.
Every time we assume we are getting ahead, something happens that financially makes us even or puts us behind. And, eventually the well will run dry. That being said, it is imperative to not only tack where the bleeding happens but to prevent it from reoccurring in the future.
One of the costliest components in the financial picture of any restaurant is repetitive staffing and training. The amount of man hours spent on dealing with problems that constantly pop up in the middle of “the good times” is enough to make most of us want to explore other professions. However, with a methodical plan, staffing and training costs can be significantly reduced bringing more profits to the bottom line.
Realizing that staffing is a seasonal development for most of us- we need more waiters in the summer than we do in the winter it is very important to begin advertising and scouting for staff early on. This allows you to be a little more selective in your hiring process. And professionalism does matter more than any other attribute one may assume a waiter offers.
Make sure that you develop a core of dedicated employees in both the front of the house and the back of the house. An “inner circle” of staff helps carry the load on extremely busy nights and can handle the restaurant on their own when things are not as busy as you like. A central team of leaders will also alleviate the problem of attempting to decide who you can count on during times of turmoil and stress. This should be the group that understands the ups and own of the fluctuating business and sticks by you for the long haul.
If you compare your staff to a community – the strong inner circle employees are the locals, the others that just seem to pass through on their way to a better job or another profession, are the tourists.
This brings us to a very important point: When hiring look for people who are interested in staying in the profession and want to move up your corporate ladder. Promoting from within is very important not only because of the money it saves in searching for a person to fill a position, it proves that you are a good leader, a generous boss, a substantial trainer and that you also have the ability to spot growth in potential talent. Now if I just struck a cord because you do not promote from within due to a lack of talent you need to fie tune your hiring practices as soon as possible. But don’t worry, with summer soon upon us and the needs of waiters increasing daily now that tax time is over, we will all be getting busier. And just think of the opportunities we will have to hire ore qualified people that we can count on in the busy months ahead. And once we can comfortably develop a solid hiring practice employee recruitment- whether done through the newspaper, the Internet, or word of mouth –(don’t put a sign in the window), will decrease and the advertising and training costs will flow to the bottom line.