Restaurant Staff – Hiring the Best Team to Run Your Restaurant

Hiring staff that’s effective and productive is vital for your restaurant. But what are the various restaurant staff roles? What’s the key to building a great team at your restaurant? How can you hire the right people for your restaurant?

These are a few of the many questions that you find yourself struggling with. A restaurant is fully functional only when you have a dedicated team. And we’ll tell you exactly who and how to hire a restaurant staff.

So let’s begin!

How many restaurant staff do you need?

Every restaurant is divided into two areas of operation – Front of House (FOH) and Back of House (BOH). FOH represents areas that your restaurant customers have access to. It consists of the dining area, bar and any other place they can visit. BOH, on the other hand, refers to the back end of the restaurant like kitchen, storage spaces, etc. It’s that part of the restaurant where only the staff is permitted.

You need to hire staff for both these areas of operations at your restaurant.

Restaurant staff roles for Front of House

Front of House restaurant staff

Restaurant staff at Front of House are the people your guests first interact with. They must be responsive and sharp at communicating.

  1. Restaurant Manager-
    Restaurant managers handle restaurant operations at a managerial level. They check incoming orders, hire and manage employees, regulate billing, take care of table reservations, and more. Depending on the type of establishment, a restaurant could have a General Manager and an Assistant Manager.
  2. Bar Manager-
    Bar managers take care of orders that come to the bar. Not only do they manage drinks they also take care of any food orders placed at the bar. Bar managers are experts on alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Their expertise is required while regulating the bar menu.
  3. Bartender-
    Bartenders come after bar managers. They should be quick and creative with the drinks they prepare. People get curious about what they’re being served at bars. The bartender should be able to tell their customers about each drink that they prepare. Therefore, thorough knowledge is a prerequisite.
  4. Host-
    When a customer enters your restaurant, they are greeted by hosts. Table reservations and coordinating with guests is done by hosts of a restaurant.
  5. Server-
    Often referred to as the restaurant’s wait-staff, servers show the guests to their tables, give them the menu, inform them about the day’s specials and take down their orders. Once they punch in orders, the food preparation begins. Customers reach out to servers for any assistance. And so, servers should be there to take care of them. Digital Kitchen Order Tickets in restaurant’s today has effectively reduced the burden of servers who were earlier writing down orders and manually taking them to the kitchen.
  6. Busser-
    Table clearing and set-up is the responsibility of restaurant bussers. Their job is to make sure the table is well laid out with all the necessary crockery and cutlery. It is their job to make sure each table is clean before the next set of guests come in.
  7. Runner-
    Runners work closely with servers. They bring prepared food from the kitchen and serve them to the customer’s tables. They make sure the food is lined up in sequence at the kitchen counter.
  8. Cashier-
    The cash registers are maintained by cashiers. They punch in, update and print orders. All bills are generated at the cash counter. Cashiers also take care of online food ordering system. Their duty is to make sure all online orders are punched in and instantly communicated to the kitchen staff.
Restaurant staff roles for Back of House

Back of house restaurant staff

Mainly people who work in restaurant kitchens and storage rooms located at the back of a restaurant.

  1. Head Chef-
    The person who leads the entire kitchen is a head chef. She/he manages the restaurant’s menu. They are responsible for preparing meals for customers. They have a team of their own who assist them in preparing and cooking the meal. Before meals get served, they are sent to the head chef for review and approval. They also train new cooks who join the restaurant kitchen. Apart from managing and training the kitchen staff, head chefs look after the restaurant’s inventory and stock purchases.
  2. Sous Chef-
    These people are the head chef’s wingmen. They assist the executive chef in cooking. They also direct orders to other cooks at the concerned kitchen counters. The kitchen is headed by the sous chef in the head chef’s absence.
  3. Line Cooks-
    Line cooks do the prep and initial cooking for chefs above them. They are given different stations to take care of. After being briefed by the head and sous chef, they handle their separate stations.
  4. Prep Cooks-
    As the name suggests, these people help in getting all the ingredients of a dish together. They wash, chop, slice or grind vegetables and meat for their senior chefs.
  5. Dishwasher-
    Often, cleaning of dishes is taken care of by a dishwashing machine, however, you need someone who can operate it. Also, there are times when you urgently need a utensil to be washed. A dishwashing machine is of no use then since it takes a certain amount of time for cleaning the dishes.
  6. Maintenance and cleaning staff-
    People like to visit restaurants that are clean and hygienic. Your restaurant’s maintenance staff helps you maintain a neat environment for people to eat and work in.

Common staff roles by type of restaurant

The staff roles mentioned above may vary depending on the kind of establishment you run. Few restaurant specific roles get added and few get removed from the restaurant staff list mentioned above.

1. Fine Dining Restaurants-

High-end restaurants have a few staff roles that are unique to them. For example, these restaurants have wine stewards or Sommeliers, who are in charge of serving and handling any purchase of wines. Another staff role that is specific to these restaurants is Chef Garde Manger. They deal with the preparation and plating of cold food like salads, cheese, desserts and more.

Restaurant staff at fine dining restaurants
Wine steward
2. Casual Dining Restaurants-

Having a line and prep cook might not make much sense in casual restaurants. These individual roles get combined and are performed by one short order cook who prepares the regular order meals.

3. Cafes-

Being a small establishment, cafes have limited staff positions and a single member manages more than one role. For example, the server could be performing the job of hosts and runners. Baristas are mostly specific to coffee shops and small cafes. Their job is to prepare different types of coffees, teas and other beverages.

4. Quick Service Restaurants-

QSRs are fast paced. Most of them don’t have hosts and waiters as customers place their orders at the counter. There’s one operator who punches in orders and prints KOTs and bills. The cooks working in these fast food restaurants deal with commercial kitchen equipment like fryers, grills, etc. to prepare the food.

5. Bakeries-

If you start a bakery business in India, hiring bakers and pastry chefs is a prerequisite. They prepare baked food items.

The salary of common restaurant staff roles in major countries

Staff Role India US UK Singapore
Restaurant Manager Ranges from Rs. 2L to 6L $31k – $57k £17k – £32k S$22k – S$71k
Bar Manager The range is approximately 1L-6.5L (source: Indeed) $19k – $55k £15k – £28k S$3k – S$50k
Bartender Starts from around 1L and can go up to 6L per year (plus tips) $11k – $56k (plus tips) £10k – £25k (plus tips) S$12k – S$36k (plus tips)
Host Approximately ranges from Rs. 90k to 4L $12k – $38k £18k –  £24k S$1k- S$20k
Server Starts from Rs. 90k goes up to Rs. 8L (plus tips) $8k – $48k(plus tips) £6k –  £24k(plus tips) S$1k – S$30k (plus tips)
Head Chef Rs 2L – Rs 20L $30k – $66k £19k – £38k S$24k – S$84k
Sous Chef Rs 2L – Rs 12L $31k – $56k £16k – £29k S$25k – S$59k

Source: PayScale

The above data is an estimate taken from PayScale’s salary statistics and the figures may vary depending on the type of restaurant establishment.

How do you manage staff in a restaurant?

Managing staff can be a real task at times. Let’s look at some of the ways you can maintain a productive environment at your restaurant.

  1. The clarity in roles and functions
    It’s very important that you and your restaurant staff are on the same page. Sit with each team and discuss the various operations they need to work on. Define individual roles at the beginning of work so that there is no scope of doubts or confusion later. Let them know what is expected of them while they’re working at your restaurant.
  2. Maintain staff data on a regular basis
    Every employee’s data must be stored in your central system. A track record of their leaves and attendance must be maintained so that you can monitor individual performances. Make sure that it is regularly updated for better insight.
  3. Know your employees
    As a restaurant owner, you should know about the people who work for you. Figure out what their strengths are and use it in your restaurant’s favor. There should be open communication between you and your employees. Talk to them occasionally if not every day.
  4.  Avoid monotony
    To keep your restaurant staff engaged and active, assign daily tasks to different teams. Quirk up your workplace by providing your staff with meal discounts on special days. Provide your restaurant staff with customized goodies like sippers, t-shirts, and more. This will also help promote your brand.

How to hire the right restaurant staff?

Hiring restaurant staff is not all that easy. These are the people who are going to help you run your brand better. Therefore, you must focus on a few things for hiring quality staff for your restaurant.   

Step 1. Know how many people you need

As discussed earlier, your restaurant may not necessarily need a sommelier or host. So, the first step is to identify and make a list of employees your restaurant needs in both FOH and BOH. It’s only then that you can move ahead and begin hiring.

Step 2. Let people know you’re hiring

Go live! Publish and share your job openings across all platforms like social, classifieds in newspapers, online job recruitment portals, etc. Campaigning becomes easier if you have an online website for your brand. In order to reach your target audience make sure you hit all the right channels. Create engaging and vivid content for your recruitment ads but also don’t sway from the objective of the ad.

Pro tip– Hiring a marketing expert at this point would be great for your brand.

Step 3. Process applications

Hiring staff for your restaurant shouldn’t be done in haste. It only seems fair that you spend sufficient amount of time in going through all incoming applications. Hire qualified people as there are certain staff roles that need specialized knowledge and experience in one particular field.

Step 4.  Conduct interviews at regular intervals

Invite the shortlisted candidates for an interview. Ask them all the required questions. Notice their attitude and approach towards each question. Give them a clear picture of what their job is going to look like. It’s very important that their thought process aligns with yours. See if they fit your restaurant staff guidelines or not.

Step 5. Hire well

Whilst hiring experienced people may prove beneficial, fresh graduates have great potential and energy. Your restaurant staff should be an amalgam of old and young employees. Hire people who will help you build and grow your restaurant.   

Restaurant staff roles

Restaurant Staff Attrition Rates

According to a study by LinkedIn, the restaurant industry has the highest turnover rate of 17.2%, in the retail and consumer products sector. It also stated the attrition rate of food service professionals at 17.6%. Various studies held across the globe show that restaurant employees leave within a year (or less) of being hired.

Reasons for the attrition rate

1. High-pressure environment

The Restaurant industry is very challenging and demanding. The entire restaurant is on their toes during rush hours. If you’re short staffed the atmosphere becomes stressful. Being constantly under pressure or where there is friction between employees of the same team. There’s pressure when the flow of work is not systematic.  Not just this, people also avoid working in restaurants that have poor infrastructure and cannot accommodate a lot of workers in it.

2. No room for growth

Often restaurant staff has to stick to their roles strictly. The workforce today is looking to explore and grow. If they think they’re not learning any new skills, they switch to something that has much more to offer.

3. Restaurant is ill-equipped

Your restaurant should be well equipped with all the latest technology. Dealing with old machinery for FOH and BOH operations can be very stressful for your restaurant staff. Kitchen Display Systems will help connect both these areas of your restaurant. Using a well-integrated POS system will help you manage your restaurant better.

4. Strict working guidelines

Every work needs discipline. But not to the level that it gets boring. If your restaurant has extremely hard and fast rules, you might end up losing your staff. There’s a good chance that your restaurant staff ends up making a mess while working under pressure.

5. A highly competitive co-working environment

At times, managers may get cross with their subordinates if the work is not done well. This kind of check is tolerable occasionally but not always. The workspace also becomes difficult when some members of the team are slow and not able to deliver results. This makes it difficult for other team members even if their performance is highly credible.

Ways you can reduce your restaurant staff attrition rate

  1. Begin right. If you have a thorough screening process, you wouldn’t have to worry about employees leaving your restaurant. Make sure you hire people who fit well in your restaurant culture.
  2. Building interesting incentive programs will help you retain your staff. People tend to work more when they are incentivized. Give bonuses and other incentives to your restaurant staff regularly. This will motivate them to work better at your restaurant. Incorporate things like, “Chef of the day” or “Employee of the month”, and so on.
  3. Make your restaurant staff feel valued. If an employee feels her/his work is being appreciated by their seniors, they will then put in twice the effort in their work. This will also motivate others to work better.
  4. Let there be a certain amount of flexibility in work. You can divide or shuffle roles as and when required. Make sure you give your restaurant staff some time off in rotation so as to keep the flow of work smooth at your restaurant.
  5. All work and no play makes not only Jack but everyone dull. Having social gatherings and organizing fun activities post working hours, with your restaurant staff, will help them in getting to know their colleagues better.

You’re ready to hire!

One of the factors that affect your restaurant’s success curve is the staff. It is important that you hire staff which is highly productive for your brand. Remember, you spend the majority of your time with your restaurant staff.

Restaurant Staff – Hiring the Best Team to Run Your Restaurant
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Devyani Singh

Devyani Singh

Devyani is a content marketer at LimeTray. Often seen with her earphones on listening to 90s rock and Jazz or reading Harry Potter all over again. She's extremely fascinated by trees and can be seen photographing them every now and then.