The restaurant industry is seeing a major shift. Unemployment rates are climbing by the day with many owners blaming staff shortages on government handouts and employees rebutting that work conditions are awful and wages are too low.
The National Restaurant Association recently conducted a survey that showed 91% of Texas eatery operators “currently have job openings that are difficult to fill,” while 84% of operators nationwide have lower staffing levels now than before the pandemic. How can the industry bring employees back much less keep them when they do come back?
IT STARTS WITH A CULTURE SHIFT
It’s no longer enough to just put a HELP WANTED sign on your door and expect the applications to come pouring in. Some of the largest restaurant chains are struggling to find and keep staff. Why? It’s simple. They haven’t created a culture where employees want to work, where employees feel valued, where employees are encouraged to improve and held to high standards, or where employees feel secure in their job status and aren’t scared to walk in the door because they don’t know what they will face that day.
This all happens when we hold other people, and even yourself, accountable to the rules and standards.
START WITH TRAINING YOUR EMPLOYEES
Nothing is more important than the first couple hours of an employee’s first day. You can’t simply say welcome to work, you will be training with Sandra today, good luck. Sounds stupid to read that but is what you are doing much different?
And honestly, Sandra might not even be your best server and even if she was, she probably hasn’t been trained how to properly train. Now you can start to see where the break down occurs.
THE SECRET SAUCE FOR TRAINING ANYONE, ANYTHING
Over the years, I have developed a simple 5-step training formula that anybody can use to successfully train anyone to do (almost) anything.
- Why Do
- How Do
- I Do
- We Do
- You Do
First, explain the reason why their training is important. Second, explain how to do it. Next, you will demonstrate the task or skill for them. Then you will do the task or skill together. Last, have them complete the skill or task on their own to demonstrate comprehension and ability.
This simple 5-step training process will nearly eliminate all of your issues with people either not knowing how to do something or not wanting to do it. Of course, there needs to be a system (a checklist) to remind people to complete their tasks.
Remember, you are Managing Systems and Developing People. You manage the system with a checklist; you develop people through TLC – Training, Leadership, and Coaching.
Not everybody will respond to this method. Your goal is not to help people who don’t want to be helped. But having the right systems for training and managing team members will eliminate most of your challenges and help you develop the culture where people want to work and enjoy their work.
After all, you can lead a horse to the most amazing, clear, sparkling water but you can’t make them drink. There will always be exceptions and people you just can’t get through to.
The restaurant industry needs to accept more responsibility for how we are impacting this labor shortage and commit to improving the working conditions in our restaurants for today and for the longevity of your business.
Ryan Gromfin is an author, speaker, chef, restauranteur, and founder of therestaurantboss.com, clickbacon.com, and scalemyrestaurant.com. He is the most followed restaurant coach in the world helping Restaurant Owners and Operators increase profits, improve operations, and scale and grow their businesses.