Mike Hewitt, Principal, One Haus

Mike Hewitt One Haus

It’s hard enough to find good people. But how about retaining them? One Haus can help you with both. 

“We work with operators who are either opening a new restaurant or making some changes in leadership – the chef or GM is leaving, and if you’re a new spot, you might not even have one of these key roles in place yet.  We find strong operators the restaurant needs,” said One Haus Principal and Headhunter, Mike Hewitt, “and then we help you hold on to them. We source and place top talent.”

The recruiting company handles salaried positions.  “Anything from floor manager, sous chef, all the way up to corporate,” he added.  “We ask how they operate, make sure we understand what parameters matter to them, who the ideal candidate would be. We’re actually more proactive than reactive. I like to call it, ‘cherry picking out of the field.’” 

What One Haus does is identify exactly what type of professional restaurants are looking for.  “We are in the hand-holding business of delivering the right candidates. And what makes us different is that we’ve even hired a retention specialist who provides services post- hire, which is kind of unique,” Hewitt noted. 

The recruiting company is about finding staff, but its recent focus is on retention, a critical issue in the industry.  “Our retention specialists are helping the candidate through the first 100 days making sure that they are trained correctly, onboarded correctly, create or improve job descriptions for the search. Any issues as far as communication between a client and a candidate, if there’s some friction, we can mediate between them. So we’re essentially supporting and really setting up the new hire for success.”

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According to Hewitt, traditionally head hunting has been very transactional. “Here’s a chef. There’s my money-goodbye. Call us when you need another….. What we’re trying to do is keep our foot in the door. Extend our relationship with these clients and create a more value-driven relationship, show our commitment to them.  We’re really an extension of the H.R. Department, leaving it better than how we found it.”

Mike Hewitt One HausHewitt said he hires according to personality, character traits and background. “I’ll find someone and say, she’s an incredible leader and she’s a natural, she’ll fit in very well here.  I really don’t care where they come from. What’s more important to me is their love for the culinary arts and hospitality. The New York metro area actually happens to be a pretty cool hotbed of culinary talent. So it works.”

He pointed out that it’s a risk-reward endeavor. “We spend a lot of time with someone and some times, they don’t work out, for whatever reason. We find a lot of times its really going back to the client.  Sometimes it’s because they’re just not organized, they’re not setting them up correctly. They’re not giving them the tools. It’s almost like the ‘good luck’ kind. Sometimes, a week or two later we uncover, or realize ‘What the heck, this guy’s not going to make it.’ That’s where proactively we go in, work with our clients and see exactly what’s going on and how we can prescribe a solution.”

Hewitt said he came up with the idea for a recruitment and retention company because he noticed that the industry has been changing.  “I felt we needed to adapt to the changing times. Operators have a shrinking bottom line. I wanted to be more value-driven, which is the essence of what One Haus really is.” Along with Empowered Hospitality Principal Sarah Diehl, we devised a program that adds value, not an extra cost to the client, to improve long term results.

Hewitt stipulated certain elements that the company looks out for, like what’s in your environment that would make someone want to stay.  “Are you treating them well and showing them respect, giving them an upward trajectory or making them better operators?  What realistic perks and quality of life/work ratio does your company promise during the interview process and actually deliver post hire?

“Otherwise, you always have staff just clocking in and out and not caring about your past. And then a week later, they start looking and most likely reaching out to someone like us. So that’s really one of the issues that we’re seeing. It’s a two-way street. You treat someone right; he or she is going to do right by you. We like to say we see the red flags well in advanced.”

One Haus is an operator’s eyes and ears out in the market. “Operators are not going to hear the stuff that people tell us,” Hewitt explained. “We have intel about their locations that they don’t even know about, which is kind of good to know.  They will say, look, this is the word on the street. You are really hard to work for or you don’t treat people well or vice versa, people who speak very highly of you. So we do a lot of intel that keeps us close to them. But our loyalty also is with the client. We want to make sure that we treat them well. Sometimes that means telling them things they don’t want to hear. But they realize the value in that exchange of information.

Through our partnership with Empowered Hospitality we provide full suite Human Resource services, from very cost efficient total off-site HR departments, compliance hotlines, hourly staffing options and staff training packages,  but the company’s main expertise, in the end, is recruitment.

“We want to specialize and focus on what we do best,” Hewitt concluded.

To learn more about One Haus and Mike Hewitt, please visit their website