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HR Issues
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November 18, 2011

Written by: Robert Krzak

Okay, so for the past three years you finally got the courage to take that leap of faith and put your resume out there and go after the job of your dreams. Restaurants are starting to expand once more and you figure ‘now is the time’ (and in my professional opinion your opportunities couldn’t be more plentiful). You do your homework and target the three restaurant companies as your next ‘home away from home’ and after the two to three week courtship, you accept the best offer, throw in your two week notice and take a weeks vacation to get energized for the next chapter of your life. Sound too familiar? 

While you’re sipping on your Pina Colada on the warm beaches off of some exotic Caribbean island, now’s the time to start thinking and ask yourself “how do I get to the next level of my career”. Let’s face it; unless you have a crystal ball, that actually works, there is no textbook answer that any professional can offer because every restaurant operation has their own set of rules, culture and beliefs. However, there is one constant variable that is universal no matter what segment of the restaurant or hospitality industry you’re in and that’s people, people, and people. A successful manager knows how to identify, relate and lead multiple groups of people from various backgrounds and genders to a common goal of customer satisfaction. Restaurant professionals need to remember that perception IS reality in the eyes of consumers and your employees play a large role in your success as a manager. 

If you’re looking to fast track your restaurant career you may want to consider integrating these 5 tips:

1. Share Your Career Path With Your Company. There’s a saying in business that, “If you don’t promote yourself, nobody else will.” Don’t be reserve and keep your goals to yourself when it comes to your desire to move up the company ladder. Share your goals with your immediate supervisor and ask them if they’re attainable. Get your immediate supervisor to “buy in” to your goals and set reasonable time limits to have them completed. By having this “buy in” with your company, you’re demonstrating that not only can you accomplish the goals set by the company, but those that you have set for yourself.

2. Help As Many People As You Can. People develop relationships with those around them when you offer help. The more people you help in attaining their goals, you’ll find that your goals get a lot easier to accomplish. Why? Not only are you investing in the future to those you assist but karma seems to make its way full circle.

3. Be Consistent. As restaurant managers, we make hundreds of decisions each week that, whether good or bad, decide various outcomes. No one person keeps a mental tally of your impartiality, fairness and consistency than your employees and the professionals you surround yourself. Restaurant operations, as well as its employees, are based around routines because each routine is meant to be consistent. From how an employee is counseled on excessive tardiness to loading the dishwasher, each company sets its standards for each routine that must be followed and employees need to be able to depend on its management staff to be consistent. 

4. Hire and Retain Quality Employees. Bottom line, quality employees inspire and motivate others by their example and enthusiasm. Good employees will inspire others directly and indirectly toward higher achievement and those around them feel more confident because of that higher level of competency. As hiring quality employee’s accounts for fifty percent of the equation, keeping those superstars happy account for the other fifty. What managers fail to realize is the smallest gestures mean a lot and don’t cost much to keep employees happy. Notoriety for a job well done in the presence of and surrounded by fellow employees is gratification that employees crave. Employees want attention and recognition and are hungry for any and all types of acknowledgement of their value.

5. Educate and Train Constantly. Continuing to improve your employees to become more educated within additional areas of your restaurant operations so you can be more effective with them is an area that many managers do not take enough advantage. Training not only maximizes overall efficiency of restaurant operations but also encourages a culture of constant progression and learning in a dynamic industry. A quality-training program not only assures that all employees have the tools they need to succeed but reduces the turnover rate, which subsequently increases the ROI for each employee. Your commitment to the art of People Development assures you of a rewarding career within the restaurant and hospitality industry.

As mentioned earlier, there is no one silver bullet that can propel a manager from one level to the next but if you look closely, the restaurant industry revolves around two words; passion and people. If you’ve been in the restaurant business for as very long as I have, the word passion gets thrown around so loosely like rice at a wedding. If you take into account the amount of hours a company demands of its restaurant managers for the salaries being offered, accompanied by the strain this industry places on ones personal life, others would call it extreme lunacy while we in the restaurant industry call it passion. How quickly you rise through the ranks is not determined in the level of passion that you possess but the passion that is bestowed upon, filtered and carried on through your employees.


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