10 Essential Service Industry Back-of-House Hiring Tips

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In the service industry, hiring makes or breaks your team. Your staff powers you through lunch rushes, dinner rushes, misplaced orders, and all the other little fires that pop up every day. But too often, finding and hiring food service employees who remain calm and efficient under pressure, prioritize the restaurant experience for your clientele, and collaborate well together seems impossible.

Culinary Staffing has got your back! These 10 key hiring tips are based on years of experience, and if you implement even one we guarantee, your back-of-house will start to feel like a back-of-home. Read on for customized guidance for hiring split into two categories: overarching tips for hospitality and back-of-house best practices.

5 Overarching Hospitality Hiring Tips

When addressing your staffing needs, having these qualities and expectations in mind helps you find the right people. Whether you’re searching for long-term employees, seasonal hires, or temporary staffing for an event, you’re going to need non-negotiable baseline hiring criteria. These five overarching hospitality hiring tips will frame your mind to find the right people for whatever your business needs.

1. Seek Employees Who Suit Your Culture

To keep a restaurant running smoothly, you need a team that operates under the same set of values. By implementing and maintaining a company culture that prioritizes organization, cleanliness, and collaboration, you can easily establish criteria to evaluate new hires right off the bat. Once they’re onboarded, they’ll only grow further into the culture already set in place. 

2. Consider a Broad Spectrum of Needed Experience

No matter the task, everyone in the service industry has to work with people. While previous food service experience is a major bonus, customer service experience can present itself in many ways, such as working in a retail shop or organizing a bake sale. In your interview, be sure to check in on the potential hire’s public-facing experience in multiple capacities. 

3.  Prioritize Cleanliness and Attention to Detail

To work in the food service industry, cleanliness and attention to detail is a must. There will always be spaces to clean and little things to attend to, and hiring someone with an eye for detail and a brain for organization will prove an instant benefit to your team. When hiring keep in mind your ABCs (Always Be Cleaning). 

4. Think About Long-Term Potential

When hiring for seasonal positions or even specific events, think about the long-term potential of all your future hires. Long-term employees reduce training costs and create an established collaborative environment. Even if a new employee is to be a short-term hire, look for your restaurant’s non-negotiables. 

Maintaining your hiring values throughout the process ensures consistent service for your customers and may result in a permanent team member who could someday be your best.

5. Articulate Your Necessary Skills Upfront

Sorting through applicants for a job posting can be extremely time consuming, and can be especially frustrating when disqualifying details pop up in writing or worse in the interview stage. 

When you post a job, clearly articulate your list of necessary skills. Whether you require a certificate, a license, or specific food service experience, note your non-negotiables and necessary qualifications early on to save time and stress. 

5 Crucial Back-of-House Hiring Tips 

Back-of-house workers don’t typically interact with the public; instead, they face high pressure, specialized fixed roles, and constant rapid communication with each other and front-of-house staff. To ensure success as you fill your back-of-house employment needs, keep the following five tips in mind. 

1. Establish Their Culinary Skills

The majority of your employees for a back-of-house staff will need some level of culinary skills. Roles like chefs and line cooks need to be able to execute multiple culinary skills at a time while being able to delegate. 

All back-of-house staff including sanitation workers and other support staff benefit from a deeper understanding of the kitchen. As your back-of-house collaborates, make sure they share a foundational understanding of their space and place. 

2. Ensure Food and Safety Knowledge

If any back-of-house employee mishandles food, the entire restaurant will suffer, most notably the customers. Food and safety knowledge is a must throughout your restaurant, but especially for every person in the kitchen. 

Most notably, your team needs to know how to prepare, handle, and store food properly. If a potential new hire doesn’t grasp the importance of food handling and safety knowledge, they’re not fit for your business. 

3. Memorize the Menu

Everyone who will be involved in the food preparation process will benefit from understanding how their work contributes to the customer experience. Having employees memorize the menu will elevate your back-of-house staff by improving efficiency in food production time and helping them see the larger scope beyond their specialized roles. The more familiar your staff is with the ins and outs of your menu items, the better.

4. Introduce Them to the Team

Because the back-of-house team doesn’t interact with the public, the way they communicate with the rest of the restaurant staff is even more important. Introducing your new hires to the larger back-of-house team and servers will quickly integrate them into your restaurant’s work culture and lay the groundwork for functional communication. 

Teamwork is crucial for the success of your entire establishment, and an early introduction will keep everything moving smoothly down the road.

5. Encourage Meditative Thinking (open-mindedness/ flexible thinkers)

When back-of-house gets chaotic, team members feed off of each other’s energy. In the midst of stress, worry, and even potential panic, a deep breath and a flexible mindset go a long way. 

Look for back-of-house employees and other potential new hires who can communicate their needs openly in a concise and calm manner. This will ensure that the restaurant keeps running smoothly even when the kitchen gets hot hot hot! 

Frequently Asked Questions About Restaurant Hiring Practices

When you acquire the best employees, every aspect of your business improves. See our answers to some of the most frequently asked questions in the industry to help your hiring process along.

What Makes a Good Restaurant Employee?

The qualities contained within a good restaurant employee are:

  • Commitment
  • Confidence
  • Reliability
  • Positivity
  • A strong work ethic
  • Teamwork skills
  • A proactive work attitude

These qualities come together in an employee who will work hard, stay productive be efficient, and make customers happy. If you’ve already hired some experienced, vetted workers, they will help you identify these qualities in others with ease. 

How Do You Determine Staffing Needs for a Restaurant?

You can determine staffing needs for a restaurant by your number of tables and shifts.  You should have one front-of-house employee for every three to five tables in your establishment, depending on how many people you typically serve per table. 

Who Is the Most Important Worker In a Restaurant?

There isn’t a single most important worker in a restaurant; instead, many workers come together to make a restaurant run smoothly. These workers include:

  • Dishwashers
  • Line cooks 
  • Bartenders
  • Servers 
  • Restaurant managers
  • Seating host 

Hiring the best people to fit a team that covers all these roles prioritizes all the employees in your business and leads to a more conducive team environment. 

How Do I Hire People for My Restaurant?

There are many ways you can go about hiring people for your restaurant, including:

  • Posting job openings to online forums
  • Reaching out to industry contacts
  • Working with a staffing agency

Working with a staffing agency is the most effective way to hire the right people for your restaurant. We do the work of finding the best people and preparing them to hop right into your restaurant. All you need to do is call us, and we’ll bring the staff to you.

Hiring In the Hospitality Industry: Staff for Excellence In Customer Service 

These 10 key hiring tips for your restaurant will give you a clear idea of who you’re looking to hire. To fully implement these ideas in your restaurant, reach out to our staffing experts. The Culinary Staffing team knows what it takes to bring talent to your table. We’ll connect you with a network of front and back-of-house staff who can help your business thrive.