How to Find the Best Servers for Your Growing Chain

Growth is a challenge for any restaurant or restaurant group. It is, of course, a great problem to have. Whether it is sales growth (always the goal), physical expansion of an existing venue, or opening new venues (under the existing or new brand), at some point growth will most likely require more staff. How do you replicate the experience guests have at your existing location while growing the staff?

This is yet another area where your most valuable asset is your people!


Allow Current Employees to Move Up and Out

Offer your existing employees the opportunity to move to your new location. While some long time employees love the consistency of knowing what to expect when they come into work, others become bored, complacent, or frustrated, no matter how much they love their jobs. Offer your top staff the opportunity to move, if they would like to. This will not only fill your vacancies, it will keep your staff on their toes, excited, and motivated. Staff who were looking for something different get to have that new challenge without leaving the company and if some of your senior staff move, it opens up new shifts, opportunities to the staff that stays! It will also help instill your company values and environment (both for staff and guest) at your new location. Finally, back filling into an established restaurant, with an already established staff (other than the few that choose to go to the new location) is less risky and less stressful than hiring a brand new staff.


Ask for Referrals

Ask your staff for referrals before or while you post ads publicly. Most staff will hesitate to refer anyone who will flake or generally prove to be a problem employee. Your current staff also know what you expect from the job, so the friends they refer will likely have a better idea of what your expectations are than a walk in off the street. They can (and likely already do) give their friends brutally honest opinions (positive and negative) about their work life so those friends will come in with realistic expectations on day one. Lastly, everyone enjoys working with friends so why not encourage your staff to bring their friends onto the team?



Whether your whole staff is new, or you get some of your old staff to move to a new location, use your existing, already proven staff as a resource in training. Whether you pull your existing staff to go to the new location, or schedule your new staff to go through training with the trainers at your current location, use the rock stars you already have. Not only will your trainers know they are recognized and appreciated. Training in an actual, successful, and open restaurant is a more valuable experience for both the employee and the company. When you do trainings in an empty building, and someone aces every test, but is terribly awkward at a table, you have wasted your time, their time, and your money training them pre-opening. Let them shadow a server at your current location and you will very quickly get a taste of not only their ability to study a menu, but also their personality, work ethic, and other important job skills.

It is important that we don’t forget that our current team is our best resource even when it comes to building a new team. Using that resource will help with both the morale of your current staff, and the successful (and hopefully smooth) opening of a new location.



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