The most important factor to consider when hiring a cook is experience. Preferably, experience in the style of food you will be serving. Cooking candidates should express an enthusiasm for the food you plan to serve. If a cook is professionally trained, be sure that they can handle the speed of a busy kitchen as well as produce delicious dishes. Food safety, such as a Serve Safe certification is also a plus. While cooks don’t need to be as personable as the wait staff or hostess, they should be someone who can work as part of team and be reasonably polite.
If you are expecting a high paced, quick turnover rate each day, you need someone who can move fast. However, if the view of your restaurant is quiet, intimate, and slow-paced, such as fine dining, then you need someone who is comfortable that type of atmosphere. When interviewing for wait staff positions, ask each candidate what their strengths are. A server should be knowledgeable of the type of food you serve, as well as have a basic familiarity of wine and mixed drinks.
The general job of a restaurant host is to meet, greet, and seat customers. Therefore it is an excellent entry-level job for someone without a lot of restaurant experience (or any). The host should be friendly and courteous, and also know how to handle rushes, waiting lines. A host should be an organized person who is comfortable multi-tasking.
This position is often tops on the front-of-the house job ladder. To be a great bartender (and that is the only type you should hire) a person must have a wide knowledge of mixed drinks, be friendly to both customers and staff and be a good listener. Great bartenders can give quality, attentive service to their own customers, while still getting the staff their drinks. Honesty is another important requirement. The bartender handles a lot of cash each shift and you need to be able to trust that he or she will not siphon any off the top.
This is usually an entry-level position in the business. While dishwashing isn’t the most desirable job in a restaurant, it is one of the most important. It’s always a good idea to be a little nicer to your dishwashers– give them a free meal or a tip after a particularly busy night– to keep them from walking off in the middle of a shift. Because, if they walk, there is a good chance the owner may have to finish the job! If an employee can stick out a few months in the dish pit, then they are worth bringing up through the ranks, since nothing else will help build character the way dishwashing does.
Busboy (also referred to as a Busser)
Often, the first promotion a dishwasher gets is to busboy. This position is ideal for a high school student. The busboy is a gopher of sorts. His main job is to bus the dining room tables, however he can be conscripted by the cooks to fetch ingredients that are running low, or by wait staff to help make desserts or salads. The bartender may have a busser restock his coolers, if he doesn’t have his own bar-back. Bussing positions are an excellent way to gain exposure to all parts of the restaurant business, and a good transition to either a front of the house or back of the house position.
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