For a business owner, having a new employee start with your restaurant is exciting, but it can also be stressful and full of issues. You’ve been through the careful process of interviewing and checking references for new employees, but until you’ve seen how someone operates in your day-to-day environment and how they interface with your staff and customers, you won’t know if they’re a good fit - and their first few weeks can be challenging and full of issues.
It doesn’t help matters that your new staff members are probably a little nervous, too! Within their first few weeks, employees are expected to follow a steep learning curve. For some, it can be a very stressful training period - but with your help, you and your new employees will be able to better manage their first few weeks to be more productive and pleasant.
Below are 5 common issues that new employees typically have when starting their new restaurant job and some simple ways to address them.
Navigating Employee Work Styles
Joining a new team can be challenging for even the most seasoned employee. Every person has their own work style and preferences around how to get things done - and adding a new person to this mix can be a drag on your productivity and team dynamic.
Make sure you point out the important work style preferences within your organization early. Not only will your current employees thank you for respecting their needs, your new employee will have a quicker and much more pleasant adjustment to their new team. Ultimately, this will lead to a stronger, more efficient team for your restaurant.
Shedding Old Habits
You’ll likely find many new employees who have experience in the restaurant business - which is great for base level knowledge and a speedy training period. But the truth is that every restaurant runs their kitchen and front of house a little differently. And from the way you store your frozen items to the expectations you have for employees communicating with each other, it’s critical that new employees understand these nuances in their new environment.
During training, it helps to offer a “cheat sheet” that new employees can keep with them to remind them of the new way of doing things. This item will remind them to think before they fall into old habits - and will help you avoid the time and energy drain of re-treading work they’ve done. It won’t take long for those old habits to fade and new ones to form.
Meeting New Customer Service Expectations
The same way that each restaurant runs their business a little differently, customer service delivery is varied, too. And for your customers, having a consistent service experience is one of the most important parts of their time at your restaurant.
Make sure you clearly communicate the expectations around things like contact with guests, check disputes, or other issues that might come up from your customers. Your new employee will feel confident going into any situation if they know what is expected of them and how they can best and most consistently serve the most important people to your business.
Managing Down Time
Hopefully your schedule is in a place where there’s very little down time to begin with - but every restaurant has the occasional slow dinner or quiet lunch hour. During these periods, new employees may feel that they don’t quite know where else to help. And in some cases, in trying to jump in, may complicate your processes or make your other employees less efficient.
Keep a list of “down time” tasks visible in the office or break area of your restaurant. Whether it’s helping rewrite menus or refilling the pepper shakers, you can guide these new employees to the tasks that will be most beneficial for you and for your customers.
Their Role in the Bigger Picture
Hopefully you’ve worked hard to find and hire people who are more than just hourly employees. The strongest members of your team will be those who know that their role each day adds up to something greater - that they’re an integral part of your business and that their perfomance influences it greatly.
The best way for new employees to quickly feel this is to take time to check in and share details about the business. When they feel that they have access to the goals and performance of the company, they’ll feel invested in your business and work even harder to be an important part of it.
Hopefully the transition for every new employee is smooth and easy for you. If you’ve found a great way to get your new employees adjusted to your culture and workplace, tell us about it in the comments!