Business Insights

Chef Blais On Creating Your Dream Team

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Celebrity Chef Richard Blais, restaurateur, author and television personality, was the keynote speaker at Shamrock Foods EXPO17. We are sharing key learnings from his presentation in a series of articles.

Creating Your Dream (Restaurant) Team

People want to be passionate about what they do and where they work. A huge part of that is the team you surround yourself with day in and day out. Before Chef Blais began the discussion on how to create a dream team for one’s business, he reminded the group about this: if you don’t have the idea or product down, nothing else matters. Remember to focus on those two pillars before the team recruitment begins.

When one is ready to create the “dream team” for their ridiculous idea, Chef Blais suggested ensuring the ideology and mission of the business is clearly defined. That will ultimately attract people with the same goals and work ethic, and create an environment where one doesn’t mind being around the team for 19-hour days at times. And most importantly, this will allow a restaurateur to steer clear of angry cooks in the kitchen, which is never a good thing!

The culture starts with the founder, and from there is contagious and trickles down. Other factors to consider are:

  • Create Diversity

    The more diversity one has, the better ability the team will have to offer the best customer service. Why? Because it allows an operation to have different viewpoints. And from a food perspective, diversity can add depth and unique flavors to the menu based on personal experience and passion for one’s culture.

  • Celebrate The Team

    There are many ways to reward and recognize employees. One way Chef Blais accomplishes this is by developing restaurant concepts that have open kitchens. It’s not just a great design, it’s like a theater and a gift for the people who are working really hard. The customer can see the chef and vice versa and the positive energy is transferred between the two, because what can be better than a chef seeing customers enjoy their food? Chef Blais also encourages restaurateurs to find ways to recognize the team. For example, make a whole roster of the team and include on the menu or website, no matter how small their role is. A restaurateur might not be able to pay their staff more, but simple recognition is often priceless with employees.

  • It Should Be Fun

    Historically the kitchen can be a stressful place. Discipline is necessary because there is a job to do, but it shouldn’t be mean spirited and ultimately Chef Blais stressed the importance of creating a fun work environment. It could be as simple as installing speakers in the kitchen. The team would come to learn that if music is playing, they are doing a good job. Find ways to make it fun, and acknowledge the team when things are running smoothly.

Creating your “dream team” can be challenging and take time, but it’s so important to fill your business with employees that are as passionate about your vision as you are.

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