Business Insights

Summer Restaurant Staffing

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Preparing Your Establishment for the Busy Season

Summer is often the busiest season of the year for restaurants. Visitors are in from out of town or passing through, locals want to enjoy the warm nights with a drink on the patio, and parents need to get their kids out of the house for a great meal.

This can be a great thing if you’re prepared, or daunting if your summer restaurant staffing is not yet where it should be. Sure, a killer food and drink menu will set you apart for the summer rush, but if your restaurant staffing is lacking, your entire season will struggle as guests have little to no patience for shorthanded service.

Maybe you think you can wing it and make it work with the staff you have, but don’t forget that this time of year is when many employees put in for paid time off and take vacations to be with family during the summer holidays.

To make it easier to get a firm grip on how to handle your staffing needs and where to begin, read through this actionable guide that will get you going on the right path. Before you know it, your summer scheduling won’t cause a headache, and you can focus on keeping guests happy.

Restaurant Staffing Tips

Seasonal Staff

Hiring seasonal staff is a great way to get applications flooding into your inbox. It’s also a wonderful way to hire for your busy season, with both parties in agreement that the position won’t go into the slower months. But if a few seasonal staff impress you, you’ve got a natural opportunity to bring them on for the long haul. Seasonal staff are often open to flexible schedules and may be able to fill in those fringe shifts where others may call out or avoid.

Don’t Wait

Now is the time to begin the hiring process. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to train staff in time for the summer rush. It would be completely counterintuitive to train new staff during the rush when senior staff will be even busier.

Word of Mouth

The best way to get the word out about job openings is to ask your staff to tell their friends and family about the seasonal positions. Chances are your employees will quickly know who of their inner circle can handle the job before they come in for an interview. Plus, opening the hunt to the ideal staff helps bring on other candidates who are a great culture fit for your establishment. 

Leverage Your Social Communities

Utilize your own social media platforms to reach your followers and let them know about the positions you’re seeking to fill. Be specific about the position and the hours/days you’re specifically looking to hire for. Adding that information will quickly weed out any potential applicants who are not a good fit. 

This grassroots approach also serves as a great way to generate buzz about your restaurant and all the exciting facets of your experience.

College Campuses

Post job listings at college campuses and in the student newspapers and websites. Chances are high that there will be students looking for work and flexible hours. In your advertisement, note it’s a great way to earn tips before the start of a new semester.

Preparing Restaurant Staff

You’ve gone through the list above, spread the word that your establishment is looking for summer employees, and now you’ve hired the best to represent your restaurant. 

It’s time to train your new staff and prepare them all for the summer season. 

  • Menu Expertise: Knowing Your Meals

    Throw a little mixer after hours for all staff to get to know one another, and to taste the new food and drinks on the menu. It's great when a server can name off every ingredient in a salad, but if they can't give first-hand recommendations to customers, that doesn't really help. Use this as an opportunity for staff to get to know the new offerings to better serve your guests.

  • Outdoor Diners

    There's nothing wrong with continually reminding staff how to serve outside diners. Unfortunately, some guests feel forgotten when they decide to dine outdoors, so don't let that happen to your guests. Be sure staff is prepared and familiar with the table arrangements and flow of the patio.

  • Summer Dress

    If your summer dress code differs from any other season, inform the staff right away. No staff member should stick out from other workers for not following the summer dress code.

Cover All Your Bases

Here are a few last tips to tie everything together and get your restaurant and patio ready to serve your guests.

  • Freshen up your patio if it hasn’t been used in a few months. It can be as simple as new centerpieces or seat cushions.
  • Install misters or fans for those who dine when the sun is at its highest.
  • Keep the liveliness of the indoors flowing to the patio with music or TVs, or both.
  • Add festive outdoor string lights for late-night guests who want to enjoy a refreshing drink and the summer night.

Want more hiring tips and insights. Reach out to our Business Consulting team for your free 30 minute consulting session.

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