All of us who are part of the restaurant industry know that this industry can be like a revolving door – turnover of employees happens all the time and quickly too.

Chefs and restaurant managers are familiar with the scenario of someone handing in their resignation paper, or someone frequently taking an absence from work – staffing issues that put a strain on the kitchen operation, especially during peak days or hours. It is not surprising that you’re wondering how exactly you should go about finding, hiring, and keeping great restaurant employees.

Agencies that offer temporary chef hire and other hospitality staffing services such as Anytime Chef are fantastic solutions to your urgent restaurant staffing needs. You can quickly book a professional Chef or kitchen staff to meet a pressing increase in your kitchen volume or when you have absent staff for the day. Since you are hiring skilled Chefs and kitchen staff with good ethics, much of your stress is already taken care of. Anytime Chef can also work with you in recruiting permanent staff. The management team is composed of Chefs themselves, so they know how to best support you in finding the right candidate for your business. Not only that, Anytime Chefs can also support you in training them. Head on to our website to find out how we help you grow your business.

Another option that many restaurants consider is hiring young employees to address the staffing dilemma. But, tasks should be age-appropriate, and some countries have particular rules on what they should and should not perform. Here in Australia, it varies per state or territory authority. Feel free to check out The Fair Work Ombudsman for more information. Here are some general tasks that they can do:

  • Dishwasher
  • Kitchen Prep – Teens can perform jobs such as food preparation working under the supervision of head chefs and cooks. They can clean or chop produce, brew coffee and tea, cut meat, and simple food arrangement. They can also wrap, weigh, stock goods as long they are not involved in meat preparation or work in freezers or meat coolers. 
  • Handle trash disposal, cleaning the cooking area and storing unused food. 
  • Operate simple machines and devices, such as dishwashers, toasters, dumbwaiters, popcorn poppers, milkshake blenders, and coffee grinders.

It would seem ideal to not judge the young people of this generation since we are all the product of our times. Still, smart hiring managers respect these generational differences to relate to them effectively as employees.

Generally, the young adults of this time have a highly developed sense of privilege. They have high expectations of managers, demand respect and have a take it or leave it attitude. 

If you feel that hiring teenagers are an option for your restaurant, here are some tips to help you manage and train them:

1. Hire for attitude

Young people typically do not have sufficient work record, but there is a trick to identifying which of them has the best chance of performing well at work and who among them is in for more than just a job.

During the interview:

Watch out for the direction of their interest, do they gravitate towards talking about money and working hours or do they talk about their passion for food or culinary arts. When people talk more about passion, they are willing to get involved more. Often, but not all the time, when money is the motivating force, excellence is not a priority. And when another job with a better salary even if it is of a different industry, they are inclined to apply for it.

RELATED READ: 3 Strategies to Help You Retain Newly Hired People

In addition to that, during the interview, paint a clear picture as to what the restaurant industry truly is. Sometimes, applicants come in with a completely different idea from what the operation demands. It is during interviews that sometimes realisation happens. And then either the applicant or hiring manager realises that the person is not a good fit for the job. 

2. Quality and modern training

The teenagers of today are tech-savvy. Most of them respond well to being trained on their mobile phones and tablets. These technologies are powerful training options available to many companies today, which results in a better knowledge transfer. As part of your training evolution, consider using mobile apps or mobile software to reinforce training points to your young employees. Check out this article from Guidebook on how to boost training through mobile apps.

3. Mentoring 

Gallup published a report that 60% of millennials feel the quality of the people who manage them is critical. This is where mentoring factors in. When mentors share their experiences and skills to assist in the training development of the young employee, the lessons tend to be more valued by the mentee, therefore, more retained. This relationship helps encourage a sense of belonging to the team. Identify which of your staff can act as a mentor to your younger employees. Being a mentor is not as easy as being assigned to shadow someone for a given duration. A mentor needs to be the kind of person who wants others to develop skills and then support them. Take a quick look at these series of questions to help you determine who in your team can grow to be a great mentor.

4. Know their interest or passion

Include one on one check-in with your young employees as part of your training and evaluation procedure. Use these check-ins to know what their interests are. You can use this information to find common ground and be able to motivate them. In return, you will make them feel that your management is engaged and concerned with them.

5. Be flexible

Let’s be honest; these young people can still be considered as kids. We can only hope for maturity and a demonstration of strong work ethics, but we should recognise that establishing a work/life balance for them can be harder. Perhaps, schedule them for four days in a row and then have three days off. Establish rules that value clear communication so that schedules do not suffer. 

In Summary:

Hiring teenagers in your restaurant presents a different challenge from hiring adults when it comes to task assignments.  Fast food restaurants typically employ young employees for their business, but most dine in restaurants still prefer to hire skilled applicants with work experience. The industry problem of fast employee turnovers can be addressed by other means such as working with reputable temp hire staffing agencies such as Anytime Chef, but if you are leaning towards hiring teenagers in your kitchen, prepare to incur more training hours and adjustments in your systems. They can be valuable workforce resources, but  will depend on the kind of training and management that you can provide. 

That’s it for this week.
As always, Professional Chefs on Call at Anytime!

Ciao for now,

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