What problem do all Restaurateurs have in common?



If I had to pick the number one problem, the most demanding and time consuming challenge that causes the most stress and worry for all Restaurant Owners, it’s staff! I have yet to meet a Restaurateur who doesn’t talk about staffing problems when we meet. Whether its finding the right people, retaining staff or replacing staff, it’s a never ending revolving door of people coming and going.


The difference between restaurants and other small businesses is that we need a lot of staff. We don’t have the luxury of virtual teams or people who work from home. We have bricks and mortar businesses that rely on teams to be in the venue day-in and day-out to deliver our service. On top of that we need them to work when most of the population is not. Nights, weekends, public and school holidays etc.


I currently employ 40 staff over two venues. This increases during our busier months and decreases during our quiet periods. The majority of my team are aged between 18 and 25 with a couple under the age of 18 and a few more who are in their 30’s. My husband and I are the only ones in our forties. We have a transient workforce. Travellers, university students and those who are unsure about what they want to do; but work in hospitality while they figure it out. The minority in our restaurants are the career hospitality folk who are in this for the long haul.


We have high turnover, naturally due to our transient workforce, but this doesn’t mean that we don’t invest time and energy into developing good workforce planning.


After 10 years in the recruitment industry one of the most valuable things I learned was workforce planning. The big corporates do this really well. They also have the resources and budgets to invest in teams to strategise and implement across their businesses, a luxury Restaurant Owners don’t have however, this doesn’t mean that we can’t or shouldn’t develop our own workforce plans. We can plan, relevant to our restaurant environment, and implement processes that will help reduce turnover and retain good people. It’s not going to stop turnover but if it improves, how bad!


When I consider wo