How Rockstar Restaurant Leaders Build a Rockstar Staff

 

If you have spent more than 20 minutes in the service industry, you realize how important it is to have quality people on your staff.  People are the building block of all businesses.  Nothing is more important.

  • Every food order gets made by a person,
  • Every customer has their order brought to them by a person.
  • Every business decision is made by a person.
  • All problems are caused by people and solved by people.
  • Nothing happens in a restaurant that isn’t affected positively or negatively by efforts of people.

Of all the responsibilities Restaurant Leader have placed on our shoulders, none are more important than the ability to recruit, hire and retain quality people. So why do so few restaurant leaders do it well?

I am a firm believer in the Pareto Principle, otherwise known as the 80/20 principle. This principle basically says:

  • 20% of our efforts lead to 80% of our results.
  • 20% of your people are responsible for 80% of your production.
  • 20% of the people make 80% of the decisions.
  • 80% of the money is owned by 20% of the people.
  • 80% of our problems are caused by 20% of our habits.

I have seen this principle played in the service industry over and over again.  The top 20% of restaurant leaders employ the top 80% of the most qualified employees.  The bottom 80% of restaurant leaders are left with what is left over (the bottom 20%).

If you take all of the restaurant leaders in your city or metro area and you could somehow objectively measure their effectiveness as leaders, you could distinguish the top 20% and the bottom 80%. The 80/20 principle would suggest there would be a significant different between how the average top 20% leader, operates verses the average of the bottom 80%.

I will call the top 20% Rockstar Restaurant Leaders (because that is what they are).  The bottom 80% I will call Mediocre Managers (because that is what they are willing to settle for).

The problem? 

Mediocre Managers generally have one thing in common.  They manage according to what feels natural.  It really is that simple. Mediocre Managers typically do as little as they have to, instead of doing as much as they can. It is the popular mindset of our current culture of managers in the service industry. And this is exactly what provides the top 20% of the leaders a distinct advantage.

Here are 3 Ways Rockstar Restaurant Leaders build their kingdom with Rockstar Employees.

  1. Rockstar Restaurant Leaders have a Winning Mind-set.

Mediocre Managers will adopt a scarcity mindset when it comes to staffing their store.  They believe that all of the available prospects are poor candidates and that all the good people are spoken for.  In their case, they may be right.  They may have created this environment.  They are discouraged by people failing to show up for interviews or show up on their second day of work.  They believe that the results they are getting with recruiting people are not worth the time they are required to put in.  Many of these people because of this mindset, find it very difficult to let go of underperforming employees because there is no one to replace them with.  So, they think.

Rockstar Restaurant Leaders have an abundance mindset. They fully understand that the quality of their staff is 100% up to them.  They believe there are plenty of great candidates out there, they just need to go get them. They are intentional about creating a margin of time and resources to maximize their recruiting efforts. They fully understand that nothing is more important.

Mediocre Mangers will blame the job market and lose hope. They will wait with skepticism for quality employees to walk through their door leaving the future of their staff up to chance.  They are a victim of their circumstances and play that role well.  Being short staffed is their default expectation sealing their destiny.

“Once there were 3 bricklayers. Each one of them was asked what they were doing. The first man answered gruffly, ‘I’m laying bricks.’ The second man replied, ‘I’m putting up a wall.’ But the third man said enthusiastically and with pride, ‘I’m building a cathedral.'” –Author Unknown

In her mind a Rockstar Restaurant Leader is building a cathedral!  Don’t settle for being a bricklayer.

  1. Rockstar Restaurant Leaders are Magnets.

They are the glue that holds everything together.  People love to work for them because they are honest, hardworking people who care about their team, and care about getting results.  They are visionaries that understand how to cast a vision that motivates their people to become the best they can be.  They are not dependent on anyone, yet they don’t work independent of the organization, rather they understand the importance of inter-dependence.

RRL’s are people of character.  People want to work for them because they operate by a set of principles that everyone values but few can communicate.  They understand that the only way for them to be successful is by helping everyone on the team be successful.

“You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.” Zig Zigler

If you want to have the best staff, you have to be the best leader. We are competing for the best people. Sometimes you don’t even have to be the greatest leader to have an excellent staff, you just need to be a step above all the underperforming managers out there. There lies our opportunity. The Mediocre Managers have set the bar pretty low.  We just need to decide to rise above the level of mediocrity.

Most people believe that our current job market is the hardest environment for staffing in decades. That’s only because they want to reap what they have not sown.  I believe we have the best opportunity to create a Rockstar staff than ever before.  We just need to be a better leader, provide a better place for the better people to go.

I have mentioned the following to several people over the years, and sometimes it has not been received well.  I suspect that believing it makes it difficult to blame external circumstances.

There are people out there that are great at staffing a team. Wherever they go they always attract the better people and tend to retain better people.   No matter the local job trends, unemployment rate or demographics, these leaders will get their staff established in a relatively short amount of time. Wherever they go they leave a wake of superior teams.  They are Rockstar Restaurant Leaders and they create their own opportunities.

  1. Rockstar Restaurant Leaders find the RIGHT people and remove the WRONG people.

The wrong employees take up space that otherwise should be occupied by the right employees.  Mediocre Managers goal is to find enough employees to fill the schedule and try not to lose them.  They don’t like to recruit so they put off recruiting until they fall behind.

The eagles get tired of working with turkeys and fly the coop. The result is they are always running behind playing catch up surrounded by turkeys they can’t fire.  In our company we call this backwards leverage.

There is a lie out there in the service industry that suggests that turnover is BAD!  I say turning over eagles is BAD! however turning over turkeys is GOOD!   Learn to embrace the eagles by intentionally turning over the bottom 25% of your crew (the turkeys).  Those that master this will create the space required to build a Rockstar Staff. Eagles will flock to an environment like this.

The RRL does not compromise on finding quality people.  The eagles appreciate the high standards and the turkeys don’t fit in.  One by one the RRL begins to build their team one eagle at a time, building a core group that stands out above the crowd.

If you need help becoming a Rockstar Restaurant Leader or developing them, please contact me.

 

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