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A Must-Read for all Chain Restaurant Owners: Tackling Workforce Management Challenges

While all restaurants face challenges when it comes to hiring, training, managing and retaining employees, franchises and chain restaurants share their own unique set of struggles. Topping the list of staffing concerns expressed by many business leaders in this segment? Lack of awareness about what to expect. Here’s a closer look at what owners and managers should know about franchise and chain restaurant staffing, along with tips aimed at helping you stay ahead of the curve.

The Preparation Imperative

Many chain restaurant owners are unprepared for what they experience when they first start managing employees. In fact, this was a common issue highlighted by panelists at the recent International Franchise Expo in New York City, as reported by QSRweb.com. Said one franchise owner, “We wish we had more training on staffing up and being prepared on what employees will put you through.”

Multiple franchise owners shared this sentiment, highlighting issues including finding and hiring dependable people, dealing with managing them on a daily basis, and even occasionally having to jump in and take over when an employee calls out or simply does not show up. Echoed another franchise-owning panelist who otherwise felt well-equipped to run her own business, “Staffing is always an issue, and I would have been more mentally prepared for it.”

Adopting Best Practices

There are, however, some best practices for staffing management which can help managers and owners minimize the likelihood of unpleasant surprises and keep things running smoothly, including the following:

  • Implementing comprehensive training, including the specific and transparent communication of expectations, making sure that everyone understands and knows you are available if clarification is necessary;
  • Meeting with employees individually to discuss how the restaurant (and equipment) work, how they fit into the team, and the role of employee performance in determining shifts and hours;
  • Paying attention to each employee’s performance without micro-managing them, and offering constructive performance suggestions, when necessary;
  • Providing a visible path to advancement and career growth;
  • Immediately addressing violations of company policy (even minor ones);
  • Offering team incentives which help keep employees involved, engaged and working together;
  • Recognizing the value of work-life balance, especially in light of non-typical restaurant hours; and
  • Proactively reaching out to employees who may be struggling with the demands of working in a busy chain restaurant kitchen.

 Designing Your Kitchen for the User Experience

One of the easiest ways to keep employees satisfied and create a positive culture, aside from proactively communicating and reinforcing your expectations? Provide a comfortable and performance-forward work environment and incorporate kitchen equipment designed to support the quality of life of your workers.

Ultimately, it comes down to one thing. “People ask us all the time where we find such great people to work for us,” Gary Callicoat, president of Columbus, Ohio-based restaurant chain Rusty Bucket Restaurant & Tavern, told the National Restaurant Association. “We get them the same places as everyone else. But we just treat people really great.”

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