All About Hiring Restaurant Newbies Recap

Posted on May 2, 2016 by Michelle Locke

We recently held two sessions of our webinar, All About Hiring Restaurant Newbies—but we know restaurant owners! You’re busy, you couldn’t make it at the time you thought you could. We have a recording up on our YouTube channel that you can watch here.

Don’t have 30 minutes to spare? No problem! Here’s a short recap just for you.

The Benefits of Hiring Restaurant Newbies

  • You can hire to fit—or change—your restaurant’s culture. The restaurant industry as a whole has it’s own culture, so when you hire an experienced employee, you are hiring a piece of another restaurant’s culture. What do you want your restaurant to be like? Hire for that to develop and cultivate your own culture.
  • We know 50% of quick service jobs are being filled by first-time workers. The job market is getting tighter. The restaurant industry is adding more and more new restaurants, more and more new jobs, and the job market is getting tight!
  • Experience doesn’t have to be the only factor. Hire for leadership skills. Hire for enthusiasm for work, for your restaurant, for food, for fun! Hire for a fresh perspective on your restaurant.

Adjusting Training to Newbies

  • The basics. Accountability. Restaurant know-how, including common terms and “lingo.” Performance standards. Customer service skills. These should be the foundation of any good restaurant training program, but for newbies, they’re especially important.
  • Again, what kind of restaurant do you want? Train someone into that restaurant! Quantify those qualities into performance-based training.

Lindsay Wood of Restaurant Wings LLC.

Lindsay told a great story during our webinar: when she was first hired as a server, she was pretty much sent out onto the floor and expected to perform. Most of her training came from unhappy customers. So she watched other waiters to learn how to make customers happy and used what she learned through so many years in the industry to create training videos.

So, when Lindsay is asked, should you hire inexperienced employees? The answer is YES!

Here are Lindsay’s tips:

  • Hire for: a good attitude; good references; reliability; ability to learn.
  • Repetition: Train new employees before they go onto the floor and then, repeat that training after! When someone who has never Hosted before watches a Host training video, they will learn quite a few things. But then after they shadow and experience what it means to be a Host, they will rewatch the video and learn even more.
  • Positive Reinforcement: Sculpt behavior by offering both “carrots” and “sticks.” Everyone wants carrots, and no one really wants sticks, but sticks are easier to accept when you have a few carrots along with it!
  • State the Obvious: New employees won’t necessarily understand the lingo or common phrases from the restaurant industry. Be specific and make your expectations known. And if someone is doing a bad job, ask yourself: are they being lazy (unlikely) or are they just unclear on how to do what you’re asking?

Remember: hiring and training is an art, not a science. You may hire a few duds here and there, but don’t let a lack of experience keep you from hiring a diamond in the rough!

Have more questions about this webinar? Send us an email at!