Food & Beverage Staffing Guide: Tips to Run, Grow and Train Your Team

Food & Beverage Staffing Guide: Tips to Run, Grow and Train Your Team
Here are tips and tools for successfully growing your food and beverage business while taking care of your team.
by Austin Tedesco Nov 01, 2022 — 5 min read
Food & Beverage Staffing Guide: Tips to Run, Grow and Train Your Team

This article is for educational purposes and does not constitute legal, financial, or tax advice. For specific advice applicable to your business, please contact a professional.

Maybe you’ve taken the initial steps to start your restaurant or bar — from solidifying a business idea to writing a business plan to coming up with a name — and now you’ve decided you’re ready to hire employees. Or you’re looking for better ways to evolve your existing team. What can you do to prioritize top talent in a challenging and evolving labor market?

Here are tips and tools for successfully growing your food and beverage business while taking care of your team.

Get the full staffing guide — with tips on the hiring and staffing process from start to finish — here.

1. Formalize your hiring and onboarding process

With such high turnover in the food and beverage industry, it’s important to have a clear, efficient process when you hire and onboard new employees. Here are some places to start building consistent systems rather than cobbling together a process each time:

2. Make an employee handbook

Angie Evans and Kat McIver dove deep into building a 25-page employee manual before opening their brick-and-mortar cafe, Wide Eyes Open Palms, in Long Beach, CA, including training on topics such as the importance of avoiding gendered pronouns. Every new hire gets a copy of the manual and then has a personal sit-down with either Evans or McIver to go over the highlights before they begin working.

Employee handbooks are a great way to set up new team members for success and hold existing employees accountable. Some examples of what you can include in your restaurant or bar’s handbook:

Looking for HR resources? Square HR Manager helps you save time and money with customizable HR document templates, an employee handbook builder, and access to certified HR experts. HR Manager also helps you avoid costly compliance penalties with proactive alerts when employment laws are released or updated.

3. Focus on benefits

Even if you aren’t able to increase salaries with rising costs across the board in the industry, consistently monitor your benefits to remain competitive — and look for ways to get creative, including:

4. Delegate

When the owners of Good Luck Wine in Southern California were looking to add a second location, they found it was only possible because they had hired a manager who could handle day-to-day operations at the original location. Without being ready and able to delegate, you could be stagnating business growth. Here are some tips to consider:

5. Streamline operations

One way to help solve staffing issues without needing to hire additional employees is to look into ways to improve your operations and efficiencies. Consider which tasks take up the most time, energy, and money for you and your employees. Are there better, quicker, and cheaper ways to operate?

In the past year, many restaurants have embraced automated tools to free up staff members to spend more time focused on meaningful tasks and career growth. Some ideas to help get you started:

6. Optimize your payroll and scheduling tools

Managerial tasks such as running payroll used to prevent Trina Gregory-Propst from spending as much time as she wanted in the kitchen at her Orlando, Florida, restaurant Se7en Bites. But finding an automated solution connected to her staff scheduling and point of sale helped alleviate those pain points.

Payroll used to be a nemesis for me,” she said. “And I’ve been able to look like a hero to my staff by giving them direct deposit and the ability to have access to their account on a daily basis without wondering what their next check is going to be. The ease with which I do payroll now has saved me hours of time every week, and it just integrates so well. I can look at my sales and know what my payroll is and really see: What is the forecast? Am I doing OK? Do I need to pull back on hours? Do I need to increase hours?”

As you look to choose or switch payroll software for your business, consider the amount of time spent working across multiple tools or manually making fixes and tweaks across the board. 

Square Shifts provides POS-integrated time tracking, team member scheduling, and wage management to optimize your labor costs and simplify your payroll process. It also connects to key business reports right in your Square Dashboard so you can stay on top of your labor costs and scheduling needs from overtime and break tracking to preventing early clock-ins, all while keeping your data in one place.

Austin Tedesco
Austin Tedesco is an editor at Square covering all things management — from the technical aspects of payroll and taxes to the soft skills that lead to strong teams for any business.

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