Hiring Wisdom: Taking a Business From Riches to Rags in 5 Short Months

Here are some priceless insights for all business owners and managers from the restaurantowner.com Discussion Forum.

I sold my 15 year old profitable, turn-key restaurant to a person who had 20 years in corporate restaurant management. Small changes to the menu were implemented immediately, which was fine. They brought in new housekeeping policies, kitchen policies, etc.

They are far more aggressive with the paper management of the business than I ever was and I have been envious of that. However, they have been through more staffing in the past five months than I went through in two years. Now they can’t find people to work for them – not because of the pay, or the work, or the menu difficulty – but because no one wants to be yelled at, condescended or dictated to.

My management style: As the owner, I believe I need to be willing and able to do every position in the house. I will never ask a person to do something I myself am not willing to do. (Your employees have negative leverage if you cannot do their jobs.)

New owner’s style: I hired you to do this job. Now do it and do it well – while I consistently micromanage and criticize everything you do and don’t ask me for help – I don’t want to do it; that’s why I hire people. (That and because they don’t know how to do it.)

My management style: We are a team. You are as important as every other person on this team – regardless of your position. We work together to make this magic happen – to make our customers want to give us their hard earned money. If you’re struggling, let me help find where the breakdown is and let’s fix it.

New owner: You work for me. If you don’t do the job to my standards, you are fired.

The list goes on and on … and this person HAD experience. But, at their corporate job, they also had an accountant, an HR department, Payroll, executive chefs, department managers – but now it is all up to them.

Most importantly – it wasn’t their money when they were working for someone else. Now it is.

Their ex-employees have been applying at my other restaurant regularly because they know they will be valued.

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Yesterday, I received the email I anticipated two months ago. Sales are less than half of what they were, there’s no staffing left and they are going to have to talk about closing.

They blame it on the employment market. It only took five months to destroy a profitable, popular business.

Bottom line: I believe it’s all about attitude and the way you communicate with others – both customers and employees.”

This was originally published on Mel Kleiman’s Humetrics blog.

Mel Kleiman, CSP, is an internationally-known authority on recruiting, selecting, and hiring hourly employees. He has been the president of Humetrics since 1976 and has over 30 years of practical experience, research, consulting and professional speaking work to his credit. Contact him at mkleiman@humetrics.com.

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