Tricks to Hiring in Restaurants – Part 1

 In 1. David Scott Peters, Employees, Training

By David Scott Peters

Your general manager should be your right hand person; the one person you can count on to operate your restaurant the correct way. After all, you can’t be there all the time, but your customers expect to have the same, quality experience on each of their visits. So how do you find the person who sees it the way you do and understands the importance of the systems and processes you’ve put in place?

Let’s be honest, looking for a reliable general manager is an overwhelming task. In the best of situations you can recruit from within, but when that’s not possible, I have some tricks for finding someone who fits.

First, you have to find quality candidates. You can try management recruiters, newspaper ads or personal referrals. But you don’t usually have the luxury of a lot of lead time. To get candidates in a timelier manner, use the Internet. Post your position on places such as, Career Builder and Craig’s List. You will get results, i.e., resumes and applications, immediately.

Once you’ve narrowed your candidates down to the top five, come up with a list of questions to ask during each interview. This is a patterned interview format. Consult with your team and find out what they would like to know about each candidate before your meetings.

One of the benefits to going with the patterned interview format and having questions prepared is you will get to evaluate each candidate equally because they all answer the same questions. Now you can compare apples to apples when looking at responses. It can also keep you out of lawsuit territory. You never know when you might be accused of unfair hiring practices by a disgruntled candidate who didn’t get the job. But if everyone answers the same questions, then every candidate is treated equally.

This process should get you to the second interview. Your initial list should now be less than five — those that made you think twice. In fact, you probably find yourself trying to visualize each of them in the position for which you’re hiring.

As you approach the second interview, ask yourself: What do I hope to discover about each candidate during this interview? What questions were left unanswered from the first interview?
Now you want to get the details of what they know and what skills they actually have when it comes to restaurant operations, marketing, dealing with employees and how they might fit in to your restaurant’s unique culture. For this interview you should have a new, preset list of questions.

After you complete the second round of interviews, you should be ready to make a selection, this is when we come down to basic human instincts — your gut.

You want someone who has the skills, experience and feels right. Don’t settle for less. And if you have to, start the whole process over again. Settling will likely only cause you more problems down the road. This is a position that is too important to your restaurant’s success. The person you choose must be the right fit in EVERY way.

Come back next week to read the second portion of this article series where I will discuss tips for extending a job offer to a potential employee.

David Scott Peters is a restaurant expert, speaker and founder of He specializes in teaching independent restaurant owners how to use systems for increased sales and increased profits. He is the nationally acclaimed restaurant coach whose unique “SMART Systems” approach to boosting profits has earned him the title of, “The man who can walk into any restaurant in America and find $10,000 in undiscovered cash before he hits the back door – Guaranteed!” Learn more tips, tricks and secrets in David’s free weekly e-newsletter, “Instant Action Systems.” Simply sign up to receive the e-newsletter at

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