making dough with Diane: 6 ways to hire the best staff

Diane Chiasson
October 25, 2011
It’s a known fact that the more time and effort a business spends on recruiting, the more successful the business will be. In the restaurant and foodservice industry, the difference between great and poor customer service can quite often be the single factor that drives customers away for good.

Conducting a good interview requires learning and skill.
There are several things to consider before your next hire. You need to ensure that everything on your end is in order before you even begin the interview process.

1. Determine the right fit
In order to find the right person for your business, you need to make sure you know what type of person you are looking for. Define what type of pizza operation you run. Is it high-end, targeted at families, sophisticated or fun? Create a list of all the qualities you want in this person and keep a checklist of these qualities handy during the interview.

2. Write a good ad
When you are ready to search for your new employee, it’s time to put together a job posting. Don’t just put a “Help Wanted” sign in your window. You need to include a list of all the qualities your potential employee should possess. You also need to be as specific as possible about the job description itself. Potential applicants should know what to expect from the get-go, thereby eliminating the time and effort spent interviewing unqualified applicants. You also want to attract the best workers, so writing a concise and detailed ad also speaks well of your own operation.

3. Advertise your ad
There are several different ways to advertise your position, but the best way to start is by looking at the people around you. Is there anyone you currently employ that could be promoted to the position? Do they have any family or friends who would be qualified, and whom they could vouch for?

The economic downturn has created a deep pool of experienced and well-trained workers who were recently laid off from struggling restaurant companies. Advertise your position in churches or colleges, as churches usually host networking functions, while colleges attract people who go back to school after being laid off. Another advantage of hiring recently laid-off workers is that they are able to start immediately.

You can also advertise your position online. If you think this might be too difficult to manage in the way of filtering responses, you could also hire a staffing company to recruit and vet potential employees first.

4. Prepare for the interview
Conducting a good interview requires learning and skill. As an owner or operator of a business, it might be worthwhile to take a course on interviewing tips. You should have a set of guidelines to follow for every interview you conduct, including questions about the applicant’s past experiences, and how he/she took initiatives and made a positive impact, as well as situational-based questions to evaluate the applicant’s ability to make decisions and handle stress. You should have at least 30 good questions. You also need to factor in your own intuition about the person, as well as his/her physical appearance and body language.

5. Ask for references
Asking for references is crucial to ensure that the person you want to hire is honest and a good fit for your company. Ask for references of not only former employers, but former colleagues as well. Find out if the potential applicant is a team player, is dependable and possesses a good attitude.

6. Be prepared for your new employee’s arrival
Your pizza operation should have some sort of training manual, as well as a list of goals and standards that you expect from all your employees to follow and respect. There must also be a formal document that lists all the duties of the job itself so there is no discrepancy as to what your new employee is responsible for. It is also handy for the new employee to take home the training manual and study it, so that he/she has a better understanding of your restaurant, and is better prepared.

Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping restaurant, foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 25 years. Her company provides innovative and revenue-increasing foodservice and retail merchandising programs, interior design, branding, menu engineering, marketing and promotional campaigns, and much more. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at 1-888-926-6655 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or visit

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