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Soft skills or technical training – we look into five considerations you should employ when hiring your next front of house staff.
The ‘war’ between chefs and waiters has been the comedic basis for many a tv show or movie set within the culinary world. However, for Vasilios Donoudis, Executive Chef at Trippas White Group, this so called feud has no place in his kitchen, or any other kitchen for that matter.
“One of the most important factors that enable you to build a successful restaurant is having a strong team of employees who work harmoniously together,” he said.
“They really are all cogs on the same wheel, there’s no room for divide otherwise the whole thing falls apart.”
While tension between the chefs and waiters might make for a funny movie plot, the only thing it does in reality is put your customer service at risk.
Graham Krueger, Group Executive Chef at Wests Leagues likes to focus on equality, “I think to really foster the relationship between your various staff members, it’s important to ensure they are all treated the same by you. You can’t go around letting some members feel like their more valued than others, because that just creates tension and leads to upset,” he said.
“One can’t do their job without the other, it’s just not feasible. Everyone has to be on the same page and moving in unison.”
Trust is one of the most important factors in creating a positive working relationship. Front of house staff have to be proud of what they’re selling, and they need to be able to rely on the back of house staff to have the same pride when creating the meals.
“It’s important to have that trust in your working relationship, especially when a special request comes in. I don’t want my front of house staff to be scared to ask the chefs in the back anything. That just leads to unhappy customers,” Chef Krueger said.
When it comes to hiring front of house staff, there’s a real emphasis on being able to display soft skills such as a good personality and positive attitude.
For Chef Donoudis, the skills he looks for are a no-brainer.
“I can’t teach them personality, but I can teach them how to carry a plate. I look for a can-do attitude, someone who can solve problems and make the customers walk away from their dining experience with a smile,” he said.
Chef Krueger has a similar view, also emphasising the importance of soft skills.
“If they can make me feel relaxed and comfortable during an interview, it’s a strong indicator they have the skills needed to work with customers,” he said.
“If they can sell themselves in the interview, chances are, they’ll do a good job of selling my food.”
“I look for a problem solver. For example if there was a complaint, I don’t want them to offer a refund straight away. I want them to get an understanding of what the issue was and offer a resolution that pleases the customer and leaves them wanting to come back again and again.”