When Jeff Riggs comes across potential “lifers” at his restaurant, he makes a point of talking to them.
“I always double-check and make sure this is in fact what they want to do," says the owner of Clark’s Fork, Bozeman, Mt. "Many have simply not been asked the question of what they would like to do with their careers or for one reason or another don’t feel like they have any other options.”
Individual attention from employers can encourage workers to think about long-term goals and motivate them to step up their performance. That's why mentoring is so important in the restaurant industry.
As mentors, employers can look for ways to nurture talents. Alan Guinn, CEO, Guinn Consultancy Group, Bristol, Tenn., calls this “putting aces in their places.” For instance, an employee who interacts well with the public could develop managerial skills to add to his customer service repertoire through mentoring, says the 30-year foodservice industry veteran.
A worker who shows a penchant for numbers increasingly might be given responsibility for counting money, managing inventory, doing the books and performing other back-office aspects of the business, he says.
As an employee explores various roles, a boss can discuss the importance of each to the establishment’s operation. It also is helpful to provide constructive feedback by analyzing situations, responses and alternatives. Not only will the worker benefit from those supervised learning experiences, a boss stands to gain, too.
“Clearly, as an assigned task or responsibility is demonstrated well by an employee, the owner can then assign the responsibility for that action to the employee on an ongoing basis,” Guinn says. “Many of the best decisions are not made ‘instinctively’ but are made when experience plays a key factor in the ultimate outcome of a decision.”
As employees gain knowledge and confidence, it's possible their goals might shift. While some might remain at your establishment, others might choose to use their skills at another restaurant or pursue a new industry.
Is letting them “cut their teeth” on your time worth the effort? Experts generally say “yes.”
This content was provided by National Restaurant Association partner CareerBuilder.