I have been in the food & beverage industry for 25 years. Through bitter experience, I know that one of the hardest parts in this business is retaining good employees.
I just celebrated my third year owning my first restaurant THE FARMER’S KITCHEN (shameless plug) in Atlantic, Iowa, specializing in homemade cooking.
We are located an hour or more away from any large urban area.
We employ only 7 people.
Most of the major prep work is done by my mother (bless her soul) & myself.
The very few job applicants I receive are from
a) teens: no work experience or work ethic
b) single mothers: the kids, understandably are first priority which means lots of missed shifts
c) retreads from other restaurants: most left their previous employment because of "problems with management."
When I have a problem with an employee, it is very difficult to resolve the problem to my satisfaction. If the employee walks, then, I can’t keep the doors open because of lack of help. Case in point: I serve Liver & Onions, highly popular & VERY profitable. My head cook, who normally is a great line cook, makes the kitchen a living hell whenever she gets an order for Liver & Onions. She’s demanded that I take it off the menu. If she leaves (this is her 3rd time with me), I am the only who can replace her.
Any suggestions on how small out-in-the-boondocks operations like mine can survive potential employee blackmail? And find & retain good staff?