Employees are Key to a Restaurant’s Success
Reflection on the blog post in video minute 13:00-17:00
Most people do not realize how vital the restaurant industry is to US economy. It is a 799 Billion dollar industry, double that of Hollywood. The alcohol business is a 300 billion dollar industry. Restaurants provide jobs for 15 million people, that is 1 in 10 workers in the US. One out of two people at some point has worked in a restaurant. For every dollar spent on food, whether it be grocery store, farmer markets or online; restaurants make up 48%, back in 1955 we spent only 25% in restaurants. This means that more and more people are going out to eat, two times more than in the 1950’s, which was the dawn of fast food. In 2000 there were 160.1 restaurants per 100,000 people. Today there are 189.8 per 100,000 US residents. All of these statistics show us that the business is continuing to grow which means more competition.
Along with more competition restaurants are facing some challenging obstacles. The labor pool is a lot smaller than it had been in the past. Some reasons are tied to recent policy changes such as, not hiring illegal immigrants, not having people who want to do the work, and in many areas wages are not inline with the cost of living in those cities. Retaining good employees is difficult and if there are more and more restaurants opening, the need for more labor is crucial. “The grass is always greener”, is the mentality of most restaurant workers. Many people jump from job to job in search of the perfect job guaranteeing $200 or more in tips each night. With more competition, this is getting more and more difficult to find as the consumers are spread thin throughout this growing industry.
The consumer is also changing. Baby boomers liked to go out and splurge on dinner, they sat in steakhouses and ordered wines. The Gen Xer was a mixed breed, some going out, some looking for value and many looking for restaurants through a health conscious lens. The Gen X generation was one of a small population, if it was not for immigrants during those decades, our economy could have had a worse crash from the lack of consumers in the population. Today we have Millennials doing most of the dining. They are making dining choices in a different fashion. They want to try something new, they are not loyal to brands and are willing to experiment. This generation is looking for personalized experiences when going out to eat.
In order for restaurants to stay competitive in today’s market, it is no longer enough to have good product, good cocktail programs, inexpensive prices or great ambiance. A restaurant today cannot open the doors without hitting all those points. They now have to go one step further, and that is create a personalized experience for the guest. Now these experiences come from not just the owner’s concept but from the employees they hire. Owners and managers need to make sure that they have a happy, energetic and hospitality driven work force. It is the employees that know how to provide an experience, it is the employee that needs to go to the next level. When a restaurant can build a strong team, then the restaurant will succeed.
Key to success is investing in the staff. Restaurants need to create an environment where employees are excited to come to work. They need avenues to make money, whether it be empowering them to create specials for the night, provide special dining experiences or allow them to show off their personalities. People go to eat in places where the staff is engaged and has a sense of ownership. In this day in age, managers and owners are bogged down with cost of labor and forget to invest back into that labor. The goal is to have a labor force that finds it easy to make money. They are then motivated to promote the restaurant and its brand.
The video above goes more into detail about myself and what I hope to accomplish with my teams.