To operate a successful restaurant, it takes a staff made up of a variety of skills and talents. There are many different kinds of restaurant jobs, from the front of the house to back of the house positions, as well as many specialty areas. Because of the wide variety of restaurant jobs available, many different types of people often make up a restaurant staff. Finding the right kind of person for the job is an integral part of building a successful restaurant.
Front of the House Restaurant Positions
The front-of-the-house staff is typically made up of your average people-persons (or of people that can fake this attitude very well). Good front-of-the-house staff are friendly, exhibit good customer service skills, and can handle customer complaints effectively. Bartenders, servers, hosts, bussers, barbacks are all front-of-the-house staff. When hiring for any of these positions, you should always keep in mind your restaurant concept. A server that is comfortable in a busy, casual family restaurant may not be as comfortable in a quieter, fine dining setting and vice versa. No matter what kind of restaurant you operate, each front-of-the-house position should know the basics of your menu and beverage selections. Lastly, the restaurant owner or manager is also an important member of the front of the house. When things go wrong, guess who’s going to be called?
Back of the House Restaurant Positions
While the back of the house staff doesn’t usually work directly with the public, it is still important they have good communication skills and know how to work together (this is true of any job, really). Back of the house restaurant jobs include chef, line cooks, prep cooks, and the restaurant owner (guess who is going to get called when things go wrong?). It also includes your bookkeeper or accountant, and any maintenance people, as well as anyone else who works behind the scenes of your restaurant. Higher paying positions, like a chef, require experience in the restaurant industry. They need to know not only how to cook excellent food, but how to cook in the midst of chaos during a busy dinner rush and how to manage a commercial kitchen.
Non-cooking restaurant positions, such as an accountant, may only be a part-time gig. Some restaurants use an accountant on a weekly or monthly basis. Others hire a bookkeeper who works more often (and for less) to manage the day-to-day finances of a restaurant. No matter who is keeping the books, a restaurant owner should always know where their money is at and how it is being spent. Simple tasks like daily bank deposits can be done by an owner or manager. More complex issues, like bank account reconciliations and taxes, should be done by a professional unless you feel confident in your accounting skills because mistakes in either of these areas can be very costly.
Specialty Restaurant Jobs
Depending on your restaurant concept, you may have other staff positions that float between front and back of the house or are concentrated in one specific area. For example, a fine dining restaurant may have a sommelier on staff. Originally, a sommelier was a reference to a steward or waiter in charge of wine within a royal household. Today, it refers to a wine specialist. Sommeliers in restaurants should have extensive knowledge of wines and menu pairings. Other specialty positions include bakers, butchers, pastry chefs, dessert chefs, and maître de. Aside from very high-end fine dining restaurants, most eateries don’t have one person designated for each of these positions. Often, staff will be cross-trained to do multiple jobs.
Working in a restaurant requires strong communication and collaboration among employees. No matter in what position in your restaurant an employee works, they should understand from their first day on the job that they are part of a larger team.