If your kitchen experiences peak periods in trade that requires hiring seasonal staff, labour costs can quickly spiral out of control if you do not manage staff efficiently.
To get the best value for the money spent on these essential but temporary workers, consider using the following 5 strategies.
Keep Standards High
One of the reasons that you have a successful kitchen is because you adhere to high standards with the ingredients, preparation and staff. Peak season is not the time to start abandoning your staff standards. To ensure that you have enough workers to handle the increased demand, you may be tempted to hire the first applicants who walk in the door. Resist that temptation unless you want the quality of your kitchen services to go down. Maintain the same level of standards for seasonal help that you would for regular staff to ensure that the quality of your offering remains the same throughout the year.
Choose Seasonal Staff Who Are Flexible
Although peak season typically grants a lot of work, it may still contain periods that are slow when the entire complement of workers is not needed. You can either send those extra workers home and risk losing their participation if business suddenly picks up or you can transfer them to other tasks that you may not have had time to do. You can only reassign workers if they are flexible enough to handle different roles in your kitchen.
Do Not Skimp on Training Seasonal Staff
Even though your seasonal staff may have experience, every kitchen differs, so the work they did previously may not apply precisely to your environment. You must spend the time to train these workers so that they can handle your equipment, ingredients, procedures and kitchen culture more effectively. Spend the time on proper training initially and it will pay off in not having to supervise their every move when the rush happens.
Be Fair in Spreading the Load
A kitchen depends on good teamwork in order to run effectively. So, it is important that you assign schedules and tasks fairly. You do not want accusations of unfair treatment to be thrown around by either your regular or seasonal staff. Giving everyone enough work while allowing enough time off during weekends or holidays may require some delicate balancing but it's important to ensuring fairness.
Handle Staff Issues Immediately
Intense pressure often accompanies seasonal kitchen work, which can easily turn personality clashes or minor disagreements into major issues. You may find yourself too busy to handle such unpleasantness but if you let things slide, morale can disintegrate and people may start working inefficiently with each other. If one person is causing problems, it's better to let him or her go even in the middle of the season or your problems will increase over time.
A kitchen that performs efficiently no matter the season is one that remains cost-effective. The key to achieving this goal is to maintain flexibility so that you can easily manage the ebb and flow of work even during the busiest times. Developing usable strategies and advanced for managing short-term workers can help your kitchen maintain the best productivity for the amount spent in seasonal wages.