Jacksonville 904 June/July 2016 : Page 35

to be connected to the profit and loss statement that you built and your ability to be prof-itable.” Of course, being profitable is the reason you are in business in the first place. “Now we’re getting to the fun part,” he says. “Now we have to start hiring staff and training them. This all, too, ties back to the concepting we did. Are we looking for pro-fessional servers who are sea-soned and understand selling? Or are we in a college market in a sandwich shop?” We’ve all had a bad server in a restaurant—someone who doesn’t seem to care about our experience. At the end of the day, Luebkemann says, the sin-gle most important thing you must hire a restaurant employee for is attitude. “They’re never going to be better dressed, more pleasant or prepared than when they’re in that job inter-view. Do not expect it to get better. Hire people who have a servant’s heart and an easy smile. You can teach them the POS and the steps of service. But the ability to come in and IF YOU EVER TAKE YOUR FOOT OFF THE GAS, YOUR EYE OFF THE BALL, THEN YOU HAVE BEGUN TO FAIL. IT IS A HARSHLY UNFORGIVING BUSINESS FOR THOSE THAT DON’T PAY ATTENTION TO DETAILS. work long, hard, physical hours, people either have that or they don’t.” The next decision to make is how to open. Most restaurants these days, Luebkemann says, do a soft opening night with extra staff to cover any prob-lems. Some do a big grand opening, but he doesn’t particu-larly recommend that. “That way is less frequent than it used to be for the simple reason that people are going to find you when you’re new. The less attention you attract to your-self until you’re really, really ready, makes it easier to over-come hiccups of new equipment, a new staff working together. In the soft opening scenario, they’ll make an announcement a week or two later.” The last two steps are more advisory, such as knowing where everything is and who’s doing what. Perfect your daily operation. “You’ve got to be on your feet, aware of every detail for every hour that you’re open—and a couple hours be-fore and after on the back end. You can either pay somebody to do it or you can commit to doing it and making it happen,” Luebkemann says. “If you ever take your foot off the gas, your eye off the ball, then you have begun to fail. It is a harshly un-forgiving business for those that don’t pay attention to details. For those that love to serve people and have always dreamed of being their own boss, there is no greater busi-ness on the planet. “A lot of businesses say the customer is number one. I happen to think that the staff comes first. If you’re not invest-ing in your staff by training them and loving them, forget what happened outside your restaurant. It doesn’t matter if you have any customers. An unhappy, angry, distracted staff person will run off all the busi-ness you have.” But, of course, customers are important. “You should be out talking to every table, thanking them for coming, and asking pointed questions. ’Is that steak cooked to your expectations?’ ‘What did you think of the spe-cial?’ Great service will over-shadow mediocre food—and sometimes poor food.” That’s all it takes. Not too hard, right? Now, you can go open your dream restaurant. ˾ June 2016 : 35

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