• Cheryl Teo

What Keeps Restaurant Owners Up at Night? 1/4: Staffing

This is a complicated question. A variety of thoughts keep restaurateurs tossing and turning throughout the evening. We asked the question and are now creating resources that deal with the most significant problems, as shared with us by foodservice professionals just like you.


What do I do about my staff?


Despite a 5.6 percent growth in wages in 2013 for the rank-and-file workers in the food services sector, statistics show that Singaporeans are still, by and large, not keen on jobs in the industry.


This issue doesn't just plague the daily operations of restaurants but also impacts the long-term plans of the business. A restaurant owner recently shared with us that, because of the lack of manpower, he is continually caught up with work on the floor, leaving him no time to think about improvements nor expansion.


As a result, there is little growth in his business. His primary challenge is attracting potential applicants to work for him, especially millennials. Despite great benefits and many postings on various job application channels—Carousell jobs, Facebook jobs, Glints, or through recruitment agencies, he, like many restaurant owners, still received little interest from applicants. Others, who applied and were hired, only worked for a short period before quitting.


Quite understandably, they have a whole career path ahead of them, and plenty of options on how they want their future to be. Thus, when a better or more lucrative job opportunity comes along, they grab it.


FoodRazor's Thought: Perhaps it is time to hire seniors?


Many restaurant owners think that older staff members may not be able to cope with the long working hours, and might struggle with the heat of the kitchen— that the conditions of restaurant work might hinder productivity for seniors, and thus, they resist hiring them.


However, couldn’t this be a risk worth taking? Perhaps, if owners can see through the downsides, they can find older workers who can make significant contributions and add value to their business.


The growing pool of senior talent can be a boon to the F&B industry if businesses are able to help them integrate into the workplace and tap into years of invaluable knowledge and expertise.

Owners need to recognize the strength in diversity, even if older workers have less energy or enthusiasm than younger employees. In many instances, employers who put faith in older workers to get the job done can, at the end of the day, be rewarded with employees who are honest, responsible, dependable, loyal, focused, organized and mature.


With older employees, we can expect their dedication to the job at hand. Seniors are known to take pride in their work and often require less training. In engaging with this group of baby boomers, most of whom have no plans to move up and out, significant cost savings can occur for the business in the long run.


"I prefer hiring senior citizens. They already come with 30 years of experience. The experience doesn’t have to relate directly to the F&B industry, but for example, they’ve had 30 years of eating out at restaurants. Some of them travel the world. So, with their skill sets, when we put them on the job, you can see that they know how something needs to be done, just because they’ve been eating out all these years."— Kenneth Choi, Business Development Manager at Ginko House HK.


Restaurant staffing can still be very tricky since you’re juggling so many other pieces to managing your business. It’s key to keep the balance between taking risks and being able to find the people you trust to be the first point of contact with your customers and to manage the whole kitchen.


Read the next part of this series here. What Keeps Restaurant Owners Up at Night: Inventory.


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