Real-life advice from a real-life recruiter


What do Bill Murray, Garth Brooks, Bette Midler and a dog all have in common? These were the last guests on classic late night television talk shows in the past years. Letterman, Leno, Carson and Parr, respectively, all said goodbye in a definitive way. And just like those guys, so must we with our Eat’n Park Career Connection BLOG.

We started the BLOG back in November 2011. The first subject was “A Woman’s POV on why to work in the Hospitality Industry.” Over the next five years we have discussed topics such as Professional Advantage, Conflict in the Workplace, Benefits of a Smile and Online Etiquette. We also saw highlights of our team members and recently, we learned about the upcoming workforce with Generation Z. It has been a wonderful five years and we really appreciate all of you that have stopped in and read along with us. We wanted you to know that we have enjoyed your comments and your “likes” each time.

While we can’t be as cool as David Letterman and signoff with a celebrity, however, we feel that you, the followers, are the celebrities. Always checking in and reading what we have to say. We hope that you have learned some things, met some great people that you didn’t know and hopefully shared with friends and other team member some of our topics.

Thank you once again but it is time for us to say Good-bye. Adios. Adieu. Ciao. Farewell. You will be missed.

According to Paul Wolfe, Sr. VP of HR at Indeed, he says one of the biggest mistakes in hiring is not having a diverse slate of candidates. “Think of diversity of age, experience, background, race and gender, all of which help bring diversity of thought,” Wolfe said. “[This] can make organizations more successful and keep organizations growing and progressing.”

Once you have identified your hiring need, make sure you are looking to interview many different types of people. Not only will this increase the hiring traffic in your restaurant, it will also make your restaurant more interesting to future team members. You will begin to attract better talent as you widen and hire new team members. You will also be surprised of what they can bring to the table. The better the hiring choices you make, the better your location will run.

A good diverse work staff will also radiate a good reputation. Customers notice everything, from a clean restroom to an amazing server. Don’t customers turn into employees? Also, your diverse team members will spread the word to friends and family, increasing your application flow. You never know where the next superstar is coming from.

You should not be searching for someone just like you or the rest of your team members. Don’t be afraid to bring in experience from another concept or someone that may challenge our company. Being open to options will also make you and your team grow and find ways to do something in another way.

Look outside the box. It can bring you a staffed restaurant, new ways of solving problems, more future applicants, a killer reputation and increased sales!

Let’s face it! We all know that the restaurant industry has some crazy shifts it needs to cover. In our case, Eat’n Park is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late evening. We even have some locations that are open 24 hours. We need to attract team members that have flexibility in their availability, but we, as managers, need to be consistent in scheduling all these hours.

According to an article written by Ron Ruggless from Nation’s Restaurant News, he states that unpredictable and inconsistent scheduling practices for team members affect not only retention, but the ability to recruit new workers. Some team member scheduling concerns included those previously mentioned and the dreaded “clopening” shifts. A clopen shift is when someone is scheduled to close, then open the restaurant the very next morning.

In a recent WorkJam survey (WorkJam is an employee relationship management platform), they found that 46% of restaurants reported frequently or sometimes being understaffed. Of those, 53% said it compromised the customer experience. Why? Most often when you find dissatisfied team members you will also find dissatisfied guests. This leads to higher staff turnover, poor customer service, less repeat guests and declining sales.

In addition, the survey also proved that 60% of team members said the most difficult part of a job search was finding positions that fit their schedules and that were close to home. Also, 26% of team members left their last job because of inconsistent schedules. However, 68% of managers said the most difficult part of scheduling was assigning shifts that took care of business need and staff availability.

Joshua Ostrega, COO for WorkJam said, “To maintain growth and minimize costs, businesses must quickly adopt more comprehensive systems to manage the employer-employee relationship. Managers need to realize that investing in better ways of hiring, scheduling and managing employees is an investment in the company’s bottom line.”

When you take a look at your own scheduling, ask yourself, “Do I use best practices when I produce a team member schedule?”

Here is a list of best practices of a great schedule:

  1. Post it on time and within enough time that team members can plan out their week. If schedules are posted a week or less in advance, frustrations is created for them.
  2. Keep scheduling consistent. Team members don’t want big changes week to week.
  3. Treat everyone fairly. Do not play favoritism.
  4. Make sure closes, opens, mid and overnight shifts flow from day to day. Avoid “Clopening.”
  5. Schedule your staff according to business need but accommodates team member availability. This is were flexibility come into play. Also, hiring the right person.

Scheduling is a very difficult science. It has to blend a myriad of details from hiring the right people, hiring the availability the business is dictating, posting it on time, good flow from shift to shift and being honest and fair. If we throw all the different ingredients into the scheduling pot, stir it up and create a fantastic schedule, you will be sure to keep your team members happy, your environment positive, guest happy and returning to do more business with you. I encourage you to take a good, long look at your team member scheduling practices and make any adjustment you think you need to make.


We’ve spent the last month or so getting to know Generation Z. What did we learn? Well, we know they are more technological savvy than any generation out there. If the Millennials can toggle two devices, Gen Z can go between five! In addition to this, they have more information at their fingertips and they utilize that. This group will have an Entrepreneur look to them for years to come. We also learned that they like to sit in groups but yet work alone. Also, when given feedback, they like a comfortable space to hold a conversation. They also want a lot of input from their leaders. Gen Z will dictate the sales market and have Millennials and Gen X following along. They want the entire package; great product, great services, great prices, current technology and transparency from the company their doing business with. If they don’t get it on their first visit, oh well, their off to the next guy. Loyalty will have to be earned starting with a flawless first visit. Finally, we talked last week about blending all the generations together in the work force.

This week, we will close out this discussion on what we can do to retain this group once we hire them. In fact, we can use a lot of these ideas to attract them. After all, it’s what they are looking for.

According to Lisa Evans from Entrepreneur magazine, 17% of Gen Z versus 11% of Millennials said they wanted to start a business. With this generation having the access to a greater wealth of information than any behind them, no wonder why. How can we compete with this? Our managers need to provide opportunities for Gen Z to use these entrepreneurial skills. We already said to get them involved with problem solving and finding solutions to problems. Today’s manager will be better off to delegate and follow up rather do it all themselves. This generation will be looking elsewhere for employment if you don’t.

Lisa Evans has also found that Gen Z is less motivated by money than the Millennials. We will have to emphasize other factors, such as training and a career path, rather than dollar amounts. 34% of Gen Z are most motivated by opportunities for advancement while 23% love meaningful work. We will have to make sure we clearly let Gen Z know a career path and give them an opportunity to succeed. In addition, finding a mentor to give regular feedback is also important. This generation thrives on it.

And finally, while Millennials prefer to job hop (they expect to work for 5 companies in their career), Gen Z plans on working for 4 or fewer. This could lead us to believe we can retain them for a longer period of time. By providing opportunities, giving benefits of loyalty and letting them use their skills and knowledge, you could be an employer of choice for Generation Z.

I hope you have enjoyed our journey with Generation Z. I can’t wait to see what the next ten years will be with this exciting group of young people.

As we start to hire Generation Z, we will be blending them with many other generations. Let’s discuss some early incite by looking at general characteristics of Gen X, Y & Z.

According to a report by the Knoll Research Group, blending these generations won’t be easy, but it will be required. Generation X were the “Latch-key Kids” as divorce rates skyrocketed. However, both Millennials and Gen Z value family security. Millennials came back home with their parents a lot when things were not good in the recession while Gen Z have the highest rate of homeschooling ever. How can we translate this into our workforce? Since both groups value family, we better run our businesses the same way. Remember we mentioned that Managers need to be hands-on with training this group? This is why. They want to feel a part of a family, a sense of belonging.

A big challenge between Millennials and Gen Z will be work behaviors and how we can blend them together. We know both demand high technology and social media involvement but how they differ is this: Millennials are at ease with the uncertainty of an open, unstructured workspace with a lot of choices and flexibility. Gen Z wants it planned out with clearly defined roles & visual access to training material. So how do we train these generation together? One wants unstructured learning while the other wants a plan. I think the answer is both. As managers, we need to blend both styles.

One other way we can blend all generations is to follow Gen Z’s preferred method of feedback. While they like to learn on their own, they like small groups or one-on-one in a defined space for feedback. Some reports are saying that Gen Z could be face-to-face socially awkward because of social media. Finding a place in your business that can be non-threating to Gen Z for feedback, will be essential in your success to training them. You can also use this method for projects or activities. Developing small groups will be vital in the future.


I hope this gives you some ideas that once we hire Gen Z, we know how to train and keep them with us for years.


Join us next week for more insight on this incredible generation.


Continuing information on Generation Z is just fascinating. Mallory Schlossberg, who writes for Business Insider, did some compelling research earlier this year. What did she find out? Generation Z will dictate the retail market for the next decade and beyond. This group is setting the stage and driving the retail bus. Millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers will love to get on the Z-Train! Here is what to expect in our restaurant industry as this generation shapes the future.

While Millennials like a good deal, I mean, who doesn’t, Gen Z wants more. In other words, Gen Z demands an entire experience. They want great food at a great price with great service. They want hi-tech options, great customer service with a cool “feel” in the environment. If we can deliver on this, we will be golden with everyone. However, it comes at a price. While previous generations will give you a free pass for mistakes, Gen Z will not. Remember we spoke about how they grew up with hi-tech gadgets that worked (no dial-up internet allowed). Instant gratification is what they are looking for. If you can’t deliver, they will move on to the next competitor immediately. No second chances.

For recruiting this generation, the same thing. You need to jump on them quickly. Do an on the spot interview, show interest. Call them the next day for a second interview, if you don’t, your competitor will.

Gen Z also wants to be treated with respect. They are the most tech-savvy bunch, and they know it. Their general knowledge level is more expanded than previous generations. Therefore, they are expecting you to trust them. Also, they expect a business and an employer to be loyal to them. It’s not about Gen Z being loyal to you. This mind shift is crucial in attracting this group to be a guest in our restaurants, or as a team member.


More next week on this compelling generation.

Last week we talked about Generation Z, the group of young people entering the workforce behind the Millennials. They are tech savvy, they expect technology in the workplace but feel uncomfortable about the future due to September 11 and the Great Recession in 2007.

Today, let’s learn about how they feel about Education and how they like to learn.

According to Northeastern University, 81% of Gen Z think a college education is necessary to succeed in the workforce. However, about 54% of those are concerned about the financial commitment and the affordability of an education. They also begin to think about college early in high school. This would be a great time to speak to them about  Scholarship Programs. Letting them know about the options they have available.

They love to go to the internet to find information, who doesn’t? But Gen Z likes to learn on their own vs. group work. However, they do like to do their own work around others. Remember last week we learned they are entrepreneurs?  Giving them projects and problems to solve will drive this group to perform.  Also, they want their teachers to be engaging and help apply their theories. How can we translate this to the work environment? As a manager, we would want to assemble the group, have them do research on their own, then come back to tell us what they found out. As a manager, be prepared to join in, be interested in their ideas and become part of the solution process.  Help apply their ideas with them. You will have to get your hands dirty, but if you do, you will reach this generation on a new level and get a higher performance out of them. If you find yourself presenting material or procedures to them, rethink the way you are doing this. Get them involved. Get yourself involved and watch how day to day operations begin to run smoothly.

We’ll see you next week when we continue on discussion on this emerging generation.