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By: Robert Duprey

Restaurant Recruitment is Like Casting

Quality casting or recruitment, is critical to everything in hospitality show business.

Think of a typical theatre performance - the audience files in, the curtain goes up, the actors make their entrances and speak their lines. If each and every cast member, not to mention the writer, director, stagehands, customers, makeup artists, and lighting technicians, have prepared themselves and the theatre well, the audience enjoys the show and tells others about it.

However, despite the proven talents of individual members of the cast or the presence of an award-winning director or the skills of the backstage crew, the whole thing can be a magnificent flop if just one person fails to do a job on which everyone else depends.

Filling out your service staff with people who can star in their roles is the key to success. But casting for a restaurant show is far more involved and difficult than hiring just anybody to answer a phone, or take orders and deliver food.

To get the right kind of people for your own service repertoire, you have to know:

  • The characteristics you are looking for.
  • How to attract and identify individuals that have the right characteristics.

Attributes of a great cast member
A potentially good performer is:

  • People orientated
  • Enthusiastic
  • Outgoing, and
  • Confident

People Orientated individuals enjoy entertaining guests and orchestrating everything, from a simple meal among friends, to an extravagant celebration. On the restaurant stage the applause might not just come from the tip, but the appreciation and gratitude guests express as they depart.

Outgoing and enthusiastic individuals love a live show. On the restaurant stage, each night is a performance. Like actors, the cast play many roles and wear many hats. In the same night, the cast act as informal hosts, masters of ceremonies, food and wine guides, salespersons and informal concierges.

Like actors, your cast has lines to rehearse, scenes to orchestrate and props to use.

Confidence is the result of many things. Star performers feel good about themselves and their ability to perform their role well.

About the author:  

Robert Duprey started working in restaurants as a busboy at 15 years old. He has over 22 years management and training experience in the Restaurant and Hotel industry.

Robert began working in the UK in 1991 as a training consultant. He has been a featured writer in a number of UK trade publications, including Caterer & Hotelkeeper, Restaurant Business and Scottish Caterer.

Robert worked five years for KnowledgePool UK, one of the UK's largest training providers. He left his position as Managing Director and started Lexington Interactive to provide eLearning courses specifically for the Restaurant & Hotel Industry. The company is developing a catalog of interactive hotel and restaurant training courses and support materials for eLearning and blended learning delivery.

For a free trial of the customer care and sales interactive training course for wait staff and restaurant staff, visit

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