Samara restaurants make up for the lack of staff through intensive staff training

Analysts in May 2021 predicted that the public catering industry in Samara would have the strongest staff shortage on the verge of collapse, but the predictions did not come true.

In March 2022, according to Rosstat, the unemployment rate in Russia fell to an all-time low, reaching a record high of 4.1%.

. This means that the labor market has stabilized. Does this mean that the staff has returned to Samara restaurants, are there enough staff on site to provide the required level of service? Who selects and trains staff now?

“Samarskoe Obozreniye” understands how Samara’s restaurants solved the staffing problem before the high season at the restaurant.

The restaurant market is recovering after two years of restrictions against COVID. The last lockdown was from October 21 to November 7, 2021, there are no conditions for a new one – the statistics for patients are steadily declining.

Following the example of other major Russian cities, Samara has abolished the mask status. And, as practice shows, the level of optimism has increased even among restaurants.

Already in the spring, new facilities were opened in Samara not only for individual operators: cafes, cafes, snack bars and gastronomic facilities.

Almost every restaurant chain has grown by one or two points. Artem Shishakin and the Ulandy Family opened the Ogonyok Café and smoker Meat Happens, Evgeny Reimer and the Milimon Family opened the Livingston Travel Restaurant.

Eugene Reimer. Photo: courtesy of the Milimon family

Roman Vavilin and consulting firm Polyana have increased the seating capacity of almost every restaurant due to the summer terraces and are relaunching the Chaika Chaika restaurant in a new format for the second time.

And the first franchise restaurant of the Moscow Novikov Group in Samara, the Magadan restaurant, has been operating successfully for six months and opened a summer terrace just a few weeks ago.

The official exit from the pandemic situation, the new points of sale and the opening of the summer terraces posed a new problem for the participants in the restaurant market – the expansion and achievement of dock-like traffic volumes required extra work.

The largest job search and hiring site provides the following data for the restaurant industry: “waiter” query – 127 vacancies in Samara and “cook” query – 240. Avito, an online advertising service, has lower prices – 55 and 46 respectively.

On the one hand, this is not much for a city of over a million. On the other hand, their own social networks of restaurants, special groups and communities do not stop full of ads, they also turn to bloggers for help in finding staff.

In the description of almost all the vacancies, it sounds like a refrain: “Come without experience, we will teach you everything”.

You often have to train the trainers and HR managers themselves from the beginning.

Offers are posted by both recently opened restaurants and market veterans.

Why; After a series of market crises, many skilled executives radically changed their field of activity and simply left the profession. In addition, many summer spots are now being opened at the same time, involving a huge number of people.

Across the country, the volume of staff shortages, according to the Russian Federation of Restaurants and Hoteliers, is estimated at 20-30%.

According to Olga Demeshkina, co-owner of the New Garden restaurant, it makes sense to use the resource if you are looking for chefs, chefs or senior positions. The main answer comes from social networks.

The level of qualification of line staff in the market, to put it mildly, leaves much to be desired. We need to introduce leadership, without stopping to train new employees on the go.

Anton Denshchikov, a Chick in China restaurant, believes that a well-designed incentive program works best when hiring staff: “In other words, how much an employee gets into his or her hands.”

Roman Vavilin says that every year, due to the increase in seats due to summer terraces, Polyana’s facilities have to look for several hundred extra employees: rookie work.

May this year turned out to be cold, but made it possible to prepare well for the influx of visitors when the heat starts.

“Our management company has enough experience in opening seasonal projects to prepare for the season in advance, find staff, give them time to practice, train and much more,” says Artem Shishakin of the Ulandy Family.

But are there enough people in Samara who call themselves corporate trainers and how professional are they?

Last year, the Ulandy family began conducting more training for both manager and ordinary staff: trying to work in both service psychology and management and sales technologies.

Asked if there are enough corporate trainers in Samara, Artem Shishakin answered in the affirmative: “It is difficult to evaluate the whole market, but in Samara there are both staff training agencies and individuals. “There is definitely a choice.”

Roman Vavilin from consulting firm Polyana, on the other hand, says finding a good coach is a serious problem right now and there are few candidates who focus on service and impressions.

If there is a candidate from partner companies, then he is led for training and the human resources manager is responsible for the development of trainers.

In 2014, Polyana faced a shortage of skilled workers in the industry. Then we literally had to bring in managers and chefs. Polyana now has two corporate coaches.

With their appearance, according to Vavilin, service in institutions has improved: “At the same time, I consider it more important to reduce the time for employees to be ready for quality work from several months to several weeks. The change of staff is reduced, the adaptation of employees to companies is easier and faster “.

The Gorsovet restaurant chain opened several new restaurants last year amid a staff shortage. There have been some difficulties in recruiting staff, they still exist.

“We changed the approach to the training of ordinary staff, that is, we replaced many hours of training with cross-training. “A hosting manager was attracted through personal channels,” says Stanislav Gorchakov. At Milimon Family, the role of corporate trainer is performed by business managers. “Effective staff training is provided by local managers: managers, managers, chefs, sous-chefs, bar managers. These are people who are motivated both ideologically and financially. “They understand the main task perfectly – to bring joy to people,” says Evgeny Reimer.

The more the industry develops, offering more and more new types of facilities, the more demanding the visitor becomes in his requests.

As Evgeny Reimer puts it: “The restaurant has become a theatrical show, where delicious food and good service go hand in hand. “Exceeding the expectations of the visitors is the main task of the team and honest, emotional service helps in this matter.”

In order to maintain a high level of service in the Hadson family’s restaurants, according to the network’s co-owner, Sergei Volkovitsky, it is possible for them to maintain their active participation in operational activities.

“Even in Moscow they talk about our restaurants, so we keep the brand regardless of the conditions and even the requirements of the visitor himself,” notes Volkovitsky.

According to the general opinion of Samara restaurants, now a catering employee is a professional who not only knows his functions very clearly, but is also a psychologist, supports the conversation if necessary, properly managing the guest’s rest.

Eugene Reimer. Photo: courtesy of the Milimon family

EVGENY REIMER, founder and owner of the Milimon family:

“It is not enough to just teach an employee to work according to the plan and scenarios, he must accept the company culture. Internships, visits to industry events, master classes – we invest in the team so that people work with full dedication and burning eyes.

Forming strong teams is not a matter of five minutes or five days – it is a long process.

When we launch new facilities, we bring in strong employees from our other restaurants, a start-up team. There is an internal corporate training program with which all employees are connected.

Not a single member of the team is left without the attention of the mentors. In practice, the training, certification of employees, the process of staff development and training is painstaking daily work.

– Olga Gladkova

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