Front of House Restaurant Staffing: Your Customer's First Experience with Your Business

Identifying Team Challenges

So we've talked about spotting challenges in the back-of-house, but what about the front-of-house?  

We've established that a weak team will hurt a restaurant's chances of success. But, all is not lost!

By employing a systematic, organized approach to hiring, we can avoid these problems and build a strong team that will deliver clear results.

So, what does bad hiring look like, in practice for the front-of-house?

Front of House

A bad front-of-house team can wreak havoc on your customer experience. Symptoms of poor front-of-house staffing range from simple, but frequent mistakes to downright offensive behaviors:

  • Not promptly greeting guests
  • Slow service
  • Unkempt personal appearance / attire
  • Dirty / unsanitary dining area
  • Lack of menu knowledge
  • Inability to correct inevitable service issues, like when the kitchen is backed up, or a dish comes out wrong
  • Forgotten or incorrectly-placed orders
  • Added stress to the kitchen for remade food or orders placed on-the-fly due to service mistakes
  • Staff acting rude or unwelcoming towards guests, up to outright yelling at guests
  • Inability to deal with grumpy or troublesome guests
  • Staff socializing openly instead of attending to guests
  • Blaming the customer for service issues

While some of these are obvious, others are subtle, but in sum they can cause significant impact to your guest experience, and ultimately, your bottom line.

In contrast, a strong front-of-house team:

  • Creates a welcoming, positive environment for your customers
  • Greets and serves guests promptly
  • Keeps service smooth and expedient without feeling rushed
  • Knows the menu and can suggest items as needed, including upselling to drive revenue
  • Keeps customers satisfied when problems happen, working quickly to make it right
  • A great front-of-house can even add personality, further separating you from other restaurants

In future articles, we'll outline this hiring approach, and how you can apply it to your business, so you can build a strong team and drive results.