Building a Rockstar Team for Your Restaurant

Building a Rockstar Team for Your Restaurant

On this episode of The Barron Report, brought to you by Kabbage, we dive into Agricole Hospitality brands to see how they manage hiring and staff.

In 2011, Ryan Pera and Morgan Weber teamed up to open Revival Market, a butcher shop inspired by City Meat Market in Yoakum. It has since evolved to become a full-service breakfast/lunch restaurant and butcher shop. The success of Revival prompted the duo to open Italian restaurant Coltivare, where Morgan developed the cocktail menu, in 2014.

While building the spirits list and managing the bar program at Coltivare, Morgan's interest in bourbon continued to grow. Once he ran out of room for bourbon on the back bar at Coltivare, the idea for Eight Row Flint, aptly named after the variety of corn first used in American whiskey, was born. Eight Row Flint was named one of the best new bars in the country by Playboy in 2016.

Now with 7 different brands under the Agricole Hospitality umbrella, Weber and Pera are starting to get a knack for building top quality teams. From constantly interviewing to patiently grooming their team, this organization has unlocked some key attributes of a successful brand. Listen along with the show notes below to see how you can start attracting top-quality candidates, too!

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Trump's New Tip Pooling Rule Means Harsh Fines for Rule-Breakers

Trump's New Tip Pooling Rule Means Harsh Fines for Rule-Breakers

First, the back story:  The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets the rules for paying minimum wage and overtime.  It allows employers to take a tip credit against its minimum wage obligations if certain conditions are met.  One of those conditions is that tipped employees must be allowed to retain all of their tips. There is one exception to this – that employers can require employees to participate in a valid tip pooling arrangement.  

There are various requirements for a tip pool to be valid but most importantly, the tips can only be shared with people who customarily and regularly receive tips. Typically, these jobs are in the front of the house.

The FLSA is silent as to whether these same restrictions apply to employers who don’t take a tip credit and instead just pay a full minimum wage.  In 2010, the Ninth Circuit ruled that they don’t apply if you don’t take the tip credit. In 2011, the DOL issued regulations saying that they apply whether you take the tip credit or not.

The Tip Pooling Loophole

In 2017, the Trump Administration proposed a rule that would clarify this issue.  

The rule sought to allow employers who pay a full minimum wage to include back of house workers in a tip pool.  But the rule as proposed left open a potential loophole – that in giving employers control over the tips (under the expectation that they would use them to pay back of house workers) that the rule would have also allowed employers to pocket the tips if they wanted to.  

This prompted an enormous uproar and ultimately the administration scaled back; the law would be revised to make clear that employers cannot under any circumstances keep any portion of their employees’ tips.

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Top Managers Quit Charlie Hallowell Restaurant Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations

Top Managers Quit Charlie Hallowell Restaurant Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations

In the latest chapter of harassment allegations in our industry, three managers and chefs from Charlie Hallowell’s Boot and Shoe Service have resigned over alleged “serial harassment” from the owner.

Last year, 17 former employees of Hallowell’s Pizzaiolo, Boot & Shoe Service, and Penrose restaurants accused the restaurateur of creating a demoralizing work environment where his "indecent propositions and about of his power were the norm," and that the workplace featured a "near-constant stream of sexually explicit language."

An ultimatum was proposed earlier this month when a group of seven top managers threatened to resign from the Oakland restaurant if Hallowell didn’t divest from the restaurant. This weekend, protests were staged outside the restaurant over the alleged harassment and the way Hallowell and his company have handled the allegations.

Crisis consultant Larry Kamer, who was recently brought in as a spokesman for the restaurant group, said that the protest was peaceful and that the picketers would not lose their jobs as a result. Staff from the other restaurants were brought in during the protest, and he said the company is hiring people to fill jobs of departing employees.

“We know there are a number of people who feel strongly about this,” Kamer said

This protest came at a time when hundreds of women marched across the country as a part of the Women’s March and the #MeToo movement.

By Sunday, three managers and chefs had resigned from Boot & Shoe Service after their demands that he divest from the company were not met.

“I feel pretty sad. I feel like I really had some measure of hope — maybe I was naive — that this was going to work,” said Emily Hayward, who resigned as general manager along with pastry chef Jenny Raven and brunch manager Stephanie Chevalier. However, Hayward added, “I feel very confident in my decision. The lack of response really told me everything I needed to hear as far as my value.”

Boot & Shoe Service chef Gregg Cashmark, sous chef Matt Fishman and cafe manager Greg Francis told The San Francisco Chronicle they are also planning to quit in the coming days. Top staff from Hallowell’s two other Oakland restaurants, Pizzaiolo and Penrose, did not join them in the action.

After the original Chronicle investigation was published Dec. 27th, Hallowell responded by removing himself from his company’s day-to-day operations while an outside attorney conducts an investigation.

Read more at “The San Francisco Chronicle.”

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Having Trouble Amplifying Your Brand's Reach? Follow These Tips!

Having Trouble Amplifying Your Brand's Reach? Follow These Tips!

Ask nearly every restaurant owner what their number one, long-term marketing ‘program’ or tactic is, and most will say effective word of mouth. This can be great until it starts to fizzle down or another new restaurant opens up down the street resulting in the competition becoming the new talk of the town.

Instead of shooting into the wind and hoping ‘word of mouth’ with deliver desirable long-term results, restaurateurs need to embrace a program that is an extension of word-of-mouth marketing, by developing what is called ‘brand ambassadors.’

A brand ambassador will positively represent and promote a restaurant’s venue. They will embrace the company values, vision, mission, and culture. They will strengthen a restaurant’s identity within the community by providing additional visibility and overall awareness.

Yes, word of mouth happens organically over time because of excellent food, drink, service, and experiences, don’t get me wrong. But what if there was a way to double-down and create multiple micro-communities and multiple levels of ambassadors to promote a restaurant’s brand?

That’s where an ambassador program comes in.

Here’s how:

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3 Ways To Get Your Staff to Think Like an Operator

3 Ways To Get Your Staff to Think Like an Operator

One of the biggest challenges for restaurant owners is getting your staff interested in the job that you are hiring them to do. You sit there and think, “Well, i’m giving them a job that provides a paycheck so they should do what the job entails!”

But that’s not how to get your team to do what you need them to do.

Remember, you’re trying to get your team to think like owners. That’s not going to happen when you think of them that way. It’s important to structure your business to make sure your employees take ownership in their positions.

Once they are able to take ownership in their positions, the next step is to get them to play at your level. Here are 3 ways to make sure your team is rising to the challenge.

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