Running a café may not be rocket science, but building a successful team can be daunting for any business owner. Finding good staff is the biggest challenge faced by coffee business owners. On the other hand, getting lousy staff is a relatively easy task, and as a result, many businesses suffer due to a poorly performing team. This is because the margins between success and failure in the hospitality industry are razor thin.
Building a great team that can deliver the vision for a new business is something that many underestimate. They wrongly assume that everyone is as passionate about their business as they are. The slow-down of the stream of excellent hospitality staff since Brexit and Covid has added to the problem. This is compounded by the perceived low wages and high levels of transient staff who only consider hospitality as a stop-gap. Although the recent pay rises that mean some Baristas earn more than junior doctors is headline news.
Building a great team starts with great leaders. Owners and founders should have crystal clear clarity about what their business stands for, its values, and ‘how things are done around here.’ Finding a partner or great manager who can be trusted and understands the business’s vision can significantly reduce the burden on the owner. This person should have complementary skills to the owner and be accountable for specific responsibilities.
Building a great team starts with smart recruitment. Owners should look for people with the ‘Hospitality Gene’ who are energetic, engaging, empathetic, and enjoy talking to people. Successful restaurateur Danny Meyer actively recruits for five things; people with an optimistic warmth, a curiosity to learn, a strong work ethic, self-awareness, and empathy. The secret to attracting great staff is to magnetize the business to make it an attractive workplace.
Owners should consider the hidden costs of losing people when deciding wages. This includes the time it takes to recruit and train new team members and the poor service delivered when mistakes occur. To retain people, owners should provide a nurturing work environment and opportunities for honing their skills.
In conclusion, building a great team is one of the biggest challenges for any new business. Business owners must start with great leaders with a clear vision of their business’s values and how things are done. They should look for people with the ‘Hospitality Gene’ and actively recruit staff with an optimistic warmth, a curiosity to learn, a strong work ethic, self-awareness, and empathy. To retain staff, owners must provide a nurturing work environment and opportunities to hone their skills. By following these strategies, business owners can build a great team to help their business thrive.