Tags Posts tagged with "HR"

HR

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food truck turnover percentage

With the mobile food industry continuing to grow we are constantly on the look out to assist both the owner operators as well as the customers of these rolling bistros. From time to time we run polls to gain industry information that truck owners can use to help better their customer service and the options that they provide to the communities that they serve. Other times our polls are set to find out general information “we” want to know.

The food service industry has always been a high-turnover industry. Turnover in the industry is defined as the percentage of the workforce an employer loses in a year, and in some sub sectors (such as fast food and fast casual), turnover is well over 100 percent.

This means that employers generally lose all of their workers in a year, and then lose another percentage of the workers who replace them in the same year.

The poll this week is to help us understand food truck turnover percentages.

To compute your food truck turnover percentage, divide the number of employee separations last year by the average number of active employees during the same period. Take your result and multiply it by 100.

Example: Last year your food truck had an average staff size of 4 employees and you had 6 separations (whatever the reason). Divide 6 by 4 (equal to 1.5) and multiply by 100.

Tada…you had a 150 percent turnover rate for your food truck.

Now it’s your turn. Once you come up with your food truck turnover percentage, enter the result in the poll below.

What Is Your Food Truck Turnover Percentage?

View Results

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We would also ask owners to share this link to this poll with other owners in your area so we can gain as much data as possible. Once we have this information we will share the findings with our readers.

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take you for granted

You know you are a good boss. You’re fair, you keep your emotions in check and you care about your food truck staff. Unfortunately over time some staff members will take you for granted. This could result in feeling entitled to extra favors, and assuming you make so much money it doesn’t matter. So how does this happen and how can you make a change?

For most food truck employees, if you don’t give them rules and reasons why policies and procedures are in place, they will make up their own. If you don’t provide them, they’ll ask someone else, or base decisions on what they did in their last job and many of these assumptions will be wrong.

7 Common Areas Where Food Truck Staff Take You for Granted

Here’s a quick list of some of the most common problems I have seen over my time working in the food service industry. Do any of them ring true in your food truck and need your attention?

  • Left-over food taken home. I have always found it funny how there’s always a little extra left over after a shift when truck owners allow this policy. If you notice your food costs being higher than planned a simple change in rules needs to be instituted. I’m all for offering staff meals, but not full take-out orders.
  • Continual roster swaps. No one loves organizing shift schedules, and it’s very easy to let staff members make fixes and changes themselves. Unfortunately you can bet that eventually you will end up in a miscommunication and will be short staffed with nobody to cover. If you don’t have one in place already, it’s time to create a Swap & Request Book. It will still need your supervision, but this system is much easier for everyone keep informed and your truck properly staffed.
  • Tardiness. I’m sorry but texting that you will be late 15 minutes before your shift just won’t cut it. If someone continually is late it’s time to give someone an official warning. Everyone knows who the offenders are, and if nothing is done will wonder why it’s tolerated.
  • Phone use. We understand that almost every one of your employees will have a phone with them while on shift, the key is to regulate when they use it. Any time a problem surfaces nip it in the bud before it becomes bigger. Even though for some staff it may be like taking away one of their limbs, if you have issues where staff members are using their phones at the wrong time…have them turn them off and place them somewhere out of their reach. Share the rules and make sure there is secure storage for phones not being used.
  • Poor grooming. Not to come off as stodgy old man but some of today’s common cultural grooming techniques just don’t fit inside a mobile food service business. For men, the daily shave now seems to be optional. If you’re growing a beard, let it grow (but don’t forget a beard guard if you are preparing food). But if you only bother to shave twice a week, it’s now time to make it daily. Your staff manual may need more explicit guidelines, with pictures and clear examples of what’s OK and not OK. Discreet facial studs and rings are also common, but the role of the owner and a food truck’s staff is not to alarm the customers – do you need to tighten up on multi-colored hair, big rings and studs or ear tunnels? It’s not discrimination to enforce a common set of guidelines.
  • The truck is a mess, and it’s not busy. The famous saying, “if there is time to lean there is time to clean” needs to be regularly enforced – do you have a cleaning checklist posted in the truck? If you don’t, it’s time for a change so develop your own.
  • Playing off owners (or managers). As kids, we all knew which parent to ask for certain things, and when. The same thing happens in the business world. You certainly don’t need a 10 page policy on every instance, but there certainly needs to be clearly written directions. If you and your partner and/or managers are getting played by your staff members, put a list together and write up the standard response. Maybe it will be just for the two of you, or you can add it to your food truck policy handbook.

I hope these tips can help food truck owners prevent themselves from being taken advantage of by their employees. If you have any additional areas that I missed, please feel free to add them to the comment section below.

Looking to fill a position in your food truck or restaurant? Place an ad with us to find experienced candidates.

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Food Truck Social Media Policy

Developing a food truck social media policy is no longer an option for members of the mobile food industry. The Internet has changed the way individuals, including your employees; communicate with each other and the rest of the world.

Social media has been part of food truck life since Roy Choi sent out his first Tweet. You need to realize that with this technology, what goes on in your food truck could end up being exposed to hundreds, thousands, even millions of people online.

Take the New York City food truck twitter fiasco from last year. A food truck employee sent out an angry tweet to a corporate account who neglected to tip on a large order. The tweet was discussed nationally and seen by hundreds of thousands of viewers virtually overnight.

This was an instant public relations nightmare for the food truck to say the least and should have sent shock waves felt by every food truck vendor about what “could” happen to them.

Social media sites like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter are here to stay so what should a food truck owner do? The first step is to create a food truck social media policy is to establish reasonable set of standards of workplace behavior regarding social networking and online use and then communicate those expectations to your employees.

What Your Food Truck Social Media Policy Should Cover

Your mobile food business should have guidelines that apply to your employees’ use of social media, both on and off duty that addresses issues such as:

  • Publishing personal information about themselves, other employees, your business and your customers in a public medium
  • Use of company accounts for personal use
  • Use of the food truck logos or trademarks
  • Complying with confidentiality and disclosure of proprietary information (recipes, operational secrets, etc.)

If you decide to adopt a food truck social media policy, all employees should sign a copy of the policy and be trained in its meaning. The best way to do this might be to hold a mandatory staff meeting and discuss it with a question and answer session.

A sensible food truck social media policy, effectively communicated to your food truck staff, will go a long way toward addressing the risks and preventing damage to your food truck’s brand in today’s online world.

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now-hiring-highway sign

If you haven’t noticed, over the past five years there has been consistent growth within the mobile food industry. Food truck owners across the country are succeeding to the point in which they are able to bring on more staff to expand their businesses.

If you happen to be in this situation, you may want to consider these traits as those to look for in your next hire, no matter what position they hold. Hiring can be difficult, especially in the food service industry. Candidates may have great cooking or customer service skills…but they just don’t work out. Why?

You’ll find that some individuals try to get by doing as little as possible, while others seem to possess a drive that leads them to give their all each and every shift. It those with that drive that you need to look for, and this article will provide an inside look into specific traits they’ll possess that tend to guide their work behavior, leading them to produce high-quality work consistently and without the need to prod them to stay on task.

Dedication

Those with a good work ethic are dedicated to their jobs and will do anything they can to always perform at the highest level. One sign of this will be seen in their resume, it will show that they change jobs less frequently than industry standards. They also often work as long as it takes to get a job done, showing that they are someone truly dedicate to their job.

Reliability

Reliability goes hand in hand with a good work ethic. If individuals with a good work ethic say they are going to show up or start at a certain time, they do. Individuals with a strong work ethic often want to appear dependable, showing the boss that they can be relied on.

Character

Those with a good work ethic often also possess generally strong character. This means they are self-disciplined, push themselves to complete tasks instead of requiring others to complete them. They are also often very honest and trustworthy, as they view these traits as part of who they are.

Productivity

This trait is key due to the speed in which a food truck is run. These individuals work at a consistently fast pace, with high productivity. They will typically get huge amounts of work done faster than others and don’t quit until they’ve completed the tasks they are given. They want to appear to be strong workers so they feel that the more productive they are, the more beneficial to your business they are.

Cooperation

Coming from a military veteran, I can tell you that a cooperative work environment can be highly beneficial for your food truck business. Being cooperative leads to stronger teamwork throughout the truck due to the fact that they often put a lot of effort into working well with others. They will respect you enough to work with anyone they are teamed with, even if they do not enjoy working with specific coworkers.

While it may be difficult to find someone who holds these traits and are capable of completing the tasks you give them. It’s important for food truck owners to do the best they can in building teams with these types of individuals. It has been shown time and again that the most successful trucks always seem to be staffed with this type of crew.

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10 hiring mistakes to avoid

Hiring staff members for your mobile food business is hard work. When you are a food truck owner and you don’t have an HR department to help there is a lot of opportunity to make a lot of hiring mistakes.

Here are 10 that you should avoid:

Hiring friends

This is actually two mistakes rolled into one. Usually when you hire a friend you don’t really consider whether the friend is the best person for the job. The first mistake is to hire without getting as many candidates to apply as possible (more candidates means a higher chance that at least one of them is great). The second mistake is that since your friend may not be the most qualified, you may have to fire them someday. Not only will you lose an employee but in many cases also a friend.

Reviewing each resume

If you’ve done the first thing right and properly advertised to fill a position, you’ve attracted a pool of great candidates, which could end up as 25 to 50 resumes. You certainly can’t screen all 50 of them quickly; there just isn’t enough time in the day. If you don’t have any other employees to help you, explain in your ad how long you expect the process to take.

Skipping the phone screen

Once you’ve finally screened all of the resumes, you will likely still have 5 – 10 good candidates; too many to efficiently meet face-to-face for a busy food truck owner. Your next step should be a phone screen. A 15 – 20 minute phone conversation will help you see if this is a person you’d like to meet. What have they really done? Do they care about the things you care about? Are they on time? The phone screen is a great way to eliminate some folks that you don’t want to even spend 5 minutes with face-to-face.

No written questions

If you go into the face-to-face interview without questions that you plan in advance and write down for yourself, the interview has as much predictive value as a coin flip. Instead, write some questions down. Ask about the candidate’s actual experience (what did you do in that role?) and some behavioral interview questions. Ask each candidate those same questions to get an apples-to-apples comparison.

No testing

There are some things that are easy to assess in an interview and others that are hard. If you are hiring line cooks, you should ask them to cook something for you. Ask service window staff to sell to you. You want to see someone demonstrate their skills. Good candidates will leap at the chance to show their stuff.

Doing it alone

You need some other eyes and ears on the candidate too. Some truck owners do tandem interviews, where you have one person asking questions and another listening. Others let the candidates’ future peers have a crack at them.

Hiring too fast

When you have an open position on your team it can be debilitating. You can’t keep doing your job, their job and the job of hiring. I can almost see food truck owners thinking, “I hope this is THE ONE.” When you go into an interview with that thought process you can easily overlook warning signs. You may not probe in areas where you see potential weakness because you don’t want to find weakness. You want this person to be THE ONE.

Not understanding pay

It can be tough to figure out what the market rate for a job is; but you have to know that going into a hiring process. Do some research, look at other food truck job postings or ask other local food truck owners what they pay their staff so you know what to expect.

Not selling your business

It’s easy to be critical of the candidates and you should. But if you’ve got a good candidate you need to also sell them on your mobile food business. They need to know that you want them and that this position has exciting possibilities for them.

Not closing the deal

When you’ve found the right candidate, it’s time to make a solid offer. Don’t try to low-ball them; make an offer that they will feel good about accepting. Be prepared with all the information they will need to make a decision, such as benefits and vacation time. Show enthusiasm that you really want them on the team and you can see them making a big difference in your food truck business’s performance.

Hiring staff members for your mobile food business can be hard, but if you avoid these mistakes you’ll have a better chance of success.

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Think about how much you rely on your employees to operate your food truck. In many cases, they are responsible for preparing your delicious food, ensuring your customers are happy and bringing revenue into your mobile food business. What if they felt mistreated? How do you think they would react?

food truck employee-theft

A single disgruntled employee can do a lot of harm to your food truck operation. A window server, a line cook or even your truck manager, who is not happy with their job can create poor morale with other employees, be rude to a customer, prepare poor meals and even steal from your business.

No amount of operational controls, auditing or inventory will matter is an employee feels alienated or disgruntled. It is not always possible to prevent a situation like this, however the better the relationship you have with your food truck employees, the better chance you will hear about any issues before they become too great. If your staff respects their owner and managers, they also respect your business and realize their jobs are part of its success.

Here are some tips for food truck owners to remember when building relationships with their staff members:

Know your people.

  • If you don’t know your staff, then they don’t know you. It’s far easier to steal from a faceless entity than a person.

Don’t create an atmosphere of distrust.

  • Treat your employees with respect. Don’t talk down to them regardless of their position within your truck. Being friendly will go a long way in building good staff relationships.

Reward employees as your food truck empire grows.

  • Small raises or bonuses as a reward for your rolling bistro’s growth will make your employees feel like they are part of the reason why it has grown.

Don’t nag them about costly mistakes.

  • Constantly harassing staff about the costs behind mistakes creates stress, and more mistakes are likely to be made. Even worse, your truck’s employees might start hiding mistakes if constantly worried about the consequences.
  • If you have an employee that is consistently making expensive mistakes, try taking them aside after their shift or during a down period. If it continues to be a problem, let them know that the loss of their job could result.
  • Use mistakes as a learning tool and an opportunity to inject additional training and re-assurance with policies and procedures.

Every food truck owner, who has been in business long enough, will have to deal with employee theft at one time or another. How you handle the topic of employee theft with your staff does in fact make a difference.

How do you talk about employee theft with your employees? 

Talk with your employees openly about theft and its consequences to your mobile food business, to their job and to the livelihood of those who decide to steal. We are often asked; does talking about employee theft actually increase employee theft. The short answer is no.

Not everyone will be a positive and motivated staff member. However, most employees want to earn an honest day’s pay, be respected and treated fairly. For those people, getting to know them is a way to get them more involved in your food truck’s well-being.

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tip of the dayWhen a food truck business is struggling and the morale of your employees is low, it falls on a food truck owner’s shoulders to help keep employees’ chins up and focus on the future. Use these tips to motivate food truck employees during troubling times:

  • Go to them. Sure your schedule is always packed but don’t invite employees to meet because it’s easiest for you. Visit them in the commissary or truck, especially if you aren’t there with them while they prepare the meals for your customers. This signals that what they do matters.
  • Praise their efforts. No one tires of hearing they’re doing a good job when the praise is genuine. Explain how their output is significant to your truck’s long-term health.
  • Watch their backs. Employees often suffer first when things get tough; show them that the owner supports them.

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tip of the dayPeople are more creative when they feel passionate about their work. Whether they are driven by interest, enjoyment, satisfaction, or a sense of personal challenge, they are more likely to take risks, look for multiple solutions to a problem, and seek out the best one rather than the easiest. These are the people you want on your food truck team.

Get to know potential hires as thoroughly as possible, even before you have an opening for them. Ask them why they do what they do, what disappointments they’ve had, what their dream jobs would be. Look for fire in their eyes as they talk about the work itself, and listen for a deep desire to do something that hasn’t been done before. When you talk to their references, listen for mentions of passion.

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tip of the dayUnderstanding your food truck employee reactions to big changes such as layoffs can help you understand what employees need, not just in stressful times, but every day.

Here are three questions your employees need the answers to regularly:

  • Do I have a job? This isn’t just about job security. Employees want role clarity and an understanding of how their work makes a difference to your food truck business.
  • Who do I report to? Dotted lines litter most org charts these days. Make it clear who employees report to (even if it’s more than one person), by whose metrics they’ll be evaluated, and whose opinion matters to their work.
  • How will I get paid? How much actually matters less than how. Intangible benefits such as mentorship, long-term opportunities, and a belief that what they’re building will last all matter more than the paycheck.

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tip of the dayIf you want to manage and lead  a successful food truck, you’ve got to know what your staff needs. So why not ask them?

Get in the habit of asking your food truck staff members: What can I do to help you be more effective? You’ll likely get a variety of answers including complaints about others, direct criticism of your performance, and requests you can’t do much about. Take everything under advisement, don’t be defensive, and admit mistakes.

Heed what you hear and take action. Perhaps you need to step back or learn to delegate better. Maybe there is an uncooperative member of the team you can coach or an unnecessary policy you can remove. Treat these conversations for what they are: an opportunity for you to learn.

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