Hiring great food truck staff members is critical for the growth of a successful food truck. However, due to the consistent turnover in the food service industry, it is also one of the most difficult tasks a food truck owner must take on.
Vendors often struggle to sort the best candidates from the rest in the hiring process. They often get into business because they are passionate about cooking and serving their food to the public. Because they are good at this, the truck grows to the point in which they need to hire people to get the added work done.
Knowing how to make good hiring decisions is a learned skill!
Because of this, food truck owners who have not been trained in good hiring practices are likely to struggle. The good news is that today we’ll provide you with five steps to help you out in the hiring process.
How To Hire Great Food Truck Staff Members
Know what you need
While it may seem like basic advice, identifying what you need in each of these areas should always be your first step:
- Physical requirements: This includes activities like lifting, standing for long periods of time, working in hot temperatures, or interacting with the public. Limit these items to the actual requirements of the specific job you are hiring for.
- Experience: This includes culinary work history, but also could also include education and accreditations (ServeSafe). Focus on the results you need delivered from this individual, not just prior work experience. Be careful about eliminating good candidates by over specifying (requiring a culinary degree when one isn’t needed).
- Behavior: These include honesty, the ability to work well with others and work ethic. While employees can learn skills, it’s typically more difficult to teach behavior.
- Intelligence: A food truck staff member can learn the basic skills specific to your food truck menu, but will you have to continually remind them of the small details that are required to create each dish the right way, each and every time? If you want smart employees you must hire smart people.
Know what you have to offer
As a food truck, you may find it difficult to compete with the large restaurant chains on compensation and benefits. However, you do have other things of value to offer your food truck staff such as flexible schedules, broader job responsibilities, a family feel, and the chance to learn new skills as your food truck empire grows. Structuring a compensation package that is competitive is critical, but be creative to make your offer attractive.
Focus like a laser beam
Consider many candidates for your open position, this means getting beyond friends and family. You know exactly what you are looking for, so you can quickly eliminate the bulk of the candidates and focus on the best.
If you think paying higher wages than your competition is the solution to hiring the best people, you would be wrong. The right employees for your food truck must be driven not by money but by your mission.
The right people can often attract money, but money by itself can never attract the right people. Money is a commodity; talent is not. Recruiting and developing great food truck staff members contributes to your truck’s productivity and growth. Without talent, your truck cannot transform. Without transformation, your truck can’t grow.
Use different methods and opinions
Included others in the hiring decision can offer a food truck owner valuable insight. Others may catch something you missed or ask a key follow-up question. While you should make the final decision, it’s important to involve others. Consider multiple methods of assessing a prospective food truck staff member’s fit. Depending on the position you are filling, there are three useful methods of evaluation: interviews, kitchen testing or trial employment.
Conduct background checks on food truck staff members
From time to time, you will run into candidates who inflate their education and work accomplishments. Once hired a dishonest employee can be devastating to your food truck business. According to the Small Business Administration employee theft is the cause of 30 percent of all business failures. Perform background checks to prevent dishonest people from getting added to your food truck staff.
Ensuring that you get the right people in the right jobs in your food truck is critical. It isn’t easy, but it is possible. Bad food truck staff members can damage the business that you have built. Following the previous steps will greatly improve the probability that you’ll succeed.
The Bottom Line
A food truck vendor can’t grow a winning empire all by themselves. Some may try, but it is nearly impossible to do so. Every famous food truck operation has built a flourishing company with great food truck staff by their side.
An culinary entrepreneur can invent and even commercialize a concept as an enterprise of one. In time, however, the tasks of running a food truck business become too great for the vendor to manage alone. At this point, a savvy owner must find and hire great food truck staff members to help achieve their food truck dream.
If you are an old hat at hiring food truck staff, what tips would share with vendors looking to fill a food truck job? Share your thoughts in the comment section, food truck forum or social media. Twitter | Facebook