“The restaurant business is simple. Simple is hard."
At Workstream, we are able to work hand in hand with many brands who face issues of hiring and help them streamline their entire hiring process. Today, we have the privilege to chat with one of our Product Champions, Tara Lindstrom, Vice President of Marketing for their family-owned franchise company. Tara plays an active role in HR and Recruiting as well.
Lydia (L): What does your typical day look like?
Tara (T): Being in the restaurant business is a mix of thoughtful planning and execution, and fighting fires. I always adjust based on the needs of our restaurant teams. They are my first priority because if they can’t do their job, I don’t have a job.
L: What is your process for getting feedback from your team?
T: We hold weekly calls with each of our brands to cover a variety of topics. They know we have an open door policy all the time, but we actively request feedback on the calls.
L: Do you have any advice for startups that are building products for hourly workers?
T: Think like you are working with and talking to 12 year olds. Really. Many hourly workers and even managers have a very low education level or their first language is not English. Each company is only as strong as its weakest link, so aim your offerings towards them. Also, share best practices between companies because we are all in the same boat. If your startup can share this knowledge you will be more valuable to each of your clients.
L: Are there any trends that excite you?
T: Plant-Based/Vegan eating, using more natural ingredients, redefining the “fast food” and fast casual landscape of restaurants.
L: What’s your typical interview process?
T: In our stores, team members are usually interviewed first by a qualified shift lead, then our manager does a second interview to approve. For shift leads and assistant managers, our general managers do all the interviewing and hiring, with approval from their district manager. For managers, the district manager interviews 1-2 times and then goes to the director of operations or VP operations for a final interview.
L: What do you look for in an applicant?
T: Availability and personality. We can train the rest.
L: What are common mistakes people make in the hiring process?
T: Not going with their gut feeling. If you just have a feeling that someone is not a good fit, don’t hire them, because you are usually right. Also, holding onto bad hires too long. If they don’t prove themselves a good employee within the first 2-3 shifts, cut ties before it becomes an HR nightmare.
L: What tools / services do you use to improve productivity?
T: We communicate with our teams on GroupMe, we have a good HRIS, and Workstream has really improved the productivity of our managers in the hiring process because they don’t have to go back and forth with someone 6 times to schedule an interview.
L: Do you have any books you recommend to people in your industry?
T: The One Minute Manager. Setting the gold standard.
L: How do you think restaurants will look in 10 years? What will be the biggest changes?
T: I think for fast food and fast casual there will be no cashiers. It’s more efficient and reliable to have a kiosk take orders, payments, and suggestive sell. I also truly hope there are more actual healthful items available on EVERY menu in America. I believe we will see a lot more plant-based, locally sourced, healthier dishes.
L: Is there any data about the restaurant industry that shocked you?
T: Nothing shocks me in this industry 😊
L: What quote / mantra inspires you?
T: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. And The restaurant business is simple. Simple is hard.
L: Do you have any advice for new restaurant owners/operators?
T: I think too many new restaurant owners and operators worry about the details of getting the store open. Store/menu/look/feel and fail to worry about staffing, product costs and the day to day operations. Once the doors are open, they rarely close, so those are the things that will set you up for success.
Workstream can help tackle staffing and recruitment tasks, so you won't have to. Chat with us to learn more!
Lydia Fayal Hall is Head of Marketing at Workstream. She previously held leadership roles at OneSignal and Chalkup, acquired by Microsoft. Lydia has written for publications including The Wall Street Journal and Forbes. She is an alum of UPenn, Johns Hopkins, and YCombinator IK12. Originally from Stonington, CT, Lydia now resides in San Francisco, CA with her Australian Shepherd, Indy.