Maintaining a workforce in a revolving-door industry
Posted On September 19, 2023
Panini Pete and Cheryl Blohme, the brother and sister team who run a collection of restaurants as the PP Hospitality Group, say that the restaurant industry is a bit like a pet dog.
You love it and it loves you unconditionally, but occasionally it’s going to chew up your sneakers. You do what you can to minimize the chaos it creates – such as keeping your sneakers off the floor, but you understand that a certain bit is to be expected.
“You shouldn’t freak out,” Pete says, “about a dog being a dog.”
So it is with hiring and retaining employees in this industry where turnover is not only expected, but practically guaranteed. The Blohmes have created a business, however, that minimizes that turnover to the point where it stands out in a revolving-door industry. In a recent episode of “What’s Working with Cam Marston,” they shared how they do it.
Step one is something we’ve discussed many times in this space: Creating a strong workplace culture. That means setting high standards, making sure those standards are communicated, modeling those standards yourself, and giving employees a path to training and advancement.
Recruiting and taking advantage of the latest technological tools to do so is important, says Cheryl — who is in charge of that recruitment — but so is the follow-through.
“You have to make it interesting and fun, but you also have to back it up,” she said. “That’s what I think makes a difference.”
While hospitality is an industry where the employees are usually young and constantly looking for a more lucrative gig, the Blohmes say they’ve had those same employees come back because of their culture. And while there will always be restaurant workers who are just doing the job while they study or prepare for a career in another field, that culture has helped PP Hospitality Group maintain a core group of employees in a field where that’s not often done.
“Young people with really good training and really good leadership can do amazing things,” Pete said.
Learn more about Panini Pete and check out his podcast, Spatula Success, at chefpaninipete.com.