They’re called everything from secretaries and administrative assistants to office administrators and office managers. Whatever the title, a well-trained and dedicated employee in this role is another key element to the quality of your life and the quality of your operation.
Your great assistant — not a restaurant manager, but a right-hand man or woman — should take over the office, make it his or her own, organize the place and keep it that way. Just having your calls politely screened can save you hours upon hours each week. In turn, you’ll be freed up to be where you’re supposed to be: with your guests and employees.
All too often the assistant position is considered part-time, to be filled only by an employee who pulls another function during the next shift. This approach, limited by time and labor-cost constraints, hinders the usefulness of the job and encourages turnover because the part-time pay isn’t competitive.
A restaurant manager who can’t see past a shift’s budgeted labor dollars probably won’t realize the full value of a great assistant. Teach yours the finer points of booking large parties and selling high-margin banquet menus, bottles of wine and gift certificates. Put him or her in charge of your social media, email list, and other efforts that support your marketing plans. Provide training to handle guest complaints, schedule interviews, check in a delivery, if necessary, and even open the restaurant. All of which will allow the manager — you — to cut out an hour or two from your daily schedule.
To find the right candidate, analyze the position and create an accurate job description. Many of the tasks originally listed under your own title could be performed by your great assistant. Don’t fall into the trap of hiring first, then trying to figure out the job as you both go along.
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