7 Ways To Save Food From Landfills

7 Ways To Save Food From Landfills

Food waste is a big problem. Industrialized nations waste about 222 million tons every year. In the US, we waste about 30% to 40% of the food supply, and that uneaten food goes right to landfills, where it produces methane gas and takes up space. You may also know that one restaurant can make up to 75,000 pounds of food waste in a year. Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to cut down on your restaurant’s share of the waste. Here are 7 ideas for doing just that.

1. Figure Out Your Waste Stream

The very first step in deciding what to do about reducing your waste is finding out what is getting tossed and how. You can audit your dumpster yourself if you don’t mind a mess, or you can ask your local waste collection agency to check it for you.

It is not a bad idea to walk through food processes to see where the waste starts. Some of this will be customers: the average diner leaves 17% of their meals uneaten, and half of that won’t go home in doggy bags. However, raw food scraps from cooking such as carrot tops are also a culprit. From there, you can track how much the food waste is costing you in terms of garbage rates and missed savings.

2. Get Your Ordering In Line With Your Output

No source of waste is more aggravating than raw food that has spoiled because you ordered more than you used. It is hard to estimate what you need correctly, but you can track your inventory closely, rigorously enforce the FIFO system of use, and carefully mine your ordering data information to figure out your average needs. This will cut down on your initial food outlay and the amount that goes bad.

3. Find Ways To Use Scraps And Leftovers In Your Cooking

Have your employees sort through the food leftovers and scraps for what can be reused and find ways to put it in the menu. Onion peels, carrot tops, and celery ends can go in soups. Chicken scraps can become part of stews. You can even set aside a day to feature these re-purposed scraps in inexpensive meals for families. This not only saves space in your landfill, it adds revenue to your business for very cheap.

4. Find Animals To Feed Your Leftovers To

Many states allow you to sell raw food scraps to farmers so that they can feed their livestock. Contact your local health department for the municipal regulations involved, and then call up your agricultural extension office for their suggestions. From there, you can visit local farmer markets to find people who would like your scraps. The agricultural extension will know some likely candidates, too.

5. Find Industrial Uses For Your Leftovers

Discarded grease can become biofuel, and many cities have anaerobic digestive facilities that convert organic food waste into energy. Contact your city office for ideas. In fact, many cities are passing ordinances to reward reusing leftovers, so definitely ask about their programs.

6. Create A Compost Bin

Everywhere allows people to use composted food for lawns, gardens and crops. There are many ways to create a compost bin: you can buy a classic perforated bin to put all the organic inedible stuff in and appoint a dishwasher to turn the leftovers over with a pitchfork once a week. You can get a tumbler to try your hand at anaerobic composting. You can do this in black plastic bag, too.

Once your stuff is composted, you can use it on your restaurant’s kitchen garden, pass it to employees who garden as mulch or fertilizer, give it to a local community garden, or spread it around your own personal yard.

7. Feed The Hungry

Virtually every municipality will let you give edible leftovers to charity. Do you have meals prepared ahead of time that people never order? You can get a tax deduction for giving it to your local food bank. You do have to contact the charities and ask them what they will take. They will help you how to transport the leftovers, too. If you have trouble finding a local charity to take your food, you can contact organizations such as Meal Connect and Food Donation Connection, and they can point you in the right direction.

These are just suggestions about how to do your part to conserve food. How you decide to stop food waste is up to you; just remember that every little bit counts.

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Tips for Making Your Sirvo Profile Stick Out to Employers

Tips for Making Your Sirvo Profile Stick Out to Employers

We’ve all done it. We’ve all taken the time to fill out an online profile, whether for a social site, dating site, or even another job site. And we’ve hated every…single…second of it! After all of that, you’d think that you’ve got the process down, but how often are you really noticed?

Filling out a profile on a job site and making it stand out can be daunting. Especially here in the service industry where an outgoing personality, charisma, and the ability to self-promote are a necessity. What’s more, most of us seem to freeze up when we’re put on the spot and actually given the chance to brag about ourselves. It seems easy to do it when the conversation is flowing, but when you actually have to think about it…well, that’s another story.

So how can you stand out from the crowd here on Sirvo? How about we give you a few tips?

We’ll give you the most important tip right away…

You’re probably not going to want to hear this, but the absolute best way to get noticed by employers is to actually go through and make sure you fill out your entire profile. Attaching a paper resume to your application while only filling out one or two fields in the Sirvo profile makes your application look sloppy, and who wants that?

Another reason for this is employers use keywords when searching for candidates. So if you haven’t taken the time to describe yourself and to give some telling details about who you are and what you can do, then don’t expect to get too many callbacks.

If you haven’t taken the time to describe yourself and to give some telling details about who you are and what you can do, then don’t expect to get too many callbacks.

We know that filling out profiles sucks so we’ve made the process as easy as possible for you. We only have five sections: Experience, Education, Certifications & Additional Training, Skills, and Interests. We don’t ask too many questions because we want to allow you to showcase you. We let you get as creative about your story as you want.

PS. If you’re a new Sirvo user and have most of this information already filled out on your Facebook Page then sign up using the Facebook option and we’ll automatically populate the majority of the information for you!

Let’s start at the top.

First things first, let people see who you are. Maybe we don’t want to admit it, but we all start to form an opinion of someone the moment we see them. Photos get as much (if not more) attention than your experience, education, and skills. Make sure you start off on the right foot by adding a photo that lets employers form the right mental image of you.

HINT: Make sure the picture looks like you, isn’t blurry, and won’t embarrass you.

Also, make sure you add your full name and spell it right. Just kidding, we know you can spell your name. But double check for typos, just in case.

The last thing before finishing out the headline section is…make sure you’re a headliner! Give employers 3-5 sentences describing yourself. And don’t just let them know what job you’re looking for or where you want to fit in. Include something personal like your favorite motto or a talent you’re known for. Maybe you’ve won an award or have a hobby you’re proud of. Let them know!

Accomplishments count.

When filling out the experience section, describe what you’ve accomplished and what you can do. Don’t just list the duties of each position you’ve held in the past. If you’ve been a cook or server or any other position, employers will already have an idea of what that entails. They want to know things beyond your just your duties, like what you’ll bring to the table.

When you were a cook, did you create a dish that was so good the manager or owner added it to the menu permanently? Tell them! When you were a bartender, did the bar have higher sales when you were there than when you weren’t? They’ll want to know that, too!

HINT: If you have hardcore numbers to prove your accomplishments, provide them!

If you can add the contact info of a reference who’ll back up your story, feel free to put that in the Experience>Description section.

Education is important in the service industry, too.

Frequently, employees in our industry think this is less necessary than the experience section. That’s not the case. Employers look to this for any number of reasons. Two being, it adds a bit more insight to who you are and potentially shows experience(s) outside of the service industry.

HINT: Add your education in reverse order.

If you’ve just finished a degree, add that first and work backward to high school or trade/technical schools. And remember, dates are important.

Make sure you have the proper certifications.

If you want to work in the front of the house you’ll want to make sure you’re certified to serve alcoholic beverages in your state. If you’ll be in the back of the house, you may want to get take the necessary safe food handling courses your state requires. Having these in advance speeds up the hiring process and gives you a leg up when employers are making hiring decisions.

Find out more information about training and certifications specifically for bartenders, check out our blog post.

Skills

The popular thought here is “the more, the better” but that’s not true. Add the skills you want potential employers to know about but make sure those skills are relevant to the job you’re seeking.

Adding too many skills or random skills sends the message that you don’t really know what you’re looking for. Resist the urge to pad the skills section. Highlight what you’re good at. Leave the rest off. Make sure you can actually do what you say you can do.

What interests you?

This is the section where you can let employers know about any and all work related subjects you’re focused on or would like to focus on. It’s also a great place to let them know you have a life outside of work.

Before you finish.

Head to the Settings page and make sure your name, email, city, and phone number are filled in correctly. You can also add your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram handles if you’d like. 

Filling out the entire Sirvo profile will be worth the time and effort. Not only will you pop up in searches more, but it forces you to add those intricate little details that set you apart from the crowd. Feel free to keep this open when filling out your profile to help speed up the process and remember to update your profile frequently!

Happy searching!

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How to Write a Job Listing That Attracts Stellar Professionals

How to Write a Job Listing That Attracts Stellar Professionals

The job listing is the first step towards getting that truly stellar employee. It lets the right people know what you are looking for and lets the wrong people know to keep looking. On top of this, you want to write the job listing in a way that gets qualified people excited about working for you. Below are listed a few tips for attracting your dream candidate through the job listing.

Tip 1: Read other job postings from a job seeker’s perspective

Before writing your job listing read through your competition’s and imagine what about these posts would attract you if you were looking for the job on offer. What sort of keywords would a sous chef or server use to find a posting? What is the competition offering that a FOH employee might like? This will help you not only see what you are up against, but also what will make you attractive to job candidates.

Weave in adjectives and a bit of your restaurant’s philosophy.

Tip 2: Write a concise and interesting description of the position

Include a short description of the tasks your future employee will be performing. Your star candidate wants to know beforehand if your BOH position involves dish-washing or inventory tracking. They need a concise and clear idea of the basic position and job duties. If you’re stuck, use our job description templates to get started.

This does not mean you put up a boring run down of every task and relationship involved. You want to explain why your restaurant is a great place to work as well as what they can expect once there. Weave in adjectives and a bit of your restaurant’s philosophy into your job description. Just keep the core duties clear.

Tip 3: Write a catchy but descriptive headline

A headline saying, “Big Bucks In Restaurant Biz!!!” makes people think you are a scam, and a headline saying, “Waitress Wanted” makes people’s eyes glaze. What’s more, neither of those headlines explain why someone should work at your restaurant in particular.

Try thinking of a unique feature of the job that a promising candidate might find intriguing. “Server Position Open – Flexible Hours In Busy Restaurant” would catch an applicant’s eye. “Chef Wanted for New Restaurant. Join Us On The Ground Floor” sounds fun to a dedicated chef looking to expand horizons.

Pro-tip: Skip the exclamation marks, too. The words ‘competitive pay’ and ‘fast-paced restaurant’ are eye-catching enough without them.

Tip 4: Describe your restaurant’s work environment

Job seekers want to know what restaurant they will be working in. Include the address and name of the restaurant in your posting, even if you want them to send their application somewhere else. List what type of food you serve and the general atmosphere. This lets the applicants know what sort of environment they will be working in. Especially if you are FOH, this can be a deal-breaker.

The restaurant business is fast-paced and constantly changing so give yourself some wiggle room.

Tip 5: Stay flexible

The restaurant business is fast-paced and constantly changing. You will want to give yourself some wiggle room when it comes listing benefits and job duties so that you aren’t locked into something you can’t do. Acknowledge up front that while you listed the core duties in the posting, there will be other tasks involved.

Instead of naming the hourly wage, offer a range of wages or simply say that you offer competitive compensation. Naming a specific benefit package can discourage potential applicants from applying for jobs that don’t carry the particular benefit they are looking for. Not mentioning that extra jobs may crop up sets you up to argue with the employee over their prescribed duties.

Tip 6: List specific qualifications

It is a hassle to wade through applications from job seekers who are manifestly unqualified for the job. Unfortunately, qualifications are not always obvious, so you will have to spell them out. If you want your chef to have had experience before applying for your job, say something along the lines of “Needs at least 1 year of experience to qualify.”

Be careful to keep to qualifications strictly job-related or you will open a can of legal worms; writing that you will only accept women for your FOH jobs or that you won’t hire anyone over 50 opens you up to lawsuits over discrimination. If you have a job that requires particular physical abilities, list only those essential abilities. Saying that the job requires lifting 20 pounds is an honest description; saying that someone needs to be able-bodied leaves room for interpretation, which is never good.

Have a few people read over your listing before you post it.

When your listing is complete, have a few people read it over before you post it. Having a few eyeballs on your listing will catch spelling errors and parts that are muddled so you can make the listing as clear as possible. The job listing is a vital first step in staffing your restaurant with the people it deserves. Following these tips will make sure your job post is the best it can be.

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Training Hacks: Employee Evaluations and Training Program Adjustments

Training Hacks: Employee Evaluations and Training Program Adjustments

You’ve made great hires and developed and implemented a training program, but just because the trainees are working shifts doesn’t mean that training is over. The last phase of a successful training program is measuring the performance of your employee(s). It’s also an integral building block of any prosperous business.

Using employee evaluations

Employee performance depends on a number of things, from punctuality to quality of work to how well they fit with the team. The best way to put all factors together is by using employee evaluations.

Plus, feedback is important, especially in the service and hospitality industry. It’s how we know we’ve done a good job and made someone happy. Employees ask for it from every patron that crosses our threshold, so it’s natural for them to expect it from their managers, too.

When conducting the evaluation, you’ll want the employee to understand that you’re there to help them.

Conducting employee evaluations and following up on them periodically throughout the year is the most effective way to monitor your employee’s progress and give feedback. Based on the size of your establishment, we recommend you conduct employee evaluations at least once or twice a year, if not more.

When conducting the evaluation, you’ll want the employee to understand that you’re there to help them, not to criticize them. Make this conversation as comfortable and collaborative as possible. This shouldn’t be a one-sided discussion where you point out their mistakes and then send them on their way. They, as well as you, have put a lot of time and effort into training and development.

A great way to frame the conversation is by goal setting. Both you and the employee can participate by identifying goals, which will help you and your employee better focus on development. This will also provide a benchmark to refer to during the next evaluation. Goal setting can be tricky, but by using S.M.A.R.T. Goals, you’ll ensure that they are appropriate and achievable.

If you’re providing daily feedback, an employee shouldn’t be surprised by anything when it’s time for their evaluation.

It may come as no surprise to you when we tell you that evaluations are also the best way to determine how to reward an employee. We’re talking raises here, in case you haven’t guessed yet.

Pro-Tip: For legal and logical reasons, you should always keep records of conversations you have with an employee regarding their performance.

Cracks in the system and how to fix them

The hospitality industry is unlike any other. Managers and owners work closely with their employees on a daily basis. Because of this, you’re able to provide your employees constant feedback and immediately correct any bad behaviors or procedures. The trainers that you’ve enlisted (see Training Hacks: Part Two) should also be following suit.

If there are cracks in your training system, you should be able to spot and address them right away and adjust accordingly. In fact, optimizing your training process based on outcomes is a great way to ensure that cracks are few and far between.

Also, if you’re providing daily feedback, an employee shouldn’t be surprised by anything when it’s time for their evaluation.

As always, taking the high road during an employee termination is the only way to go.

If you do have to let someone go…

Unfortunately, there are times when no matter how hard you try to help an employee excel, they just can’t seem to improve their job performance. Or they just don’t care to improve.

Once again, this is another area where the employee evaluation can and should be used.

If you’ve taken the time to work with an employee, to set goals with them, to monitor their progress, to provide constructive feedback, and to retrain them if necessary and things are still not improving… then it’s time to have the difficult conversation with them.

Here are some tips for the meeting:

  • As always, taking the high road during an employee termination is the only way to go. Never lose your temper (even though they may lose theirs).
  • Try to get to the reason for the meeting as quickly as possible. Don’t try to ease into it. It’s going to be uncomfortable no matter what.
  • Never resort to arguing. Simply state you’ve made the decision to end the working relationship and let them know HR will provide them with any written proof or documentation necessary.

A training program is meant to develop as the business develops.

Moving forward

Despite what many think, a training program is meant to develop as the business develops. It’s not supposed to stay static. You may change your menu by adding or subtracting new items. New procedures may arise. Or, you may change equipment in the front or back of the house.

All of these (and more) are reasons to make adjustments to your program.

Just remember to revisit training periodically. Pay attention to your business. Work alongside your employees on everyday tasks once in awhile. Participate in training as much as possible. This will help you understand where your business stands and what you need to do to tweak training to get the best from everyone.

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Training Hacks: Developing an Effective Training Process

Training Hacks: Developing an Effective Training Process

The hospitality and restaurant industries can be high-stress jobs. Employees must be able to multi-task and adapt to any situation quickly, all while on the move constantly; sometimes for up to ten hours per shift. They’ll have to do all of that while handling needy or irate customers who don’t understand the effort that it takes to create a phenomenal experience. Luckily, there are tried and true ways of training your employees to handle anything that’s thrown at them. And not to be cliche, but practice does make perfect.

As we mentioned in the previous Training Hacks, the intensity and duration of training will depend on your type of business and it’s size. Don’t forget, the best training programs provide the best results.

“You don’t BUILD a business. You build PEOPLE – and then people build the business.” -Zig Ziglar

The Method

At its core, training consists of four very basic principles.

  • You’ll need to explain the task and process.
  • Then, it’s best to demonstrate what you’ve just explained.
  • Next, have the trainee try doing what you’ve just shown them.
  • Last, review the topic and cover any important last notes.

You may not have ever realized it, but this method is used everywhere, from teaching small children to university classes (it works at home, too).

The method can be summed up in this handy saying: Tell/Show/Do/Review. Yes, we’re aware of how childish and simple it sounds, but the results are hard to argue against. Let’s elaborate on the four principles a bit more.

Step 1: Tell

When you’re dealing with a new employee (especially one who’s new to the industry), it’s best to ease them into the lesson by taking a few minutes to explain the task they’ll be learning.

You’ll want to have available any and all tools or materials they’ll need to execute the specific task. At this time, tell them the names and uses of said materials. After that, go into detail on the exact steps to take when performing the task.

For example, if you’re training a new assistant server in bussing and setting tables, you’ll want to have everything they’ll be using ready to go, or at least know where materials are kept in order to instruct the newbie. Then, break the process down into steps. This is especially helpful if the trainee is writing notes; they’ll be able to easily and effectively keep track of what you’re saying.

Step 2: Show

Now that the trainee has a general idea of what to expect, it’s time to show them how to perform the tasks. Yup, that means it’s your turn to show off your know-how. To this end, it could be a good idea to practice what you’re teaching beforehand, especially if it’s been awhile since the last time you did so.

Make sure you complete the task to its entirety using the steps you’ve explained. Any variations in the steps or final results will only cause confusion.

Step 3: Do

Now, it’s time for the trainee to perform the task for themselves. Within this step, there are many methods you can use to ensure the employee has understood and grasped the training.

  • Now is a good time to answer any questions they have and to ask questions to test them.
  • Depending on the task you’re training them on, you can have the employee shadow you throughout the restaurant while you show them how the task fits into the flow of service.
  • You can role play with them. You’ll act as a patron and have them complete the task in a “mock” real life situation.
  • Last, YOU can shadow them as they perform the task.

Remember, if the new employee makes any mistakes while performing the task, be sure to correct them as soon as is appropriate. If you have to, explain the steps again or show the steps again. Do not progress to the last part of this training method until the employee can perform exactly the way you’ve explained or demonstrated.

Step 4: Review

Start this step by having the employee explain the task back to you. A popular method is to actually let the employee teach the task back to you using the four training stepsThen, when it’s your turn to do the task, make some mistakes to test the trainee. This will keep them engaged in training and on their toes.

Of course, exactly what the new hire is being trained on will vary by position. However, there are a few training items that are required by all positions in the restaurant. Here are a few:

  • Clocking in/out
  • Safety procedures
  • Opening/Closing duties
  • Cleaning duties
  • Checking out at the end of the shift

Before letting the trainee go, be sure to answer any questions they may have. This means asking if they do in fact have any questions because they may not be inclined to bring them up themselves.

“Hire character. Train skill.” -Peter Schutz

Properly training an employee can (and should) be a time-consuming effort. But if you hire the right people for the right positions, you’ll form a culture in your establishment that makes training fun and easy, all while producing the best talent.

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Training Hacks: Materials and Resources Essential for New Hires

Training Hacks: Materials and Resources Essential for New Hires

After hiring, you’ll want new staff to start training as quickly as possible. This ensures they hit the ground running while avoiding rookie mistakes. In order to make this possible, however, training materials and resources must be ready to go, especially these six items that every new employee should have in hand the minute they walk in the door.

New hire paperwork

It’s a good idea to greet new hires with these materials. And whether you’ll be doing the training yourself, or you have a designated trainer, a senior staff member should sit with the employee while they fill out their new hire paperwork. This allows you to go over the materials with them and it’s the perfect time to set your performance expectations.

After the paperwork has been completed, take your new hire on a tour of your establishment. This helps to familiarize them with the business. During the tour, you can introduce them to other employees and tell them any names or terminology they need to know. It’s also a good time to show them where any safety equipment or materials are located.

A training schedule

Don’t leave new staff in the dark about training ins and outs, especially the timeline. Depending on the size and type of your establishment, training may only last a few shifts, or you may require weeks before you feel a new employee is qualified to work alone. Also, remember, you may need several training schedules based on position, so be sure to plan accordingly!

With this in mind, try to have the entire training schedule planned out. Let them know what days they’ll be working, what area of the business they’ll be learning about each day, and who they’ll be working with.

Having at least one designated trainer for each position is a great way to make sure all employees are trained the same way every time.

Designated trainer(s)

Having at least one designated trainer for each position is a great way to make sure all employees are trained the same way every time. Even better: having a few trainers that can share the load. This also takes some of the pressure off of you, allowing you to continue running your business while your trainer supervises new employees.

If possible, introduce new hires to their trainers immediately. This will allow them to get to know each other and will also ensure that new employees will know who to find when they come in for training shifts.

Printed materials or learning aids

If you have printed materials for your new employee, make sure they’re ready to go right away. If you use an app or website, make sure you make the employee is aware of the site or app and how to use it in conjunction with their training. There’s nothing worse than telling your new hires to read an article or complete online training without providing them with the necessary information to access the content.

Tests are a great way to gauge where trainees are in their learning process.

Tests to verify training/learning

Tests are a great way to gauge where trainees are in their learning process. So, before your new employee is ready to deal with customers on their own, you’ll want to test them to see if they’re grasping the training. These tests can be anything from online quizzes to mock restaurant scenarios. Of course, testing formats and parameters should be discussed with new hires and included on training schedules.

Tests are also a great way to see how the trainer is doing. If you start to notice new employees all seem to make the same mistakes or perform the same tasks incorrectly, sit down with your trainer(s) to make sure they’re teaching the correct habits and skills.

A clean, new uniform and name tag (if required)

Finally, if you require a uniform, make sure you have a fresh one ready on their first day. This goes a long way in making your new recruit feel like they fit in and are a part of the team right away.

If you’ve read our first post on Training Hacks, you’re well aware of how hard it is to find good employees. Make sure you’re not just a stepping stone on their career path. Welcome your new employees warmly and have a comprehensive training program in place so they feel secure in their job choice.

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In the aftermath of the horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas, it’s important to refresh yourself and your staff on the best practices that have been in place for many years.

read more

Experience Sirvo for yourself

Sign up now to find hospitality jobs and hire top industry talent.