Clementine Restaurant is a small regional restaurant owned by husband and wife team Adam and Brooke. The restaurant showcases a weekly menu influenced by classic European dishes, made from fresh seasonal produce.

Family members help with monitoring reviews, social media, growing herbs and vegetables, folding napkins and weekly recycling runs. In addition to this, Adam and Brooke have eleven employees; a mixture of full time, part time and casual staff, ranging from fifteen to fifty-seven years of age.

Adam and Brooke hold great value in documenting processes and setting very clear expectations of staff. This has allowed the development of a comprehensive staff training package, refined over four years by reflecting on best practices used when training and supporting staff.

Adam and Brooke foster an environment that encourages staff to ask questions to develop their knowledge and confidence. New front of house staff receive a written pack which includes a ‘Sequence of Service’ document, a list of frequently used food terminology, front of house task analysis, wine list descriptors and code of conduct document. In addition to this, staff begin by shadowing more experienced staff members. As they gain confidence, staff take on tasks independently, progressing to being responsible for a dedicated section within the restaurant. At the end of each shift, staff are encouraged to self-reflect on what worked well, what improvements could be made and customer satisfaction.  This process is supported by six-monthly performance appraisals and informal training nights with dinner, team building and guest speakers. As a result, staff enjoy working at Clementine Restaurant, with numerous staff still employed since the day the business opened in 2015.

Staff retention in the hospitality industry is hard, as many people consider jobs in the sector as a means to fund other interests. To combat this, Brooke and Adam try to instil in their staff that hospitality can be a very rewarding career. While it can be challenging at times, it can also be fun; offering opportunities for travel, to learn new things, to work with a variety of people and lots of avenues for career progression.

Having a strong team that works well together has resulted in Clementine Restaurant being granted a 1 Hat Award with the Good Food Guide for 3 years in a row and nominated twice in the Delicious Magazine top 100 restaurants in NSW. Such recognition encourages and motivates the team to keep improving on the high level of product and service delivery they offer.

Brooke encourages small business owners to take the time to recruit the right people and invest in their training. Brooke suggests testing staff knowledge with regular questions, reminding business owners that staff won’t know the right answers if they have not been provided with the correct information. Brooke also urges business owners to identify staff who are patient and good at training others and to focus on helping them further develop these skills.

Brooke provides sound advice to others, suggesting to small business owners to be honest with staff and even though difficult conversations about performance can be tricky it, Brooke assures it is the best way to build a team.

“Recruiting a team that has a variety of ages is also an advantage. Younger people often add energy, ideas and ambition. More mature staff bring calmness, dedication and knowledge. Together they make a team whole,” says Brooke.

Phone: (02) 6226 3456


Category: Case Studies