There are many things to consider when opening a new restaurant. You want to pick out the perfect location, develop a delicious menu, begin advertising and so many other things that are vital to starting your restaurant on the right foot. One of the key aspects that many new restaurant entrepreneurs do not take into consideration in the earliest stages is the staff.

It is never too early to begin setting expectations and planning for the staff you will hire in the new restaurant. They will be the key to every aspect of the business from the time it is opened to the public. Not only will they cook the food and greet the guests; they will be the face of your restaurant and run it on a daily basis.

It is important to decide in advance how many people you will need, what positions to fill and how much of your budget you should allocate towards staff salaries. These are just a few of the general aspects of staff hiring and placement, but there are many other, more specific, details you will need to decide upon as you get further into the staffing process.

The size of your staff will depend upon the size of your restaurant. Since you are starting a new restaurant, we can assume that it will be relatively small. This means the hiring process is even more important. In smaller locations, the staff you choose often determines its success.

You want to hire the kind of people with whom you feel comfortable representing and running your new place. Obviously, you want people with experience in the business, but personality is also important. This is not only true with the positions who regularly deal with customers– you also want back-end people who can get along well with the rest of the staff and proudly represent your company.

As far as the cost of your employees, it can very. However, there are some basic guidelines you can go by that will remain constant, no matter the size of your establishment. Your staffing costs should be around 25 to 35 percent of your total gross sales. This includes the costs of managers and your salary into this if you plan on taking one.

One important thing to keep in mind that will help you keep staffing costs down is position overlap. This means that people in many restaurant positions will often do more than just one specific duty or function. For instance, hostesses can also clear tables in addition to greeting guests. Bussers could also run food at busy times. This means you should make sure to hire people that are willing to be flexible in their duties.

As far as the number of individuals you will need to hire; it will depend on the size of your establishment and the specific requirements of it. However, some specific positions will need to be filled for any restaurant to run properly. To help you find the right people to make your new spot run smoothly, we developed this list of those positions and some of the requirements you will need for each.


Probably the most important job in any restaurant, particularly when it is new. The manager will run every aspect of the establishment every day. They should be an extension of you as the owner and be able to handle things in the way you would like. They must reflect the style and image of your restaurant.

You want someone with at least two years of restaurant managerial experience. It is preferable that they have experience running a small establishment, as the duties are often much different in larger chain restaurants. Your manager should have excellent leadership skills and the ability to supervise workers at every level of the restaurant including servers, chefs, hospitality and all others.


The second-most important position and may be the main attraction of your establishment. Creativity, work-ethic and experience are all important qualities in a good chef. You want someone who can develop and enhance your menu and also be flexible to any changes.

Hiring for this position has many variables that will be based on your individual establishment. As there are many types of chefs and a significant variance in the amount they are paid, it can be hard to determine how much a chef will cost. Experience is obviously a plus, but the talent is the most important aspect here.


Cooks will serve as the backbone of the back-house. To start out, you will probably want at least two full-time and one part-time cook to work in different parts of the day. You want cooks that are flexible and hard-working with the ability to complete multiple tasks. 


These are a crucial aspect of your restaurant, as they will be the face of the establishment. Aside from the initial hostess greeting, the only direct contact with customers will usually be through the servers. You want great personality, work ethic, experience and flexibility. The number of waiters/waitresses you will need depends upon the number of tables you have, but it is better to be over-staffed than vice-versa. 

Hosting staff, bartenders and others may be required, depending on your establishment. Especially for busy establishments; more staff may be necessary, but the positions listed above are must-haves with all new restaurants.