Scott Wise admits it’s difficult to find and keep good employees for the seven restaurants he operates. But despite that, he knows he’s doing something right ― Scotty’s Brewhouse grew from $11.6 million in annual revenue to $18 million between 2008 and 2010, a 55 percent increase.
“It’s important to keep growing our company so everybody’s fire continues to burn, so everybody feels they have another place for them to move forward,” says Wise, founder, president and CEO of the 1,000-employee company.
“Your employee is No. 1, not your customer,” he says. “If your employee is not happy, your customer is going to know that and is probably not going to come back.”
Smart Business spoke with Wise about how Scotty’s finds workers and stokes the fire within them.
What does it take to find a good employee?
Gosh, it’s hard. It’s tough. It starts all the way from the beginning. From the minute you hire them, you’ve got to hold hope that your manager has done his job. We try to put a lot of effort into the manager who’s doing the hiring so that he or she can find the right person. You absolutely have to recognize the right person, see through the bullshit and make sure that someone is not just saying things you can say to get hired. So it starts with that.
But from watching over my entire company, I would say just the generation we are dealing with right now, I don’t want to blame anybody or blame a generation, but it’s just, I hate to say weaker, but I think every generation gets a little weaker in some respects. Maybe they have been a little more overprotected or they need to know a little bit more about why ― “Why do I have to be there at 10 o’clock instead of 10:30?”
They ask a lot more questions. They want to know why they are doing this, or what’s in it for them if they sell these different food items or these different drink items.
I think that the toughest challenge is to always keep all your staff motivated, content, happy and, obviously, as the end result ― pleasing your guests.
What solutions are you taking to address the challenges of Gen Y workers and others?
It takes proper training. If you don’t train them correctly, they won’t want to stay with a company that doesn’t train them properly. The employees won’t feel like they know what they are doing, and they feel uncomfortable where they are, and they are not going to want to stay there.
To follow up, the chief executive needs to personally send an e-mail to every new trainee that comes into the company and tell them, ‘Hey, here’s my e-mail address. This is really me typing this e-mail. If you ever have a question or you feel like someone is saying something rude to you or anything, you need to e-mail me here.’
It all takes good training. We actually have two directors of training in our company so we try to put a lot of emphasis on them and making sure that they have proper training manuals and everything in place.
What are the responsibilities of the two directors?
One travels to the restaurants and actually goes to each store and talks to staff and the training manager.
The other one, who is the main director of training, manages the entire database and stays back to make sure everything is put together. Then she gives out information to him to transfer to the restaurants. They work together in the training.
What types of perks are successful with employees?
Try to just take a little bit extra effort to show support to all employees: Christmas parties, summer baseball games, anniversary cards and gym workout memberships are a few.
You don’t want them to be giving 80 hours a week at work and just killing themselves with that.
You want people to have a good work/life balance. That’s kind of my philosophy. I really think that helps.
How to reach: Scotty’s Brewhouse, (317) 759-6336 or www.scottysbrewhouse.com