Guide: How to attract & keep top leadership in hospo

Strong leaders help you achieve your goals

Owners in the hospo industry don’t just need to sort out a great food & bev offering, the perfect site and a brand that resonates with their customers. We also need amazing people to help us serve all of that up.

We know culture comes from the top. That starts with business owners and the management they choose. If you’re like us, you’re probably keen to build a culture of hard work and high performance, but also want to ensure you’re keeping people happy so they hang around – you’re investing in long term staff. You want to make your business attractive to the leaders who’ll help you make your business and profit goals happen, and retain their talent for the long term.

Helping managers and teams succeed is one of our team’s greatest passions. We know that if you give the right people the right tools, they can achieve peak results for themselves and for your business. (That’s why Viability is packed with smart, relevant metrics that actually mean something to your bottom line, plus easy tools to help engage the team to improve those metrics sustainably over time.)

Steps to success with team building

So how can you get (and keep) great people on board and help them smash their targets?

1. Get buy-in.

Get your manager/s on board by giving them information about your broader goals – that means telling them not only what you’re hoping to achieve, but also why. Why have you set these particular targets? What does meeting them mean for the business? What could it mean for the manager, and what does it mean for you?

Most of us love working with a strong sense of purpose, so detailing that purpose clearly to your leadership team is the first step to success.

2. Give the team the right tools.

No one would expect a carpenter to work without a few tools. Let’s say you give your expert carpenter a saw and a hammer. They’re going to have more luck building you a table, compared with using their fingernails. But if you give them a circular saw and electric sander, squares and levels, you’re going to get a much better product, much faster, with much less frustration for everyone involved.

See where we’re going with this? A great manager can use their experience, instinct and some spreadsheets to get decent results. But if they’re equipped with smart tools designed for measuring and optimising all aspects of operations, they’re going to do better things, faster and sooner.

3. Train your people well, then keep them up to date.

Without solid training for your carpenter, even a circular saw and electric sander aren’t going to help much. In fact, they’d be downright dangerous. Likewise, letting someone loose on your business without proper training can do more harm than good. Spend time making sure your leaders know how to use the tools at their disposal in the way you want them to.

4. Choose the right metrics to measure success.

Choose the right metrics to measure success. We know that measuring progress is vital when it comes to rewarding progress. But how do we make sure we’re measuring the right things? Choose metrics that fit these criteria for the best success. Measurable, relevant, meaningful and able to be directly influenced, numbers will be your key to success.

Better metrics, better results


You’ve got to be able to consistently and accurately measure the metric, preferably in an automated and unbiased way. Customer satisfaction isn’t easily measurable, but revenue maintenance and growth certainly is!

Directly influenced

If we’re basing the success of your chef on whether or not customers order a dessert, we’re giving the chef a bit of a rough deal. Many factors come between a delicious crème brûlée and the customer. It would be fair to take that into account when deciding if cheffy is doing well.

Instead, giving the chef a specific target for Gross Profit or kitchen staffing percentage means that they own that goal – they are directly responsible for the success of that metric.


If we use the number of brûlées sold this week as our FoH team’s sole success metric, we’re not using a relevant dataset (unless your singular goal in business is to sell brûlée, in which case: carry on). Unless there’s a very specific reason you’re focusing on brûlée sales, perhaps look elsewhere. You might be selling buckets of chocolate mousse.

If, however, we were to use a week-over-week improvement of revenue generated per labour hour (aka productivity) to help determine the growth and success of our FoH team, we might start to get a good picture of their progress.


Make sure you’re picking a metric that means something in the context of your measurement. For example, we want our FoH manager to reduce their labour spend. We can give them a weekly budget of $10,000 to stick to, but if we have a busy week, they may need to spend 11K to provide the correct service level, and your profit margin could be the same (or better) than if they spent 10K on a quieter week.

If we give them a target to spend only 33% of weekly NET revenue in any given week, their target becomes meaningful in the context of revenue fluctuations. (Aka dynamic benchmarking).

5. Set clear & achievable targets.

Make sure people know exactly what their targets are… and that they’re within reach! Frankly, any of us would give up on a vague, unreachable goal.

Telling your FoH manager you need them to reduce their staffing spend doesn’t really help them understand what your expectations are. How much? Are you measuring the reduction as a % of revenue or an average spend per week?

Or, let’s say you measure labour as a % of revenue. You tell the manager you’d like to see a decrease in labour spend of 10% over the next month. Specific, yes. But probably unrealistic. They’re left with three bad options:

  1. laugh it off and not bother trying
  2. stress into burnout trying to achieve the unachievable
  3. completely decimate your customer service levels attempting to at least achieve the goal.

Meanwhile, a target to reduce labour by 1 or 2% of NET revenue over the quarter is likely to be a more realistic, specific and achievable goal for them. Which means they’re much more likely to achieve it!

6. Check in, communicate & support.

Make sure your leadership team knows you’re available to help them achieve their goals. You want them to succeed, after all. You can offer a structured review process, or a more casual open-line communication, depending on your management style and the targets in questions.

Choose the communication structure that works for you and your team, but make sure they understand when, how and who they can ask for support, and ensure they feel comfortable doing so. If they can’t ask for support from the right resource when they need it, you might miss a vital opportunity to help them grow & exceed your expectations.

7. Reward achievement.

Offering your managers a strong personal incentive to succeed is going to set them fiercely on their path. It’s never going to hurt if helping you boost your profits also benefits them in a tangible or fiscal way (yes, beyond your undying appreciation and approval).

If their goals are measurable, clear and achievable, and they know their efforts are going to be rewarded with a defined and specific reward, they’ll be working extra hard to make it happen. Whether it’s a promotion, a raise, an extra day off or a pay bonus, make sure the reward is specific and well defined like the goal. And don’t forget to follow through once they’ve hit their target!

When setting the reward, make sure it’s in balance with their target. Do the math on what achieving the target will mean for the business. If you’re looking for a 1% gross profit increase, and that’s going to be worth about an extra $1,000 a week ($52K per year!) to your bottom line, offering your chef a $1,000 quarterly bonus for on-target performance is likely to be worth your while … and theirs!

What’s next? Let us help you to help them!

So you’ve chosen measurable and meaningful targets for your team that they can realistically achieve. Plus, you’ve explained why you’re using these targets, how you’ll measure their success, and what their on-target performance will mean for them. You’re ready to support them to succeed.

We’ve got the tools you need to help them get there. With Viability tracking, measuring and offering fast an precise feedback on metrics that mean something to your business, there’s nothing standing between your leaders and the goals you want them to achieve!

To check out how our business intelligence tool can help your leaders smash their targets (and more), try our software (for a whole month) for FREE.

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