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Restaurant Management 101: How to Handle Employee Poaching

If you want to stand out at a qualified restaurant management candidate to a job interview, then you need to do more than memorize lists of questions from the internet. You need to be able to discuss serious issues that can cause a successful restaurant to spin out of control, like employee poaching, handling toxic communication, immigration compliance, and supply and demand.

Employee Poaching

If you are going to bring up one of the more difficult topics then make sure that you are fully equipped to handle the situation. Keep your answers specific, and be willing to cover all aspects of the job.  These questions can make, or break a job interview.

If you only skim the top of the subject, talk about loosing employees, staffing problems, etc then you will blow your opportunity.

Some aspects that can help you stand out in the crowd:

  1. What information or sensitive documents may the company lose control of? Is there a non-disclosure or non-solicitation/non compete agreement the departing employee?
  2. Require the departing employee sign a termination certificate, acknowledge their understanding and duty not to disclose trade secrets or confidential information.
  3. Obtain all documents, hand books, blueprints, etc. in their control, including hard copies, computer files, etc. Require that all tangible company property from keys and access cards to digital files on their home computer be returned or deleted.
  4. Obtain information about the employee’s new employer, which can help determine the potential risk.
  5. Copy the departing employees entire email mailbox for the last 90 days to preserve possible evidence of misuse.
  6. Hire a lawyer to craft all legal documents. Do not try to craft these documents themselves.

Instead of talk about staffing, include legal, security, competition, etc. And, most important, talk about how this effects the company’s financials.

ICE Compliance

The government announced a new worksite enforcement strategy to stop the hiring of undocumented workers. This is a serious issue in the hospitality industry.

Managers must not think they are not responsible for noncompliance or that electronic 1-9s cover any liability.  ICE targets all restaurants. They do return and investigate the same business twice. And, even though a restaurant manager is ‘only doing what they are told to’ they are still liable, and responsible both financially and criminally for noncompliance.

Also, bringing up the issue now shows the hiring manager that you are up to date on the hospitality industry news, and regulations.


If you were to summarize the restaurant manager’s job down to one aspect, it would be ‘generating a profit’.  A restaurant manager who doesn’t have a good grasp of financials cannot make solid decisions in the best interest of the company.

Are you aware of the financials necessary for a restaurant business’s success and not just working ‘day to day’ and shrugging off if the restaurant goes over budget.

Restaurant Manager Job Interview

The best advice I can give came from a transitional career coach. Be yourself, but before you do that, be the best ‘you’ that you can be. You are only as good as ‘your best.’




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