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On the House Part II: The Honeymoon Is Over

Here we have this week's installment of On the House, a regular weekly column written by the owners and operators of LA's best food and bev establishments. Our first resident proprietor is one David Haskell, owner of Bin 8945. This is the second half of a two parter on the Hiring Game. Today, it's training and...firing.

Staffing is the hardest on you mentally. It’s like meeting the perfect girl, going on great dates, then breaking up. I get to do a LOT of courting. Once the job starts, everyone soon realizes that the honeymoon is over.

Training is where it gets interesting. I like to refer to mine as “Basic Training.” I throw you in the fire. I want you to experience all aspects of the restaurant. You will feel overwhelmed. I do this on purpose. If you can deal with the stress of me, then the stress of the client won’t overwhelm you. If you make it through this rigorous type of training, you are on the schedule.

When a staffer messes up the first time and I have to yell, they realize that this isn't party time, it's a job and a hard one at that. The first time they call in sick on a Saturday and leave you short handed, you realize that no one will be as committed to the restaurant as you, the owner, or even the manager.

Firing...I’ve been doing it for over seven years as a manager. I remember the first time I fired someone at Le Cirque. I was 24 he was 40. I felt sick. I knew he had kids and a family. He was constantly messing up and it was necessary he move on. I will never forget the look in his eyes. “What will I do?” When a staff member isn’t working out, it generally means that he/she is not a good fit for our restaurant. Now, I try not fire. Instead, I will attempt to get them to quit. It makes it easier on us both. I'll even call other restaurants to find them a good fit.

The restaurant business is like your family. Luckily I only have a Mom and Dad?here I have 24 kids.
· On the House Premiere: The Hiring Game [~ELA~]