Keys For Keeping Around Front-of-House Employees

Though your front-of-house staff plays a critical role in your brewery, between being the face of the brand and the primary resource for customers, it’s not particularly easy to keep the turnover rate down. Often there aren’t opportunities to move up the chain, the pay isn’t really livable, or employees don’t feel treated well by upper management.

One owner of a brewpub in Fort Lauderdale, Florida said she doesn’t have that problem, though.

Lisa Siegel, the “boss lady” for Tarpon River Brewing, has children of her own, but she also affectionately refers to her brewery’s employees as her kids.

People often tell Siegel that she employees the unemployable. 

“Maybe we’re all unemployable, and we’re a little bit misfitted,” Siegel said. “People always say I employee the unemployable because my kids have tattoos and piercings, but they’re great.”

One teenage hire for the kitchen eventually worked his way up to becoming general manager of the brewpub. Now, he’s in charge of 60 people on staff, between the servers and bartenders.

“You have to set people up for success,” Seigel said. “If you’re coming in at 8 a.m. and you’re late every day, I go, ‘Why are you late every day?’ and you go, ‘Oh, I have car problems or I go out at night.’ OK, ‘I’m going to start scheduling you at 11. If you’re late at 11, then we’re going to have to talk.’”

Even with so many employees, Seigel said she doesn’t see a lot of turnover at the brewpub.

“If you value someone, then you want to make it work for them,” she said.

She said it’s not necessarily that she’s strategic in her hiring process, but that she believes in her employees and wants to treat them well.

“Part of why we (Siegel and her husband, Julian) started in the industry was building community,” Seigel said. “We take care of one another.”

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