Employees - where are the good ones?

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blizzardstormus
Cheeseburger
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2005/05/28 23:45:44 (permalink)

Employees - where are the good ones?

I have been in the food & beverage industry for 25 years. Through bitter experience, I know that one of the hardest parts in this business is retaining good employees.
I just celebrated my third year owning my first restaurant THE FARMER'S KITCHEN (shameless plug) in Atlantic, Iowa, specializing in homemade cooking.
My problem:
We are located an hour or more away from any large urban area.
We employ only 7 people.
Most of the major prep work is done by my mother (bless her soul) & myself.
The very few job applicants I receive are from
a) teens: no work experience or work ethic
b) single mothers: the kids, understandably are first priority which means lots of missed shifts
c) retreads from other restaurants: most left their previous employment because of "problems with management."

When I have a problem with an employee, it is very difficult to resolve the problem to my satisfaction. If the employee walks, then, I can't keep the doors open because of lack of help. Case in point: I serve Liver & Onions, highly popular & VERY profitable. My head cook, who normally is a great line cook, makes the kitchen a living hell whenever she gets an order for Liver & Onions. She's demanded that I take it off the menu. If she leaves (this is her 3rd time with me), I am the only who can replace her.
Any suggestions on how small out-in-the-boondocks operations like mine can survive potential employee blackmail? And find & retain good staff?
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