How do you decide if you really need a head chef? Or how many people are required for service? While hiring the right people for your restaurant is vitally important, even more important is making sure you are hiring for the right positions within your restaurant.

We’ve compiled a list of the most important positions you need to fill when starting a restaurant, regardless of the size.

The key positions

When you’re starting a restaurant, there are some job positions that you absolutely need, whether you are planning on serving an exclusive group of 10 guests or hundreds of lunch guests every day.

Some decisions don’t require a lot of thought: if you are running a fast food establishment specializing in hamburgers, you likely don’t need a sommelier. But there are some key personnel that every new restaurant requires:

  • Chef/cook . This one goes without saying. Without a chef, there’s no food. You’ll usually have two chefs, but in some cases you’ll be able to get by with one. The chef, obviously, has responsibility for all things in the kitchen, but may also require additional assistance.
  • Service staff Wait staff is also an absolute necessity. They run your front of house and take care of your guests—which is just as important to a good guest experience as good food.
  • Owner/manager Someone needs to run the show. This person needs to know everything about the business (in principle) and can handle any situation, in the front of house or the kitchen.

The smaller the restaurant, the broader responsibilities

As with any small business, you and your staff may wear many hats in your jobs, handling several different areas as part of their responsibilities. If, on the other hand, you run a larger restaurant—if you require more than 6 or 8 staff—you may have more need for dedicated managerial roles: a kitchen manager, a front of house manager and an overall restaurant manager.

On the service side, your staff is responsible for everything from dealing with guests and their orders, preparing drinks and clearing and washing dishes. It’s important to ensure you have ongoing training so that everyone who needs to know is versed in how the espresso machine or dishwasher work, as well as knowing the menu and being able to recommend the right wine to pair with any given meal.

Recommended reading: This is how much you can earn in the restaurant industry

Think about capacity

A major factor in not just deciding how many personnel you require, but which positions you need, is how much you plan on selling. How many lunches are you preparing each day? How many seats do you have in your dining room? What is the capacity of your kitchen—both in terms of equipment but also kitchen staff? How is the food ordered and served—directly to the table or via self-service kiosks? All of this is relevant to evaluate the capacity of your restaurant and decide things like just how many serving personnel you require.