Richard Garcia, a veteran of the US Marine Corps and star chef, doesn’t make excuses.
And that applies to hiring as well. As SVP of Food and Beverage for Remington Hotels, he is building an organization that attracts the right type of talent.
Building a culture of operations
One of Richard’s core recruiting principles is building a team of practitioners.
“We’re not a product of a university or study program, we are a product of operations,” he told me. “I’m an executive chef by trade who is still in the kitchen at least once a week with my team. We make sure that people know we’re not just sitting in our office or making decisions just on short-term profitability. We’re wearing the same uniform that they are and willing to get on the line or behind the bar – and do whatever we need to do when we’re on property.”
“I think every single person in the field knows that myself and our regional food and beverage leaders will get into the trenches with us. We have the skill set in the capability. I say this humbly but we could probably do it better than they can, and they know that creates trust.“
Developing a sense of belonging
“Without an inspiring vision for food and beverage, we’re never going to attract and retain the quality of talent we need at the line level. So I’ve been really focused over the past year on developing this and creating a strong sense of community and belonging within Remington.”
Before the centralized food and beverage organization was created, people within the hotels felt part of the Marriott organization or whatever hotel they worked for – but they didn’t feel part of something bigger. The problem with that? “It’s very easy to say, ‘That job next door is giving me some extra money. I’m gonna go there because there’s no real connection to where I’m working.’”
Richard’s goal now is to set performance standards for excellence on his team. “We want to give our team something to achieve – a goal they can work to attain.” With that in place, he can recognize, celebrate, and reward the achievements of his team.
“Before, too many of our team members felt like they were running like a hamster on a wheel. Now, they’ve got something to work towards and are able to feel more of a sense of a community both at the corporate level and that cascades down into the field.“
“This is a big part of how we recruit – they can become part of something bigger, and I know there are opportunities beyond what their hotel can provide.”
Inspiring through his own story
The personal story of what Richard has been able to achieve serves as an inspiration and talent magnet.
“In today’s America, some may think a Hispanic high school dropout should not be running food and beverage for a major corporation. 80% of our back-of-house employees are Hispanic. I think they see themselves in me, and that’s a really unique thing.”
Richard told me he has been able to retain chefs who are struggling when he tells them his story and they see hope.
For Richard and his team, recruiting through this combination of sharing an inspiring vision, creating a sense of belonging, and sharing personal stories has meant they haven’t needed to use many traditional HR recruiting techniques.
“We’re just real – and that attracts other real people.”
Read the rest of Richard’s story here: No excuses: Why this Marine veteran and star chef won’t cut corners on guest experience