go2HR Presents: Heidi from The Heid Out Restaurant & Brewhouse

Better known to locals as Heidi’s Heidout, this well-loved restaurant and brewhouse in Cranbrook has been able to keep their operations running during the pandemic, while maintaining over 75 per cent of their staff – not an easy feat! Today, we’re sitting down with the owner, Heidi Roemich, to learn more about their operations.

go2HR: Retaining 75 per cent of your staff during the pandemic is quite impressive! Please tell us how you did this.

Heidi: We have extremely good retention.  The main reason for this I believe – and just confirmed by my staff – is that the Heidout is a very positive and respectful workplace. This carries over between management and staff, and with Front  (FOH)and Back of House (BOH)employees.  Front and Back of House have regular meetings both within their own department and then there’s a weekly FOH and BOH management meeting so everyone is on the same page. Good communication is maintained across all departments which filters down to the team.

We also focus a great deal on getting feedback from everyone on everything we’re doing plus suggestions on what we may wish to do in the future. This includes everything– the menu items and features, beer currently available and new seasonal brews, our marketing and Facebook posts, and our merchandise purchases and displays. We empower the team in all aspects.

Just last week, we conducted a brainstorming ‘ideation’ session with our management team on how they imagined the business in 5 years. This included what we are doing currently and how that could grow plus what new possibilities they saw for the future.

Finally, we work closely with our staff regarding flexible scheduling to ensure they have a positive life outside work. Work Life balance is very important. I find this leads to greater job satisfaction.

go2HR: Tell us about recruitment. How do you look for new people to add to your team?

Heidi: For recruitment, we normally do not have to post for positions. We accept resumes, and much of our recruitment happens from staff that know and/or have worked with other people and recommend that they drop off a resume. I find this works best, since our current employees are endorsing our workplace as a good, positive place to work and they endorse the individual as having good work ethic and attitude.

Experience is nice but we hire mainly on attitude and personal presentation, as we are willing to train people for the skills they need for the job. A candidate’s prior experience will dictate where they start in the operation, and then they can train to advance to higher positions.

We also have a very diverse crew with varying ages, ethnic backgrounds, and English capabilities. College of the Rockies main campus is here, so we have many staff that are students, both International and domestic, and many of our kitchen staff have come through the Culinary Arts program at the college.

go2HR: You mentioned training. Can you tell us more about that?

Heidi: Of course! We’ve implemented a full training system for apprentices who wish to learn the operations for Back of House. We also currently have four Red Seal chefs on board, and we’ve brought many staff through to Red Seal throughout the years, including Baking Red Seal. We recognize that not all staff may have the desire to learn BOH operations, so this is not a requirement to work here. Dish stewards can move to prep cooking and even line cooking if they’d like, so this keeps staff engaged and motivated.

When there is catering requests during non-pandemic times, those staff that wish to learn the catering side are also taken along for the experience, which seems to excite the staff.

FOH and BOH are continually told that our number one focus is the guest experience. Our Red Seals often go out and speak directly to our guests, especially if they have allergies, dietary needs or are celiac. In fact, we have a celiac portion of our kitchen to handle these needs.

Front of house staff are cross-trained for the bar and the canning side of our brewery if they desire.  All staff learn about our craft beer and the brewing process.  Our supervisory shift lead positions have mainly been filled from within which allows staff to grow into management.

The Heidout Restaurant and Bar currently operates with 42 staff, where in pre-covid times, their full complement would be near 55 total staff. The restaurant is currently open, welcoming visitors for dine-in with COVID-19 precautions in place, takeout, growler fills, 6-pack beer can sales and more. They’re also offering limited catering to customers, available for delivery.

Learn more about The Heidout Restaurant and Bar at www.theheidout.ca

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