Recruiting for restaurants isn’t always easy. For starters, the restaurant industry has a high employee turnover rate. In 2019, it reached a high of 75%, which meant that three-quarters of restaurant employees were less likely to stay in their jobs for at least a year. Now, hiring restaurant employees has become even more challenging among many other hospitality and service industries. In June 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that the restaurant industry added 194,300 jobs. Yet, the labor shortage is prevalent, with restaurant employment rates still down 12% compared to pre-pandemic times.
How do restaurants recruit quality employees in an industry that’s facing an all-time labor shortage? It’s challenging but not impossible.
This article will provide recruiting methods for restaurants to make the process more efficient and enticing for suitable candidates. We will also be recommending recruiting ideas for restaurants that will energize your hiring process while keeping existing employees happy. At the end of this article, you will find additional tips on how you can make your restaurant’s recruitment process more manageable with the help of the right workforce management solution.
How to Recruit Employees for Restaurants
Recruiting for the restaurant industry is one of the most challenging aspects of running a restaurant business. Some restaurant owners may feel like they have no choice but to hire anyone who turns up for the interview. It can also be challenging to determine the best way to recruit restaurant employees. However, the reality is you can recruit qualified candidates for your business.
Running a restaurant like clockwork requires different employees with the right skill sets. From hiring restaurant workers skilled in the kitchen to hospitable front-of-house staff, the right employees will be able to steer your restaurant’s business in the right direction and flourish.
With worker shortages, owners must improve recruiting strategies for their restaurants and retire the idea that they can hire anyone who walks in for an interview. By the same token, you don’t want the application process to become complicated. A lengthy and confusing application process can deter applicants, and you may risk losing a quality employee. Therefore, it’s essential to have a streamlined process when recruiting for restaurants.
With all of these challenges, how do restaurants recruit employees? Below, we will outline some tips for successful employee recruitment in the restaurant industry. It’s more than just advertising for an open position — it all boils down to selling your restaurant as a brand and a great place to work. By making changes in your restaurant’s recruiting strategies, you’ll be able to find quality restaurant employees and ensure that they’ll want to remain loyal for longer.
Write Compelling Job Descriptions
Simplicity may be good when recruiting for restaurants, but not so much for your job descriptions. “Hiring pastry chef, 3-5 years experience needed, contact at +1xxxxxxx” doesn’t sound very enticing, does it? Instead, try making your job descriptions more compelling. An engaging job description is one of the best ways to find restaurant employees that will propel your business forward.
Write your restaurant’s job description in a way that sells the position and makes your establishment the place to work. You will want to sell your restaurant as a brand and an extension of the employee’s values.
By putting your restaurant’s vision and values out there, you’ll also be attracting candidates whose values align with your restaurant’s. That will be one of the best ways to find quality restaurant employees. We’ve provided an example of an engaging job description in this section to help with recruiting staff for your restaurant.
Make the Application Process Easy
As we mentioned earlier, confusing and complicated job application processes may turn off potentially great candidates when recruiting for restaurants. Consequently, you’ll also want a streamlined application process to make the task of filtering applicants easier.
Most applicants now are tech-savvy and are browsing for jobs on their smartphones. If you have a particular website for candidates to send their applications to, make sure it’s mobile-friendly. A mobile-optimized application process will ensure a better user experience and a positive first impression with potential employees. You can also consider using cloud-based systems for resume sharing, such as Google Drive or Dropbox.
Another option to consider is integrating a recruiting and onboarding system into your payroll and HR solution. With an automated applicant tracking system in place, you’ll streamline the recruitment and selection process for your restaurant while creating a better candidate experience. Look for an HR recruitment platform like APS Hire that offers the following features to make the process easier for both you and your applicants:
- Customized job postings
- Automated job promotion
- Mobile-optimized applications
Post Job Listings On Your Website
When was the last time you updated your restaurant’s website? Your website should be not only attractive to customers but also potential hires. Posting job listings on your website is a strategic way to recruit staff for your restaurant. A well-managed website makes your restaurant look professional, efficient, and organized.
One option for how to find restaurant employees is to let them find you — through your website. An outdated website without available job listings can lead to missed opportunities.
Candidates who visit your website to apply for jobs are likely already interested in working at your restaurant. Continue to attract them at that stage by providing an efficient platform for them to submit their job application.
Consider creating a branded careers page that highlights available job openings in an engaging way. Showcase your restaurant by telling the story of your brand. Include pictures of your current employees that highlight your restaurant’s culture, mission, and values. Allow applicants to get an idea of what it would be like to work at your restaurant and why they don’t want to miss out on the opportunity.
Be sure to update filled positions or new vacancies regularly, so you’re hiring for your restaurant’s current needs. Promoting outdated job openings can cause frustration for job seekers since they’re applying for a role that no longer exists. It can also send the message that hiring the best talent is not a top priority.
Let Your Followers Know You’re Hiring
It’s likely your restaurant already has a following on social media, so why not leverage that to announce that you’re hiring? Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram are excellent social avenues to promote your job openings. Even if some of your followers aren’t interested, they may share it on their own social media accounts and gain the interest of others.
When you attract potential candidates through your social media platforms, it also allows you to screen them before setting up an interview. If their social media profiles are public, there’s an opportunity for you to see how they portray themselves and whether or not they align with your restaurant’s values. Utilizing social media is an essential part of a recruitment plan for your restaurant.
Set Up a Referral Program
Like any other company, staff referrals are one of the best ways to recruit for restaurants. Your existing staff is an excellent source of recommendations for potential chefs, waitstaff, front-of-house workers, and more. Leverage their restaurant industry experience and the network that they have amassed — they know who’s capable of doing the best job.
By incentivizing the referral program, you’re also outsourcing the recruitment process for your restaurant and leaving it in capable hands. There’s also the added bonus of hiring new employees that will already work well with the team. It’s essential to use valuable recruitment sources for restaurants to give yourself plenty of options.
Attend Networking Events
Attending networking events is another excellent recruitment source for restaurants. Local networking events bring together all the people within the industry in one place. It’s a unique way to scope out the competition and meet with experienced people in the restaurant industry who may be on the lookout for jobs.
At times, they may not even be actively looking for new opportunities. However, if you make the proper connection, you could have a potential new restaurant employee.
When attending networking events at colleges or culinary schools, you’re also tapping into the fresh graduate pool of talent. Consider offering a job and training to them upon their graduation. This approach is a great way to find good restaurant employees you can mold into skilled and valuable workers. It’s a win-win situation for both parties — you get a new restaurant employee, and they have a job secured upon graduation.
Hire People Who Already Have a Job
Not all potential candidates are unemployed — some may be on the lookout for better opportunities while still working at an existing job. An easy way for you to scope out talent is by experiencing the service for yourself.
Think of your favorite restaurant and why you love it. Is it the food that’s amazing? Is there a specific wait staff that always goes the extra mile for outstanding service?
Behind the fantastic experience are talented people executing it. Consider approaching them proactively and extending a job offer at your restaurant.
As an employer in a highly competitive industry, it’s crucial to use as many candidate sources as possible - both online and in person. You never know when or where you’ll encounter your next great hire.
Offer Benefits No One Else is Offering
Offering outstanding benefits is an excellent recruiting idea for restaurants. It makes the position more enticing to other restaurants. It can be relatively minor, such as a stipend for your employees’ commute to work, or a gym allowance. If it’s within your restaurant’s budget, paying for a portion of your employees’ health insurance will certainly be an appealing benefit.
These extra perks will also encourage your employees to stay in job roles. It shows that your restaurant cares about its employees and their well-being outside of work. When your staff is well compensated, healthy, and happy, it will show in the quality of their work.
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Software Makes Recruiting Restaurant Employees Easy
To streamline the recruiting process for your restaurant, consider investing in restaurant payroll software that helps automate recruitment and onboarding workflows. APS Hire offers recruiting, applicant tracking, and onboarding, enabling your restaurant to recruit and track candidates efficiently, all within one unified platform.
APS’ recruitment and onboarding software meets the unique needs of the fast-paced, high-volume restaurant industry to streamline recruiting for restaurants and choose quality hires. With our intuitive hiring solution, you can:
- Create a branded careers page to recruit quality applicants
- Post to all major job boards with one click
- Use assessments, interview guides, and reference check guides to evaluate candidates consistently
- Text with candidates and schedule interviews within the software
Once your restaurant’s management team has agreed on the structure of the interview process, evaluation questions, and non-negotiables, you can build the criteria into a repeatable system on APS Hire. Our applicant tracking software enables you to manage and ensure consistency in the interview process.
You can make consistent hiring decisions by using tailored interview guides based on the criteria and values most important to your restaurant. Structuring expectations in the interview process is one of the best ways to recruit restaurant employees as it reduces turnover and consistently hires A-players.