As COVID-19 dining restrictions loosen, restaurants from across the U.S. are reporting significant staffing shortages. A scarce labor force and increased demand for dine-in service have culminated in something of a crisis.
From January to March 2021, ABC News reveals that job postings on hospitality career website Culinary Agents increased more than tenfold. Yet qualified applicants are few and far between, the competition is fierce, and establishments are struggling to hire qualified employees.
Some have reduced their hours as a result. Others have shuttered. A strategic bunch, however, are confident they’ll figure out how to attract top talent during this time of uncertainty and improved the guest experience. Chances are you want to be in the latter group: working carefully to recruit the best restaurant staff around.
Here are four strategies for attracting quality restaurant employees amid the ongoing restaurant staffing shortage:
1. Explore why your long-term team members stick around
Hosts, line cooks, bartenders, servers—no matter the position you’re trying to fill, try to figure out why your long-term team members have stuck around over the years. Do you offer higher wages than your competition, or more flexible hours? Is there a deep sense of camaraderie, or loyal guests who leave generous tips?
Whatever the reasons your staff cite, listen carefully. These answers will help you understand what’s most appealing about your establishment, and where there’s room for improvement—which is a perfect segue to our next strategy.
2. Highlight your unique value proposition.
Job listings are simple—or are they? While of course you’ll want to describe the position you’re trying to fill, list your salary range, and offer a clear picture of your restaurant culture, it’s important to take things a step further. Above all else, food services management must communicate their unique employment value proposition.
In simple terms, you need to describe the benefits of working at your restaurant. Why should applicants choose you over other local eateries? Higher wages, signing bonuses, online training, shift tip payouts, and paid time off are all factors you’ll want to include in your listing (when relevant, of course).
3. Create an enticing employee referral program.
Simply developing an employee referral program isn’t enough to recruit the best talent. Instead, you need to motivate your team to want to refer friends and family. The most effective referral programs are full of appealing incentives, like tiered rewards. These might include a small referral bonus at the time of hiring, and other rewards after three or six months go by.
The idea is to make sure your staff only refer people they are serious about. We’re talking people who work hard and would fit right in to the restaurant culture.
Pro tip: To keep your referral program top-of-mind, introduce it during all staff trainings, and include it in your employee handbook.
4. Leverage a reliable applicant tracking system.
Restaurants that are serious about hiring need to work efficiently and strategically to reach the most sought-after talent. This is where an applicant tracking system may come in. These platforms allow management to seamlessly organize the best candidates, keep on top of their interview schedule, and make better hiring decisions overall.
With these strategies in your arsenal, you’ll be well on your way to overcoming restaurant industry staffing shortages. Who knows? Your restaurant could soon be the go-to employer in your local market.
Are you interested in streamlining your restaurant staff recruitment and hiring the best people around? Restaurant People Cloud powered by Payroll Network is here to help. Our solution addresses everything an employer needs, from talent management to HR and payroll. Please contact us with questions—and be sure to schedule your free demo for more information.