How to Find Restaurant Staff During the Worker Shortage and Beyond

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If you are a restaurant owner or manager, then you know that finding qualified candidates is more than a challenge.

In this blog post, I’ll share 8 tips on what you can do as an employer if you’re looking for restaurant staff.

The restaurant industry is under a worker shortage crisis. This means that employees are becoming harder to find, and restaurants are forced to change their business practices in order to continue serving customers the delicious food they have come to love.

Among the 8 tips, you will also find several that use some type of software solution like a restaurant POS system.

What is Behind the Restaurant Industry Labor Shortage? 

The current restaurant staff shortage can be traced back to the first pandemic shut-down in March of 2020. Many restaurants were forced to close, leaving millions of restaurant workers out of a job.

Unfortunately, these out-of-work employees still had to find a way to pay the bills. Hence, many of these former restaurant workers ventured out into new occupations. 

2021 Still Hasn’t Changed Much When It Comes to Easing the Hiring Process

Fast forward to the end of 2021. Restaurants are now opening back up, and many former restaurant staff have moved on.

Also, former restaurant workers have found that their new occupations offer more flexible schedules, less demanding responsibilities, and better benefits. 

How to find restaurant staff

8 Ways to Find Restaurant Staff in the Current Environment

If you are looking for a new restaurant employee, there are a number of proven tactics that you can use. Here’s a look at 8 ways to boost your restaurant hiring house staff: 

1). Partner with Community Organizations

One of the first things that you should do in the hiring process is reaching out to communities where you can potentially find restaurant staff and hire employees for your business.

Some places to get started are local high schools and community colleges. You can also reach out to local churches. Other places that you should consider looking at are civic organizations.

To get started, be sure to explain why you think that your restaurant would be a great fit for members of that community. You can mention things such as the fact that you can immediately hire kitchen staff, work benefits, and flexible scheduling. 

2). Open Up Your Idea of a Good Restaurant Worker Candidate

Chances are, when you look at a candidate, you try to see yourself. That can be a problem when you need to boost your restaurant hiring fast. Be sure to reconsider your idea of a good potential new chef or waiter. For instance, you will have to consider hiring restaurant staff that have little to no experience. 

Also, consider hiring restaurant staff that may only be seasonal. Yes, this is not the ideal candidate for your restaurant. However, getting someone for a couple of months is better than scaling back your operations because you don’t have enough staff. 

3). Be Flexible with Schedules

One of the big reasons for high employee turnover is that they can’t deal with on-demand scheduling. The restaurant manager needs to consider being more flexible with your scheduling.

This is going to be really important when you have people who have kids. Chances are that your employees with children will make “family day” plans way in advance.Ultimately, people will choose their family over a restaurant job if pushed to a certain point.

When interviewing a candidate, restaurant managers should be sure to ask what days and hours that they are available for work. If the candidates can make themselves available during the busiest hours of operations, that will be a big plus.

Chances are that you can put together a restaurant staff that can meet your needs if you are flexible enough with the schedule. 

4). Automate Non-Essential Responsibilities with Restaurant Software

One of the things that drive restaurant employees crazy is dealing with non-essential duties that they don’t consider their primary job. You will find that many employees will quit because they feel overwhelmed with responsibility during their shift.

That’s why it is a good idea to begin to automate non-essential duties.

For instance, you can use apps and services to automate certain parts of your operation, such as inventory and reservations. Here’s a look at some automation services that you should consider for your operations:

MarginEdge – A top restaurant inventory software management app.

Sortly – Another excellent inventory app that can work for your restaurant.

resOS – A top reservation app for restaurants.

5). Use Apps to Help With Order Flow

In addition to using apps that can help with non-essential duties, you can find online and app solutions that can help with the order flow in your restaurant. This will help your staff members get more done. Also, making use of these apps may allow you to get by with less staff.

Some of the top apps that can help with order flow include Toast Go – a handheld POS system for restaurants, and  Order to Go – an app that allows customers to order from your restaurant for takeout orders.

Toast POS has also recently released new employee management tools to help retain staff by automating how restaurants pay and divide the tips after each shift. The wages and tips can then be transferred directly to each staff member’s new Toast Pay Card.

Be sure to check out the features of each of these apps to see if they will work for your operations.

6). Use Online Recruitment Resources

Sometimes you will have to get some outside help to get the restaurant staff you need. That’s when you should look at recruitment solutions such as job boards and other professionals that assist with the hiring process.

Chances are you can find experts who have experience in the restaurant industry who can help you find everything from wait staff to cooks. Some job boards that you should consider include Indeed.com, Workstream, and JobSearcher.

Yes, some of these job board listings have fees. However, they can save you time when it comes to getting a good flow of potential candidates in front of you. 

When creating your job post, make sure you have a detailed job description about scheduling, benefits, and work responsibilities. Even for hourly jobs, you should have detailed job board listings. 

7). Add or Experiment with Perks

Hiring restaurant employees fast means having the right perks and benefits packages. Therefore, you have to make sure that your benefits package is competitive with the foodservice industry.

For instance, do you offer paid time off? What about discounts on food? Be sure to look at what successful restaurant operators are offering in your market to see if you can match those compensation packages. 

Also, you may want to consider talking to restaurant recruitment consultants or recruitment agencies. They will have the experience to help you discover what benefit packages will likely be best for potential hires. 

Yes, a significant benefits package may impact your bottom line. However, you should weigh the potential cost of high turnover. Chances are that offering a top benefits package may be more cost-effective in hiring restaurant employees.

8). Empower Staff

Finally, if you want to maximize employee retention, you should empower them to make them feel more like an owner than an employee.

Many people who stay in the food and beverage industry feel empowered when it comes to their jobs. For example, you can put them in charge of their availability, let them initiate shift changes, and offer ideas on marketing and overall operations.

You will be surprised by how employees will feel empowered when they have a hand in the overall operations of a business.  

Hiring Restaurant Employees That You Need for Your Operations

It’s not hard to figure out how to hire restaurant staff in these times. Open yourself up to new ways to recruit and retain your restaurant staff.

There are people out there looking for restaurant work. Just make sure that your positions look more attractive than the competition.

With the right recruitment planning and software tools, qualified candidates are just around the corner.

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Jan Erling

Jan is a restaurant and business marketing expert at KitchenBusiness.com. Marketing and branding has always been his passion, which led him to the dynamic world of hospitality where the world changes every day.