The restaurant industry has a rather high staff turnover rate compared to other industries. While finding good restaurant employees can be challenging, holding on to them often proves to be even more difficult, with great candidates moving on to other opportunities.
How to Find Restaurant Employees:
1. Create a job post for each position.
There are a variety of different roles in a restaurant, from dishwashers and food servers to cooks and managers. While some businesses simply list the titles of the positions they need to fill in one single job posting, this does not provide job seekers with much to go on and is unlikely to attract quality employees.
Restaurant workers want to know specific details about the job you are offering, including the compensation, benefits, bonuses, and incentives you offer, as well as working schedules and areas of responsibility. The restaurant industry is notorious for low pay, taxing work schedules, and a high-pressure environment. These are also the primary factors that cause even the best workers to look for other opportunities.
Think about the positions you want to fill, what you expect of the ideal candidate, and what you can offer them that makes your restaurant an attractive place to work. Start each job description with a brief introduction to your restaurant, followed by a concise summary of the job you are advertising. Be sure to emphasize positive aspects of the working environment, management practices, and employee support. Then, go on to detail the duties and responsibilities of the role, as well as the minimum qualification, skills, and qualities applicants should have.
While you’ll want to recruit restaurant employees with the skills and abilities to perform their duties efficiently, they should also be a great cultural fit, have a positive attitude, and strong team spirit. Be truthful about what the job entails, including details about the work environment, shifts, and the benefits and compensation structure you offer. See our hospitality job descriptions to help you get started.
2. Post your job on multiple job portals.
Using job portals is the easiest way to reach as many potential candidates as possible. Start by posting your job descriptions on general job boards. Indeed is a great first choice as it receives large amounts of traffic, being one of the biggest and well-known job boards, and is free for regular postings. SnagAJob is another great option. It is focused on the hourly job market, making it a popular choice for the restaurant, retail, and hotel industry.
Depending on your success rate using general job posting sites, you may also want to look at job portals specific to the restaurant industry, such as PoachedJobs.com, JobsOnTheMenu.com, and Culinary Agents. These may charge more than some of the more general job portals but are more streamlined to connecting professionals in the food and beverage industry.
3. Screen your applicants.
To filter out unqualified candidates, you may want to give each applicant a quick call or send them a short email to verify any non-negotiable qualification requirements.
While not every position you advertised may require candidates with extensive experience or a culinary education, you may still want to find out which candidates will be able to work, for example, weekends or long hours. The questions you’ll want to ask will vary depending on the position and might include the following:
- Are you available to work full time/part-time?
- Are you available to work late shifts and weekends?
- Do you have customer service experience?
4. Conduct a phone interview.
Once you've determined which applicants you would like to learn more about, arrange to have a short phone interview with each of them. This is less time-consuming than arranging an in-person interview, as you may still have a considerable number of applications under consideration.
The phone interview will serve to verify and evaluate the information candidates supplied in their applications as well as their responses to the screening questions. You will quickly determine which candidates make a good impression and who you believe may be a suitable match for the position.
- Can you describe your customer service experience?
- Have you ever worked in a fast-paced work environment?
- Are you able to be on your feet throughout shifts?
- Are you available to work different shifts and on weekends?
- What are your salary and benefits expectations?
- What do you think makes you the ideal candidate for this position?
Briefly outline the compensation structure and benefits you offer. To keep viable candidates interested, be sure to elaborate on the positive aspects of the job and why they should work for you. This may include a description of the working environment, how you treat your employees, and your business values.
5. Arrange a test run for kitchen and front-of-house roles.
To help you assess a candidate's skills and abilities, you'll want to invite them for a test run in your restaurant. The necessity of this may vary, being incredibly important when hiring restaurant employees for food preparation but less so when recruiting, for example, dishwashers. In the case of servers and hostesses, you'll want to evaluate their customer service skills.
6. Conduct an in-person interview.
At this stage of the recruitment process, you will have a good idea of which candidates are sufficiently qualified for each position, but you will still want to ensure that they will fit in with your team and be comfortable with the working environment.
Invite candidates on your shortlist to an in-person interview, during which you will show them around your restaurant, describe the processes you follow, from greeting guests to re-setting tables, and introduce them to your staff. To save time, you can also combine the in-person interview with the test run, especially for waiting and other front-of-house positions.
7. Make an offer.
Once you have made a choice as to the candidates you would like to hire, give them a quick call to inform them that you are offering them the position. Do this fairly quickly, as the restaurant industry is known to be very competitive and candidates are likely to be looking at several options while they are actively seeking work. After the phone call, send an email or letter with a formal job offer.
How do I find good restaurant employees?
Should I hire restaurant employees with no experience?
While recruiting restaurant employees with a wealth of experience is a common starting point for most restaurants, hiring a restaurant employee who ticks other boxes, like having a great personality and strong work ethic, but lacks experience, also has its advantage. It provides you with the opportunity to be the first to train them exactly as you require, without having to attempt to change any established processes and behaviors.