How to Hire Line Cooks for Your Kitchen

Finding the right line cooks for your restaurant can be challenging, but by knowing where to hire line cooks and how to hire line cooks effectively, you can build a strong kitchen team.

How to Hire Line Cooks for Your Kitchen

Hiring line cooks can be a daunting task for any restaurant owner. The line cook is a crucial member of your kitchen staff, responsible for preparing meals quickly and efficiently while maintaining the quality and consistency of your food. Whether you are opening a new restaurant or need to fill a vacant position, finding the right line cook is essential. In this blog post, we will explore the best strategies and resources for hiring line cooks, ensuring you find the perfect fit for your culinary team.

What is a Line Cook?

Let’s start with the basics – what is a line cook?

A line cook plays a vital role in any kitchen as they contribute to food preparation and the overall efficiency in the back of the house.

Some of a line cook’s primary responsibilities include:

Food preparation: This can range from preparing ingredients before service starts, chopping vegetables, making sauces, portioning meats, and grilling, sauteing, or frying as needed

Station management: Organization is the key to a line cook’s efficiency. Before service, a line cook should set up and stock their station with all necessary supplies and ensure it is clean with all ingredients properly stored and labeled once service ends.

Quality control: Line cooks should keep tabs on dishes before they go out for service, ensuring that each dish is prepared to the restaurant’s standards while adhering to food and safety guidelines.

Inventory: Depending on the kitchen, a line cook may assist with inventory maintenance and ordering as needed.

Clean-up: At the end of their shift, line cooks should clean and sanitize their workstations, equipment, and tools in addition to storing any unused food items.

Where to Hire a Line Cook

Need to hire a line cook? Hiring is only half the battle – first, you need to know where to search. As you begin your search for your new team member, here are some of the best places to hire line cooks.

Job boards: Websites like Indeed, Monster, and ZipRecruiter allow employers to post jobs based on location, skill set, years of experience, and more. Including additional information about things like pay, benefits, and schedule can help you reach a broad audience of potential candidates.

Culinary job sites: Specialized culinary job boards, such as Culinary Agents, cater specifically to the hospitality industry. These sites allow you to explore hospitality professionals across various areas of expertise.

Gig economy platforms: Gig economy platforms allow businesses to post open shifts and select workers from a pool of applicants. Some gig economy platforms even vet workers before they join a platform to review their relevant skills, experience, and expertise. Whether you’re looking to hire a temp line cook or a full-time team member, gig platforms are a good way to tap into a large worker pool.

Social media: Social platforms like Linkedin, Facebook, and Instagram are overlooked but valuable recruiting resources. Posting job openings on your business’s social media pages can attract candidates who are already fans or loyal customers of your establishment.

Culinary schools: One of the best places to hire line cooks is your local culinary school. Reach out to the school to express your workforce needs; they often have job placement programs and can recommend recent graduates.

Industry events: Attend food and restaurant industry events and job fairs. These are excellent opportunities to network with potential candidates.

Employee referrals: Encourage your current staff to refer friends or former colleagues. This can often lead to finding reliable and skilled cooks.

How to Hire Line Cooks

Line cooks play a pivotal role in the success and efficiency of a kitchen. It’s important to be diligent in your search to ensure you can successfully hire a line cook at the end of the process.

Here are some tips to help you hire a line cook:

Create a clear job description: Be specific about the responsibilities, required experience, and skills. This will help attract candidates who are a good match for the role.

Screen resumes: Look for candidates with relevant experience and training. Culinary school graduates and those with previous restaurant experience are often good choices.

Meet candidates: Traditional interviews are a great way to assess a candidate’s technical skills, their ability to work under pressure, and evaluate their fit within your team. Gig apps, like shiftNOW, even offer profile videos which can help you get a better sense of who you should bring in for an interview.

Trial shift: A trial shift can be an effective way to see a potential hire in action. It allows you to observe their cooking skills, speed, and how they interact with your current team. Many gig apps offer “stage” shifts so that applicants understand it’s a working interview.

Line Cook Interview Questions

To hire good line cooks, focus on the following qualities:

Experience: Prior experience in a busy kitchen environment is crucial. Look for candidates who have worked in similar types of restaurants.

Skills: Technical cooking skills are a must, but also consider their ability to multitask, work under pressure, and maintain a clean workspace.

Attitude: A positive attitude and willingness to learn are essential traits. Line cooks should be team players who can take direction well.

References: Ask for references who can vouch for a candidate’s past performance, work ethic, and reliability. 

Hire Line Cooks with Ease

Finding the right line cooks for your restaurant can be challenging, but by knowing where to hire line cooks and how to hire line cooks effectively, you can build a strong and efficient kitchen team.

Whether you need to hire temp line cooks or are looking for permanent staff, the strategies outlined above will help you find the best candidates.

Remember, the success of your restaurant heavily relies on the quality of your kitchen staff, so take the time to hire wisely.