How to Hire Restaurant Staff: Tips and Tricks for Success

With labor shortages creating significant operational hurdles, restaurants are struggling more than ever to fill their teams with skilled and reliable individuals.

How to Hire Restaurant Staff While Battling Talent Shortages

The success of any restaurant hinges on the quality of its staff, yet finding the right talent has become increasingly challenging in today’s hospitality industry. 

With labor shortages creating significant operational hurdles, restaurants are struggling more than ever to fill their teams with skilled and reliable individuals. This issue not only affects day-to-day operations but also impacts customer satisfaction and business reputation.

In this blog, "How to Hire Restaurant Staff: Tips and Tricks for Success," you’ll learn proven strategies to effectively navigate staffing challenges in the hospitality sector. 

From fine-tuning your hiring process to leveraging innovative temporary solutions, we provide insights into creating a dynamic team capable of elevating your restaurant’s service and standing out in this competitive industry.

Step 1. Outline Your Needs

Before diving into the recruitment process, it’s important to clearly understand your restaurant's specific staffing needs. This step is not just about filling positions; it's about creating a team that aligns with your restaurant's vision, culture, and operational requirements.

Identify Roles You Need to Fill

Start by evaluating your current team structure and identifying gaps. 

Do you need more front-of-house staff like servers and hosts, or are you looking for skilled back-of-house professionals like line cooks or dishwashers? Your needs will dictate where and how to source roles. 

Assess Skill and Experience Levels

Depending on your restaurant's style and menu complexity, the level of experience and skill required can vary significantly. A fine dining establishment might require staff with extensive culinary training or high-end service experience, whereas a casual diner might prioritize speed and efficiency.

Consider Your Culture

Every restaurant has its unique atmosphere and work culture. It’s important to consider what personality traits and work ethics will best fit into your team. 

Forecast Future Needs

The hospitality industry is subject to seasonal fluctuations and changing customer preferences. Whether for a busy holiday season or expanding your menu offerings, anticipating future needs can help you stay ahead in the staffing game.

Step 2. Sourcing Candidates

Once you have outlined your hiring needs, the next step is to source candidates. Finding the right talent requires a strategic approach to reach potential employees who are qualified and a good fit for your restaurant's culture and requirements.

Here’s where to start. 

Online Job Platforms

Platforms like Indeed, Monster, and LinkedIn are excellent places to start. They allow you to reach a wide audience of job seekers. Tailoring your job listings to highlight specific skills and qualities can attract more suitable candidates.

Industry-Specific Channels

Consider posting on job boards and forums specifically catering to the hospitality industry. Websites like HCareers and Culinary Agents are frequented by experienced professionals in this field.

Fill Temporary and/or Last-Minute Roles Through Gig Platforms

The need for flexible, temporary staffing solutions is a frequent reality in the restaurant industry, often driven by seasonal demands, special events, or unforeseen staff shortages. 

In response to this need, gig platforms such as shiftNOW, Instawork, and GigPro have become increasingly valuable. shiftNOW, in particular, connects restaurants with a pool of pre-vetted, skilled hospitality workers ready to fill in at a moment's notice. 

By tapping into these resources, restaurants can efficiently manage short-term staffing needs without compromising on service quality or operational efficiency.

Leverage Social Media

Social media platforms can be powerful tools for recruitment. 

Platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook can help you reach a younger or broader demographic. Sharing posts about open positions on your restaurant’s social media pages can also draw in applicants who are already fans of your brand.

Word of Mouth & Employee Referrals

Don't underestimate the power of word of mouth. 

Encourage your current staff to refer people they believe would be a good fit. Employees often have networks of friends or former colleagues in the industry and can vouch for their skills and work ethic. 

Consider creating a referral incentive program to encourage employees to take advantage of their network. 

Step 3. Formalizing Your Interview Process

The interview process is a critical stage in hiring restaurant staff. It's your opportunity to not only assess a candidate's skills and experience but also to gauge their fit within your team's culture and work environment.

Here’s a breakdown of key considerations when interviewing applicants. 

Prepare Structured Interview Questions

Develop a set of questions that are relevant to the specific roles you are hiring for. Include situational questions that assess how candidates handle typical restaurant scenarios, such as dealing with difficult customers or managing a rush hour.

Conduct Behavioral Assessments

Beyond technical skills, it’s important to understand a candidate's behavior and attitude. Questions that delve into past work experiences can provide insights into their teamwork, adaptability, and customer service skills.

Include a Practical Component

For certain roles, especially in the kitchen, consider including a practical test, like a cooking demonstration or a trial shift. This can give you a direct sense of their skills in action.

Focus on Communication Skills

Effective communication is key in the fast-paced restaurant environment. Pay attention to how candidates express themselves and interact with you during the interview.Effective communication is key in the fast-paced restaurant environment. 

Pay attention to how candidates express themselves and interact with you during the interview.

Provide Role Transparency

Be transparent about the job responsibilities, hours, and the work environment. Setting clear expectations helps prevent future misunderstandings and turnover.

Remember, the interview process is not just about evaluating candidates - it's also your chance to make a good impression and show why your restaurant is a great place to work. By conducting thorough and thoughtful interviews, you can select staff who will contribute positively to your team and help your restaurant thrive.

Step 4. Training & Retention

The process of building a strong restaurant team doesn't end with hiring; effective training and retention strategies are essential for long-term success. This phase is about integrating new hires into your team and creating an environment that encourages them to stay and grow with your business.

Structured Onboarding & Training 

Develop a comprehensive training program that covers not just the technical aspects of the job but also your restaurant's service standards and culture. This could include shadowing experienced staff, hands-on training sessions, and regular feedback mechanisms.

Foster a Positive Work Environment

A positive and supportive work environment is key to staff retention. Encourage open communication, recognize and reward good performance, and foster a sense of team spirit. Consider employee engagement tools to keep a pulse on staff morale and learn how you can improve retention. Establish a routine of regular check-ins with your staff to discuss

Offer Growth Opportunities

Provide opportunities for your staff to learn and grow within the restaurant. This can include cross-training in different roles, offering professional development workshops, or creating pathways for advancement within the organization.

Embracing New Restaurant Hiring Strategies With shiftNOW

shiftNOW represents a new wave of solutions tailored for the unique challenges of restaurant staffing. By leveraging gig platforms like shiftNOW in hiring strategies, restaurants can optimize their staffing process and gain a competitive edge in terms of operational efficiency and service quality.

Here’s Why: 

shiftNOW Benefits The Impact of Restaurant Hiring
Streamlined Hiring Process Quickly connects restaurants with pre-vetted, skilled professionals for short or long-term roles.
Diverse Talent Pool Offers a range of candidates from experienced chefs to efficient front-of-house staff, accommodating varied staffing needs.
Reduced Operational Burdens Handles screening and initial vetting, freeing up time for restaurant owners and managers to focus on core activities.
Flexibility and Responsiveness On-demand model suits fluctuating demands of the restaurant business, enabling quick response to staffing changes.
Reliable Backup Workforce Provides a dependable pool of staff for emergency situations like last-minute shortages or unexpected customer volume spikes.

How Does It Work?

shiftNOW makes it easier than ever for restaurants to find last-minute or full-time staff. Here’s how: 

  1. Create Your Business Profile: Restaurants can create an account on the shiftNOW platform here. Complete your profile with details about your restaurant, including the type of establishment, location, and specific staffing needs.
  1. Post Shift Requirements: Easily post shifts by specifying the roles, number of staff needed, shift times, and any specific details about the shift experience required.
  1. Access a Pool of Pre-Vetted Candidates: Once a shift is posted, the platform matches your requirements with available, pre-vetted candidates. Candidates on the platform have undergone a vetting process, ensuring they meet certain standards of professionalism and skill.
  1. Review & Select ‘Shifters: Review candidate profiles, which include their work history, ratings, and any relevant skills or certifications. Watch personalized Shifter profile videos to understand who you’re selecting for a shift before they work for your business. 
  1. Seamless Coordination: Coordinate any last-minute details or changes efficiently through the platform's messaging system.
  1. Post-Shift Review: After the shift, manage payments through the platform. Leave feedback or ratings for the staff, helping to maintain the quality of the workforce on the platform.
  1. Repeat or Schedule Regular Staffing: For recurring needs, easily schedule regular staffing or rehire preferred workers from past shifts. With shiftNOW, you can build a roster of your favorite shift workers for consistent quality and reliability. 

Have Fluctuating Hiring Needs For Your Restaurant? Hire On-Demand With shiftNOW!

By streamlining the hiring process and providing access to a pool of pre-vetted professionals, shiftNOW empowers business owners and operators to focus more on their core business and less on the complexities of staffing. 

Whether it’s for long-term team building or addressing urgent, short-term needs, shiftNOW offers a flexible and efficient solution, alleviating the burden of hiring and ensuring that restaurants can maintain high-quality service without interruption

Create your business profile and start hiring quality restaurant staff today! 

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