How to Streamline Restaurant Recruiting: 7 Tips to Whisk Away Hiring Hassles

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Phil Sykora
August 11, 2023
Three new restaurant employees are in a semi-circle celebrating their recruitment to the restaurant.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, the average cost of recruitment is roughly $4,700 per new employee. With inflation on the rise, the cost of everything seems to be going up – and labor is no exception. If you want to be a successful restaurant owner or manager in 2023, getting these costs under control is a priority.

The Average Cost to Recruit a Restaurant Employee

Many websites say that the average recruitment cost for a restaurant is $5,864 but this was based on a study performed by the Center for Hospitality Research in 2006. That means, adjusted for inflation, the average recruitment cost for a restaurant today is more like $8,817 – more than double the cost for most industries.

Why? The researchers determined that productivity loss – that is, the amount of money that’s lost due to being understaffed – made up more than 50% of the total loss for new recruits in hospitality.

Restaurant owners and managers can take steps to mitigate these losses and protect their bottom line. In this article, we present seven tips to streamline restaurant recruitment and improve retention.

New restaurant recruits are being trained in the kitchen.

1. Create a Restaurant Recruitment SOP

An SOP is a standard operating procedure. It’s a set of written instructions that show exactly what you’re going to do when you’re recruiting a new hire.

Before you start hiring, you should have a thorough understanding of the recruitment process: 

  • Where will you share the job posting? 
  • How many positions are you hiring for? 
  • When is the start date? 
  • How long do you expect the recruitment process to take from publish to hire? 
  • How many interviews will there be? 
  • What are your applicant screening questions?
  • What are your interview questions? 
  • Who will be conducting the interviews?
  • Are the interviews in-person or virtual?

These are all questions that you should know prior to starting the recruitment process. An added benefit is that training new managers is easier when you can show them exactly what they need to do, and utilizing employee management software can make the process much, much easier.

2. Leverage Technology in Restaurant Recruitment

Between juggling spreadsheets, physical paperwork, and other important documents, something is bound to slip between the cracks. It helps to have everything all in one place, and Push’s ATS (applicant tracking system) can help you do just that.

Applicant tracking systems ensure that an applicant’s paperwork doesn’t get lost. According to the study from the Center for Hospitality Research that we mentioned above, this step accounts for 3% of total loss – so it’s good to have it covered.

Furthermore, there are a number of ways that Push’s software can help your business:

  • Customizable screening questions can help filter top candidates and ensure they have their required certificates (SMART Serve, OSHA Safety Certificate, Certified Food Manager, etc.).
  • Integration with online job boards like LinkedIn and Indeed allow you to easily promote your job posting to top candidates.
  • Digital, auto-generated offer letters allow you to begin the hiring process at the click of a button. 
  • New hires can start the onboarding process remotely immediately. Banking info, tax forms, company documents and policies – they’re all immediately shared so that the applicant can start training on day one.
A screenshot of current open positions from a restaurant recruiting platform.

3. Craft Tantalizing Job Descriptions

When it comes to server job descriptions, the most important thing is to clearly outline the role, including the pay, certification requirements, responsibilities, and expectations – but don’t forget that you also need to highlight your company culture. Beyond the pay, what would make a top applicant want to work for you?

Make sure to highlight all of the perks and benefits of the position. That might include vacation, employee discounts, medical benefits, and extended work benefits. 

In addition, ask your current top employees what they like most about working at your restaurant. They’ll likely give you the exact information that you’re looking for.

4. Develop Talent Pipelines and Internal Growth Opportunities

Hospitality and culinary training programs, as well as universities, often produce graduates who are well-versed in the specific skills and knowledge required for roles in the industry. While looking for new hires, it may make sense to start there.

Additionally, create opportunities for employees to advance. One of the key reasons that restaurant turnover is so high is due to employees not feeling like they have any opportunities for growth. 

Finally, launch an employee referral program to help attract qualified candidates through internal networks. Like attracts like – so your top performers are likely to relate to other people who have the potential to be top performers.

5. Streamline the Interview

To ensure an effective interview process, begin with a concise phone screening to evaluate initial qualifications and alignment with the role. Craft standardized questions that cover core competencies and cultural fit. During subsequent in-person interviews, focus on a limited set of candidates, emphasizing depth over quantity. Keep interviews to a few rounds and implement a scoring system for evaluation, allowing for fair comparison. By optimizing the interview process, you'll save time and resources while identifying the best candidates for the role.

A restaurant manager is interviewing a new recruit.

6. Provide Comprehensive Onboarding and Training

According to a survey conducted by PayChex, 80% of workers who received poor onboarding in 2023 plan to quit.

Successful onboarding is one of the most important things that an employer can do, since it sets the stage for what the company expects out of the employee. When new recruits feel supported and encouraged, it leads to higher engagement rates and lower turnover. It’s one thing to hear about a culture of inclusivity and creativity, but it’s another thing to see that culture in action – and comprehensive training can help with that.

7. Measure Success and Continue Improving

Monitor and analyze key performance indicators (KPIs) in the hiring process. These KPIs will vary from company to company, but they can shed light on some important bottlenecks in the hiring process.

Time-to-hire, applicant completion rate, and interviews-to-offer are some common metrics that employers tend to track, and for good reason. Due to the observation effect, just paying attention to certain metrics can help improve their performance – even without any other input.

The old adage rings true: “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else.” Tracking metrics can be motivating and inspiring, since you’ll have a tangible idea of areas to improve.

Final Thoughts on Restaurant Recruiting

The average cost to hire a new restaurant employee is somewhere in the realm of $8,000-9,000. With turnover as high as it is, keeping this cost as low as possible is essential to the financial success of any restaurant.

Investing in efficient recruitment practices can centralize your documentation and provide a more seamless experience to applicants, cutting recruiting costs and improving efficiency.

Book a demo today to learn how Push can revolutionize your restaurant’s recruitment process. 

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August 2023


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