Talent Acquisition in the Restaurant Industry: Tips for Success in 2023

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Phil Sykora
January 23, 2023
Two top restaurant workers, who were hired in 2023, are baking bread.

When it comes to the restaurant industry, with its razor-thin margins, intense competition, and high turnover, talent acquisition is no small feat. 


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, when restaurants shut down, workers were forced to look elsewhere to make ends meet. Many of them found better-paying corporate jobs, causing a severe labor shortage.


With so many restaurants failing to offer a livable wage, decent benefits, and career growth opportunities, it’s been harder than ever for the industry to bounce back and attract talented workers again. According to the National Restaurant Association, the industry is still down 750,000 jobs, making talent acquisition one of the main priorities for restaurants today.


If you’re struggling to find and retain reliable workers, this article covers five tips to help your restaurant acquire top talent in 2023.

1. Use a Human Capital Management (HCM) System to Aid Talent Acquisition


Onboarding new employees can be time-consuming and complicated. Filling out employment forms, outlining job responsibilities, and providing training – it can all quickly detract from your other responsibilities, leaving you feeling scattered and disorganized. HCM software, like Push, helps companies manage and optimize their people management and payroll processes. It’s designed to automate HR tasks such as recruiting, hiring, onboarding, payroll, performance management, and employee development. 


Using an HCM system can help you eliminate many of the daily tasks that end up taking up so much of your time, freeing you to focus on the big picture and deal with more important things.

2. Develop a Strong Brand Presence on Glassdoor, Indeed, and other Job Sites


An employer brand is essential for attracting top talent. After all, according to the JobVite Career Benchmark Report, 50% of all job applications come through a job board. Even if the applicant discovered the job through networking, most candidates will still check out the employer’s reviews to see if it’s a good place to work. 


That’s why it’s important to create a good reputation, and to communicate that reputation to potential employees. This can be done by sharing positive employee testimonials, showcasing employee perks and benefits, and highlighting your company culture on your social media platforms. Encourage employees to leave reviews on sites like Glassdoor and Indeed, but don’t be too pushy. Offering incentives to employees for leaving a good review or, even worse, coercing them, can often have the opposite effect.

A restaurant worker giving their employer a five star review on an employer review site.

3. Offer a Competitive Salary and Good Benefits to Attract Top Talent


Time and again, restaurant workers complain about one thing: lack of adequate pay. A survey was performed by the UC Berkeley Food Labor Research Center on workers who left the restaurant industry during the pandemic. They found that 69% of former workers said that the only thing that could make them consider returning was a liveable wage. 


Offering a competitive salary, health benefits, and other perks can make your company stand out from the competition – helping you to acquire top talent.


This includes not only salary, but also benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off. Consider offering bonuses or incentives for performance, and make sure that your compensation and benefits package is in line with industry standards.

4. Clearly Outline the Job Responsibilities


Creating a clear and concise job description is essential for talent acquisition. Ensure that candidates have a clear understanding of the responsibilities and qualifications for the position. This ensures that there aren’t any surprises or disappointments once they are hired. 

A female recruiter in the restaurant industry is at her desk writing out a concise job description.

Here are five tips for creating a clear and concise job description:

  1. Be Specific: Clearly define the job title, responsibilities, and qualifications needed for the position. Avoid using overly broad or generic terms, and instead focus on the specific skills and experience that are required for the job.
  2. Use Bullet Points: Break down the responsibilities and qualifications into bullet points, making it easy for candidates to quickly scan and understand the main requirements of the job.
  3. Include a Job Summary: Provide a brief summary of the job, highlighting its main responsibilities and the qualifications required.
  4. Be Clear About the Salary: Include the pay range or hourly pay range. This will help to attract the right candidates and avoid wasting time on candidates that may not be willing to accept the pay offered. Often, some candidates won’t even apply to a job that doesn’t have a pay range. Even if you can only afford to offer minimum wage, be upfront about it and try to highlight your restaurant’s other perks.
  5. Run it by Your Current Employees: Finally, make sure to run the description by your employees. If you’re writing a description about what it’s like to wash the dishes, why not ask the dishwashers if they think you’re missing anything? Not only does this help create a team atmosphere, but it also helps you refine the job description and make it more accurate.

5. Nail the Interview


Many owners and managers don’t realize that the applicant isn’t the only one being interviewed. In the same way that you’re asking them about their performance and quietly judging their potential to be successful, they’re wondering the same thing about you and your business.


Being organized and respectful during the interview process is crucial for making a good impression on potential hires. Being on time for interviews, for example, shows that you respect the candidate's time and that you value their presence. Clearly explaining the onboarding process, asking the right questions, maintaining clear communication, and allowing the candidate to ask questions can help you improve your talent acquisition efforts by showing potential hires that you offer an organized, respectful, and professional working environment.

Two restaurant managers are interviewing a top candidate for a position at the restaurant.

Conclusion: 5 Strategies for 2023 Talent Acquisition in the Restaurant Industry

According to a survey done by the National Restaurant Association, the turnover rate for restaurant employees is 73% annually. Broader research for all occupations suggests that 16.45% of people quit their job within their first week of employment, and 14.48% of employees quit after six months. For the restaurant industry, where the average tenure is much shorter, it’s safe to assume that anywhere between 20-30% of employees quit within the first month. If you’re struggling with retention in your restaurant, check out these 5 tips to turnaround turnover. 


Using HCM (human capital management) software like Push can help you automate so many of your onboarding and training processes, leaving you with more time to focus on your other responsibilities – like creating happy customers. For successful talent acquisition in 2023, encourage employees to leave good reviews, offer a competitive salary with good benefits, clearly outline the responsibilities of the job, and be professional during interviews.


If you utilize those strategies, hiring top talent for your restaurant will be much easier.


To learn more about how Push can streamline your hiring and onboarding, speak to one of our specialists today. 

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