• Calla Norman

How to Hire Staff for Your Restaurant (and How to Keep Them!)

Updated: Jul 14, 2021


A staff member at Go Buddha in Cleveland

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You’ve gone through the steps of conceiving the idea for your restaurant, getting the funding you need, finding a location, and building it out - you’re so close to realizing your dream of opening a restaurant! However, you walk through the front doors of your new location, and you hear crickets. What’s missing?


That’s right, employees! As a restaurant owner, you can’t do everything yourself! Depending on the needs of your restaurant, you need chefs and line cooks in the back of the house, wait staff in the front-of-house, hosts, bartenders, baristas — the list goes on and on.


After all, your employees make your restaurant, arguably more so than the decor, location, and even the food being served! How often have you been to a restaurant and had maybe average food but stellar service? Conversely, how often have you had amazing food at a restaurant, but your experience was spoiled by a substandard server? If you look back on any of those memories, you’d know intuitively how important hiring the right team of employees is to any restaurant.


We know a major challenge for restaurant owners in 2021 has been finding enough talent to hire, because of the imminent risks of COVID-19 and various economic factors. However, if you can offer a nice enough employment package and create a culture that your employees want to be a part of, you can certainly navigate these challenges and be operating with a full staff in no time.


How do you find the right people to hire? How do you make sure they’ll fit in with your restaurant? Most importantly, once you find them, how do you keep them around? Come with us as we discuss the basics of how to hire, train, and retain employees to make your restaurant a success.


In this article, we'll cover the following:

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Why is it important to hire smart for my restaurant?


Cost

It costs money to hire, onboard, and keep an employee! Restaurants on average spend $150,000 on employee turnover, about $6,000 per employee!


That’s the cost of, like, two commercial stand mixers!


What we’re saying is, hiring employees, training them, and keeping them around is an essential investment, so you’d better be smart and hire people who will contribute to your productivity and stick around for a while.


Culture

Hiring employees who share your values and work well with your restaurant culture will improve not only their engagement and satisfaction but will also reflect well on the restaurant.


Employees who promote your restaurant culture and show it to the world aren’t just star workers but are also valuable tools in marketing your restaurant by being one of the first means of showing its authentic self to the world.


Competency

Hiring good people means they’ll do good work. You want to look for a balance of technical skills, social skills, work ethic, and alignment with company culture. This way, your new hires will work well with the team, be well-equipped for the job, and will just overall be good at their jobs.



staff member at Go Buddha restaurant in Cleveland Ohio

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How do I hire staff for my restaurant?


Craft a winning restaurant job posting


You might think that a job posting for a restaurant is straightforward and short. You’re looking for people to cook food and serve it, it’s pretty basic. And it can be, but paying a bit closer attention to detail in your job description can make the difference between attracting a mediocre and a star employee.


If you list your job posting with the bare necessities - wage, hours, position - anyone could see those and think they’d be a good fit. If you’re looking for higher-quality candidates, it would be worth your time to personalize your job posting and include your restaurant's values and culture indicators.


For instance, if you run a farm-to-table restaurant, you should include that in your job posting, because you’ll be more likely to attract candidates who already have a major passion for sustainable food. It’s been proven that having shared values between employees and businesses increases value in the customer experience and in employee satisfaction.


Post your restaurant job where the people are

So now you know what to write in your job description, where do you post it? Well, one good way of attracting employees who you know are already familiar with your brand is by putting job postings up on your social media.


You can also use standard job boards like Indeed and Glassdoor, or look for a food industry-focused job board like GoodFoodJobs or Poached. Seasoned is another great platform to find potential employees - it’s kind of like LinkedIn for the restaurant industry, and it makes recruiting super easy and convenient.


Once more in-person events become a thing again, looking into industry job fairs such as those held by local culinary programs is another great idea to get talented job candidates knocking at your door.