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Metric Monday – 9 Steps to Speeding Up the Restaurant Staffing Process

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Jenny Day
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In a candidate’s market, speed to hire restaurant staff can be the difference between landing talented employees or losing them to the competition.

Is there a restaurant staffing shortage in 2023?

According to Bloomberg, more than 60% of establishments said in a recent survey that they’re understaffed. In a candidate’s market, the speed at which you hire can be the difference between landing talented staff or losing them to the competition.

How can I hire restaurant staff quickly?

Your store-level managers often hear, “I wish you had offered me the job yesterday. I just accepted another offer.” And, as above store-level restaurant management, you know that managers keep hearing those words from applicants because your restaurant group’s hiring process is too slow.

To speed up the process, start by defining and measuring each step of your restaurant staffing plan to pinpoint bottlenecks and opportunities for improvement. Consider your applicants’ perspective when trying to speed up the process. Even if you believe your restaurant staffing plan is as quick as it can be, if you’re losing applicants to the competition before you’ve made offers to them, then your hiring process is not fast enough.

You might find these additional resources helpful to get the talent you require for your restaurant:

Restaurant Staffing Plan

Depending on your restaurant staffing model, the number of stages will vary, but use these restaurant staffing tips to speed and streamline your restaurant staffing schedule.

Respond quickly to candidates

To ensure a positive applicant experience, immediacy is crucial in your first outgoing contact with the applicant, even if it’s an automated email acknowledging receipt of the application.

Review applications

Top talent will be hired quickly, so ensure that you’re reviewing applications as soon as they come in, rather than waiting for them to pile up to review. Based on a typical restaurant manager schedule, this may be a challenge, but it’ important to land top restaurant talent.

Conduct online assessments

Even though you want to attract as many applicants as possible to increase the chances that you’ll find the right candidates, it’s important to weed out the candidates that are not a fit for your restaurant. You can do that with prescreen questions and assessments. Using assessments and prescreening questions that you can send them via e-mail through an applicant tracking system (ATS), allows you to create a barrier for no-shows and ghosting. If applicants are truly interested in working at your restaurant, then they will fill out a 10-minute assessment.

Phone screen

While the phone screen might seem like an unnecessary step to some hiring managers, they can minimize no shows for in-person interviews and quickly wee out candidates who are not a good fit.

In-person interview

The in-person interview is where you’ll determine if applicants are a good culture fit for your restaurant in addition to learning if they have the necessary skills. Once you get past the basic experience questions, be sure to ask behavioral-based interview questions to really get to know the applicant better. If possible, try to eliminate multiple rounds of interviews. Hourly jobs should not require more than one in-person interview.

Checking references

Many restaurants do not check references due to time and budget constraints. However, conducting a background check to ensure that you are consistently hiring only the best candidates can help reduce your turnover rate. While this may add an extra step, it is quicker than starting the process again due to a hire that is dishonest, chronically late, or often a no-show for shifts.

Extending an offer

With so much competition for a small pool of candidates, it’s imperative to streamline the hiring process to get from application to offer in a timely manner. Ensure that your offer letter include everything it needs to be effective, including job title, name, and title of supervisor, start date, full-time or part-time employment, duties, pay rate, the potential for tips or other compensation, company policies, benefits if any, contingencies (e.g., contingent on clearing a background check).

Background checks for restaurant staffing

Background checks can be a time-consuming part of the hiring process because you have no control other the third party that conducts the checks. If you find that background checks are delaying your ability to extend offers to top candidates, switch to another provider.

Onboarding your new hires

Once you’ve identified the right candidates to hire, the next step in your candidate’s journey should involve an effective and engaging onboarding process. Ensure that onboarding is as streamlined as possible. Your onboarding process should make your new employee feel like a valued member of the team from day one.


Moving applicants quickly through the hiring process must be a top priority for restaurant businesses at any time, but especially now during a restaurant staffing shortage. A fast-hiring process can be the difference between successfully hiring top restaurant talent and losing them to competitive restaurants.