Recruitment (and retention) have long been challenges in the restaurant industry, but operators are currently having difficulty filling unprecedented numbers of open positions. Many factors have overlapped right as the restaurant industry is emerging from COVID-19 capacity restrictions, causing a general industry labor shortage.
Most restaurants are trying to hire right now. And as many restaurants are finding out, it generally isn’t compelling enough to post a basic restaurant job description and watch the applications roll in.
As nearly all restaurants compete for a limited labor pool, what is your restaurant doing to stand out from the crowd?
Here are a few critical ways you can proactively and effectively communicate your culture to potential hires.
Cultivate an online presence
If you are looking to address your restaurant hiring challenges, consider starting with an audit of your online presence. Your potential restaurant employees will inevitably search your restaurant online when deciding whether to apply. What will they find?
Cultivating an intentional online presence can help you positively communicate your restaurant culture. Start with examining your online presence in these three areas:
Custom Career Pages
The career page should be featured prominently on your website header. A “career” page, rather than a “hiring” page, can help to immediately reinforce to applicants that working with your restaurant is an opportunity that can go beyond an hourly job.
Your career page should showcase how you value team members, displaying workplace culture and celebrating current restaurant employees. If you have a culture of promoting from within, highlight specific statistics. If you offer training beyond the basics, such as with a 4-star chef, make sure you promote that on your career page.
In addition, use your career page to describe any benefits, perks, or development opportunities available to team members. Whether you are offering increased wages, hospitality skills training, or different bonuses, make sure to focus on these differentiators. However, you are trying to stand out amongst many different restaurants, so make it clear what opportunities you are offering to your restaurant staff.
Thoughtful Posting on Non-Traditional Job Boards
Job postings are the first step to filling many open positions, but a job posting doesn’t guarantee applicants. As part of your recruitment, search for quality candidates in unexpected places.
Postings in places like social channels, university job boards, or industry trade publications may offer access to new audiences. In addition, consider using “geo-targeting” ads on job sites or social media channels to target workers in your area (ensuring a long commute isn’t dissuading someone from applying).
Impactful Social Presence
Finally, make sure your social also tells a story about your restaurant culture. Your social feed can say a lot about your restaurant, and many of your target employees may be frequent social media users.
Does your social highlight your team members? Aspects of your restaurant culture? Accurately represent your unique front of house or back of house teams? Consider using your social feed not just to promote what your customers are interested in, but to show potential restaurant employees why they may want to work at your restaurant as well.
Communicate what matters to potential restaurant employees
Whatever channels you use to communicate your restaurant’s culture, there are some critical questions you should be asking about your organization.
You want anything you express about your restaurant culture to help support your recruitment of quality employees. As you start to evaluate your communications around your culture, start by asking yourself questions such as:
- What is it like to work at your restaurant?
- What makes your restaurant special?
- What’s your vision for the restaurant company?
- Why should someone work for your restaurant?
- Does your restaurant embrace diversity and inclusion in hiring?
Answering all these questions can help you attract the kind of restaurant employees who resonate with your values, supporting recruitment with retention in mind.
How can you express the answers to these questions in something like your written job postings? We’ll get into that below.
Describe your restaurant group and individual locations
Your restaurant group has a cohesive culture. Maybe your company prioritizes community engagement, or you may be known as the best place in town for special family occasions.
However, it’s also important to recognize that each individual restaurant location within your restaurant group will have its own distinct culture as well. The beachfront location of a restaurant is going to have a different clientele and workplace environment than a busy downtown location.
Recognizing this in your communications can be helpful to attracting talent. In addition to the culture of the restaurant group, make sure to communicate the unique characteristics of an individual restaurant. The more detailed your job postings, the more job applicants can actually imagine themselves in a specific role for your restaurant.
Optimize your job postings
Most job candidates look for positions by searching online or checking social media. They are searching industry, job title, and geographic locations to find your job notice. This makes job postings one of the most important opportunities to engage and filter restaurant employees that fit your culture.
Here are three areas to focus on:
Use the Most Common Job Title
If you are excited about your team members, you may want to express it through creative names for different positions. However, if many candidates are searching for open roles online, it’s beneficial to optimize for what they are searching by using common and simple titles for open positions.
- Instead of sandwich artist, line cook
- Instead of mixologist, bartender
- Instead of hospitality specialist, host
The more direct the title of your job postings, the more likely they will be found by people searching for common industry terms.
Sell your Culture in Your Restaurant Job Descriptions
Let’s be honest: many restaurant job postings look the same on paper. The duties, responsibilities, and expectations for a line cook, or server, or bartender, will be similar from restaurant to restaurant.
Many restaurants will start a job description with the job title and responsibilities. However, this means that a description for a chef role for your unique restaurant won’t stand out from other chef postings.
It’s your culture that distinguishes your restaurant, so any job posting should, first and foremost, communicate your culture. Every other restaurant job posting starts with the job description. Why not make yours different? Start your job descriptions with why someone should want to work for you. Describe the culture and benefits up front. The first two paragraphs are what’s going to grab the interest of the potential employee. Make those paragraphs matter.
Take some time at the beginning of the job description to lay out what makes your restaurant special. Use the first two paragraphs or so to highlight your values, mission, and how you support your restaurant staff.
Differentiating your job posting from other restaurant job descriptions is key. If a potential hire has an idea of your overall restaurant culture and what end goal they’d be working toward in that role, they can better imagine themselves as part of your team — increasing the chances that they’ll apply.
Include a Range for Wages and Salaries
It’s a competitive field for labor, so being upfront about your wages and benefits is critical to attracting top-tier restaurant staff. Phrases like “plus tips, quarterly bonuses, signing bonus” can appear vague to applicants because they don’t offer clear-cut information.
Specific wage information allows candidates to see if your wages cover cost of living for them, a critical part of their decision to apply. If you don’t offer wage information, or you include a large range of wage or salary, you will likely get fewer applicants.
As you highlight wage or salary on your job postings, this is also another chance to list other benefits and perks. If you offer benefits like health insurance, PTO, or industry training, make sure to mention it near your wage and salary information.
It may be a tight labor shortage market for restaurants right now, but there are more opportunities than ever to communicate with potential employees and showcase what makes your restaurant a great place to work. Using your restaurant job descriptions to express your culture is the first step toward effective recruitment and hiring.
R365 HIRE makes it easy to attract, hire, and onboard the best employees for your restaurant group.