Restaurant staff hiring continues to be a conundrum for restaurant operators. Labor shortages substantially affect the restaurant industry and the cost associated with running a restaurant business. Many restaurants are forced to operate with shorter hours and fewer days due to staff shortages and the low number of potential employees in the restaurant labor pool. In fact, a key finding in the National Restaurant Association’s 2022 State of the Industry report is that 9 of 10 restaurant operators said that being understaffed is having a significant or moderate impact on their restaurant’s ability to grow and succeed. In the same report, a majority of restaurant operators said they expect the restaurant staffing shortage to extend into at least 2023.
Amid these restaurant labor shortage statistics, what are you to do about hiring restaurant staff during a hiring crisis?
How to recruit restaurant staff
One way to boost your recruitment and selection process for restaurant employees is to pay close attention to your own restaurant group’s hiring analytics. The two most revealing metrics in restaurant staffing can be found in your Click-to-Apply report and your Source Analysis report.
The click-to-apply report tells you how many people clicked on your job posting versus how many people applied, giving you a conversion rate. The source analysis report indicates the source from which your applicants found your job posting, e.g., Indeed, ZipRecruiter, or other job boards, or your own restaurant group’s website.
Why the click-to-apply report is important for restaurant staff hiring
The click-to-apply report provides restaurant hiring managers with analytics about how attractive their job postings are to potential employees. It gives a percentage of how many people clicked on your postings versus how many of those people applied for jobs at your restaurant. If you posted a job for a server that got 30 clicks and 3 applicants, that’s a click-to-apply ratio (or conversion rate) of 10%.
You want to aim for a 10% conversion rate and above. Five percent is a good number in this hiring climate, 10% is great and anything above 10% is exceptional.
Now suppose you posted an ad for an assistant manager position. You see that you got 16 clicks on the first day, but no one applied for the job. By the third day, you had a total of 70 clicks, but only two people applied to the job. In that case, with 70 applicants and a 2.8% click-to-apply ratio, you can assume that the position does not look attractive to applicants. You conclude that something is wrong with the job posting or the position and you can take corrective steps. However, without the click-to-apply report, you might assume that nobody saw your posting, so you post it to a different job board, and you still get a very low percentage of applicants. That’s when you might start investigating why you’re not getting applicants. You go into your applicant tracking system and look at your hiring analytics, click on your click-to-apply report and discover that the issue isn’t that people aren’t seeing the job postings. You find that applicants are clicking on your job posting, but not applying for your job.
With the click-to-apply report in hand, you have the data to indicate that the problem lies with your job posting or the job itself. Suppose again that you posted a job for a guest services associate and got a 1.5% click-to-apply ratio. You can modify the job title, or you can change the posting itself. One of the biggest mistakes being made by operators now is not offering candidates a reason to apply for the job. What are the benefits to the applicant for working at your restaurant? In a competitive market, you need to give applicants a motivation for applying at your restaurant over the restaurant down the street. If you’re offering a competitive wage, or benefits to hourly workers, or a four-day workweek, make sure those perks are in your job posting. If your job posting just states the responsibilities and tasks, with no mention of why applicants should work at your restaurant, you’re going to consistently have a low click-to-apply percentage. Also, do your homework on wages. Go to Indeed or some of the other job boards and see what competitive restaurants are offering in wages for the same positions you’re offering. If your wages are lower for the same positions, you’re going to lose those applicants to your competitors. By understanding how many applicants viewed your posting vs. how many applied you can determine how effective your postings are. If you have a high traffic number, but those job seekers aren’t applying for your jobs, this gives you the opportunity to alter your postings to attract more applicants.
For more information on how to attract restaurant employees with your job postings, read the blog post, Tips for Optimizing Job Postings.
Track source in restaurant staff hiring
The second metric you want to track is the source of your applicant traffic. The source analysis report tells you which job sites are attracting job seeker traffic, while also measuring it against the applicant traffic coming from your career page.
Often, operators are very focused on getting as many applicants as possible from job boards, without regard to the quality of applicants. You will generally get more quality candidates from your own career page than from third-party career sites, so aim for attracting 40% to 60% of your applicant traffic from your own career page. To increase the percentage of applicants from your career page, make sure to promote the page. One way to promote it is by creating a QR code that hyperlinks to your career page. Place a career page QR code on your tables next to your menu QR code. For QSR, add a physical jobs board promoting your openings using a QR code. Also consider promoting your job openings by printing the QR code on your receipts. Your customers are already bought into your restaurant and concept, and they would make excellent employees.
While Indeed, ZipRecruiter and other job boards can attract high numbers of applicants, look at the employees you hired. You’ll most likely find that while the third-party job boards attracted more applicants, your own career page brought in a higher percentage of the applicants you hired.
If your restaurant group’s current hiring isn’t as successful as you’d like it to be and you’re looking for the best way to hire restaurant employees, you might want to track your hiring analytics. Armed with data about where your applicants found your job posting and how many clicked on your post versus how many applied. you can make data-driven changes to help fill your job openings.
Also consider a restaurant-specific applicant tracking system. R365 HIRE makes it easy to attract, hire, and onboard the best employees for your restaurant group and includes hiring analytics. R365 HIRE is part of the Restaurant365 all-in-one restaurant management suite that incorporates accounting, inventory, scheduling, operations, payroll +HR, and reporting within one cloud-based platform. R365 integrates with your POS system, vendors, and bank.