September 24, 2021 by John Moody, Restaurant365 Chief Strategist and Co-Founder
The restaurant industry has historically had a high turnover rate, but owners, operators, and managers are currently facing an unprecedented labor shortage. Restaurants are struggling to hire, attract, recruit, and retain employees.
How can hospitality technology help address today’s restaurant hiring challenges?
Restaurants now are trying to constantly hire, keeping “evergreen” position descriptions open. While there are various job sites, ad placements, and recruiters for the industry, many restaurants are also examining their own online presence.
Potential new hires will likely examine everything from a restaurant’s social accounts to a “careers” page on the website. A restaurant’s online presence can be used as a recruitment tool, showcasing food, workplace culture, and staff appreciation.
From there, whether it’s a form on the careers page, a short interest survey, or a QR code printed on menus or receipts, technology can help potential candidates easily access your application.
Kelly McCutcheon, vice president of training at Hopdoddy Burger Bar based out of Austin, Texas, described the “60-second interest survey” the restaurant implemented instead of a traditional application. In one month, the company received 300 submissions, which led to new hires and an overall boost in company morale.
If a restaurant is in constant hiring mode, there may be an extra burden on managers. Time spent communicating with candidates and keeping track of applications can prevent managers from focusing on more valuable activities, like training or retention.
Hiring tools can help streamline the repetitive process. A hiring solution allows managers to organize and manage applications all in one place, automatically tracking applicants in the hiring pipeline.
A hiring solution can automatically notify managers when a new applicant submits materials. And with managers able to schedule interviews through the system with text and email, managers can avoid time-consuming phone calls and manual scheduling.
Applicant tracking tools can also automatically filter out candidates that don’t meet job conditions (like age requirements), or managers can deactivate candidates that aren’t a good fit (while still leaving profiles referenceable).
Using a hire assessment tool can help restaurants sort through applications and spend time with the candidates who are truly interested in the role.
Sweet Lou’s, a northern Idaho local restaurant group, used assessment tools to laser-focus its hiring process. Chad Foust, co-owner, described that for a manager role, the restaurant group required an application, resume, and assessment test through the hiring site.
Rather than looking closely at the assessment score, Foust reported that he viewed completing the assessment as an indicator of true interest in the position. “That cut out half of the applicants right there, because some didn’t take the time,” he said.
Instead of calling applicants to see if they were interested in an interview, Foust was able to instead spend more time examining the resumes of the interested applicants. “The people who filled out the assessment are already bought in,” he explained.
When Foust scheduled interviews with the remaining applicants, he reported that nine out of the 10 candidates showed up (compared to previous experiences with more than half of interviewees not making an appearance).
To grow a healthy workplace culture and address the labor shortage in the long run, it is key to prioritize retention from the beginning of the hiring process.
Most of the restaurant industry is hiring at the same time, so competitive pay, especially for back of house, is critical right now. Job postings should list specific salary and wage information, as well as benefits like healthcare or sign-on and retention bonuses.
Job postings can also be used to display workplace culture, describing what makes a restaurant a great place to work. Restaurants can shine a spotlight on employee appreciation, mentioning long-term career opportunities and how staff are trained or promoted from within.
While staffing may be difficult now, technology solutions can help ease the burden of hiring and retaining high-quality employees. With a strategic hiring process, streamlined with technology, restaurants can meet today’s hiring challenges