Your new restaurant is nothing if you don’t have people to run it—cooks, dishwashers, waiters, chefs, etc. Hiring great staff for your restaurant is essential for providing your customers with a great experience.

Unfortunately, in an industry with more open positions than applicants and a notoriously high turnover rate, hiring the right employees is difficult, so here are some tips to help.

Post Job Descriptions Online

There are a lot of online job boards like ZipRecruiter and Glass Door. There are also specialized job boards such as:

All of these job boards are specialized for the restaurant and hospitality industries. Consider posting job descriptions on some of them.

Don’t Only Look at Resumes

Just because someone has an impressive resume doesn’t mean they’ll be a good employee. Resumes are important, but they’re not everything. Don’t discount young people who may not have as much experience but are passionate about the restaurant business.

Promote Internally

Consider promoting employees who already work for your restaurant. A dishwasher can become a cook who can become a chef. If employees know that there is room to grow and be promoted, they’ll be motivated to work harder and to not leave.

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Structure Interviews

As the owner of a restaurant business, you’re going to have to do a lot of interviews. Employment website ZipRecruiter recommends standardizing the process so it goes faster.

A blog post by the company stated, “Ensure that each encounter is productive by creating a standardized interview template and following a strict set of post-interview procedures.”

ZipRecruiter also recommends using computerized personality tests. That way, you can learn a lot about a candidate without having to take the time to interview them. Remember though, these tests aren’t perfect.

You’ll also want to call the references that the applicants provide. A review from a former supervisor can tell you a lot about an applicant.

Additionally, make sure to act professional during your interview. As OpenTable recommends, “…you can never overlook that candidates are also evaluating you. This means being on time, reading their resume beforehand, and dressing appropriately; it will go a long way to creating a strong impression of what can be expected if they come on board. You’ll want your managers to always be putting their best foot forward to ensure that when you come across great candidates, you’re able to hire them.”

Hire Work Release People

Work Release programs are prison programs where trustworthy prisoners are allowed to leave the prison for a while to work a job, earning money, and preparing them for life after their sentence is over. When they finish working for the day, they return to the prison.

You may be wary about hiring prisoners for your restaurant, but there are several pros. First, they’ll be more likely to work hard and take more shifts because every minute they’re working for you is a minute they’re not at the jail. 

They have more freedom at your restaurant and will thus want to be there and be on their best behavior. You’ll also be doing a good thing for the community by helping these people, and the prisoners will appreciate the opportunity.

Consider an Applicant’s Attitude

Talent isn’t everything. Attitude also matters. OpenTable.com gave this advice for restaurant owners: “Skills and information can be taught, but a person’s attitude usually cannot be altered. Don’t let yourself be wooed by an impressive resume if the applicant is missing any of the core values your team has collectively established as critical. Remember that an interview is a controlled, deliberate presentation of a person; if they are not projecting positively in this setting, how will they behave under pressure?”

Staging

Staging is where you ask a prospective employee to work a shift as a test to see how they do. For example, you could ask your applicants to work during the night shift (where they’re less likely to mess things up), and give them some kind of repetitive or boring task such as slicing carrots. If they complain, you’ll know that they’re not right for your company. It will also let you measure their talents and skills. Staging is usually only done for cooks and chefs, not other positions.

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