A group of new restaurant workers learn instructions from a manager

Practice the 3 R’s — Recruiting, Recruiting, Recruiting

Build your best restaurant team by knowing where and how to look.

The pressure to fill restaurant jobs is intense. Learning the secrets of recruiting helps you overcome labour shortage challenges to hire the skilled employees you need.

Now more than ever, running a great restaurant takes a great team. You want people who are competent, confident and capable of executing the menu, promoting your brand and engaging with customers.

Starting down the recruiting path

The recruiting can’t start until you know what you’re looking for, so first ask (and answer) some basic questions:

  • What positions must be filled?
  • What skills and attributes make a good employee in each role?
  • What interview questions will reveal their strengths and weaknesses?

Ideally, you want people who are collaborative, professional, hospitable, communicative and authentic. Find them by asking questions to gauge if they are punctual, humble, have a positive attitude and are quick thinkers.

Finding the best employees

Gone are the days when a “Help Wanted” sign finds the best job candidates. Today’s workforce, including those seeking a career in the restaurant industry, are looking for work by using online sources. To connect, try these:

Hospitality-specific job sites/apps

  • There are sources that actively recruit restaurant professionals, monitoring job search engines, building a database of potential employees based on traits you desire..
  • Third-party companies have an online application process that analyzes behavioural and personality traits to help find people with qualities you desire. 

Your website/social channels

  • Digital connections are already part of your business, so reach out to people who already love your restaurant to see if they want to join your team.
  • Using your website or social media, you can link applicants directly to a recruiting site or hiring app.

Local culinary schools or associations

  • Job boards and networking events at area culinary programs are a source of fresh talent and industry veterans.
  • Your city, regional or state restaurant association can supply leads.

Word of mouth

  • Contact operators you know and tell them you’re looking.
  • Incentivize your staff by offering a bonus for bringing on a strong new hire.

Co-staff

  • Consider partnering with other restaurants to share employees. They get extra hours and experience, you get people with experience to be on-call or fill absences.