By Nicole Attias
Finding and retaining the right staff is always a challenge in any business. There are no guarantees. The hospitality industry is notorious for high employee turnover, and the recent pandemic has not helped the situation. Adapting a new strategy for recruitment is a start. Employers should prepare job descriptions attracting qualified participants, provide unique employee perks, and keep salary offers competitive.
Here are five quick tips to hire the best staff for your restaurant:
- Have at least two managers interview every candidate.
- Develop a core set of interview questions.
- Take good notes whether you are hiring chefs, servers, managers, cleaners, dishwashers, and so on.
- Train managers to assess level of candidate interest and fit.
- Make interviewing a two-way street by having open conversations.
Samir Marji, owner of Optimum Staffing Solutions Inc., a recruitment firm based in Toronto, says his team takes a multi-prong approach to finding the right employees for a restaurant franchise.
“We have a few approaches for finding candidates. First, we do a quick search in our database to identify all candidates who have worked in the restaurant and food industry,” he explains. “The second way is by posting on our website and social media. We do have subscriptions with job boards we can post on, and they can push these jobs to qualified candidates. We also have access to their database, which consists of millions of candidates.”
“Once we have applicants from any of the mentioned sources, we shortlist some candidates and do a quick phone pre-screening, and further shortlist down to five candidates,” he continues. “We invite them to our office for a one-on-one interview and we pick those who we feel have the relevant skills needed for the role. After that, we submit a minimum of three successful candidates to the client for a second interview with the client and, once they make a selection, we provide that final candidate with a job offer.”
Using an outside recruiting firm, whether it be for hiring chefs, servers, managers, and so on requires prioritizing positions and maintaining open communication for any position(s) a restaurant franchise has. For example, Optimum Staffing Solutions believes in open dialogue with their clients and candidates in the franchise business to find the right fit for a particular position, and the right position for a particular candidate. Both perspectives are important as each need to be satisfied for the long-term.
When asked if it was easier to fill positions for a franchise over an independent restaurant, Marji said, “In my opinion, it makes no difference, as you are always looking for the best suited candidate with the best qualifications for the position. The one thing I can mention about hiring for franchises, is they will always keep you busy. The volume of orders is higher with franchises than independent establishments.”
The restaurant business should pick up soon, given the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic seem to be dwindling. Many restrictions have been lifted already and, going forward, others will, too. However, the rising cost of living might impact the rate of growth. The rising cost of employees’ wages will likely burden smaller restaurants, all of which would increase the price of a meal at the restaurant. Working with a third party could be part of the solution for many. Fast hiring, flexibility, and reduced risk of hiring the wrong candidate is what it is all about.
Benefits of working with a third party
According to Marji, “The benefits of working with a third party is that this gives the client more flexibility.” For example, employees might not be the right fit for the role or environment. Letting people go is easy and cost effective. The client also does not have to worry about the cost of any incident or accident, as the third-party company will cover it. Finally, “probationary periods could be longer than a few months in order to make a hiring decision of a particular candidate.”
Outsourcing services through experienced third-party companies can improve the quality of service, increase operational or financial efficiencies, and reduce overall costs.
Hundreds of thousands of employees across the restaurant industry have been laid off because of restaurant shutdowns. However, many experts agree the the restaurant industry is showing signs of recovery. Getting the right process in place for hiring will be a big part of this turnaround.
[BIO] Nicole Attias has a YouTube channel and is a columnist for the Toronto Sun. She has extensive business development experience, be it cold calling or networking in the industry. Her skills include article and business writing, delivering presentations, and public relations. Attias is also an entrepreneur who has worked in different industries prior to real estate including: recruiting and corporate training and helping companies grow their client base.