Although the current national unemployment rate of about 4% suggests otherwise, foodservice professionals continue to struggle with finding and retaining workers in an industry with an annual employee turnover rate averaging 73%.
It raises several significant questions, not the least of which is: are traditional hiring methodologies like mega-aggregator job websites and “help wanted” signs in the window outmoded? Completely abandoning these techniques may not be prudent but, in the Digital Age, technology can help you extend your hiring reach and also maximize the capabilities of your existing staff in the interim.
Promote, Recruit and Hire Online
Think of leveraging technology as your virtual Human Resources director for finding, attracting and retaining employees:
- Help would-be employees picture themselves working in your operation. Given the amount of traffic it generates daily, Facebook is among the most popular online platforms for promoting job openings, but have you considered other options? Instagram, for example, is built around visuals. Snapping and sharing photos that capture your restaurant’s events, employees and culture is a quick-hit promotion that, as the old saying goes, is worth a thousand words — particularly when it comes to reaching young talent.
- Incentivize employees to get the word out. Your team members likely have personal social networks that contain contacts who are both interested in working for you and are people your existing team members would recommend. Encourage your team to share your posts and reward them for doing so with a bonus for any person they refer who actually becomes a new hire.
- Reach out to colleagues. Industry professionals rely upon one another to stay up to date on people and processes that can be value-adds, particularly during a labor crunch. Don’t hesitate to contact your connections for help through business channels like LinkedIn or online industry forums, especially for more skilled positions like general managers, kitchen/operations leaders, and head chef/culinologists.
What About the “In-Between” Time?
Using technology as a hiring tool is a great idea, but how can you use it to help your existing team members through the often stressful staff shortfalls that occur before new hires are in place? Here are a few proven solutions:
- Use tabletop technology. Tablets and touch screens are ubiquitous, and people are coming to expect that devices are available to speed up transactions, including in restaurants. Going “techie” at tables meets your customers expectations for fast ordering and payment while simultaneously taking some pressure off a strapped front of the house team.
- Install ordering kiosks. In some restaurant formats, like quick service, investing in dedicated kiosks for ordering and pick-up is a smart way to keep foot traffic flowing without depending on your servers. The majority of the experience is orchestrated by the customer from the kiosk.
- Maximize Point of Sale (POS) system capabilities and metrics. When configured to capture a range of relevant data, POS systems instantly cut the number of employees required to manage inventory, ordering and cost tracking.
The restaurant labor shortage puts the productivity and profitability of your operation at risk, but you can minimize its impact with the practical advice you’ll find in our eBook, The Efficient Kitchen: Doing More With Fewer Employees. Click the button below to access your copy now!