• Announcing Our $10M Series A Funding Click here to learn more.

Restaurants

Chicago city and bridge

Everything You Need to Know About the 2022 National Restaurant Association Show

Everything You Need to Know About the 2022 National Restaurant Association Show 1016 528 Sprockets

We’re less than a month away from the National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show® in the Windy City….are you ready for it? Our Sprockstars sure are. From networking events to keynote speakers to celebrated demos, we’ll walk you through everything you can expect at the biggest show in the Western Hemisphere. 

Don’t forget to eat some of Chiago’s famous deep dish pizza and visit us at Booth #652. We’ll happily answer your questions. But why wait? Get started now by booking a brief, 15-minute demo of the easiest hiring solution that’s trusted by some of the world’s biggest foodservice brands.

 

 

Why You Should Attend the National Restaurant Association Show

This is the first National Restaurant Association Show since the COVID-19 pandemic rocked our nation. Anticipation for the Show is high as both the 2020 and 2021 shows were canceled. This year, the event will welcome attendees May 21 through 24 at the McCormick Place in Chicago, IL. Over 1,300 exhibitors and 900 product categories including food, beverage, technology, and tableware, will be featured during the four-day show. 

Plus, it’s not just restaurant owners that attend, but lodging, c-store, and retail businesses as well. Notable brands making a comeback to the National Restaurant Association Show 2022 include Chipotle, Domino’s, Starbucks, TriMark, Sodexo, Holiday Inn & Suites, IHG, Aramark, 7-Eleven, and Kwik Trip.

With representation from all 50 states and 110 countries, there’s no other place to interact with the entire foodservice industry ecosystem.”

– National Restaurant Association Show

The hype around the Show isn’t exclusive to attendees — exhibitors are equally excited: “It has the potential to be one of our best shows and generate the most leads and revenue,” says Tyler Chambers, Senior SDR Coordinator at Sprockets.

What You Can Expect at the National Restaurant Association Show

Food & Beverage Demos

Watch and learn from seasoned chefs as they whip up mouth-watering dishes right before your eyes! They’ll teach you the latest trends in food and beverage, skillful techniques, and how to tackle industry obstacles. Featured experts include internationally-renowned entrepreneur, chef, author, and TV personality, Maria Loi, as well as Cassie Sakai and Tiffany Derry. You can view the full list of speakers here.

Book Signings

Bookworms and chefs can unite after the culinary demos. Readers will have the opportunity to meet celebrity chefs like award-winning author Edward Lee and bestselling author Deborah VanTrece, and have their books signed! Attendees are welcome to bring books from home or purchase prior to or during the signing at the bookstore in the Grand Concourse.

Keynote Speakers

Hear from Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, and Starr Marcello, deputy dean of MBA programs at University of Chicago Booth School of Business, as they explore current industry challenges and unpack the complex question: What do these disruptions mean to our industry, and how can we prepare for and embrace them?” Sub-topics include crypto currency, web 3.0, social and cultural shifts, and the future of the foodservice industry. 

Workshops

As the hospitality industry continues to navigate current challenges, experts will provide insight on complex topics so you can apply their knowledge to your own business. Participants can choose (or mix and match!) between three workshops: Ghost Kitchens & Virtual Brands: Risks, Opportunities and Execution, Navigating the Foodservice Technology Landscape, and ServSuccess Restaurant Leader Workshops. 

Kitchen Innovations (KI) Awards 

The Show has not one, not two, but three years worth of KI awards to hand out in 2022. This will be the largest showroom in over 100 years. Discover the best equipment for your business that focuses on automation and sustainability while generating industry growth. 

Industry Night Out

Last, but not least, as part of their Project Beverage plan, attendees are invited to Industry Night Out. Party on Offshore — the largest rooftop in the nation — enjoy some of the best views of Chicago, watch mixology demos, and mingle with foodservice industry professionals. You never know, some of the best business deals happen while sipping on cocktails and appetizers.

Stop Stressing About Hiring and Start Focusing on Daily Operations

Enough is enough; it’s time to end your hiring nightmare. Say goodbye to pointless interviews and no-call-no-shows when you hire with Sprockets. Our solution empowers owners and operators to predict applicant success without resumes or even interviews! The platform reveals who will mesh well with your team and stay long-term. It’s proven to work and trusted by top brands like Domino’s, Chick-fil-A, and Taco Bell to increase employee retention by 43%, on average.

 

Two engaged, happy restaurant workers

3 Examples of Effective Employee Engagement in Top Companies

3 Examples of Effective Employee Engagement in Top Companies 1016 528 Sprockets

Employee engagement refers to your workers’ emotional connections to the goals of your company. High team member engagement is often linked to strong employee retention, while a lack of engagement results in workers feeling less satisfied and invested. It also means that you may not get as many unique contributions from your staff and will likely suffer from costly turnover. But in order to know how to achieve high engagement, you need to know what that looks like. Continue reading to discover three stellar examples of employee engagement in companies.

Start hiring hourly workers that will have a strong emotional connection to your business right off the bat with Sprockets. Our Applicant Matching System reveals which applicants will succeed like your current top performers, empowering you to build strong, cohesive teams that will stay long-term.

 

 

Examples of Employee Engagement in Companies

1. Taco Bell

One of the best employee engagement examples is Taco Bell’s Start With Us, Stay With Us program. First launched in 2016, the platform highlights Taco Bell’s genuine commitment to their workers. Their employee-first attitude recognizes the realistic needs of staff such as tuition reimbursement, scholarship opportunities, and growth within the company itself. 

Frank Tucker, Chief People Officer at Taco Bell, understands that many people get their first job at a restaurant: “Whether they want to start with us for a year or stay with us for life, we feel it’s our responsibility to make sure we’re offering benefits and programs that create innovators and leaders for our communities inside and out of our restaurants.” 

Even when workers decide to leave the taco chain, Taco Bell ensures they have learned valuable skills that will help them with future endeavors.. The company hopes Start With Us, Stay With Us will motivate their workers to advocate for the Taco Bell brand and increase loyalty. 

2. Chick-Fil-A

Chick-fil-A has a unique set of employee engagement ideas because of the way it empowers its franchise owners. Most franchise companies regulate their brand in a top-down manner. However, Chick-fil-A gives franchise owners the freedom to implement their own set of standard operating procedures. Rather than saying “this is how we do it,” Chick-fil-A owners are given a chance to customize how they think things should be done based on their location, team, and customers. 

Franchisees are in charge of everything from the hiring of workers to providing employee benefits. They also have excellent training models in place. This strategy helps employees feel less overwhelmed by customer demands and more enthusiastic about their work. Additionally, Chick-fil-A refuses to let individual franchisees treat each other as competitors. The fast food restaurant will even fly representatives from successful stores to struggling ones so that the hard-hit stores can learn from them. 

3. Buffalo Wild Wings

When it comes to understanding team member engagement, communication is key. For example, Buffalo Wild Wings responded to high employee turnover with surveys to understand the experiences of their workers. The restaurant then used this feedback to determine how they could improve their employee engagement strategies. Staff who truly believe employers listen to their concerns are more likely to have a positive experience working with the company. 

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Buffalo Wild Wings implemented Brand Champ. This employee engagement program was designed to teach employees the “how” behind the brand and equip them with background brand knowledge to succeed while performing daily operations. Additionally, Buffalo Wild Wings launched  “What’s Hot at B-Dubs,” a virtual employee engagement program featuring inspirational guest speakers. The goal of both programs is to help employees understand why and how their work matters.

Go Beyond Employee Engagement Examples

Now that you’ve read these employee engagement examples, you’re ready to start improving your own strategies. Whether you’re a restaurant owner or hotelier, that starts with hiring the right people for your business. Luckily, Sprockets’ AI-powered platform reveals what character traits make your top performers so successful. Our Applicant Matching System then identifies which potential hires share these same characteristics. Essentially, it’s like replicating your best employees. Plus, Sprockets’ hiring solution is proven to boost employee retention by an average of 43%. 

 

Happy restaurant employee smiles behind the counter.

The Secret Recipe You Need to Boost Restaurant Employee Engagement

The Secret Recipe You Need to Boost Restaurant Employee Engagement 1016 528 Sprockets

It’s no secret that employee engagement and turnover in the restaurant industry is suffering. Labor crisis and pandemic aside, the industry often serves (see what we did there?) as a stepping stone. For many young people, working at a restaurant is their first job, so turnover is inevitable. However, there are plenty of individuals who serve in the industry because that’s where their passion lies. 

Continue reading to learn how to foster a positive work environment to promote higher restaurant employee engagement and retention. Plus, discover the secret ingredient that can replicate the success of your best employees. (Hint: These users see a 43% improvement in 90-day employee retention, on average.)

1. Offer Competitive Pay

If you want hourly workers to show loyalty and dedication to your company, then you need to pay them a tempting wage. Better pay will motivate your staff to consistently exceed expectations. If your staff doesn’t have to worry about making ends meet, they can focus on daily operations — like providing exceptional guest service. Plus, 67% of job seekers are more likely to apply to your restaurant if the wage is in the posting.

2. Prioritize Time Off 

Taking a mental health day is actually one of the best ways to reduce stress, decrease burnout, and recharge your mind for the work day. Encourage your employees to take time off when they need it — regardless of their reasoning. This will show them you care about their well-being and work-life balance. Bonus points if you pay attention to detail while building their schedules so everybody has a fair chance of getting a Friday or alternating weekend off. Your employees will thank you.

3. Give Consistent Feedback

Schedule regular check-ins and staff meetings to develop professional relationships and increase employee engagement. Praise them for their accomplishments and offer constructive criticism. This is also a good time to ask your workers for their thoughts on menu items, service ideas, customer feedback, and how they think your restaurant could improve. Sharing their opinions with you will make them feel valued, and restaurant staff engagement will naturally increase. 

4. Provide Training and Opportunity for Growth 

It’s crucial that restaurant workforce management offers opportunities for growth. For example, if you already have an all-star team that shows potential, consider hiring internally when positions become available. Not only will your employees appreciate the opportunity to interview before you find an external hire, but giving them a shot will instill trust amongst your team. 

Bonus Tip: Hire and Retain Restaurant Staff With Sprockets

What if you could predict which applicants are the right hire before the interview and without a resume? It’s possible with Sprockets. Our Applicant Matching System reveals which potential hires will succeed like your current top performers, empowering you to build passionate, driven teams. It’s proven to work and trusted by top brands like Burger King and Chick-fil-A to increase employee retention (a measurement of restaurant employee engagement!) by 43%.

 

Happy hotel employees

How to Create a Successful Employee Engagement Plan in Six Simple Steps

How to Create a Successful Employee Engagement Plan in Six Simple Steps 1016 528 Sprockets

Employee engagement is key to a thriving workplace. When team members are highly engaged, they’re more productive and creative. They take more ownership of their work and feel like they’re part of something larger than themselves. Whether you’re starting from scratch or simply want to refresh your memory on the basics, this blog outlines how to create an effective employee engagement plan in just six steps. 

Employee Engagement Strategy Plan

Step 1: Recruitment

Crafting an employee engagement action plan begins at the recruiting stage of the hiring process. This initial step will help you filter out unsuitable applicants and establish a happy, productive environment right from the get-go. You want to find people whose expectations match your company’s culture, mission, and values. Essentially, you want to replicate your top performers. Luckily, Sprockets’ AI-powered platform identifies which potential hires will succeed like your best employees, empowering you to build strong, engaged teams.

 

Step 2: Conduct Employee Surveys

To shape your employee engagement strategy plan, you need to understand what your employees are thinking. In fact, 89% of hiring professionals agree that ongoing employee feedback leads to success. Consider conducting employee surveys to get a sense of how your employees feel about their role and environment. Whether you decide to create a questionnaire or build a series of focus groups, it’s important your workers feel that their opinions truly matter. You may also find that asking your employees to provide anonymous feedback will help them feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas. 

Step 3: Collaborate on Solutions

Collaborate with your team and analyze your employee engagement survey results to develop an action plan. Identify pain points and establish engagement goals. Take a look at other employee engagement action plan examples for inspiration — you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Remember, this level of collaboration is vital to employee engagement as it shows staff members that their voices are being heard.

Step 4: Establish Measurable Metrics

Metrics will help you track the progress — and see how you can improve — your employee engagement plan. The most common employee engagement metric is employee retention. Set S.M.A.R.T. goals to clearly monitor your team member engagement against measurable targets. 

Step 5: Provide Room for Growth and Development

Without progression, employees become bored and dissatisfied. They’ll feel like they aren’t moving forward in their careers and lives. Provide career pathways to show your employees you care. This will keep them motivated to consistently succeed and may even increase their contributions to your business.

Step 6: Measure Your Success

It’s crucial your employee engagement action plan is effective. Continue to track the metrics you established earlier to spot patterns and, ultimately, decide whether or not your plan is working. If you aren’t seeing the results you wanted, don’t be afraid to make changes. Engagement is a continuous process, so it’s important to be flexible and adapt as needed.

Boost Your Employee Engagement With Sprockets

Supercharge your employee engagement by making smarter hiring decisions with Sprockets. Our Applicant Matching System identifies what makes your best employees so successful, empowering you to predict applicant success. Trusted by top brands like Taco Bell and Wingstop, Sprockets users see a 43% improvement in employee retention. It’s easy to use and even integrates seamlessly with popular HR tools like TalentReef and McHire. We’re so confident in our hiring solution that we’re offering free, 15-minutes demos of our platform. 

 

Employee using restaurant technology with a banner below reading: "How Restaurant Ordering Technology Is Transforming the Restaurant Industry"

How Restaurant Ordering Technology Is Transforming the Restaurant Industry

How Restaurant Ordering Technology Is Transforming the Restaurant Industry 1016 528 Sprockets

According to a recent survey, nearly one-third of hospitality workers will not return to work during the labor shortage, leaving many restaurants understaffed. But, what if there was a way to ensure your employees stay long-term? It’s possible with restaurant ordering technology and Sprockets’ AI-powered platform. Continue reading to discover how these new technologies can solve industry challenges, revolutionize the restaurant industry, and continue to evolve.

 

 

Restaurant Ordering Technology

Restaurant ordering technology can significantly improve the ordering experience for you, your customers, and your employees. There are many ways to integrate automated ordering technology into your business, including:

1. Self-Service Ordering Systems

Top brands like Panera Bread regularly utilize self-service ordering systems in their restaurant to increase order count, traffic, and revenue. Although fast-casual and independent restaurants were slower to catch on, the COVID-19 pandemic may have changed their outlook. Implementing this food ordering technology could be the difference between a conversion and a foot out the door. Research by Tillster found that if lines for self-service and traditional ordering were equal length, 30% of customers would prefer to order via the self-service kiosk. The self-service ordering system market is estimated to reach $30.8 billion by 2024. 

2. Integrated Online Ordering Solutions

Online ordering is crucial to restaurant success, especially throughout the pandemic. In fact, many restaurants were able to stay open thanks to integrated online ordering solutions like Toast: All-in-1-Point-of-Sale (POS) Software. This technology allows customers to order in a completely contactless way so restaurants can continue to maximize revenue.

3. Automated Voice Ordering Solutions

McD Tech Labs are partnering with International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) to expand automated voice ordering technology. The goal is to take pressure off employees, especially due to recent events like the pandemic and labor crisis. During the testing stage, ten McDonald’s franchise locations reported 85% accuracy, with employees only needing to step in 20% of the time. McDonald’s CFO explained they realized they had developed the technology as far as possible, which is why they wanted an expert to step in. IBM has significant experience with artificial intelligence and natural language processing. However, customers won’t be seeing this new technology in action nationwide any time soon. According to McDonald’s CFO, “The process will require a few more years.” 

4. “Industry-Defying” Drive-Thru Ordering

A Taco Bell franchise is currently working alongside Taco Bell corporate to launch the first “Defy” drive-thru restaurant. The two-story location will consist of four drive-thru lanes, including a standard lane and three additional ones for mobile orders and delivery pickups. Customers can receive their order by scanning a QR code at the digital check-in screens. A “bell-evator” lift system will deliver their order from the second story. Taco Bell customers can also interact with crew members working on the second story via two-way audio and video technology. This tech-savvy restaurant was created with the “digital consumer in mind” and is estimated to open in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, in 2022. 

Technology Will Not Replace Human Labor

Restaurant ordering technology is here to stay, but that doesn’t mean the need for employees is going anywhere. These technologies are meant to help restaurant employees – not take away their job – execute daily tasks. With a balanced combination of technology and the right employees, your restaurant will succeed, even during a labor crisis.

The Best of Both Worlds

Combining restaurant ordering and hiring technology can significantly improve your restaurant’s success. Sprockets’ Applicant Matching System uses a combination of artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and over 50 years of psychological research to enhance the traditional hiring process. Our solution empowers you to predict applicant success even before the interview, ultimately building strong teams that will stay long-term. It’s trusted by top brands like Chick-fil-A, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Taco Bell to stabilize staffing levels, even during the labor crisis. Schedule a free, 15-minute demo to start hiring more people like your top-performing employees.

 

A phone with a QR code next to food and text reading "How Has Technology Changed Restaurants?"

How Has Technology Changed Restaurants?

How Has Technology Changed Restaurants? 1016 528 Sprockets

It’s easy to see how innovations like smartphones and social media platforms have changed the way we socialize, but what about the dining experience? How has technology changed restaurants? It’s crucial for owners and operators to explore this topic so they can learn lessons from the past, stay ahead of the latest trends, and implement the best solutions for their business. Find out everything you need to know about innovations in the restaurant industry and schedule a free demo of our hiring platform to discover how technology can boost your employee retention by 43%!

Restaurant Technology and Trends

1. Mobile Ordering

Looking back now, the world seemed entirely different just five or ten years ago. The idea of ordering food on a phone before going to the restaurant might have seemed absurd. Fast-food restaurants and technological advances have changed that.

The first major tests with mobile ordering began in 2014 when Taco Bell and Outback Steakhouse announced that customers would be able to order using an app so their food would be ready when they arrived at the restaurant. The popularity of mobile apps for restaurants caught on, and many companies have created their own apps since then.

The trend grew steadily over the next few years but skyrocketed since the COVID-19 pandemic created challenges for eating inside restaurants. Thanks to new technology in the foodservice industry, we could be looking at the future of restaurants and food delivery. Ten years from now, people might wonder why people ever waited to get to the restaurant before ordering at all.

2. Self-Service Kiosks

In addition to mobile ordering, many restaurants have implemented self-service kiosks. These can be free-standing displays at the front of QSR establishments or touch-screen devices at tables. These kiosks make it more convenient for customers to order food and pay their bills. It can also help speed up operations by saving time in the ordering process.

While this new technology in restaurants has been met with some concerns that it replaces human labor and eliminates jobs, this isn’t the case. It simply enhances the experience for employees and enables them to spend more time providing spectacular customer service. The technology will also prevent the staff from being overworked and lead to a better work-life balance.

3. QR Codes

While paying through a tablet or a phone app is a popular solution, some restaurants have chosen another route and created a payment method based on QR codes. Every restaurant does this their own way, with some of them putting the codes at every table and others having a few codes posted in specific locations at the restaurant.

These QR codes can be scanned from a phone and will open an interactive menu. After ordering, you can then easily pay for your food. They are a great way to save time and, much like a self-service kiosk, should help keep your workers from getting overwhelmed.

4. Scheduling Technology

Poor planning can turn a successful business into a disaster overnight. The good news is that we now have more technology to help with time management. Scheduling software is a great way to manage employees and decide what shifts they should work without spending hours staring at a computer document or calendar.

Much of this software can even be found in the form of phone apps, which makes it that much more convenient. Phone app or not, these types of software solutions often come with some very useful features, like a group messaging function that you can use to communicate with employees and an availability tracker to remind you which employees can and can’t work certain shifts.

5. Voice-Assisted Ordering

Ever since the creation of voice-assisted technologies, such as Siri or Amazon’s Alexa, people have been looking for new ways to incorporate voice technology into their lives. One interesting innovation in the restaurant industry has been voice-assisted food ordering.

This technology is convenient for customers and allows restaurant workers to track customer orders and note any dietary needs they might have. This allows the staff members to get their customers the foods they like as quickly and safely as possible. Some voice-assisted ordering solutions even suggest additional items that the customers might want to pair with their meal, creating a better customer experience and generating additional revenue for the restaurant.

6. Sprockets’ Predictive Hiring Platform

Someone on a laptop hiring hourly employees with SprocketsProductive employees are the gears that make your restaurant run as efficiently as possible, and Sprockets makes it easy to build these top-notch teams. Our AI-powered platform uses a brief, three-question survey to identify which applicants will succeed like your top performers. Then, you can simply look at the red-yellow-green scoring system to see who you should hire. It empowers you to make the best hiring decisions every time and improves employee retention by an average of 43%. Get your free demo today!

A banner reading "3 Restaurants Now Offering Subscription Programs for Customers" sits in front of a Taco Bell restaurant

3 Restaurants Now Offering Subscription Programs for Customers

3 Restaurants Now Offering Subscription Programs for Customers 1016 528 Sprockets

Are you struggling to maximize sales at your fast-casual or quick-service restaurant? Consider spicing things up at your restaurant with a subscription-based incentive! Continue reading to discover which restaurants currently offer fast-food subscription programs and why it’s worth considering for your own business. Plus, find out how you can start building strong teams that will succeed and stay long-term. 

Give your customers excellent service every time by hiring the best employees. Sprockets’ hiring solution reveals what makes your top performers succeed, ultimately empowering owners and operators to make more informed hiring decisions and boost employee retention by 43%. 

 

 

1. Taco Bell’s Taco Subscription

Let’s taco ‘bout Taco Bell’s newest fast-food subscription service: The Taco Lover’s Pass! Subscribers can enjoy one FREE taco each day for 30 days when they download the Taco Bell app. The taco subscription is just $5 to $10, depending on the location. Taco-fanatics can treat themselves to seven different types of tacos, including the Crunch Taco, Crunch Taco Supreme, Soft Taco, Soft Taco Supreme, Doritos Locos Tacos, Doritos Locos Tacos Supreme, and Spicy Potato Soft Taco. Although Taco Bell’s subscription plan is currently only available in select Arizona locations, Taco Bell’s taco subscription might make its way to all 50 states. 

2. Panera: MyPanera + Coffee

Is coffee the fuel that helps your business run? You and your employees might love – and learn a thing or two – from Panera’s new monthly subscription. MyPanera + Coffee subscribers can get free, hot or iced coffee through 2021. Then, they can sip unlimited coffee in any flavor for just nine dollars a month starting January 1. To join, customers just need to create or sign-in to their MyPanera account, select their subscription plan, and order their favorite drink. They can receive free coffee every two hours via drive-thru and unlimited refills in the restaurant. Subscribers can pair their beverage with a bagel, muffin, or any breakfast item for the perfect combo (and some bonus revenue for the restaurant).

3. On the Border Mexican Grill and Cantina: Queso Club

In ques(o) you didn’t know, On The Border Mexican Grill and Cantina is offering 365 days of free queso for just one dollar. People can get their hands on free queso for a year by signing up for a Border Rewards account. Then, the next time they’re enjoying a bowl of queso in their restaurant, they can subscribe to the $1 Queso Club and enjoy an entire year’s worth of FREE QUESO. And, in case you think this is a cheesy deal, Border Rewards members also receive personalized rewards, sneak peeks to VIP events, and challenges! Subscribers earn one point for every dollar they spend in the restaurant which they can redeem for discounts on food and drinks.  

Monthly Restaurant Subscription Benefits

Of course, these restaurants aren’t the first to dabble in subscription services. Several benefits can arise from fast-food subscription programs, including:

  1. Increased Revenue: When customers visit the restaurant to retrieve their free taco or cup of coffee, they will likely purchase additional items to make it a meal. 
  2. Customer Loyalty: The brand is able to connect to their customers – both new and current – in an engaging way, increasing customer loyalty. For example, 35% of Panera’s subscribers were new customers. 
  3. Competitive Advantage: Subscriptions like Taco Bell’s taco plan can set your brand apart from competitors, especially during a labor crisis. 

Subscribe to Sprockets and Save on Costly Employee Turnover

While we aren’t giving away free queso or tacos, we are empowering restaurant owners and operators to predict applicant success and build better teams. Our AI-powered solution is trusted by top brands like Taco Bell and Chick-fil-A to reduce employee turnover by an average of 22%. Would you like to save time and money so you can allocate resources elsewhere and focus on daily operations? Check out our Guide to Employee Turnover to learn about proven strategies, including implementing Sprockets!

 

Two restaurant employees - one man and one woman - pose while working. Beneath them, text reads "4 Simple Strategies for Recruiting the Best Restaurant Employees"

4 Simple Strategies for Recruiting the Best Restaurant Employees

4 Simple Strategies for Recruiting the Best Restaurant Employees 1016 528 Sprockets

The current employee turnover rate in the fast food industry is 150%. This alarmingly high percentage makes recruiting for restaurants within the QSR industry difficult, especially during a global pandemic. So, what is the best way to find restaurant employees that will work hard and stay long-term despite industry challenges? Our team compiled strategies that hiring managers can implement to learn how to recruit staff for QSRs. 

Did you know that the average cost of training a QSR employee can be $3,500? Save money and find your ideal restaurant employees with Sprockets! Our AI-powered platform empowers hiring managers to predict new hire success, ultimately reducing employee turnover by 22%.

 

 

HOW TO HIRE FOR FAST FOOD RESTAURANTS 

1. Utilize Social Media Marketing

If you’re wondering how to recruit entry-level employees at your QSR, social media is the way to go. 75% of QSR employees are Gen Zers and Millennials, so you must think the way they do. The younger generations react to short, personalized videos on social media platforms, like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, and YouTube. Create a video showcasing your brand, company culture, work environment, and employee benefits. Don’t forget to include popular and trending hashtags to widen your applicant pool! 

2. Transform Your Job Descriptions

A key strategy to recruiting restaurant employees is to craft effective job descriptions. This may be the first impression applicants have of the position, so it’s crucial your job posting emulates the job opportunity. The job description should be specific and clear: Tell the applicant why they should work for you. 

3. Source Candidates From Multiple Sources

Now that you have perfected your job description and posted on social media, market your QSR position through multiple sources to find restaurant employees, including: 

  • National Restaurant Association: To attract ideal applicants and those with previous restaurant experience, advertise your QSR positions in this highly recognized industry page.   
  • Careers Page: Career pages account for 52% of restaurant hires. Include a link to your careers page on your restaurant website, digital advertising, and in your social media profiles. 
  • Job Boards: Post to multiple job boards such as Snagajob, ZipRecruiter, and Upward to increase your chances of finding the right fit for your QSR.
  • Community Resources: Reach out to your local community for help! Post flyers at local businesses and community centers. Contact local schools, colleges, and work-study programs to offer various positions for qualifying students. Each connection will remember your efforts, which can generate a steady supply of applicants.

4. Hire Internally 

Perhaps you’re struggling with how to hire employees quickly. Consider hiring from within — internal hires have increased 20% since 2019. Hiring internally offers a significant amount of benefits. The onboarding and hiring process for internal employees takes fewer resources. Plus, internal hires are already familiar with the QSR work environment, leading to an increase in productivity and employee retention.

Spend 37% Less Time Hiring

Say goodbye to wasted interview time with Sprockets’ AI-powered platform. Our Applicant Matching System analyzes potential hires that meet your top-performers’ metrics for success, empowering hiring managers to choose the ideal applicant and allocate resources elsewhere.

 

A smiling woman explaing the importance of cultural fit for restaurant employees

The Importance of Cultural Fit for Restaurant Employees

The Importance of Cultural Fit for Restaurant Employees 1200 600 Sprockets

Many factors go into a hiring decision. For instance, hiring managers often consider applicants’ work experience, hard skills, and soft skills. In recent years, the importance of cultural fit has become even more apparent too. In fact, some businesses have begun to give cultural fit equal weight with other attributes or even prioritize it. What exactly is it, though, and why is it important in a restaurant?

 

Defining Cultural Fit as it Relates to Restaurants

In a nutshell, cultural fit is how well an employee’s mentality and behavior line up with the particular values and culture of your restaurant. Unfortunately, restaurant owners don’t always have a handle on what the culture is truly like within their restaurant. One scenario is when, on paper, the restaurant owner supports a philosophy of letting its employees be as independent as possible. In practice, shift managers micromanage the staff members. 

Now, a diner may pride itself on its family-oriented culture, particularly if it is a family-owned business. Or it may tout itself as lean and determined. It may emphasize that its employees need to be able to make quick, good decisions, or it may explain that its employees need to be well-versed in carrying out orders. Some restaurants, however, don’t fully understand what culture fit is and why it’s important. When they do hire, they don’t consider that aspect of applicants’ profiles, and that’s a big mistake.

Why is cultural fit so important?

Hiring for cultural fit is one of the important ways to keeping a company or brand’s reputation. Someone who does not fit the company culture tends to be disengaged from work. Therefore, screening individuals who do not fit your company’s culture in the recruitment process can save you significant time and money in the long run.

Everything Is Amplified in a Restaurant

From our experience, we’ve seen that practically everything is amplified in a restaurant. That is a major reason why hiring for culture fit is critical. There are fewer employees who work long shifts together and fewer channels of communication. More direct contact takes place between customers and every employee in the business. If something goes wrong, it’s liable to go wrong on a bigger scale.

Indeed, just one “bad” hire can do horrendous damage to a restaurant. The damage need not be anything as direct as an employee angering an important customer, although that can and does happen. Rather, it can be indirect like a long wait time, and build up to a devastating level over time. 

 

Consider the following:

Someone who doesn’t fit with the culture of the restaurant is hired. Let’s say this person resents following a rotating schedule and doesn’t really follow the dress code requirements and shows up with blue hair to your upscale restaurant.

This person’s attitude affects the morale of the other employees, who bristle at the new hire who comes in late, leaves early, and appears as they please. Employees’ productivity and morale drops.

Now, some restaurants are able to offer more flexible schedules to employees and have relaxed dress codes. However, not every restaurant is like this. Your employees need to be able to understand and follow the values of your business.

 

Limited Space to Experiment

A restaurant doesn’t have as much room as a large corporate to navigate and make mistakes. So, it’s worth investing additional resources and time to find a proper cultural match. In a larger business, someone who is a bad culture fit might affect the morale of the immediate team members, but that may be where the ripple effects stop. In a restaurant, it’s likely that everyone who works there and the customers could be affected.

 

The Ripple Effects

Earlier, we touched on a few ways in which bad culture can affect the business. Here’s a bulleted list that outlines a more extensive list of examples:

  • Bad work quality
  • Lowered productivity
  • Lowered job satisfaction
  • Decreased morale
  • Poisonous work environment
  • Higher employee turnover
  • Stressed, possibly resentful employees
  • Decreased profits
  • Lost customers

Say that Bob and Jane see their co-worker at a restaurant constantly arrive late and leave early. He calls in sick often and shows up with ripped jeans, not allowed in the dress code. He is slow getting to customers and doesn’t refill waters as often as others on the waitstaff. Bob or Jane (maybe both) may begin to question why they’re even bothering to be productive employees when this guy does what he wants and gets paid the same as them. They resent the employee and begin to think less of their boss for hiring this person. Bob or Jane leave the position, and the search must begin anew for another employee.

Even if your restaurant is laid-back, a poor culture fit can still be harmful. Take a coastal restaurant that encourages employees to wear T-shirts and shorts. A new employee is hired who checks off all the hard skills on paper. Everyone’s excited, but problems may arise quickly if this employee shows up each day wearing a button-down shirt and slacks. For instance, the employee may not mesh with other team members and lose motivation to work. It’s costly to keep an unproductive worker around, and if that worker leaves, to go through another hiring process.

 

Diversity Is Important

You can still have diversity in your small business while hiring for cultural fit. Actually, having a diverse workforce can help your business become quite successful. We want to emphasize that a cultural match does not equal hiring people from the same backgrounds and with similar experiences.

 

Nailing Down the Fit

To be sure, business culture can be tough to nail down. Since it’s important that everyone in the business aligns with its values, how can a business succeed if half of the employees are creative thinkers and half are more rigid thinkers? It’s because culture goes deeper than that. What type of thinker you are matters less than attributes such as self-awareness and ability to collaborate effectively. So, a business filled with employees who practice different methods of thinking/approaching problems can still be extremely profitable. These employees just have to align with a company culture of, say, respect, and collaboration. Having diverse people in your business is an excellent thing, but the culture fit still needs to be there.

 

Practicalities Matter

On the most basic and practical level, the right employees matter for restaurants because they don’t have as much time and resources to spend on hiring. When you hire the right type of person, you hopefully won’t be hiring all over again in a few months when that person leaves. On a deeper level, making several poor hires for culture (or even just one bad hire) may lead to a toxic work environment and hurt the bottom line of your restaurant. If the restaurant keeps hiring people who don’t work out, there may be a mismatch between the perceived (“on paper”) culture and the actual culture. Alternatively, hiring processes may need to be changed, and the people doing the hiring should become more aware of cultural issues.

Overall, making the right hire for a business is important to employee morale, productivity, and the bottom line. To ensure you’re hiring the best matches for your restaurant, learn about Sprockets’ Applicant Matching System.

Impact of COVID-19 on the QSR Industry

Impact of COVID-19 on the QSR Industry 150 150 Sprockets

COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on the quick-service market, posing new challenges for both operators and hiring managers. We are truly in uncharted territory as our industry manages the changing landscape. Here’s an early take on the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

 

The good…

 

QSR’s thrive during economic hardship

During the last economic recession, the general public turned to more convenient and cost-effective food rather than fast-casual and fine dining. 

After the housing crash in 2008, as an example, Subway added 6,000 locations to keep up with demand (Forbes), McDonald’s grew revenue by 4.5%, and Yum Brands outperformed the S&P 500 (Yahoo Finance). 

Restaurant Brands International’s CEO Jose Cil recently shared in their earnings report: “we’re encouraged by early signs of improvement in sales trends across many of our major markets”. 

 

Many QSR brands are growing during COVID-19

For the third consecutive week, restaurant chains witnessed year-over-year same-store sales improvement versus the previous period (Black box Intelligence). Papa John’s had its strongest month ever while adding 1,000,000 people to their loyalty program (QSR). Domino’s and Pizza Hut added nearly 40,000 employees to manage the overflow of delivery orders (Business Insiders). Popeye’s Chicken increased sales by 30% in Q1 (RBI Earnings Report). 

McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski shared his belief that during uncertain and frightening times, people will turn to the “familiar”. “Our overall view is as markets start to open up this desire to really return to familiar favorites, to brands that are known is very, very powerful. And I think the fact that we also have a strong orientation toward convenience and value that I think are also two key elements.”

 

Less competition

This is a hard, sobering fact for the restaurant space. As the world re-opens, there will be fewer and limited independent restaurants. Most independents were forced to shut their doors, lay off their staff, and halt operations without the support from a franchisor. In fact, a recent survey conducted by the James Beard Foundation found that 80% of independents weren’t sure their restaurant would survive this crisis. For those who survive, about 60% describe their revenues as “severely depressed” (National Bureau of Economic Research). 

 

The bad…

 

Hiring just got very complicated

Since President Trump declared a national emergency, nearly 30 million people have filed for unemployment. The huge influx of unemployment has overwhelmed the government, resulting in delays and shortages of unemployment benefits. As of April 15th, nearly half of the workforce has not received their unemployment benefits (NPR). Recently displaced workers are, therefore, more motivated to get back to work with the uncertainty of their next check. 

As other industries shutter, you should expect far more applicant flow. What may seem like a blessing, however, could lead to more time spent in the hiring process. It will be overwhelming for your hiring managers to sift through the hundreds, and even thousands, of resumes to find the right applicants. Do you feel confident that your team will pick the right people? 

 

Employee turnover is increasing for new reasons

Employee turnover has been increasing year-over-year in the QSR industry. COVID-19 will accelerate that further. Here are a few obstacles our users are facing are they strive to retain your team. 

  • Childcare responsibilities
    • 22% of grandparents provide childcare at no cost, but COVID has slashed this number significantly (Vox)
    • The average cost for two young children outside school in more than $20,000 annually (Center for American Progress)
    • As childcare centers and schools reopen, teachers are refusing to go back to work further delaying the predicament. In Seattle, teachers have created a union-esque fight against returning to work (Seattle Education Association). 
  • Employees make more off unemployment
    • The average caregiver makes $22,470 per year, or $1,800 per month before taxes (Glassdoor). 
    • Based on the state, unemployed workers receive between $300 and $500 per week. Unemployed workers in 29 states are currently getting an extra $600 per week (USA Today). That could result in upwards of $4,400 of potential monthly income plus the $1200 per person and $500 per child (IRS). We are starting to hear that caregivers are opting to file for unemployment and quitting their jobs. 
  • Employees are getting sick or are afraid of getting sick
    • As of May 8, nearly 1.3 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19. That number is expected to increase. 
    • The Occupational Safety and Health Act grants workers the right to refuse to work if they believe workplace conditions could cause them serious imminent harm (Time Magazine). 
    • The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) states that workers do not need to go to work if they feel unsafe for “health and safety reasons (Time Magazine)”. 

 

The Ugly…

 
QSR’s will struggle to hire the right people because of their current technology.

We started 2020 with historic low unemployment rates. Many hiring software solutions are therefore built to solve the “labor shortage” problem and neglect proper screening features. As your team must get more selective and efficient, one-click applications and QSR social networks are no longer the only software you need. It is important that you have a screening tool to help automate the influx of new candidates from 15%+ unemployment. 

 

Turnover will get very, very expensive.

With an uncertain economic future, one way to control costs is to reduce your turnover. According to the Society of Human Resource Management, it costs $4,969 to hire, train, and replace an hourly worker. With a staff of 50, you’ll need to hire roughly 66 people (or 5.5 per month). That’s if you maintain the industry average turnover rate of 132%. So, hiring 66 people for $4,969 equals $327,954 in turnover costs. This includes, but is not limited to, resources to interview, train, and onboard. 

 


 

At Sprockets, we are striving to learn from our customers daily. We currently help operators in brands like McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Chick-fil-A with hiring the right people and reducing turnover. If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We would love to hear from you.