Restaurants

Chefs in the kitchen of a restaurant

Four Tips to Engage Restaurant Staff Members and Reduce Employee Turnover

Four Tips to Engage Restaurant Staff Members and Reduce Employee Turnover 1200 600 Sprockets

Fostering a sense of team unity is an excellent way to make your restaurant the best it can be. Facilitating team activities, goals and a common vision are great ways to encourage employee engagement. With a strong team, you’ll see better productivity, retention, and profits. Encouraging team unity doesn’t simply mean playing a few ice breaker games at pre-shift meetings. It is a deep-rooted, multi-faceted initiative that should stem from a good deal of thought and planning that has a real impact on business. In fact, 86% of employees and executives state that workplace failures are a direct result of a lack of collaboration or ineffective communication. To strengthen your team, we’ve compiled four team building tips for engaging restaurant staff members and reducing employee turnover.

 

Encourage Informal Social Gatherings

If team-building is established as extra work, your staff members won’t be as apt to join in. But, promoting informal social gatherings on a day the restaurant closes early is a great way to encourage team building. When staff members can gather outside of pressure-filled shifts, they gain quality time to get to know each other. Gatherings could include a shared meal at your restaurant, or an outing to see how a rival restaurant operates and discuss what they see as working or not working. 

 

Encourage Employee Contribution

Every single person has been in a work situation or meeting when they have had the urge to voice an opinion or idea but chose to keep it to themselves for a variety of reasons. This can often lead team members to feel that their input and opinion isn’t valued.

A great way to foster a team culture is to encourage employees of all levels to contribute. A great way to start this process is to leave a specific time allotment for employee contribution during meetings or project discussions. Encourage leadership to actively listen and encourage the sharing of ideas. This doesn’t mean that everything will be smooth sailing when it comes to team contribution. However, the simple act of encouraging employees to speak up builds up a strong company culture and helps people feel that they are an important part of a team.

 

Establish Clear, Open Communication Lines

The saying “communication is key” is especially important when one of your major goals is building a sense of team unity. Establishing clear, open lines of communication is the first step to ensuring the success of a team-building endeavor. Individual employees should have a common communication line, such as a team leader or senior team member, that they can go to with progress reports or questions. Employees should never be discouraged from communicating. However, it is also important to establish up-front what type of communication will be beneficial to work toward a common objective or goal. For example, complaining or going off-topic will only develop unnecessary traffic when it comes to communication.

 

Recognize Accomplishments

Did your restaurant recently meet its monthly sales goal? Identify staff from every aspect of the restaurant that had a positive impact on meeting that goal. That may include a server that went above and beyond, a bartender who stepped up and took open shifts, or a shift leader who got great reviews from a customer. Employees that receive recognition for their accomplishments will be encouraged to continue their work endeavors. While building your plan to recognize key contributors, it’s also important to outline how you can recognize and reward the accomplishments of the restaurant staff as a whole that contributed. This may include an extra bonus or a free meal voucher for them and a guest.

 

As you grow and engage restaurant staff members, check out the Sprockets platform. Our Applicant Matching System is designed to assist restaurant owners and managers in hiring the employees by matching applicants against your best people. 

 

Recommended for you: Interview Questions for Cashiers and Front of House Staff 

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.

 

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. 

 

What Your Drive-Thru Staff Needs to Know

What Your Drive-Thru Staff Needs to Know 150 150 Sprockets

If you look at your QSR, the drive-thru can be easy to miss. It’s often not made the focal point of a location – but maybe it should be. A study shows that up to 70% of QSR sales are from the drive-thru. With a majority of business going through a drive-thru, it’s important to put special training in place for your drive-thru staff to master this aspect of the business. Read on to learn four easy ways to improve your QSR’s drive-through experience for customers.  

 

Customer Service

Training for the front of house employees usually includes ensuring they always portray a friendly face and have a positive tone in their voices. But, is the same reminded to those who work at the drive-thru? While drive-thru staff may not always be face-to-face, maintaining the same level of customer service and positivity will keep customers coming back.

Another impactful strategy is to greet customers at the order box before they do. Don’t wait for them to say “Hello?” instead, greet them with a friendly “Welcome to XYZ, may I take your order?” This shows the same level of customer service that would be given inside of your establishment.

 

Accuracy of Orders

The one thing all customers hate is driving off and realizing something is missing. Managers may get calls afterward with complaints – or customers will take to social media to complain. Taking the extra few seconds for drive-thru staff to repeat an order back to a customer before sending them off will keep customers happy and keep your online reviews competitive.

 

Time to Deliver

While the other two tips focus on spending more time focusing on the customer, cutting downtime to deliver can also be done in tandem. One strategy that major franchises practice is having drive-thru staff outside in the line of cars to take orders. When an employee notices that the drive-thru line is backing up, they have two choices. One is to rush through orders, comprising accuracy and customer service. The other option (which we recommend) is to take one cash register employee and have them take orders outside. This helps speed up the line and keeps customers happy.

 

Upselling

One easy way to get more orders through your drive-thru is to clearly advertise the same specials you have going on inside. Have a holiday shake? Special promotion? Make sure these are clearly labeled at the ordering window and/or announced to customers as they make their decision.

Overall, taking the time to reflect and evaluate your current drive-thru practices is important for growing business. Plus, learn how Sprockets’ Applicant Matching System helps you hire exceptional employees for your business.

Plus, check out a recent guest blog from HR expert, Tess Taylor on How to Identify Action-Oriented Applicants.

A bartender making drinks

4 Ways Your Employees Are Stealing From Your Restaurant

4 Ways Your Employees Are Stealing From Your Restaurant 1200 600 Sprockets

You want to think you have hired the best employees. You want to think that they wouldn’t steal from your business or deceive you. Unfortunately, that often isn’t the case. In fact,  75% of employees have admitted to stealing at least once from their employer.  However, not all theft is monetary. It can also include lost productivity and taking advantage of “free” food in a restaurant setting. This may sound shocking and disappointing, but when you know the signs to look for, you can mitigate the theft. 

 

1. Time

What breaks do you offer your employees? How well are they monitored? One common theft is time. When an hourly employee takes longer breaks than accounted for or disappears for 30 minutes, they are being paid for not working. A study by the American Society of Employers found that 20% of every dollar earned by a U.S. company is lost to employee time theft.

 

2. Money

Internal employee theft is responsible for about 4% of restaurant sales. Tracking where the money is lost can be difficult.

Here are common tactics employees use to pocket change:

  • Ringing up a cheaper alcohol than what was used 
  • Taking from the cash register
  • Voiding cash transactions 
  • Claiming people dined and dashed 

 

3. Food and Inventory

Offering free food to employees on their break seems like a nice perk to offer, right? It is. The problem is when employees take advantage of this and take more free food than what’s really offered. A survey uncovered that internal employee theft is responsible for 75% of inventory shortages.

Examples of food theft:

  • Making extra pizzas at the end of the night to take home
  • Giving free alcohol to friends and favorite customers
  • Snacking on unauthorized foods

 

4. Productivity

It’s not unexpected for employees in this digital age to sneak some peeks at their phones during a shift. However, when this consistently happens, or when they start taking bathroom breaks to do so, it becomes an issue. This lost productivity is costing your restaurant. It can result in unhappy customers and even fewer customers served due to slow table turnaround time.

Overall, employees stealing reaches from time and productivity to money to inventory. Awareness of these issues empowers you to put policies and procedures in place to mitigate these thefts in your restaurant. 

 


 

Want to hire reliable and trustworthy staff from the start? Learn how Sprockets’ Applicant Matching System can help your restaurant hire staff you can trust and reduce employee turnover.

 

A man and woman smiling in a restaurant

Scheduling Tips for Hourly Employees

Scheduling Tips for Hourly Employees 1200 600 Sprockets

From shifting schedules to staff members who leave mid-shift, scheduling hourly employees can be difficult. However, effectively scheduling staff members has a large, positive impact on employee engagement and retention. In fact, 51% of people say they would quit their job for a flexible work schedule.  These are a few of the most important scheduling tips to keep in mind.

 

Determining Flexible vs. Set Schedules

No matter the industry you’re in, hourly workers will have a preference for either a flexible or set weekly schedule. For example, learning if someone would rather work M, W, F rather than scheduling them where there are openings will cut back on the number of days they are a no-show or late to work.

 

Guaranteed Hour Allocations

One of the biggest complaints from hourly employees is unsteady income. In fact, a JP Morgan Chase study showed that 55% of people report experiencing income change of 30% or more each month, most of it driven by inconsistent hours at their primary job. Offering guaranteed hours each week (or pay period) increases employee engagement and retention. When people aren’t worried about if they’re going to have enough money or what their next paycheck will be, they are able to focus more on their tasks at hand. 

While this scheduling tip may seem intimidating to implement, the number of hours people truly want may surprise you. Someone who works at your location as their primary job may want a guaranteed 30-40 hours. On the other hand, 17% of hourly employees hold a second job. These employees may only want 5-10 or 10-20 hours.  Knowing the hours someone wants to work not only helps with initial scheduling, but also with filling extra shifts that may come up.

 

Noting Shift Preferences

When you hire someone, it is important to ask their shift preferences. If you have morning, afternoon, and evening shifts, finding people who prefer each one is important! It ensures you will have people who will retain longer and will be able to show up for the shifts they are assigned.

Scheduling Preference Questions for New Hires
  • How many hours do you prefer to work each week?
  • How many hours do you prefer to work each day (single shift or double shift)?
  • Which days of the week do you prefer to work?
  • How far in advance do you need a schedule?
  • Which shift(s) work best for you on a consistent basis (morning/afternoon/evening)?
Scheduling Preference Questions for Current Employees

Ask all the same questions mentioned above and the following questions.

  • What do you currently like about your schedule?
  • What do you wish was different about your schedule?
  • Do you have any feedback on our scheduling practices?

 

Posting Shifts in Advance

Whether you offer set or flexible schedules, posting shifts in advance is important. If someone isn’t available on the date they are scheduled, giving them enough time to get it covered is needed. This cuts down on employee absences and being late.

The magic number of posting a schedule is two weeks. However, this step usually comes after nailing down the information from the tips above. When you have enough information about when, how often, and what shift people like to be scheduled, it streamlines the scheduling process moving forward.

In conclusion, taking a step back to look at your scheduling practices and implementing a few of these scheduling tips will increase employee retention and attendance. Plus, by promising potential employees a schedule in advance, a minimum number of hours, and preferred shift times, you will be able to attract more candidates than your competitors.


Be sure to check out our Applicant Matching System to learn how we match applicants against your current employees to streamline your hiring process. We’ll ensure you only hire dependable people, reducing employee turnover costs.

 

Happy employees enjoying the company culture of their QSR company

Why Company Culture Matters in a QSR

Why Company Culture Matters in a QSR 1920 1200 Sprockets

Creating a positive culture in the QSR space is important. While it can be easy to focus on fast customer times and a spotless environment, the people who perform these tasks need a positive environment. Cultivating a positive culture that employees want to stay in, and that attracts new employees, takes work. It’s worth it. Here are the reasons why maintaining a positive culture in your QSR is worth the time and money.

 

Productivity

Your employees are your assets. They drive the customer experience through greetings, time to deliver an order, and a clean environment. If employees aren’t connected to their company culture, they aren’t as likely to be productive. In fact, 70% of employees are NOT working at maximum productivity. But, when a positive culture is implemented, happy employees are a result. Happy employees are 12% more productive than their counterparts.

 

Conflicts

If you have a family-type culture in your QSR, that’s great! Unfortunately, many people encounter cliques within their workforce, which can divide employees. When this happens, conflicts tend to arise regarding who takes over more cleaning responsibilities or picking up open shifts. If you establish an open, healthy culture with employee engagement initiatives, you’ll have happier employees.

 

Customer Satisfaction

Happy employees lead to happy customers. If your employees are working with a frown on their face, it isn’t going to make the customers feel good about their visit. By working to create a positive company culture, your customers will be positively impacted.

 

Retention

Losing good employees has a significant financial impact on a QSR. It costs almost $5,000 on average to replace one hourly employee. Luckily, knowing how culture impacts retention can work to take steps to fix it.

 


Learn how Sprockets’ Applicant Matching System helps streamline the hiring process by matching applicants against your current best employees – giving you better hiring and reduced employee turnover costs. And, get tips on quick ways to increase employee engagement once you have your franchise up and running!

The exterior of a Wendy's QSR restaurant

The Future of QSRs

The Future of QSRs 750 524 Sprockets

Smaller, sleeker, faster. These are the three key elements that make up the future of QSR locations. The new elements aim to lower overhead costs, appeal to millennial customers and increase productivity. The new target audience is what is driving these changes, which are Millennials and soon enough, Gen Z. In fact, purchasing power has shifted to diners ages 22 — 36. With an interest in technology and social eating – as compared to luxury, the new QSR locations aren’t what they used to be. Read on to learn what these new features mean and why they are important to take into account.

 

Smaller

QSR locations are being built smaller. This is a result of the increased amount of drive-through and delivery orders. According to Franchise Times, most major QSRs in North America see as much as 70 percent of their business in drive-thru lanes, and technology is seen as critical to driving more sales and ensuring the experience is fast, accurate and positive. In addition, the rise of delivery services such as Postmates, GrubHub, and UberEats, people just aren’t coming in to locations to eat anymore. Because of these factors, locations are able to be built smaller and more efficiently focused on getting orders through.

 

Sleeker

Everywhere people go nowadays gets documented on Instagram, Snapchat and more. Because of this, the restaurant spaces should look picture perfect – along with the presentation of the food. This means simple, sleek designs. We love the modern building featured above from Starboard Wendy’s.

 

Faster

In 2019, people expect instant gratification. To speed up processes, many QSRs are implementing ordering kiosks, digital drive-thru displays and even voice ordering, like with Amazon Alexa.

Digital drive-thru displays as a menu board were avoided for many years due to screen glare and the impact of heat on electronics. Now, technology has been developed to work for this venture – and has proven it works. A 10-location pilot with Dunkin’ Donuts resulted in increased customer volume, order value and improved promotion conversions.

Overall, staying abreast of restaurant trends is key to staying competitive in the QSR industry. Let us know which trends you are like the most!


Learn how Sprockets’ cutting edge hiring technology can assist in assessing candidates so you only hire the best people for your restaurant.

Best Practices for Restaurant Hiring

Best Practices for Restaurant Hiring Sprockets

Restaurant jobs often include first jobs for students and entry-level positions for people lacking employment skills. Many restaurant owners don’t check references, and pay rates are often close to the minimum wage. Statistics show that the highest turnover rates are in the Northeast and Midwest according to Upserve.com

The average cost of training a restaurant employee is $3,500, but 42 percent of front-of-the-house employees leave within the first 3 months, and 43 percent of restaurant managers leave within a year. According to Upserve.com, an astonishing 72 percent of restaurant employees leave within a year of hire.

That’s why it’s so important to hire restaurant employees more strategically based on strong evidence of loyalty and the right skill set. Recruiting technology helps by making it easy to search past resumes, but these usually have a short shelf-life in the restaurant hiring process. Start your hiring process off right by using these best practices for restaurant hiring.

 

Sourcing Candidates

Recruiting technology and management software gives you a competitive edge when hiring local talent. Traditional methods still work for hiring in restaurants — such as hiring people whom you know, employing the kids of regular customers and interviewing walk-ins, and word of mouth.

Here are some often-overlooked strategies to source candidates:

  • Advertise Openings in All Your Marketing

    According to CareerPlug, 8% of applicants come from careers pages, but careers pages account for 52% of restaurant hires. You should include a link to your careers page on your restaurant website, digital advertising, and even neighborhood flyers. List all available areas so that casual browsers know what might be available.

     

  • Use the National Restaurant Association to Attract Restaurant Professionals

    The National Restaurant Association sponsors a popular job board for restaurant jobs. This is an ideal place to advertise for top-level restaurant jobs.

     

  • Other Digital Marketing Forums

    More restaurants advertise restaurant jobs on Craigslist than they do in local newspapers. It’s a cheap way to reach your local audience without the high costs of newspaper advertising.

     

  • Social Media Marketing for Restaurant Hiring

    Social media pages are great places to connect with your customers, manage hiring referrals, and pre-qualify job candidates for interviews. You can encourage your followers to share links with their friends who might be interested. Another option is to sponsor a cooking or recipe contest to gauge interest in your cuisine and brand. The MGM Grand, which was looking for a new head chef, ran its own version of “Iron Chef”.

    The contest featured 16 contestants working in different company-owned eateries who were given a secret ingredient and 60 minutes to prepare a four-course meal. The winner, a 32-year-old sous chef, became head chef at the new restaurant and increased restaurant sales by 400 percent.

     

  • Contacting Community Resources

    You can contact local schools, colleges, and work-study programs to offer entry-level jobs for highly motivated students. You can also post flyers at local coffee shops, malls, employer bulletin boards, and community centers. Each contact person will remember your efforts and recommend your restaurant to qualified job seekers, which can generate a steady supply of applicants.

     

  • Third-party Hiring Services

    Third-party hiring services — such as Monster.com, Simply Hired, Career Builder, or Shiftgig — can provide access to thousands of resumes when you’re looking to fill key management and chef positions.

 

Managing Applications

One reason restaurants lose top talent is delayed response time. In the restaurant industry, someone may be applying for a server position at up to five restaurants at once. They are likely to take the position for whichever restaurant gets back to them the quickest.

To narrow down the applications you receive (and improve your response time) you should clearly define the job, the qualifications you’re looking for, and what candidates need to do to apply. The more detailed your job description, the better fit your applicants will be.

Using a pre-hire assessment also helps to easily and quickly sort through applicants to see who is worth bringing in for an interview. At Sprockets, our Applicant Matching System shows which candidates make a good match for your restaurant based on cultural fit and mental makeup. 

 

Interview with Intent

Candidate attitudes are critical when hiring for restaurants. Although many candidates don’t have lots of experience or training, you can still gauge their work attitudes. In an industry with high turnover rates, it’s often beneficial to take a chance on a promising candidate. Here are some great questions to ask prospective employees:

  • What does working on a team mean to you?
    This question allows you to gauge whether a candidate is a team player. Acceptable answers might show a willingness to pitch in on a task outside his or her responsibilities or work in an unfamiliar position.
  • What’s your favorite part of waiting on customers?
    Even inexperienced candidates can demonstrate their knowledge of the food industry when they answer this question. Does the candidate use the right terminology and show a grasp of restaurant service concepts?
  • What hours are you available?
    The greatest candidates in the world won’t be a good fit unless they can cover a necessary shift.
  • What is your greatest strength and weakness?
    This is a common question that generates strange answers. Some people choose a weakness that’s really a strength, but that’s a red flag. An honest answer that shows a willingness to improve is the best response.

 

Overall, hiring and retaining employees in the restaurant industry has proven to be difficult. But, with the help of innovative technologies and creative strategies, we’re confident the landscape can change. Learn more about how Sprockets can help you make great hires and reduce turnover or get started with a free account.

Someone pouring coffee at a QSR restaurant

How to Recruit QSR Employees

How to Recruit QSR Employees 737 488 Sprockets

“If you’ve already had 2 people quit this week and it’s only Tuesday, you might be a fast-food operator. If you spend more time sourcing talent and reading resumes than improving your operations, you might be a fast-food operator. When you fall asleep at night worrying that you’ll be understaffed when hungry teenagers flood your location after the big game, you might be a fast-food operator” – Tammy Cohen, PHR, SHRM-CP.

According to The National Restaurant Association, employee turnover across the entire restaurant industry was 61% in 2016 and that percentage is almost twice as high for front-line workers. This high turnover for fast-food employees is associated with a $3,000+ loss per employee through initial recruitment costs, orientation, and training, and before they quit – productivity loss.

If you’re a fast-food operator, try implementing these recruiting strategies to find better candidates and use Sprockets to hire the best ones.

1. Use video

Videos get more than 2X the engagement as text ads, especially with younger generations. Video is not only a great tool for traditional advertising, but for marketing jobs to potential fast-food workers.

You can create short videos that show the dynamics of your team and behind-the-scenes shots of company perks. Do fast-food employees get a free meal when they work? A free milkshake to take home? Include fun bonuses in the video to attract candidates. You can shoot short stories about your positions and the benefits of working with you on the social platforms your company is on.

2. Revamp your job descriptions

If your job posting looks like this for your fast food restaurant, it’s time to revamp.

  • Great Pay!

  • Flexible Hours!

  • Opportunities for Advancement!

  • Must be hard-working and responsible.

The job posting should be specific to your business and tell the job-seeker why they should want to work for you.

  • What is the pay range? Are there standard raises?

  • What are the hours? 20 hours or 40 hours per week?

  • What opportunities for advancement are there? How many people have advanced?

  • What does a day as an employee look like?

  • Extra perks of working at XYZ company – as told by current employees

3. Expand Your Reach

Think about where your employees spend the majority of their time online. For entry-level, young workers in the fast-food industry, it’s often on social media. Try expanding your job postings to social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and even Twitter to recruit applicants.

Plus, if you currently have hard-working, trusted fast-food employees, implement a referral program. If they post about the job openings on their social media and through word-of-mouth, you are more likely to find good workers like them! Keep in mind that most referral programs offer the employee a certain dollar amount when the person gets hired, and another amount after they have stayed for 6 months.

4. Keep your Current Employees

Keeping your current fast-food employees happy and engaged is vital to your business’s success. From reduced turnover costs to higher employee engagement and production, spending the extra time or money on employee retention is just as important as finding new employees.

Once you have sourced candidates, utilize a predictive hiring system like Sprockets to streamline your hiring process. Sprockets creates a Success Profile based on your top-performing employees and quickly matches all applicants to the Success Profile to rate their potential success with your company. Learn more and explore the system with a free account.