Recruiting, Talent

How Restaurants Recruit

A new survey report details what independent restaurants owners and operators are doing to find and attract top candidates in today’s tight labor market. Although focused on restaurants, the report also offers valuable insight for other businesses.

About the Survey, a membership organization for independent restaurant owners, surveyed more than 400 independent restaurant owners and operators for its 2017 Independent Restaurant Recruiting Survey.

Survey Findings

Here are key findings from the survey.
Technology replaces help-wanted signs. The days of the help wanted sign are numbered, the survey finds. Among the reasons such signs are considered in effective is that in-store signage attracts too many unqualified applicants. Only a third (34 percent) of independent restaurant owners report using signs placed in their restaurant to announce job openings. Instead, restaurateurs are turning to technology as they search for new talent. Fifty-seven percent say they use internet classifieds, such as Craigslist; 56 percent say they use social networks; and 44 percent rely on internet job sites in their search for new talent.
Employee referrals top source of employees. However, despite technology-based solutions, word-of-mouth is still the best recruiting tool. An overwhelming majority (86 percent) of independent restaurant operators relies on employee referrals to find new team members. And when asked where they found the best employees, 48 percent responded with employee referrals.
More attention to referral programs needed. Surprisingly, only 26 percent of respondents have a formal referral program. For independent restaurants that reward successful candidate referrals, employees typically earned $100 per referral once a referred candidate is employed for 90 days.
Culture counts, and should be emphasized. A positive restaurant culture (48 percent) was the most cited response to, “What’s the #1 reason people want to work in your restaurant?” Culture is more important than a desirable schedule (8 percent), the need for a job (10 percent), and even good pay/benefits (22 percent). Despite this, only 39 percent of respondents include information about their restaurant culture in job postings.

Overcoming Obstacles

The two most cited hurdles independent restaurant operators face are a lack of qualified applicants (78 percent) and competition for employees (44 percent).
Restaurateurs say they overcome these hurdles by focusing on three areas: continuous recruiting, employee referrals, and actively recruiting the employed.

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