Menu
Hiring in the Food-Service Industry
Friday, Jul 28, 2017

At this point in the summer, employers in the food-service industry can find themselves in a tough spot. Roles in restaurants, bars, and quick-service and event establishments all require a high level of customer service and teamwork. But after a few busy summer weeks, workers in these positions might start feeling a bit of burn out or simply realize that they’re not the right fit. The resulting turnover can be extremely disruptive.

Unfortunately, this is a common issue faced by employers who seek hourly employees. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that there are roughly 77.2 million workers age 16 and older paid hourly rates, representing 58.7 percent of all wage and salary workers. Historically, turnover for this labor segment is high, 70 to 120 percent per year in most industries. That means that far too many employers are left in difficult positions, having to consistently navigate unstable staffing requirements and attempt to find new hires that will stay longer and perform better.

Successfully hiring food-service workers involves some creativity. Like the service they’ll ultimately provide, these job seekers want their candidate experience to be fast, easy, engaging and personal. Recruiters for whom reducing employee turnover is a top concern can follow these guidelines to help find and attract top talent.

How to Reduce Employee Turnover Before They’re Hired

To find employees who are in it for the long haul, you must start with an employer brand that attracts the candidates you want. First, be sure to develop a company career site that constructs a comprehensive employer story. Use photos, videos and engaging copy to highlight employee successes, brand values and the company culture. Go beyond the basic requirements of the roles and infuse your job postings with language that fits your business’ personality and gives job seekers a real glimpse into their day to day activities so they know what to expect.

Once you have a strong career site, extend your reach with search engine optimization (SEO) to improve online search listings on sites including Google, Yahoo, and Bing. SEO is becoming increasingly important, especially considering the recent launch of Google for Jobs, which provides access to Google’s machine learning capabilities to power smarter job search and recommendations within career sites, jobs boards, and other job matching sites and apps.

Recruiters would also be smart to prioritize a social media recruiting strategy as another layer of promotion targeting users on popular sites including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. If a candidate can follow your organization on these sites and see photos of the office, spotlights on current employees, and other company milestones and celebrations, they’ll feel more connected to your brand and have more of a vested interest in your success.

Recruit for Hospitality by Showing Hospitality

More than 80 percent of hourly workers are employed within a five-mile radius of their homes, and working close to home is a highly important factor among hourly job seekers. To increase your hourly hiring success and find best-fit candidates, use this knowledge to begin targeting candidates living locally to your business and cater to their lifestyles.

It’s most impactful to meet potential hires face-to-face so you can get a sense of their personalities. Participate in local job fairs in your community and host “open house” events where local candidates can learn more about your business and employment opportunities and better understand your brand. Event advertising, pre-registration and mobile resume uploads at the job fair are all much easier when using a candidate relationship management (CRM) tool. If you haven’t implemented a CRM as part of your recruiting tool kit already, you’re missing out on all of this crucial event support, reporting, and much more.

CRM software is critical for developing a strong talent pipeline, particularly for any business that hires hourly employees on a recurring basis. It allows you to develop talent pools full of passive candidates – whose contact information is collected at recruiting events or from a branded social connect page – to source from when the time is right. Better yet, you can organize talent pools based on certain roles (cashiers, servers, cooks, etc.) or by demonstrated soft skills like teamwork and communication.

Leverage recruitment marketing automation tools to not only organize passive candidates, but nurture them. By providing regular email or text updates on company news and information, you will also cultivate more engaged new hires who are already familiar with your company since they have gotten to know you over time. And with candidate activity meters, you can see which candidates are most actively engaged with your content and reach out to them first when a job opens.

Get New Hires Ready to Go   

Once you’ve found the right hire, there is still plenty you can do to ensure their long-term success. According to SHRM’s onboarding study, nearly half of all hourly workers leave new jobs within the first four months. As SHRM points out, employees who are onboarded using the “sink-or-swim” technique struggle to figure out what is expected and how they can be successful in their new work place. This can be a huge factor for turnover in the food-service industry which typically has a faster turnaround between the interview and the start date than other organizations.

Automated onboarding programs increase return-on-investment by helping to reduce preliminary recruiting costs and improving employee retention and productivity in the long run. An automated onboarding program eliminates reliance on paper documents and more importantly, avoids overloading new-hires with too much heavy information, the majority of which they will not use for several months or maybe never.

Instead, employees who benefit from a well-executed onboarding program have easy access to forms, employment information, and a view into the company’s culture prior to the first day of work. With videos, infographics, and even biographical introductions to key people with whom the employee will work, new employees gain a richer understanding of your company’s inner workings. So, on their first day, they can focus on providing exceptional service and developing team relationships, instead of worrying about overwhelming paperwork or feeling lost in the shuffle.