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How to Use Video to Hire Great Restaurant Staff

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Tyler CumellaAuthor

The restaurant industry is working through a tight labor market right now. In the 2019 Restaurant Success Report, 51% of restaurant professionals ranked hiring staff as a top challenge. Because the current state of hiring is so competitive, unoriginal online job postings with bulleted job descriptions just don’t cut it.

To recruit your next great restaurant team member, you need to capture their attention. You need to sell them on why your restaurant is the place to work. You need to show off your restaurant staff and tell candidates why your restaurant is an incredible place to work.

One way to make your restaurant job postings, employer branding, and other recruiting efforts stand out is video. According to Cisco, 82% of all internet traffic will be video-based by 2022 — that’s a ton of people with their eyes on video. And a study conducted by Wistia pointed out that people spend 2.6 times more time on websites that have video than those that don’t.

The true power of video lies in its ability to vibrantly, visually bring your restaurant, its culture, and your employees to life through the screen. And that’s how you attract top candidates.

What makes video such a strong recruiting tool?

A study by CareerBuilder revealed that job postings with videos are viewed 12% more than those without video content. Businesses also have a 34% greater application rate when they add video to their job listings.

But what makes video work so well?

It’s engaging. People love visual communication. If you and I were chatting on the phone about a new general manager role that’s opening up in my restaurant and I listed off the requirements and responsibilities of the job, would you be excited? Eh. What if I took you into the restaurant, introduced you to the team, and walked you through a day-in-the-life? It’s easy to visualize yourself in the role. Video has high potential to pique the interest of new hires and help your employer brand leap off the screen.

Video is also highly shareable. This will help when you launch your restaurant’s employee referral program. Your staff will be more compelled to promote open positions to their friends and networks if there’s an easy-to-share, engaging recruiting video.

Now that we know what makes video such a strong recruiting tool, let’s take a look at how you can use video to recruit great employees for your restaurant.

Authenticity is key

When creating a recruiting video, stay true to your restaurant’s brand. Being authentic will help you better connect with candidates.

You can be warm and funny or a little more serious — whatever feels right. Be honest when telling the story of your restaurant and when speaking to your mission, culture, and values. This way, candidates can get a glimpse into what your restaurant is all about, and they’ll have some idea of what to expect.

This restaurant culture video by Mei Mei in Boston is simple — almost like a slideshow with voiceover — but it clearly communicates their team values and restaurant mission.

Keep your recruiting video real and relatable. If it’s overly polished, chances are no one with restaurant experience will believe the points you’re trying to make. Sure, you don’t want to show the messiest aspects of the job — although that can be kind of fun, too — but that doesn’t mean you can’t aim for authenticity in other ways. One way to do this is to incorporate footage of your team going about their work.

Keep it on the shorter side

From your restaurant’s culture to your core values, there’s a lot you’ll want to cover in your recruiting video. You might find it challenging to decide what stays in the video and what needs to be edited out. But to keep viewers engaged, the video has to be brief and powerful.

According to a study by Microsoft, the average human being now has an attention span of eight seconds. It’d be close to impossible to make your video that short, but you should aim to make your video as short as you can. Otherwise, you risk losing candidates’ attention. Include everything you want to communicate to candidates upfront, but be direct and keep the video moving along at a good pace.

Anywhere between 30 seconds and a minute should be plenty of time to feature a few different employees and showcase the vibe of your restaurant. Speaking of featuring employees.

Put your team members front-and-center

Candidates will be curious to know what the owner or their potential manager is like, but no one will sell them on working at your restaurant like your current employees can.

Feature employees across positions, in both front- and back-of-house. This will make the video relevant for people no matter which position they apply for. Have your team share what they enjoy about working at your restaurant. Ask them to speak to what they like about their roles, the working environment, the food, the customers — anything, really.

This recruiting video from Union Social Eatery in Ontario does an awesome job of putting its employees in the spotlight.

While this video is on the longer side (just over four minutes), it doesn’t drag on and highlights the restaurant’s employees in positions ranging from bartender to server to kitchen staff, showing what they all love about working at the restaurant. It ends with a compelling call to action: “Come join our family.” That warm, emotional power is hard to deny.

Tap your best and most loyal employees to be featured in this video: the ones who know and love you and your restaurant, and the ones who will still be working there when a new candidate starts on their first day.

Don’t break the bank

Your recruiting video doesn’t need to be a big-budget Hollywood production. If you have the resources, there are video production and marketing companies out there — likely ones right in your town or city — that can help create your video. But if you’d prefer to keep the budget low, use your iPhone or smartphone to shoot your video. Video recording technology for mobile phones has come a long way. Here are some tips for how to make it work.

1. Use a gimbal or tripod

If you shoot your video handheld, the end product may come out looking a bit shaky. A gimbal like the DJI Osmo or a tripod built for mobile phones will make sure your video is smooth and steady.

2. Light your video

You’ll likely be shooting your video inside your restaurant, so supplemental lighting will go a long way in boosting the quality of your footage.

Instead of investing in professional video lighting, put together a cheaper lighting kit by purchasing supplies from your local hardware store. Wistia has some good tips on this.

icon Resource

Interview Questions Template

With culture questions, experience questions, and situational questions, this customizable Word doc will guide your interviews with prospective candidates.


If you decide to not purchase lights, at least use as much natural light as possible when filming. This means shooting in the morning or early afternoon and near any windows or doors.

3. Use a microphone

Use a microphone to capture the best quality sound. They even make low-cost directional microphones specifically optimized for smart phone use, like the Rode VideoMic Me. If you can’t swing the dollars for a microphone, have your employees record voice notes on their phones and use them as narration laid over active shots of them working in the restaurant.

4. Time to edit

Once you’ve shot all of your footage, it’s time to edit your video. There’s plenty of editing software out there, from Adobe Rush to iMovie. HitFilm Express has great functionality for a free software. Choose whichever tool you think is the most cost-effective and easy to use. If you want to use music in the background of your video, license royalty-free music from sites like Shutterstock.

When it’s ready, spread the word

Once your video is ready for the world to see, share it wherever and however you can. Upload it to YouTube and share using the generated link. Include information about your restaurant in the YouTube video description and link out to your website.

Include the video in all your job postings moving forward. Put it up on your website’s careers or jobs page. Share it across your social media channels. You can also use the video in paid advertisements on Facebook and Instagram to promote your open job opportunities.

Hiring great candidates to fill your restaurant’s open roles can be challenging, but video can help you stand out. With some solid video footage and a little expert editing, you’ll be able to excite and capture the attention of great candidates by bringing your restaurant to life.

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