10 Steps to Restaurant Recruiting Success [Infographic]

By: Greg Moran

5 Minute Read

Nov 10, 2017

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Restaurant Recruiting

How do you prep for restaurant success?

Start with strong hires!

The food you serve, the experience you provide - it’s all a product of the people you hire.

But one bad apple can definitely spoil the bunch.

For starters, bad hires cost a lot to replace. According to The Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers, replacements costs are:

  • $20,000 per manager
  • $2,225 per hourly employee

Then there are the bad hires that stay and end up costing you even more—in labor, food costs, employee morale, and guest experience.

So before poor talent gets you in the weeds, try these RESTAURANT essentials for a new perspective on the age-old challenge of hiring. Click the infographic to enlarge in your browser, and feel free to share on your site.


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Recruitment Brand

Are you as focused on attracting applicants as you are on attracting guests? Consumer brand and recruitment brand are closely tied: improve one, and you’ll likely improve the other. But how do you show potential employees what it would be like to work at your restaurant, not just eat there?

To start, walk through your restaurant’s job pages and application process. You might have a great restaurant concept, but you’ll lose credibility if the candidate experience is difficult or outdated.

Employee Engagement

A satisfied employee is a steady employee, but an engaged employee is someone who has a genuine interest in food and guest service. Because they care deeply about their work, engaged employees are natural mentors and improve morale throughout the restaurant.

Hire people who are social, resilient, driven, and team-oriented, and you’re more like to have engaged restaurant staff—which means lower turnover and higher profit per employee.


Because turnover is high, most restaurants are continually filling vacancies. Ideally, you want to have more applicants than you have openings. That gives you options. But for each opening, you can select only one person. How do you know who’s best?

Managers don’t have to guess anymore. They can look beyond past experience and interview skills, and make hiring decisions based on competencies like guest focus and sales ability.

Talent Pool

In a strong job market, candidates can be choosy about the opportunities they take. This will essentially shrink your talent pool, or at least increase competition for good talent. Not everyone will be clamoring for work in the restaurant industry, but the trick is to target those who are.

You don’t have to rely just on referrals and walk-ins anymore. Focus on building a strong recruitment brand and cast a wide net for applicants, then hone in on high potential.


You might still offer paper applications for walk-ins, but more and more restaurants are turning to automated systems to manage the early stages of the hiring process. This frees up managers to focus only on qualified candidates, preferably those with a knack for guest service.

If you want to implement a consistent hiring strategy in a decentralized business, automation is the only way. Otherwise, decisions about talent are made on the fly with no guide and no insight.

Unethical Behavior

Missing work, mistreating others, stealing - you want to avoid it all. You can eliminate unethical behavior simply by hiring people who are comfortable with the team and culture and motivated to perform well in the role.

You can also screen for personality traits that lead to certain types of behavior. Using a pre-hire assessment, a popular service industry chain decreased turnover for areas of misconduct by 40%.

Return on Hire

You have to prove ROI, no matter what you invest in. So when it comes to investing in talent, can you measure the impact? Think of it as return on hire. As you streamline your hiring process and provide managers with tools to build a strong service staff, you’ll need to see clear business outcomes.

Does social recruiting bring in more applicants? Does a pre-hire assessment recommend servers with higher PPA? Start tracking ROH, and you’ll see the success (or shortcomings) of your hiring process.

Applicant Flow

Big brands typically hire by the thousands, and that means filtering through an even bigger pool of applicants. It’s not unusual for national chains to get more than 500,000 applications each year.

Keep managers focused on their store or their region. Have a system do the work of qualifying candidates and identifying the ones who are best suited for the service industry.

New Hire Impact

Managers hire and train new employees all the time. Are they getting better at it as they go and sharing lessons learned with others? Maybe. It’s hard to tell without any visibility into the post-hire process or the quality of new hires.

Gauging success of new hires might be easier than you think. Start with a survey about employee engagement and manager satisfaction, then use that insight to start building quality of hire metrics.


Employee churn is especially challenging in restaurants, with industry averages for turnover at 30% for managers and 114% for hourly employees. Some people look at restaurant jobs as temporary, some shop around for the best clientele, and some just aren’t cut out for the service industry.

That doesn’t mean restaurant turnover is a lost cause. In fact, there’s a lot you can do about it. When you hire for culture and job fit, you make it that much harder for people to walk away.


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