How to Use Video to Recruit Great Restaurant Staff

By: Tyler Cumella

7 Minute Read

Sep 16, 2019

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How to Use Video to Recruit Great Restaurant Staff

To recruit your next great restaurant employee, you really have to capture their attention and sell them on why your restaurant is the place to work. Otherwise, what’s to keep them from going to work at another restaurant down the street, one that’s likely also hiring?

In the 2019 Restaurant Success Report, 51% of restaurant professionals ranked hiring staff as a top challenge. With this challenge looming, online posts with bulleted job descriptions alone will no longer cut it. You have to present your restaurant culture and team in the best light possible and show potential candidates why your restaurant is an excellent place to work.

One way to make your restaurant job postings, employer branding, and other recruitment efforts stand out is video. According to Cisco, 82% of all internet traffic will be video-based by 2022 — that’s a lot 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 with video than those without.

The true power of video, though, lies in its ability to vibrantly, visually bring your restaurant, its culture, and your employees to life — and thus attract top candidates. Here are some tips and best practices on how to use video to recruit great employees for your restaurant.

Free Resource: The Ultimate Guide to Hiring, Training, and Retaining Restaurant Staff

Authenticity is key

When making your recruitment video, stay true to your restaurant’s brand and voice. The power of authenticity can’t be understated and will help you better connect with candidates.

You can be warm and funny, or a little more serious — whatever best suits your restaurant. Be sure to 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 of what your restaurant is all about, and they’ll have some idea of what to expect.

This restaurant culture video by Mei Mei is simple — almost like a slideshow with voiceover — but clearly communicates the restaurant’s values and mission.

You also want to keep your recruitment video real and relatable. If it’s overly polished, chances are no one with restaurant experience will fully believe the points you’re trying to get across in the video. Sure, you don’t want to show the messiest aspects of the job in the video, 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 (front of house and back of house) going about their work.

Keep it on the shorter side

From your restaurant’s culture to your team to your values, there’s going to be a lot you’ll want to cover in your recruitment video. You might find it challenging to decide what stays in the video and what needs to be edited out. But in order 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, 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 employees 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 more relevant for people no matter what position they apply for. Have them share what they enjoy about working at your restaurant. Ask them to speak to what they like about their position, in particular.

This recruitment video from Union Social Eatery does an amazing job of putting their employees in the spotlight.

While the video is on the longer side (just over four minutes), it never drags and highlights the restaurant’s employees in positions ranging from bartender to server to kitchen staff and what they love about working at the restaurant. And it ends with a compelling call to action: “Come join our family.” It has a warm emotional power to it that’s hard to deny.

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

You don’t have to break the bank

Your recruitment 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 that can help create your video. But if you’d prefer to keep the budget low, use your iPhone or whatever phone you may have to shoot your video. Video recording technology for mobile phones has come a long way. Here are some tips for shooting a video on your mobile phone.

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 help 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 lights, you can put together a cheaper lighting kit by purchasing supplies from your local hardware store. Wistia has some good tips on this.

If you decide to not purchase lights, at least make sure that you’re using as much natural light as possible when shooting. This means shooting in the morning or early afternoon, and by whatever windows or doors you have available.

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 afford 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 is plenty of editing software out there, from Adobe Rush to iMovie. HitFilm Express has a great deal of functionality for a free software. Choose whichever you think is the most cost-effective and easiest to use. 

If you want to use music in the background of your video, you can license royalty-free music from sites like Shutterstock.

Once it’s ready, promote your recruitment video

Once you’ve finished creating your video and it’s ready for the world to see, share it wherever you can. Upload it to YouTube and share using the link it generates. Include the video in all 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 it in paid advertisements on Facebook and Instagram to promote open job opportunities.

Through the power of video, you’ll be able to better excite and capture the attention of great candidates by bringing your restaurant employer brand to life.

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