Help Wanted: Hire Better Restaurant Employees


More and more, the signs are out there. Literally — “Help Wanted,” “Now Hiring,” “Inquire Within.” Yet, turnover in the hospitality industry seems to always be an issue, forcing many operations into a perpetual state of advertising.

Some restaurant managers sit back and wait for ideal employees to waltz through the front door. The best prospects, however, don’t always show up when they should. In fact, they may be working in some other service-related industry, never having even considered a job in the restaurant business. In that case, you’ll have to go looking for them.

Restaurant Hiring: Hire the Smile

Have you ever come across a smiling, industrious employee at a photocopy center? How about a friendly attendant at the dry cleaner or Laundromat? Did the salesperson at the clothing store “wow” you with exceptional service? These are the kind of people you want working for you, whether they have restaurant experience or not. As is often said, “Hire the smile.” Give them your card. When you find an ideal candidate, discreetly hand out a business card and say, “I appreciate your smile and excellent service. If you’re ever looking for work, please give me a call.”

Who knows? One day that perfect person might become interested in a part-time income or a whole new line of work. If not, you’ve at least made his or her day with the compliment. You’ve also planted a seed. That person may know someone who’s looking for work, someone with equal customer-service skills, someone who turns out to be the best hiring decision you’ve ever made. All for the price of a business card.

Get Everyone Involved in Restaurant Hiring

Encourage all the managers and assistant managers in your restaurant to keep their eyes peeled for people in the business of providing quality customer service. While you’re at it, get the whole staff involved in restaurant hiring.
Consider offering cash bounties to anyone who brings aboard an employee as a result of handing out a business card. Split the bounty—say, $50—between the new employee and the person who made the discovery, provided that the new employee sticks around for at least 60-90 days.

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