Hiring a new restaurant employee can be tricky to navigate for any business. Advertising hiring opportunities can get very expensive depending on which places you put the job listing, and the high turnover rate in the food industry means restaurants generally have to hire more often than other industries.
As a restaurant owner, you want to find good candidates, but you don’t want to blow your advertising dollars budget. The good news is that there are several free ways to encourage job candidates to apply for your open positions. By putting these ideas in the mix along with paid advertising, you can help find that great new restaurant employee — and avoid breaking the bank at the same time!
Not all job websites are free. While two of the more popular options overall, Monster and CareerBuilder both charge employers to post job listings. But you can still find reputable job websites out there that let you post listings for free.
Indeed is probably the most well-known of the free job websites, but the relatively newer Jora is also free and building traction. With a free 10-day job posting trial, Glassdoor is another option as long as you use those free 10 days wisely. And while not a job site in itself, Google for Jobs allows for various kinds of employer job listings to become more findable through the search engine.
Simple On-site Signage
A really easy way for restaurants to let people know they’re hiring is putting up signage at your restaurant. Putting it up in your window lets passersby know. Meanwhile, putting a small sign up inside can encourage your own guests (who are hopefully enjoying your food and ambiance already) to apply. If you use a chalkboard to write your daily specials, consider making some space on the board to mention job opportunities.
However, there are a couple rules to any signage you put in your restaurant. You want it to look professional and fit your brand. You want to make sure everything is spelled correctly and just looks nice. The phrasing is also important — yes, you want to get the attention of job candidates, but you also want to avoid your guests thinking you’re presently understaffed.
Some evenhanded phrasing here could be “Career Opportunities Available — Inquire Within” or even simply “Join Our Team.” It’s short and to the point, plus doesn’t suggest you’re desperate for more help.
Social Media and Your Restaurant Website
Your restaurant’s website is a great place to post job listings; after all, the website is a centralized hub for all pertinent information about your business. You can create a careers page on your site and list any and all open positions you might have. Like with on-site signage, the phrase “Opportunities available” can be very helpful here.
Make sure you include clear instructions on how to apply for the job, whether that’s emailing the restaurant their resume or applying at one of the job sites mentioned above (in that case, make sure to include links to the specific position’s application page).
And don’t forget about social media! Facebook and Twitter are good places to get the word out to the general public, If your restaurant has a LinkedIn account, it could be worth it to make a post about your job opportunities that includes a link to your application. After all, LinkedIn is specifically focused on careers and industries. Just know that posting within LinkedIn’s official job listings themselves aren’t free.
Restaurant Employee Referrals
And don’t discount the power of one of your strongest business resource — your existing restaurant employee! Your staff experiences your business in a distinct way, and often their recommendations for new employees are the most spot-on because they know what it takes to do those jobs. And since they’re going to be working with whoever gets the job, your employees have extra investment in a smart, hardworking coworker getting hired.
You can also encourage promising restaurant employee referrals by setting up a referral program. For instance, if an employee’s referral gets hired and stays on at least three months, you could offer that employee a cash reward! By setting the rules so that the new person is required to make it through three months, the employee wanting to get the reward will be motivated to pick really good candidates they think will stick around!
Hiring within the Company
Sometimes finding the perfect job candidate means looking in your restaurant. Who among your staff shows promise for this higher position? Have they shown ambition as well as a strong skillset? While they would still need to be trained for this new position, hiring within your company allows your “new” hire to already know your restaurant’s processes as well as the dynamic among your staff.
There are so many stories of successful chefs who got their start as dishwashers until they were given a chance to work the line. For your staff to know you’re willing to offer hard workers career growth can be a major factor in your reputation as an employer.
Now, this might mean that in promoting a member of your staff you’ll still need to recruit from outside the company to fill their current position. But It’s generally easier to find new employees ready for a lower level position (who you can train from the bottom up) compared to finding a brand-new employee with the right experience and training for a middle level position at your restaurant.
Plus, you might not have to fill your restaurant employee’s vacant position at all! This could be a good time to look at your current staff at that position and see if they can (and want to) take more hours instead of hiring on someone new.
Want more insight into how to hire the best restaurant employee? Download our free guide “10 Interview Questions to Ask When Hiring Restaurant Staff” today: