How to Recruit Successfully for Your Restaurant (And Why It’s Different)

The restaurant industry provides jobs for approximately 9% of workers in the United States (that’s over 28,000 people!), so why not find the best of the best for your restaurant establishment?  Seeking quality professionals is an important part of having a successful operation.

Unfortunately, finding a great staff isn’t always easy. Recruiting for the restauarnt industry is a little bit different than other businesses because people look at a restaurant job as easy. For many, it’s a means to an end. Some plan to work their way up in the company, but most don’t choose to be a server forever. Hiring a chef is a bit easier, but sometimes you fall into the same rut when hiring the rest of your cooks. This then gets you to ask that inevitable question: How can I really successfully recruit workers in the restaurant industry?

Tips and Tricks to Recruiting in the Restaurant Industry

There are, fortunately, a few ways that you can really thrive when hiring your restaurant staff. Below are a few things to keep in mind that will help you through the hiring process:

  • Start looking for an employee before you get desparate.

Recruit employees consistently promising them a great job and great atmosphere to work. Don’t wait until you are in desperate need of good servers or chefs before you start looking for one. By waiting until you need an employee, you may not be as selective in your hiring, as you should be.

  • Get your best employees involved to help.

Having a good recruiting plan is key. Get your best employees involved.  Many servers and chefs know of other great people out there who would be a great fit for your restaurant. You may want to offer an incentive to an employee who introduces you to a great hire.

  • Create a newsletter online to get attention.

Think about writing a weekly or monthly newsletter on the Internet so that customers, as well as perspective employees, can read. You may want to post coupons, job openings, recipes and even daily specials to your newsletter to get peoples attention!

  • Get your customers involved with surveys and rewards.  

Get your customers involved.  You may want to put a short survey on the table asking them if they are interested, or know someone who might be interested in becoming a part of your team.  Offer them incentive, maybe a free dessert, if they introduce you to someone who eventually becomes part of your team. 

  • Visit local culinary schools and get to know the students.

Getting involved in your community is a great way to help the recruitment process. Take a trip to your local culinary school or college that has a culinary program.  Offer to mentor those students who would be willing to intern at your restaurant.  Many great, and loyal, chefs and servers can be found this way!

  • Let your vendors and other business contacts know you’re looking.

Talk to the men and women whom you do business with. Maybe they deliver your produce or linens.  Tell them that you are actively looking for good help.  They most likely work with other restaurants in the area, and may know of someone who is unhappy in their current position, and would be a great fit for you.

  • Use a recruiting service!

There are many recruiting services specifically designed for the restaurant industry that will do most of the work for you. Be very specific to your needs when talking to the recruiting direcor. By doing so, you can find the best fit for both you and your perspective employee.

  • Negotiate with those interested in the job.

It is a competitive job market out there, so consider offering a slightly higher starting pay, and be willing to negotiate salary. The extra effort you put into negotiating will not be forgotten on the potential employee, and will also be appreciated.

Remember, the staff is the heart and soul of any successful business, large or small. By following a few simple rules, you will be able to find the best candidates to fill your positions in the restaurant field whether you are looking for a hostess, server, or executive chef. Your potential employees will feel like you care if you give them the respect and understanding they deserve.

Have you found that recruiting in the restaurant industry is difficult? What have you done to help create your staff? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Amanda Dee is a professional blogger that writes on a variety of topics including Detroit restaurants. She writes for, a leading restaurant directory of fine dining establishments.

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