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Recruiting and Retaining Top Talent

Recruiting and Retaining Top Talent

The pandemic has left businesses with many areas that need growth and change. You may have noticed that one of these areas is the labor shortages that we have been experiencing. There has been a significant change in how people view work and the meaning their work brings to their lives. When your staff is happy at work, they will be even more engaged and productive, and as their employer, you must do your part to recruit and empower your employees effectively.  

In the past, having job security, decent wages, and opportunities was enough for individuals to start working with a new organization. Now, most employees are not simply seeking to feel invested in what they do, but they also want to see that same investment shown to them by their employers. Starting with a fresh view of your strategies and new employee value propositions is precisely what can help you attract and retain the top talent you need for your restaurant to run successfully.  

Employee Appreciation 

Your employees want to feel valued and feel a sense of care from their trusted employer and colleagues. It’s essential to show your employees that you appreciate them and continuously promote their growth as individuals. One-quarter of U.S. workers are currently seeking a new job, and another 36% are saying they would consider leaving for the right opportunity. Encourage team activities and bonding events to strengthen the relationship of your team. When employees enjoy working with their coworkers, they are much less likely to look for another job. To motivate your employees, restaurants need to help employees make training accessible and link training to business outcomes and career goals. Give your employees opportunities to set goals and work with them to establish what training they need to get there. Make sure you are compensating your employees reasonably. These individuals help you run your business and are a part of your success, and it’s important to let them know you appreciate them. Consider offering incentives to your employees to sell a profitable dish or drink and show your appreciation for your staff with social media shout-outs. Create in-house programs that incentivize excellent service and provide recognition for those who go beyond expectations. If feasible, you can also offer health insurance, tuition assistance, or gym memberships.  

Take your staff’s feedback into consideration when making restaurant-related decisions. Your employees know the ins and outs of your business and exactly what leaves your customers satisfied, and they may have a lot of great ideas for you to better your restaurant or what may drive sales. A happy and driven employee is the perfect diplomat to recruit new team members. Identify and actively engage underrepresented groups.  Including your staff in essential decisions and efforts will make them feel included and a genuine, valued member of your team. Employees want to feel connected and represented, and concentrating on current employees first will give you a further reach to sell your workplace vision.  


Workplace flexibility, or lack thereof, also ranks high as a reason for individuals leaving their job despite good pay. Not all businesses can offer remote work flexibility, but you can offer flexible hours and show your workers that their time and mental health are important to you. If your employees are struggling at work, they won’t be able to produce the work they are capable of. It’s vital for companies to create the right policies for themselves and their employees. Be fair with your shift schedules and communicate the scheduling process to your staff.  Give your employees more input into their schedules, better communication tools, and schedule flexibility.  

87% of U.S. workers have experienced burnout, with roughly half of that statistic reporting high or extreme levels. The top three causes for burnout were increased workloads, insufficient compensation, and mental health challenges. Offer your employees mental health days, flexible schedules to accommodate a work-life balance and any additional mental wellness benefits you can offer. It’s also crucial for your business managers to practice mental wellness themselves. Every position in your restaurant is essential, and it’s necessary for everyone to take care of themselves. Managers taking the time to put maintenance into themselves set an excellent example for the rest of the staff.  


While it’s crucial to focus your efforts on your internal processes, it’s also important to show the same value that you put into your business externally. The idea that internal and external communication should be treated as two different activities is dated logic. It’s time to strategize your branding to include everyone and everything inside your business, including your outreach to prospective employees. Display and promote the real people in your organization. Ditch the stock photos and stages recruitment videos and focus on showing off your genuine company culture. Show your audience that you cultivate a positive and diverse work environment that they would love to work in. If you have poor diversity in your business, you can return an idealized vision of the inclusion your company is working toward and invite your audience to be a part of that change.  

It’s also essential to reach outside of your existing network. It may seem quick and straightforward to recruit people we know from our social circles, but working towards connecting with new networks should be part of your strategy to be more inclusive. Social media can be a powerful marketing tool and should play a large part in your recruitment plan. Create attractive posts that show the benefits of working at your restaurant. Being intentional about diversity is crucial for attraction and retention goals. Post photos online of your team having fun and serving guests. If you have any social media savvy team members, they might love the opportunity to work on keeping your social media pages updated.  

As you focus on hiring new wait staff, make sure that you keep your current employees happy, the best advertisement for your restaurant is a valued and well-performing team.