The perception of indifference from employees is the number one reason why a person will never do business with a company again. In a restaurant where a customer spends all of their time interacting with employees, this impression can make or break your business. The difference between an okay performance and a great performance from your restaurant staff will permanently affect your business. Everyone has heard of the phrase “birds of a feather flock together”. The same thought applies to your restaurant staff. Once you hire people who are unmotivated, uncaring, and any other negative trait you can think of, that negativity will seep into the rest of your staff. This causes a cycle of new people following the “company culture” of negativity. So the phrase goes, birds of a feather flock together. To change this cycle,  apply the following  4 Restaurant Recruitment Strategies to  make your restaurant more successful.

Establish a Culture

Is your restaurant culture out of whack? It may have developed due to a few bad eggs that were hired or from an overall attitude to “make money” instead of “make profit”. Not only have you observed some lackluster behavior, but there is no doubt your patrons have noticed it as well. You will be able to tell by looking at receipts with tips or by going online and looking at recent reviews. If tips are low and reviews comment on the poor performance of the waitstaff, you need a culture reboot.

To improve, develop a “sales/service” culture that will affect your restaurant recruitment strategies. This type of culture will empower the staff to take care of your restaurant’s most valuable asset – your customers. To start, empower your employees and provide ongoing training so they provide the best service possible. Building a service-oriented culture through training will allow you to identify the best employees. They are the ones that talk kindly about the customer all the time, not just when customers can hear them. Their actions will speak loudly that they are customer-first type of employees. For example:

  • They know the menu inside and out and will guide uncertain customers to great dishes, not just dishes that have a higher profit margin. This employee knows providing a delicious dining experience is more important than a bigger tip that night.
  • They are flexible to help out other people on your staff to ensure every customer has a great experience.
  • They show some empathy towards irate customers and do everything they can to avoid and/or correct a bad experience.

Behavior and attitude are the best indicators of a service-oriented employee – someone who is willing to do whatever it takes to make a guest happy.

Get Employee Help With Restaurant Recruitment Strategies

Now that you can see which employees are all about customer service and providing that all star experience, you can begin to hire more like them. Start with their friend circle. Most of the time, groups of friends will have like-minded attitudes and commonalities, causing them to “flock” together. Ask your excellent employees to spread the word to their friends that you are hiring to get more of the same dedicated employees.

To find more birds of the same feather as part of your restaurant recruitment strategies, try these tactics.

  • Offer a “new hire bounty” of $200 for all hired employees.
  • Ask your regulars, who understand and appreciate your customer service, for referrals.
  • Listen to what qualities your employees feel are valuable in addition to your own standards. Use this input to narrow down candidates.
  • If you can’t fill your spots, put out a boosted Facebook post for your area that you are hiring with a description of your culture and your top requirements.
Restaurant Recruitment Strategies

birds of a feather cartoon

Think About Shift Planning Strategies

After you hire new employees, be smart about shift planning! You want to place these newbies with the employees that are great at training and that are exemplary models for your ideal restaurant culture. If you still have some bad apples that are rebuking your culture, try to keep them away from new employees as much as possible. To get your birds of a feather to flock together, you have to actually put the great birds together! This is much easier to manage with an employee scheduling software.

Be Strict About Performance

Now that you have changed your culture, trained employees, hired new employees with those values, and scheduled them for success…now hold them to standards. Part of creating a great restaurant culture is performance. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that the customers are leaving happy. Your staff can have fun and create a culture that they love coming to everyday, but they also need to be performing at the same successful level.

Remember, great servers and great cooks hang out with other great servers and cooks. Make your culture, your restaurant, the place where the best of the best want to work.

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Matt Thompson

CEO of ShiftNote
Matt has let his lifelong passion of food and people lead him to 15 amazing years as a restaurant manager and another 9 years working as a Director with a major food service distributor. He has channeled this passion to help create and run ShiftNote. When he's not dominating the food service industry, he's spending time with his 4 children and cheering on the Tigers as a Mizzou Alumni.