There’s good news and bad news.

You’re likely already struggling with the bad news. Staffing your restaurant is painful.

The good news is, we have some solutions for you.

But let’s get through the ugly part first. As Brian Tracy says, “Let’s eat that frog.”

Staffing your restaurant continues to be the largest headache faced by most restaurant owners – more so than inventory or accounting. The shortage of restaurant staff in the industry continues, and by all accounts, is going to continue.

Restaurants are struggling to find qualified workers, and many are forced to close their doors, or limit hours or service because they can’t find anyone to fill the job openings.

Where Did The Restaurant Workers Go?

Where has everyone gone?

The pandemic caused a massive disruption in the labor force – coined in the media as The Great Resignation. In 2021, more than 47 million workers quit their jobs. Many restaurant employees left the hospitality workforce altogether, and those looking for work in it are often under-qualified for the positions they’re applying for. This has led to a shortage of qualified workers in the restaurant industry.

Additionally, numerous recruiting sites have popped up, making it difficult to find and connect with the right employees for your restaurant due to the vast competition on those sites.

Many restaurant workers that have left the restaurant industry have found careers elsewhere, especially after so many restaurants had to close early in the pandemic. A Black Box/Snagajob survey showed that 15% of hourly workers (many of them in the restaurant industry) changed industries in the past year. An additional 33% would like to do so soon.

The Cold, Hard Truth About The Labor Market

To solve a problem, you need to know all the pertinent facts and see where you stand. As much as they are hard to swallow, here they are.

Of the restaurant employee losses, 30% moved to office positions, especially those from home, and 17% went into teaching or education, according to Technomic’s Crisis on the Front Lines study. They were also lured by growing industries like warehouse/logistics jobs that have blossomed due to the enormous increase in online sales. The “gig economy,” which provides immense flexibility, is up 183% compared to pre-pandemic, according to Snagajob data.

As a result of the pandemic, 62% of workers have experienced emotional abuse/disrespect from customers, while 49% said they experienced emotional abuse from managers. Fifteen percent of employees said they experienced sexual harassment from customers or managers/co-workers. (According to the Black Box/Snagajob report).

The three biggest motivators for those that left the restaurant industry were:

1. For more money (28%)
2. For a more consistent schedule/income (23%)
3. For opportunities for professional development and promotions (17%)

In addition, many job seekers are searching for an improved work-life balance and flexibility. 47% say they are more likely to put family and personal life over work than before the pandemic.

Okay, that’s the frog eaten. Those are the realities with which we need to work around.

The Hiring Sites Aren’t Working For You.

If you take nothing else from this post, this will save you time and money. The job recruitment sites won’t work for you. When you post paid ads on online recruiting sites like Indeed, ZipRecruiter, and Jobs2Careers, you are competing with a large pool of big players (the big restaurant chains AND other industries) for a smallpool of potential workers.

The sole purpose of these sites is to drive traffic – that’s it. They pay Google for ads to appear at the top of searches for specific jobs, making selling the ad space on their site easier. They take the potential employee to their site, where several hundred employers are looking for help and have posts for available jobs. Candidates may or may not find and click on you, but you still need to pay those sites to be in their listings, regardless of whether you get any response.

You are paying for space, not results.

Two Proven Methods To Fill Job Openings

Here are two proven ways to find staff, which put you in control – and eliminate the competition for your job postings.

The first is Facebook. Without question, your potential staff are on Social Media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok – are all valuable platforms for finding staff. Facebook is ideal because you can narrow your ad down to your geographic area, interests, and other Facebook pages like schools or clubs.

Ask one of your best employees to tell you what different sites they like on social media. What Facebook pages do they like? What are their interests? You can target those interests on Facebook. The traffic is really inexpensive, and a boosted post or Facebook ad campaign is a fraction of what Google costs.

Here’s a highly targeted social media boosted post on Facebook we did for Ed n’ Joe’s. The cost was $25, and we ended up reaching 3,714 people.

The next proven solution is Google, which you can make work for you by standing out from everyone else hunting for new staff on the largest search engine in the world.

Creating your own Google Pay-Per-Click Ads allows you to target by very specific criteria to get your job posting in front of qualified candidates. Target your ideal employee within a set geographical area of searchers using keywords and the clear benefits of choosing you as their employer. Your ad must appear at the top (first page) of results, so keeping track of how much you pay Google to stay above those recruiting sites is critical.

The biggest challenge is that Google isn’t easy to learn. How to set up a campaign it’s constantly evolving, and it can get expensive if you don’t know what you are doing.

Here’s a Google Pay-Per-Click campaign for Ed n’ Joe’s to get him above the big corporate hiring websites that pay Google to get traffic.

Put Your Best Foot Forward

Fortunately for you, as a small independent operator, you are in a much better position to attract the best candidates because you have autonomy. You can make a position more appealing and personalized for a job seeker than a corporate chain because you have flexibility.

You can offer what candidates are looking for; flexible schedules, a strong culture, better wages and benefits, signing bonuses, staff meals, and a work/life balance. Ensure that candidates know the company policies and how you create and enforce rules and a code of conduct to protect them from harassment and abuse so that they feel safe at work.

You can also be more selective when hiring since you likely don’t need as many people as a corporate chain. You don’t have to settle for employees who might not be the best fit because you need them to keep your restaurant running. You can take your time to find the right person for the job, which can lead to a more productive and satisfied staff.

Make sure your job postings highlight all the perks and benefits of the job. It should identify what makes you a better choice than any other opportunities they might consider.

Put a Restaurant Staffing System To Work For You

You need a system to turn your hiring challenges into hiring successes. Here’s the simple process we’ve found to work exceedingly well;

Step 1: Locate Your Target.

Step 2: Attract Ideal Candidates.

Step 3: Direct them to an online hiring page with an electronic Application.

Step 4: Entice them to show up for the interview.

Step 5: Use a superstar employee avatar to pinpoint the top performers.

Having a system will generate good, qualified people on-demand. Technology can allow you to automate, so you don’t have to manage some of the steps personally. It will produce good, qualified candidates while you sleep. Anything truly successful in business can be traced back to a good system.

If you want the exact strategies and techniques that we have tested and used to generate thousands of qualified applicants for our clients, you can get it for FREE.

Simply register for our FREE Live Presentation Thursday, July 7,and I will give you the step-by-step action plan that is working NOW so you can implement in your own business to get the staff you need today.

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Michael Thibault

Michael Thibault

Known as “The Done For You Marketing Guy for Restaurants.” International Speaker on Restaurant Marketing. Published contributing author of 4 Marketing Books. Industry expert on Google Searches and Review Sites. Recovering Independent Restaurant Owner and Caterer of over 21 years. And, all-around good guy.

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