Restaurants feel the pain of a tight labor market

Restaurants feel the pain of a tight labor market.

With low unemployment rates and a continuously expanding industry, restaurants have been feeling the pressure in hiring employees and keeping locations properly staffed. Higher wages have strained labor budgets and workers have been gaining leverage on multiple fronts. Long standing “no-poaching clauses” are being done away with, giving employees the opportunity to move between franchises to find better pay and opportunity.

With all the potential complications and cascading failures that can arise from staffing issues, there are ways to mitigate risk and navigate a challenging market. Specifically, effective and efficient hiring becomes paramount: hire the right people that will provide the greatest return on your investment. To accomplish this, your business needs to bring in the best and brightest in your market, the top performers that will be passionate, ramp up quickly and contribute the most to your culture and sales. To attract these employees, you need to be a place that people want to work, a company that has a lot to offer on multiple, sometimes intangible dimensions. You know that millennial demographic, the one that will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025? They want to work for companies that have a “purpose”, have a sense of social responsibility, and offer benefits that align with their values.

Now the bad news: being an attractive company culture and reputation, having competitive pay rates, the right benefits package, and all the other important factors to be an employer of choice, is not enough. You are still facing a lot of competition in the hiring market! The best employees have a lot of choices open to them and you can bet that they will be weighing all their options.

Finding the Right Candidates

With all of the available jobs in the market, employers need to get creative in locating the top talent. While employees looking for a new job have lots of options, there are many more potential candidates who are not actively looking for new opportunities. Tap into your network by trying some of the following:

  • Create an Internal Referral Program:  Have your top employees refer their friends- This is usually one of the best ways to find like talent.
  • Be proactive:   When you meet talent when you are out and about in your community, strike up a conversation with them about their career wants and desires.
  • Check References:   Reference checking on candidates often leads to being introduced to other talented candidates who might fill roles in your organization as well.
  • Use a reputable recruiter:    A high quality executive recruiter will be able to do things you can’t or won’t do to find people, namely cold calls into competitors.   At P&A we find most of our clients want people who are “not looking” for a job, vs. those that are constantly surfing the job boards.

Opening Up Your Hiring Parameters 

Many companies are re-assessing their job requirements in this tight labor market.   With a stable work history, they may be more willing to take someone with less experience, that meets the “attitude test” about which many prominent authors have addressed. Many candidates are willing to move up or down market in order to achieve better growth opportunities. Can a fast-food manager, with the proper training, thrive in a more upscale environment? Can a full-service manager transition to quick-casual operations with ease? Yes and yes.

Moreover, think about the fundamental tasks of the job you are looking to fill. Many responsibilities and daily activities translate across industries. For example, a client of ours (a large brand name restaurant chain) has decided to consider Retail Managers with strong customer service experience and  accomplishments.

Speed of Hire

 They say timing is everything, and once you have found viable candidates the ability to move fast in your hiring process will give you an advantage over your competition! Having an efficient and effective plan in place will keep you from hiring out of desperation or losing out on quality candidates because another company came to a decision quicker. Some easy steps you can implement quickly include:

  • Commit to responding quickly, have clear expectations about short turnaround time and prompt responsiveness to e-mails and applications- no more than 48 hours!
  • Work with recruiters as your first line screening, in lieu of a phone interview or first step; a trusted relationship with your recruiter should give you the confidence to accept their submissions and referrals as people you will want to interview
  • Simplify the interview process, defining what steps are truly essential: has that assessment really helped you hire better? Can your recruiter proactively provide you with reference checks so that you don’t need to wait before you extend an offer down the road?
  • Work with the operations team and interviewers to guarantee efficiency: make interviews a priority, stack multiple interviews on the same day so the candidate can meet with multiple decision makers in one trip
  • Provide quick and constructive feedback to the candidate and recruiter immediately following interviews
  • Final interviews should have an offer following quickly afterwards, even if they are verbal offers with an offer letter to follow- being the first counts big

One final tip, maybe hard to swallow: while knowing a candidate truly WANTS to work for your company has a big impact during the interview process, it is also important to respect that even if you are their first choice, you are not the only choice; speed of hire is an important factor regardless.

 

 

 

 

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What Clients Say About Patrice & Associates

  • I just want to say a huge “Thank You!!” to Margo Kornfeld for all she has done.

    I just would like to say that Margo Kornfeld was instrumental in landing my dream job. I did not know what to expect at all. My thoughts were that she is a regular recruiter trying to meet her quota. But was I wrong. She is not. As a matter of fact she will bat for you 300%. That is what she did for me. She gave me the scope regarding information for the interview and what they are looking for. She provided the confidence and belief that this opportunity is for me and how to wow them. And I did! If you are looking for that perfect opportunity, I would recommend Margo Kornfeld. She definitely has you covered.                       Reginald W. Zephyrin I just want to say a huge “Thank You!!” to Margo Kornfeld for all she has done.
  • Thank you very much Tim!

    I started off with Tim Keith through Patrice & Associates one year ago. Tim was a great help preparing me and coaching along my way to joining my new career. Once accepted into the job, I immediately took focus and started to create relationships. I started off as assistant manager making the bare minimum salary at the time and within three months of being there was given a 10% raise. I further went on to become service manager and then bar manager and then assistant general manager in the next six months. In October, I was given the opportunity to follow my progression into general manager and continue with my training with the company. I then took over as general manager at the end of November. One of the fastest employees promoted to general manager in company history. The company really supports and relies on its managers and sees that they do good work and then they promote from within. Best company I’ve ever worked for, not a high stress environment and when they promise you something they actually follow through. Tim, is a wonderful human being and will work day and night for you. I’ll never use another recruiting agency, #1 - because I won’t need one due to that I found the perfect job and #2 - because Tim worked so hard for me to find this job.   Sincerely, Andrew Marsh Thank you very much Tim Keith!
  • Allison Sullivan was truly awesome in assisting me with obtaining my current job.  

    She was a great listener, showed confidence and passion for her job.  I tell my friends she is my "Recruiter Champion".  I will not hesitate to refer my friends and family to her should they need job placement expertise.
     
    Sincerely,
    Melissa Gustave
    Allison Sullivan was truly awesome in assisting me with obtaining my current job
  • Thank you Vicki Marshall!

    I have been uber busy in my new position as Restaurant Manager. Initially, Vicki Marshall set me up with my new employer which would have been a great position. However after many interviews, we came to the conclusion that I would be a better fit for there bigger busier venue. I cannot express effectively how integral Vicki was in finding me the perfect company in the location I was looking for. She informed me of the companies long renown history and core values. She also helped prepare me for my interviews. I am deeply in her debt and cannot recommend her more highly.                    
    Many Thanks!
    Nicholaus A. Hoover
    Thank you Vicki Marshall!
  • Thank you Carol Bullock!

    Where do I begin? From her initial message to me, I could tell that Carol would not be like other recruiters I had worked with. Her energy alone made me look forward to each call with her. Carol’s knowledge and familiarity with the hospitality industry and the brand made her an invaluable resource for me. Regardless of the need, she was readily available to assist me.  I can only imagine how stressful this process would have been without her by my side.     Thank You Carol!   Tanja Davis Thank you Carol Bullock!