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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  • I would like to start off by saying that Mike did a great job. He is very passionate about what he does, and he is very good at it. He stayed in constant contact with me, he made sure i was 100% prepared for the interview process and everything. I don’t usually work with recruiters, but this time i am extremely happy i did. Thank you to Mike, and Patrice & Associates for all the hard work you guys put forth! I will make sure i send more people your way. Thanks again Mike, it was a pleasure working with you!   Sean Williams-Mitchell USMC Veteran Thank you to Mike, and Patrice & Associates for all the hard work you guys put forth!
  • I recently worked with Sherri Balzer in conjunction with a management opportunity with IHOP. She was extremely professional throughout the entire process. In addition, she was very helpful and knowledgeable about the company and interview process. I would highly recommend to anyone looking for a new job opportunity to consider Sherri Balzer for all their needs.   Read Mullin I would highly recommend to anyone looking for a new job opportunity to consider Sherri Balzer for all their needs. 
  • Stephanie Yee is a great part of my journey with California Fish Grill. We came across each other via LinkedIn and started a professional relationship. Not only she told me about the great opportunity with CFG, she also gave me info and reading materials about company and helped me built confidence before my interview. Lorie Santos-Law Assistant. General Manager California Fish Grill Stephanie Yee is a great part of my journey with California Fish Grill.
  • Stephanie reached out to me at a time when I was thinking about looking for a new job but was not quite sure where to begin. From our first call together she was professional and friendly. We talked a lot about my current position, previous jobs and what I was looking for in the future. From our conversations she made a new resume for me that was specific to Susiecakes. Stephanie was always on top things communicating with Susiecakes as well as myself. She was always easy to reach via phone, texts, and emails. Furthermore it really felt like Stephanie was on my side and wanted what was best for me. She listened to my concerns and negotiated on my behalf. In the end I was hired in a position that I think will be beneficial for both myself and Susiecakes. Even after I started my job a work text was accidentally sent to her and she promptly sent it to me. Still looking out for me even after I received the job. I have since referred her to an old coworker and am certain that she will find them a great job as well. I will continue to recommend to Stephanie Yee to only the best culinary professionals that I know. Sincerely, Andrew From our first call together she was professional and friendly.
  • From the initial interview, Helen was very thorough and spent time getting to know my background and experience. She was detailed in her delivery of the opportunity, and confirmed the dates and times for follow up. Her open line of communication made the process easy and enjoyable. From our initial conversation to the signed job offer, Helen shared in my excitement! I am so grateful to her, and Patrice and Associates for fitting me with this amazing opportunity. Christina Russillo I am so grateful to Helen and Patrice and Associates for fitting me with this amazing opportunity. 
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