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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  • Working with David at Patrice and Associates was an excellent experience!

    David is super professional and really took a lot of time to talk with me, get to know what my needs are and match me with the best possible position. I always received speedy replies to any questions I had, and he was always accessible and accommodating to me throughout the process. I highly recommend working with this group for your needs, and would happily work with them in the future should I ever look for new opportunities. Thank you, Johnny Morgan Working with David at Patrice and Associates was an excellent experience!
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    Throughout the process, she was able to get and keep me prepared and ready to answer any questions or curveballs that came my way.  I was better prepared during this interview process than I have ever been before.  A normally stressful process was made less so thanks to Margo.  She was the one that initially brought the opportunity to my attention and was there every step of the way to ensure I was successful.
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    At first when I received the email I was uncertain that this would work. Upon talking to Michelle I discovered that not only was she really nice, but also quite resourceful. I started the process on a Tuesday and literally one week later I was offered a job on the spot, thanks to all of her assistance. We talked and I was able to be open with her.  She was able to put me in the mindset of my now area manager to go over what to say and do, and what to leave out during the interview. We went over resumes and she showed me how to improve mine so that I stood out. Overall if I ever had to do this again I would gladly work with Michelle but I’m secure in my career path.  Thanks again to Patrice and Associates, and Michelle! Keyona Ellis
  • Duke was always available. There were several times I made unscheduled calls and texts, and he always had time for me. 

    I am grateful to have worked with Duke Witte during my search for employment. When I heard the word recruiter, I immediately put my guard up, but it quickly came down. Duke proved himself immediately as being in my corner, and that he had my best interests at heart. I explained to Duke upfront what’s important to me, my beliefs, and my interests. I was able to speak to Duke openly and comfortably. I’m a very private person, and Duke made me very comfortable by explaining his confidentiality process between prospect and recruiter. It has been awhile since I’ve had to look for work and be interviewed. I requested a mock interview with Duke, and it helped me. I don’t think the most highly of myself at times, and Duke strongly helped me build my confidence. My original resume I created read more as a detailed portfolio and Duke rearranged things in a way that would give me opportunity to speak on my skills and abilities. He explained that the resume is my golden ticket to getting the interview, and the interview is where I sell myself and share the details that I had in my original resume. I thoroughly enjoyed working with Duke during this process, and he is a strong advocate for those needing work. I will be referring him anytime I am able. Elliott Gray Duke was always available. There were several times I made unscheduled calls and texts, and he always had time for me. 
  • Jodi Furraitti at Patrice & Associates is absolutely fabulous!

      I could tell immediately that she loves what she does for her clients and really gets to know them in depth. I had been searching for my next career path for several months and then the Covid-19 debacle happened. No one was hiring. I had posted my resume on Indeed and that’s where Jodi found me. She does her homework and even answered emails, texts and calls both day and night, and even on weekends. The whole process was quick, professional and only took one interview for me to secure a General Manager role at a luxury motorcoach resort. Jodi is a great asset to Patrice & Associates, and with this being my first experience working with a recruiter, I am highly impressed. Well done! Carolyn Masten Jodi Furraitti at Patrice & Associates is absolutely fabulous!