In a tight labor market, restaurants are struggling, with many reducing their opening hours or even closing due to a lack of staff. In a recent survey of restaurant managers and owners, LANDED found that two in three spend three or more hours a week recruiting, and one in six spends more than six hours a week. With an average restaurant staff turnover of 130%, that’s not entirely surprising.
General managers have many different responsibilities, including managing store operations, inventory, managing the customer experience, and managing the budget. While in other industries it’s common to have a dedicated HR or recruiting team, in the restaurant industry, general managers typically handle hiring and training themselves. But their time is not unlimited.
Recruitment is an art. While many restaurant general managers are extremely skilled in operations, they aren’t necessarily trained in best recruiting practices. Most have worked their way up, starting as a waiter or cashier before becoming general manager. If they are not supported by an HR team, at the very least they need standardized tools and practices for recruitment and training, just as they likely received standardized practices for inventory management and other fields of activity.
If you want to reduce the time your managers have to spend on recruiting, try these steps.
- Automate candidate responses. Candidates who hear from employers early are more likely to schedule an interview. It’s easy to do with AI software and technology. At LANDED, we find that the majority of candidate questions – over 60% – are simple and common, such as pay rates, benefits and location. There’s no reason a GM should spend their time answering these questions more than 100 times a week when software can do just as well.
- Automation of the interview scheduling process. This speeds up the process by reducing all the back and forth on the schedule. GMs simply set aside open interview hours for the week and let the candidate plan their own slot. Automatic SMS and email reminders help reduce no-shows and allow candidates to easily reschedule as needed, without any work on the part of the general manager. Often the first time they interact with a candidate is during this interview.
- Make an offer on the spot during the first interview. One in three blue collar workers accepts the first offer they receive when looking for a job – you want to be the one making that offer. Don’t drag out the process with multiple interviews, forcing candidates to show up multiple times – they might not come back. When you have a qualified candidate, make an offer right away and ask for a response. To do this, employers should have a clear set of criteria for candidates and strive to ensure that candidates meet all key decision makers in one visit. General managers should also be equipped with three to five selling points that can help sell candidates for the position.
With the resumption of travel and the boom in restaurants, staffing is essential. Investing in recruiting technology to support your CEOs can be the difference between a full staff roster and chaos – and in turn lead to a much better customer experience.
It can also help shape how employees use their time. Restaurants often fail to realize the full development potential of employees – this applies to managers as well as staff. People can’t shine when rote tasks take up too much of their time. Automation and AI help restaurants tackle the basics with ease, propelling employees into fulfilling, high-value roles that drive business growth.