labor shortage

From back of house dishwashers to front of house hosts, restaurant employees are invaluable assets that keep the best restaurant operations running. So what happens when unforeseen circumstances create a national labor shortage?

A survey from the National Restaurant Association reported that 72% of restaurant operators rated recruitment and retention of employees as their top challenge in 2021.

Yikes! So what is a restaurant owner to do? 

Well, first, take a few moments to review our guide to finding workers during a labor shortage. We will examine why there is a restaurant labor shortage in the first place, share some methods for finding Professionals to pick up shifts, and talk about different ways to boost your restaurant’s retention rate.

Why Is There a Restaurant Labor Shortage?

Customers rave about your food, you greet each patron with a smile, and your reviews are stellar. Yet, you’re still short-staffed. How can this be?

The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the food industry with its stay-at-home orders and safety limitations. In 2020, more than 110,000 restaurants were closed temporarily or permanently. But, as we learned more about the virus and what precautions can be taken, innovative ideas arose. You might’ve noticed the rising array of delivery-only restaurants and ghost kitchens

Nonetheless, with the rise in vaccination rates, the restaurant industry has slowly started a return to full capacity dining. This is great news, but it has come with worker reservations. According to a SHRM survey, 32% of respondents feared exposure to COVID-19. Interestingly, 29% of respondents were offered less pay than their previous job. And shockingly, 42% of participants didn’t receive responses from jobs they’d applied to.

Everyone’s situation is different, but there are ways that you can reassure workers and successfully staff your restaurant. We are going to take a closer look at how to find restaurant workers in times of labor shortages and beyond. 

How To Find Restaurant Workers 

Perfecting your menu is hard, and unfortunately, finding restaurant staff in 2021 is even harder. But don’t fret! It doesn’t have to be. Just like a handy recipe card, we have the ingredients to ease your frustrations. A shortage of chefs won’t stop you from bringing smiles to customers. Follow along as we address how to find restaurant workers, even in a labor shortage. 

On-Demand Staffing With Qwick

On-demand staffing is the ultimate way to find staff during a labor shortage. This method makes filling shifts a piece of cake!

Qwick is an on-demand staffing platform that connects service industry Professionals with food and beverage shifts in real-time to help solve your restaurant staffing challenges.

Qwick can help you find quality, reliable staff in no time! How? The Professionals on Qwick are pre-screened and even have a rating from previous Qwick Business Partners they’ve worked with. Plus it takes only seconds to post a shift on the Qwick app for a Professional to fill. 

With a 98% shift fill rate, Qwick Professionals are ready and eager to work in your restaurant. Just contact Qwick today to get started posting your restaurant’s open shifts. 

Create Compelling Job Listings

Do your job listings stand out on job boards? Well, they should! Crafting compelling job listings is another way to help find restaurant staff. Job listings are often the first impression potential employees have of your restaurant.

Make them fun and allow your restaurant’s personality to shine! Along with the obvious things to include in a job listing like a detailed job description, wages, and qualifications, paint a picture of the day-to-day responsibilities and share what makes your restaurant unique.

Create a Worker Referral Program

Instead of asking around to see if your staff has interested friends, create a worker referral program.

Referral programs are a great way to find qualified workers during a labor shortage. Consider making a tiered rewards system that rewards workers for referring a new hire. To sweeten the offer, reward referring employees once the new hire reaches three to six months. This type of reward system incentivizes employees to refer people who are serious about sticking around. 

Create a Social Media Campaign

Word-of-mouth can only go so far. Expand your reach by running a social media campaign advertising that your restaurant is hiring. Use creative and eye-catching posts to get people to share them with friends and family online. 

Finding new restaurant workers isn’t the only challenge restaurant owners face. Retention is another huge challenge restaurant owners often need to overcome. Read on to learn more about how you can raise your retention rate for restaurant workers. We share some helpful tips to keep your team full.

Focus on Restaurant Worker Retention

Maybe you have no problem finding workers, but you have an even more frustrating problem: retaining restaurant employees. You offer a healthy work-life balance, flexible shifts, and competitive pay. So why are employees leaving after only a month?

There are plenty of different reasons why this may be the case. But the good news is, there are some steps you can take to keep workers in your restaurant. Here are some tips to help you focus on keeping your restaurant workers around longer.

COVID-19 Safeguards

With COVID-19 still hanging in the air, you will need to ensure your restaurant workers feel safe while working. Extra sanitation measures, mask-wearing, and temperature checks are all methods to help workers stay protected in your restaurant. 

Make sure your restaurant workers feel safe and check with them to see if they have suggestions for safety protocols to ease their hesitancy. 

Check-In On Workers

Conduct bi-weekly meetings with your workers to check in on any issues they may be facing at work. Show them that you care about them and offer support where needed. This will ensure workers feel valued and comfortable speaking up when they see potential problems. This way you will be in the know about how your workers are feeling and can address any concerns.

Exit Interviews

For restaurant workers that decide to leave, conduct exit interviews. Exit interviews will allow you to learn why workers may be unhappy with the environment or work process. This can help you to craft innovative ways to keep workers in your restaurant in the future. 

Many restaurateurs skip out on exit interviews, but they can actually be quite beneficial. Spend the extra 10 to 15 minutes to gain insight and you’ll be surprised how much it can help with retention.

Provide Good Benefits

Restaurant workers need health benefits just like everyone else. Make sure your restaurant’s benefits package is up to par to keep retention rates high. Consider health insurance, sick time, tuition reimbursement, and paternity leave when evaluating your benefits package. 

In fact, Snagajob’s Summer 2021 Hiring Report states that 48% of business respondents said they are providing workers with health insurance to stand out. Offering paid vacation is another benefit that 45% of respondents said they are trying. And, 44% said they have started offering bonus opportunities to workers.

Providing good benefits will surely help you retain the workers you hire. It is an investment into your business and your workers that is worth taking.

Restaurant worker retention is just one part of keeping your restaurant full of workers. Getting workers to fill open shifts is another important aspect. So get in contact with Qwick to start posting open shifts for Professionals to fill!

Find Staff Using Qwick

Qwick is an on-demand restaurant and hospitality industry staffing service. Qwick makes filling shifts easy, even during a labor shortage! 

Post open shifts at your restaurant in a variety of roles and Qwick Professionals will pick up the shifts in no time. This speedy and effective business solution ensures quality service from reliable bartenders, servers, line cooks, dishwashers, and more.

Schedule a call to discuss how Qwick can help staff your restaurant during the labor shortage. The team at Qwick wants to help your restaurant succeed.

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