The last 15 months have shown businesses in every sector that they need to think differently about how they attract and retain talent. This is especially true of the quick service restaurant (QSR) industry, an industry that lost 2.5 million jobs in 2020. Now, after months of shutdowns, regulations and restrictions, those that weathered the storm are now facing a whole new challenge. Customers are once again ready to offer patronage to restaurants, but many can’t get enough staff to keep their doors open. A recent QSRweb pollshowed that more than 31% of restaurant company leaders have closed stores due to a lack of employees. The poll also found that 35.6% of respondents are still actively considering closures. In other words, there’s more trouble than coffee currently brewing in our nation’s restaurants. Today at Work4 we wanted to take a look at some new ways for managing challenges in QSR staffing.
Where Have All The Workers Gone?
As the pandemic forced restaurants around the world to adjust and in some cases shutter a perfect storm was forming. The nation’s QSR staff saw hours cut, faced furlough, got laid off, or in the case of permanent closures, lost employment entirely. With nowhere to turn, many of them were forced to look to other industries to keep food on their own tables. According to a survey by Joblist , 30% of restaurant workers are actively switching out of the industry, while interest in restaurant jobs has fallen 40% since last June. To put it simply, as job opportunities and sales rebound for restaurants, many workers have already moved on, or are in the process of doing so.
Overcoming The Challenges
It’s clear, that the issue at hand for QSR operators has shifted from convincing guests it’s safe to eat out again, to staffing up to meet the demand. It’s time to get creative and move past the obvious wage increases and signing bonuses and take a look at other options for improving talent acquisition and retention.
Make Your Job Description Appetizing
Gone are the days of listing a job and getting candidates just because people are looking. They might just be passively browsing, and there is no shortage of options in today’s market. And, other restaurants aren’t the only competitors for your candidates, rival sectors, like retail, and remote work in general are all pulling from the same pool. Bonuses make for great clickbait, but a clear, engaging, job description is more critical than ever. If the position you’re advertising includes tips, a smart move would be to include the average tip value team members achieve. As an example, let’s look at the appeal difference between “minimum wage plus tips” and “our servers average $ 20 per hour with tips.” Putting that info front and center could really help elevate your job postings above the rest.
Streamline Your Recruitment Tools
Often times QSR recruiters utilize a multitude of recruitment tools and in the case of multi-location operations, often have recruitment strategies that vary by location. Because of this, recruitment and hiring data is often not collected and analyzed centrally. This can leave QSR operators and owners with little insight into the overall recruitment process. But, technology has your back. Today the use of application programming interfaces or APIs can allow your hiring team to stitch together multiple software applications to create unique solutions that function as an end-to-end system.
Incentivize And Recognize
Employees value ongoing career development, sometimes even as much as they value competitive pay so never underestimate the power of upskilling. Show employees that they can have a career with your brand. Set up career-minded staff with mentors who can show them the ropes and offer advice along the way. When you invest in their success you’re more likely to keep top talent around. Recognition is another avenue that can pay off big. If you lack an employee recognition program, think about starting one to encourage both employees and potential candidates to reach for the stars. When workers feel as if their contributions matter, turnover reduces dramatically. Whenever possible, including a cash incentive can help staff feel appreciated.
Leverage The Power of Existing Employees
There’s nothing quite like the recommendations of a friend. Studies show that employee voice is 3x more credible than corporate messaging when it comes to talking about what it’s like to work for a brand. Turn your current employees into your strongest brand ambassadors by providing referral bonuses to employees for suggesting a friend for an open position. Partner with Work4 and our Employer Branding solutions to provide seamless integration for your workforce.
Improve Sourcing With Social Advertising
Developing an efficient and effective QSR recruitment process starts with sourcing the right candidates at scale, with the least work involved. Although major job boards like Indeed and ZipRecruiter can be useful, and should never be overlooked. But today’s candidate is relying more and more on social media platforms. In our recent survey, hourly workers reported that 87% of respondents have used Facebook in their most recent job search while other platforms like Instagram and TikTok are beginning to gain traction as well. Working with Work4 is an excellent way to expand the number of potential candidates you can reach with just a few clicks. Our proprietary systems get your ads in front of the candidates you need and deliver leads directly via email, ATS or through our API access.
Increase Applicants With Candidate Nurturing
Candidate nurturing will help the job application and interview process feel less intimidating and more human-centric for your candidates. Nurturing campaigns should begin as soon as a candidate opts in for information. From there using a text or email, a reminder can be sent to them asking them to submit an application. Manually keeping candidates engaged could easily zap a companies resources, which is why automation is key. With Work4, our system allows you to engage at scale while keeping in touch with job seekers. Automated personalized messaging helps to improve the overall candidate experience, as well as streamline the efficiency of your nurturing process.
A Final Thoughts
Consumers are ready to return to the days of pre-pandemic dining. But in today’s job market staffers are often few and far between. It’s time to get creative with your recruiting strategy. With the help of powerful recruitment automation and hr technology for QSRs at your fingertips, it’s easy to develop a top-notch recruitment process that works for you, not against you. Work4’s lineup of recruitment products empowers restaurant owners, managers, and recruiters to fill roles efficiently and effectively especially during volume hiring. Contact us today to find out how we can help you reach your hiring goals, or for a free trial of our candidate lead generation system.