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How to Attract and Retain Good Restaurant Employees

Published on July 22, 2022
By Adam Harrell

Hiring the right employees at all service locations is the key to a thriving restaurant. Having a top-notch staff can impact a restaurant’s production quality, productivity, and customer experience. However, attracting and retaining great team members is not as simple as it once was. Today’s job market is extremely competitive, and passively waiting for the right applicants to walk through the door is no longer a viable option for restaurant owners, operators, and franchisees. To keep restaurants ahead of the pack, brands will need to be proactive in searching for new hires and create an excellent work environment to keep their star employees around long-term.

Expand Your Reach – Currently, most job seekers are turning to online employment resources to find new job listings. If a restaurant’s primary recruiting tactic is a ‘Now Hiring’ sign on the door, they are likely missing out on the main applicant pool. In this extremely competitive job market, brands need to be innovative when it comes to attracting top talent. Restaurants can expand their reach by building brand awareness and discussing career opportunities online and in their network. Finding the perfect fit employee for a restaurant can be a challenge, but these tips will help brands expand their reach:

  • Leverage online recruiting sites
  • Promote brand culture on social media
  • Sponsor or get involved in community events
  • Make current employees recruiting ambassadors and offer bonuses for bringing in new hires

Build Your Employee Experience – Since today’s employment market favors job seekers, employers must lose the old “churn and burn” mentality and make their restaurant an exciting and ideal place to work. This means restaurants must find ways to create a positive environment, support employees in their jobs and career goals, and offer a better work/life balance than the competition. To achieve this, restaurants can:

  • Offer flexible schedules and more time off – Get creative with scheduling by allowing employees to take two consecutive days off during the week (to accommodate for working weekend shifts), work rotating weekends or holidays, or quickly accrue more vacation days. A smart back-office labor and scheduling tool can help restaurants track and implement flexible schedules that meet their employee’s needs while also ensuring every shift is covered.
  • Create growth opportunities – Invest in great training programs and provide mentoring, education and managerial programs, and career advancement opportunities.
  • Recognize employees – A little appreciation goes a long way. Create in-house programs that incentivize great service and provide recognition for those who go above and beyond expectations.
  • Encourage team activities and relationships – When an employee truly enjoys working with their coworkers, they are much less likely to look elsewhere for employment. Creating harmony between staff members helps establish the work environment they crave.
  • Inspire loyalty – Ensure that brand culture promotes excellence and values integrity, honesty, and accountability while still providing a fun and engaging workplace for employees.
  • Listen and respond to employee feedback – Employees will feel more vested in restaurants when owners, operators, and franchisees listen to and implement their suggestions.
  • Simplify the job with the right tools – While brands cannot prevent all possible frustrations in their restaurant, having an efficient back-office system in place to facilitate the management of inventory, food, labor, and more can ensure smoother processes and fewer headaches for staff. Keeping current employees happy is cheaper than constantly finding, hiring, and training new ones.
  • Keep an open door – If a star employee does leave your restaurant for employment elsewhere, do not automatically write them off. Keep in touch and let them know that your brand would be happy to have them back. They may discover that their new job is not as good as the one they had with you.

Turnover is expensive but attracting and retaining talent does not have to be a chore. Create fun and innovative work environments to retain your star staff members and keep your restaurants thriving. For more tips on improving productivity and operations in your restaurants, visit us at or request a product demo today!