In a tight labor market, restaurants are struggling, with many reducing hours or even closing due to staff shortages. In a recent poll of restaurant managers and owners, LANDED found that two out of three are spending three or more hours a week on recruiting, and one in six are spending six-plus hours a week. With average restaurant staff turnover at 130 percent, this is not entirely surprising.
GMs have a lot of different responsibilities, including managing store operations, inventory, handling guest experience and managing budget. While in other industries it’s common to have a dedicated HR or recruiting team, in the restaurant business, general managers typically handle hiring and training as well, on their own. But their time is not unlimited.
Recruiting is an art. While many restaurant GMs are extremely skilled at operations, they aren’t necessarily schooled in recruiting best practices. Most came up through the ranks, starting as a server or a cashier before eventually becoming a general manager. If they aren’t supported by an HR team, they need at the very least standardized tools and practices for recruiting and training – just as they likely have been provided with standardized practices for inventory management and other areas of operations.
If you’d like to reduce the amount of time your managers need to spend on recruiting, try these steps.
- Automating responses to candidates. Candidates who hear from employers quickly are more likely to schedule an interview. This is easy to do with software and AI technology. At LANDED, we see that the majority of questions from candidates – more than 60 percent – are straightforward and common, such as pay rates, benefits and location. There’s no reason for a GM to spend her time answering those questions 100+ times a week when software can do it just as well.
- Automating the process of scheduling interviews. This accelerates the process by reducing all the back and forth on scheduling.. It’s common for candidates to book same-day or next-day interviews, and easy to automate, freeing up GMs for other work. GMs simply dedicate open interview times for the week and let the candidate schedule their own slot. Automatic reminders via SMS and email help reduce no-shows, and make it easy for candidates to reschedule as needed, without any work on the GM’s part. Often, the first time they interact with a candidate is at that interview.
- Making an offer on the spot at the first interview. One in three blue collar workers accept the first offer they receive during a job hunt – 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 may not come back. When you have a qualified candidate, make an offer on the spot and ask for an answer. In order to do this, employers need to have a clear set of criteria for candidates and make an effort to have candidates meet with all key decision makers in one visit. GMs should also be equipped with three-to-five selling points that can help sell candidates on the role.
With travel resuming and restaurants booming again, staffing is critical. Investing in recruiting technology to support your GMs can mean the difference between a full staff roster and chaos – and in turn lead to a much better guest experience.
It can also help shape how employees use their time. Restaurants often don’t realize employees’ full developmental potential – this applies to managers as well as staff. People can’t shine when rote tasks eat up too much of their time. Automation and AI are helping restaurants tackle commodity tasks with ease, propelling employees towards fulfilling, high-value roles that spur business growth.