The restaurant industry has been hit hard by the pandemic with staffing shortages being one of the biggest challenges faced by restaurant owners. Over the past few years, many workers have left the industry and as a result, finding skilled staff has become increasingly difficult.
The good news is there are ways to beat the restaurant staffing shortage and ensure that your business can continue to operate smoothly. Let’s take a look at some of the key ways in which your business can do just that.
- Offer Competitive Wages and Benefits
One of the most important things you can do to attract and retain staff is to offer competitive wages and benefits. This not only includes a fair hourly rate but also benefits such as health insurance, paid time off, and retirement plans.
With many other industries offering similar benefits, it's important to make sure that your restaurant stands out as a desirable place to work.
- Invest in Employee Training and Development
Another way to attract and retain staff is to invest in employee training and development. By offering opportunities for your staff to learn new skills and advance in their careers, you can create a more engaged and motivated workforce.
This can include providing training on new cooking techniques or management skills, as well as offering opportunities for staff to attend industry events or conferences.
- Foster a Positive Work Culture
Creating a positive work culture is also key to retaining staff. This means fostering an environment where employees feel valued and supported and their input is heard and acted upon. Some of the many ways to achieve this type of culture include:
- Regular feedback and communication
- Team-building activities
- Creating a sense of community within the workplace
- Encouraging your team to develop their skills and take on new challenges
- Utilize Technology To Streamline Operations
Technology can be a powerful tool in managing staffing shortages. By investing in software that can help with scheduling, inventory management, and other operational tasks, you can reduce the workload for your staff and create a more efficient and productive workplace.
This can also help to minimize errors and reduce waste, which can ultimately improve your bottom line.
- Consider Outsourcing Some Tasks
It may be worth considering outsourcing certain tasks to help manage staffing shortages. This could include hiring a third-party cleaning company, contracting with a food delivery service, or utilizing a staffing agency for temporary or seasonal staff.
While outsourcing may come with additional costs, it can help to reduce your existing staff’s workload so they can focus on the jobs they do best, to ensure that your restaurant continues to run smoothly.
- Offer Referral Bonuses
Encourage your current team members to refer their friends and acquaintances to your restaurant by offering referral bonuses. This can be a win-win situation, as your staff can earn some extra money and you get access to potential new hires who are already pre-vetted by someone on your team.
- Cross-Train Your Staff
Cross-training is when businesses train employees to perform tasks outside of their primary job responsibilities. By training your front-of-house staff to work in the kitchen, or vice versa, you can have a more versatile team.
This can help you to be more flexible with your scheduling and can also help you to fill gaps when someone calls out or quits unexpectedly.
- Embrace Gig Economy Workers
Consider working with gig economy platforms like Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Grubhub to access a pool of temporary workers who can help with food delivery or other tasks. There are also several platforms popping up that provide gig work for waitresses, bartenders and kitchen staff.
While this may not be a long-term solution, it can help you to bridge the gap while you are recruiting and hiring full-time staff.
- Host Job Fairs
Job fairs at your restaurant or in your local community can be a great way to attract potential candidates. It gives you a chance to get the word out about job openings and can also give candidates a chance to learn more about your restaurant and what it's like to work there.
To help you stand out, bring along some team members that love working at your restaurant so they can share their first hand experience with potential candidates.
- Be Open to Hiring Inexperienced Workers
Consider hiring workers who may not have a lot of experience in the restaurant industry, but who have other skills that can be useful in your business. For example, someone with customer service experience or who has worked in a fast-paced environment may be able to quickly adapt to the restaurant industry.
As an added bonus, they won’t have picked up any bad habits from other restaurants, giving you the opportunity to train them from scratch for your particular establishment.
- Prioritize Safety and Well-being
It’s a sad reality but even in today’s modern world, there are restaurants and hospitality businesses that don’t prioritize their staff’s well being. By making sure your staff feel safe and supported in their work environment, you can really stand out and create a positive work culture (which will help with tip number 3). This will make staff more likely to stay with your business for the long-term.
This includes following safety protocols, providing adequate training and creating resources to prevent injuries and accidents in the workplace.
- Offer Additional Perks
If increased wages and health benefits aren’t an option or you are looking for some extra staying power, consider offering additional perks to attract and retain staff. This could include discounts on meals, flexible dress codes, or opportunities to participate in community events or volunteer activities.
Small perks can make a big difference in creating a positive work environment and can help to differentiate your restaurant from others in the area.
Partner With Local Schools and Training Programs
Another way to attract new staff is to partner with local schools and training programs. By providing internships, apprenticeships, or other learning opportunities, you can help to develop a pipeline of skilled workers who are familiar with your restaurant and its operations.
This can also help to build relationships with the local community, attract new customers and create a positive reputation for your business.
The staffing shortage is a significant challenge facing many businesses in the restaurant industry but it isn’t without solutions. By following these tips, you can help ensure your restaurant continues to operate successfully and stands out in the face of these ongoing challenges.
Learn how Sculpture Hospitality can improve your restaurant efficiencies and book a free consultation with our inventory management experts today.