How do restaurants find workers?

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As the economy rebounds from the depths of the pandemic, restaurateurs are finding customers much easier to attract than the employees needed to manage the return of business. Veteran operators lament that staffing is more exhausting than ever, even with an unemployment rate of 6%.

The reasons are hardly a mystery. Workers displaced by massive layoffs at the onset of the crisis could easily find work in other fields that promised more pay, security, safety and flexibility. It is if they were looking for work at all. Operators say supplements to standard unemployment benefits have eroded the need to find a job.

The effective ways to overcome resistance to restoration work are much less obvious. While many job applicants say the major challenge they face is matching the compensation earned by Uber drivers, Amazon warehouse workers, grocery store cashiers, and sales employees at the store. retail in general, their appeal efforts go beyond higher wages.

Here is a collection of tactics operators use to help their cause. They were divided into sections on recruitment and retention.

Do you have one that you suggest? Send it to [email protected].

Recruitment

Restaurant owners say they are facing a double whammy in their efforts to attract candidates. First of all, the pool is shallow. Making matters worse is a secondary agenda on the part of the candidates. They want to maintain their unemployment benefits by proving that they are looking for a job, even if they have no intention of accepting one.

O’Charley’s now carefully reviews applications before calling applicants for an interview. No-shows can dramatically reduce a manager’s time, says CEO Craig Barber.

Here’s what some channels do to attract potential recruits:

Join the team, win a car: 20-units Shrimp Basket Restaurants aim to strengthen recruitment, retention and referrals through an employee raffle for a new car. New and existing employees will be entitled to a chance to win a Chevrolet SUV for every 30 days they are employed by the company, until September 10. For each referral from a candidate, a team member gets another entry.

If they refer at least five people, the ROI drops to two entries per candidate. It increases to five entries per person at the bar of 10 references.

All referred employees as well as the sponsor must be entered on the payroll at the time of the draw on September 13. The rules promise that the car will be delivered to the winner on September 24. Shrimp Basket agreed to pay the most. related costs including sales tax, but winner must pay income tax.

The winner can also collect the cost of the car, or $ 22,500, if they prefer this award.

Salaried executives, head office staff and suppliers are not eligible.

Driving applications: McDonald’s units in Southern California are planning their second day of employment by car, an event that leverages the convenience of a drive-thru by transforming windows into a one-stop rental location. On May 18, those interested in securing a crew-level job can go up without an appointment to apply for a job and get an on-site interview. Applicants don’t have to get out of their cars, and the arrangement complies with social distancing protocols. This is a repeat of an event organized by this region of the chain in September.

For applicants who aren’t interested in this process, stores invite people to apply for a job by texting a dedicated number or asking their smart speaker, “Hey, Alexa, help me find it. a job at McDonald’s. ” The same option is available through Google devices.

$ 50 to come: Signs outside McDonald’s units in Florida are touting a $ 50 cash reward for submitting a walk-in interview any weekday at 2 p.m. Meet up, meet a manager, and walk away with $ 50 – and maybe a job.

Referral bonus with weight: The restaurant industry has historically lagged behind in offering referral bonuses, or one-time payments for a referral leading to employment. Anecdotal evidence strongly suggests this is no longer the situation. Rewards of $ 100 have become common, although that amount is skyrocketing.

The Half Shell Oyster House chain pays a referral bonus of $ 200 if the recommended hire stays in training. If the trained person stays for 30 days, the referrer receives an additional $ 300.

Knead Hospitality + Design, a multi-concept catering group looking to fill 25 executive and chef positions in the coming months, is offering its current occupants of these positions a bonus of $ 2,000 if they refer a colleague who has been hiring. Jason Berry, founder and director of the Washington, DC-based operator, is betting his current directors and bosses have worked with someone in their past that they wouldn’t mind calling a coworker again. And earn a thousand dollars.

“I’d rather see them get the $ 2,000 instead of a recruiter,” Berry says.

Hiring bonus: Knead Hospitality is offering a bonus of $ 1,000 to new hires. Recruits receive $ 250 after completing their training and the remaining $ 750 90 days after.

“It’s obvious to me,” says Berry. “If I have to close a station on a Friday or Saturday night because I can’t have a server, I’m going to lose two, three thousand dollars a week. Why not spend $ 1,000 to make these sales? “

Half Shell also offers a signing bonus. New employees receive an additional $ 100 if they complete their training. They get an additional $ 200 if they stay long enough to collect their second paycheck. After 90 days, they are rewarded with $ 300.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida’s Bodega Taqueria y Tequila drew local coverage with their $ 400 signing bonus.

Retention

A laptop for children: When schools switched at the start of the pandemic from onsite classes to distance education, NYPD Pizza, in five units, heard employees worry that their children literally weren’t equipped. Even when schools provided laptops for young people, they usually allocated one per family – an impractical situation for households with more than one school-aged child.

The NYPD allayed the fears by providing a laptop computer to employees whose families needed a second device. But it wasn’t just the computer that the teammates liked. “It’s that we took the time to ask them how they felt, and then we went above and beyond,” says CEO Nikki West. “I even have the sweetest thank you note from one of the kids – it made my day.”

Hero bonus: Like NYPD, Little Caesars franchisee Sheena plocharczyk wanted to show appreciation to employees in a tangible way. After the closure of its dining rooms in March 2020, Plocharczyk started paying an additional $ 1 per hour as a “hero bonus” to employees who helped his restaurants generate income through take-out and delivery.

“Not everyone gives restaurant owners the credit they deserve,” says the Michigan-based operator. “They are on the front line. I am very grateful to my team and what they do every day for our clients. “

She continued to pay the higher salary when the dining rooms reopened. She also surprised her managers with a $ 100 thank you on Employee Appreciation Day and makes a point of providing not only free pizzas but also free meals from other restaurants for the sake of variety. ..

Thank you bonus: Darden Restaurants announced several weeks ago that it would thank its restaurant workers for their hard work during last year’s extraordinary ordeal by sharing $ 17 million as a thank you bonus. Days later, the Whataburger chain announced it would do the same, tapping into a $ 90 million kitty.

Todd Graves, founder and co-CEO of the Raising Cane chicken finger chain, doesn’t like signing bonuses because he thinks they tend to attract bounty hunters rather than hired new employees. Instead, his company rewards 26,000 of the chain’s 34,000 employees with a $ 100 bonus if they’ve been with the brand since Jan. 1. This is roughly equivalent to the equivalent of a week’s pay, according to Graves.

Shift managers are rewarded with a bonus of $ 250.

“Our goal is to reward the crew who are already trained and installed in their roles for their hard work, and deprive other brands of the opportunity to attract them by using higher rates which are probably not sustainable”, did he declare. Catering company.

But thank-you-type retention bonuses aren’t exclusive to big chains with deep pockets. Charleston Hospitality Group, a multi-concept operator based in its namesake in South Carolina’s restaurant mecca, began paying bonuses under a points system adopted on April 12. The program offers eligible employees a $ 600 bonus over a 13-week period ending in July. To earn the dough, employees don’t have to miss a shift, arrive late, or work less than 40 hours per week.

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