Where to Find the Best Restaurant Employees?

Best Restaurant Employees

Word of mouth is one the best ways to find employees.

According to a researcher, the secret ingredient for success in the restaurant business is more often found in the attitudes of those who serve the food than in the food itself. An interesting statement indeed.

This researcher conducted a study to determine why same-brand restaurants in similar settings could have such vast differences in productivity and profit.

His conclusion – a restaurant’s success rested on the shoulders of the restaurant’s employees.

The researcher noted, “Employee satisfaction resulted in better guest satisfaction, which boosted the bottom line.”

By now, you’re probably beginning to realize just how important good employees are. That’s why we’re dedicating this whole article to discuss where to find the best restaurant employees.

With more than 14 million restaurant employees and an estimated 1.7 million restaurant jobs to be created by 2025, it seems there’s a big pool to choose from. But that isn’t necessarily so. Sure, there are a lot of people, but are they the right people?

Let’s find out where to find the best restaurant employees and look at a case study for a successful hiring process:

Hire Even When You Don’t Need To

The best companies always make room for great people even if they don’t have an immediate opening. (tweet this)

Suppose someone recommended a dynamite person for your restaurant. You don’t currently have any openings, what should you do? Make room for them.

The best employees don’t come along often, and when you find someone with skills, experience, a great work ethic and superior references, don’t let them go.

Take a Risk

The most traditional way to hire for your restaurant is to grab people with experience. But, what if you decided to try something different this time around?

Step outside the box and try someone with little restaurant experience. Hire a unique person who has a great work ethic and personality that you can train. This way you’ll ensure they are trained the way you want them to be trained.

There won’t be any bad habits to break or unrealistic expectations to try and meet. Some ideas for unique hires include people interested in sales and marketing, and of course, cooking.

Hire Family and Friends

Just starting out? Close friends and relatives may be your first stop for employees. Hiring family and friends has its pros and cons, but you may benefit from hiring qualified, outstanding, reliable people you know well.

Hit the Community

Make contact with your area colleges, high schools and community centers. Post flyers in local coffee shops or bookstores. Use available bulletin board space in specialty grocery stores.

Use the Web

Use your restaurant’s website to hire the best employees. Create a career page and post your job openings as well as your job benefits. Consider adding a form for potential hires to fill out.

Look online using a hiring service. First, stay away from places like Craigslist. Instead, try services like Shiftgig or Career Builder, Monster or Simply Hired.

With the Internet, the landscape is vast, and while you can post job openings, you need to know the response may be overwhelming. Make sure you describe your job very carefully and require specific things from candidates during the application process. These will help weed out the less serious people.


While it depends on the type of restaurant, you could also put a sign outside.

Ask Your Employees, Friends and Family

Word of mouth is one of the absolute best ways to find employees. (tweet this)

Ask your best and most productive current employees if they know anyone. Check with your friends, family and colleagues. They’ll often provide recommendations for people they know. What’s more, by checking with your best employees, friends and family, you can trust these references.

Check around, ask who might be a good fit. Do go through the whole hiring process with these potential hires to make sure you are conducting your hiring in a consistent way.

You can even use your employees as recruiters.

Offer them an incentive for each successful referral they provide. After all, who understands your business and its needs better than they do? They’ll also be more forthcoming with future employees and will have already sold your restaurant to them. Chances are they’ll also have the same high standards as your current best employees.

Inquire of Your Loyal Customers

These folks already love your restaurant and your service. Ask them if they know someone who’d be a good fit. Reward their successful referrals with a gift certificate to your restaurant.

Poach Employees

We hesitate to recommend this, because it can get very sticky. But, let’s say you’re eating out, and you have an excellent server, you might casually throw it out into the conversation. Don’t do it in an official way, but test the waters. Again, please be careful with this avenue.

Case Study: Chipotle

We’d be remiss if we didn’t share the very intriguing and successful way Chipotle finds the best restaurant employees.

Chipotle advertises almost solely for team members. Why? Because their entire system is about promoting from within. It improves employee engagement and reduces turnover.

  • They lay out a career path on their career site with salaries and benefits that increase after each promotion as employees move up from team member to manager to restaurateur.
  • The key to their system? Supervisors get bonuses when they promote employees. This makes them search out the best employees and train them well. In addition, supervisors can only be promoted once they’ve found their own replacement, thus ensuring employee development.
  • They have a rigorous hiring process. Candidates are asked to read information before the interview and report on it. They use the team approach to interviews.
  • Once hired, the new employees work every aspect from washing dishes to line cook to cashier.

The Take Away

When you take the time to hire the best employees and develop them, you’ll create a place where your employees care more about their jobs and have a fierce loyalty to your restaurant.

In turn, hiring the best employees who care about their jobs translates to diners who receive better customer service and are more likely to return to your restaurants. This all increases your bottom line.

Looking to post your job openings online? The first place to start is your restaurant’s website.

Restaurant Engine can help you design a mobile-friendly, responsive website for your restaurant that encourages browsing and interested potential hires. Take the Restaurant Engine Tour today and let us help you market your great restaurant jobs to the best employees.

Images: Erin Mcgregor and Curtis Perry

2 responses to “Where to Find the Best Restaurant Employees?”

  1. I like how you advised companies to make room for a new employee if they are amazing and have skills that you are looking for. I think a lot of smaller businesses are afraid of this and in turn, just let the potentially amazing employee go. I hope that business owners realize this mistake and follow your advice whenever a good employee applies to their job.

  2. hey nice work you write very well

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