Restaurant Recruiting Ideas (You Probably Haven’t Thought Of!)

One issue that you face far too often is how to recruit qualified employees. If so, you are not alone. Coming up with ways to recruit dependable servers, cooks, and other employees is a major concern throughout the restaurant industry.

How can I recruit more employees? Owners can use a variety of avenues to attract employees who will be a valuable asset to add to their staff. These are some actions you can take to improve your recruiting practices.

  • Ramp up your website.
  • Write effective job descriptions.
  • Maximize social media platforms.
  • Use present employees for prospective employee referrals.
  • Reach out to former valued employees.

Read on to find out several ways that you can be successful in recruiting employees.

Ramp Up Your Website

A popular way to draw the right people to your restaurant is to ramp up your website. Capitalize on the digital age. Use pictures and videos that highlight your restaurant, the food you serve, and your employees in the different roles that they serve.

1. Make Them Want to Work for You

Everyone responds to visual stimulation. It is up to you to provide a vibrant, pleasing visual experience for prospective employees. Capture the culture and atmosphere of your restaurant in vibrant images of the dining room, kitchen, and, especially, the food featured in your restaurant. A person is more likely to be drawn to a job that is presented in an exciting, positive manner.

One visual tool that has proven effective on websites is a video. Film different employees who hold varied positions doing what they do every day. Film wait staff, cooks, and hosts/hostesses interacting with staff and customers. Film employees sharing what they love about working for you and in your restaurant. You might even want to film customers who share why your restaurant is special!

2. Keep It Super Simple

You also want to make the application process super simple. The application should be accessible with a link on your website, and prospective employees should be able to submit it on your website. Design your employee application to attract the kind of employee you are looking to hire for your team. Include sections designed to uncover an applicant’s skillset to further reach desired employees.

You may want to include a written component to your online employment application. This will allow you to assess a more personal response than only education and work history. Some possible talking/writing points are included below.

  • Why do you want to work at my restaurant?
  • How can you help to improve my business?
  • What makes you uniquely qualified for a job with my restaurant?
  • What do you expect from me as your employer?

These types of questions require a well thought out response. They provide you with the opportunity to evaluate an applicant’s communication skills even before the interview, as well as talking points that can be elaborated on in the actual interview.

Use Job Descriptions to Your Advantage

When recruiting employees, let the job description work for you! Many employers seem to downplay the importance of an effective job description.

A clear and concise job description does not only help job seekers to identify best matching opportunities but also help recruiters do a bit of screening.

It is useful to mention pre-requisites within the job description.

It is important to highlight compensation, mission, requirements, and other details.

A good job description invites good applications and does a lot of pre-screening.

Hospitality Industry Recruitment – Tips, Strategies & Best Practices. Retrieved June 17, 2020, from

Thus, let your job description make the initial cuts of applicants and make the interview process much easier.

Maximize Social Media Platforms for Recruiting

Social media is yet another venue that employers can use to recruit future employees. The following list from provides useful points for using social media platforms.

Network and engage with your audience – If you respond to a potential candidate, be personable, and start an engaging conversation. You will need to earn their trust and respect, especially if they’re a passive job seeker.

Highlight your company culture – Showcase your company at its best by sharing employer branding content, celebratory events, milestones reached, and charitable activities in the community. You’ll want to give candidates an idea of what it would be like to work for you.

Share the right mix of posts – If you talk about your company all the time, you might come off as superior or boring. Mix it up by sharing job openings in the form of “We are hiring” images, humorous posts, local news, industry trends, and topics that your audience may be interested in.

Get your staff involved – Ask your employees to share job posts and other content on their social media networks.

Use the appropriate social media platforms – You’ll need to understand your candidate persona to determine the best platforms on which to post your job openings.

9 Social Recruiting Tips to Attract Top Talent. (n.d.). Retrieved June 17, 2020, from

1. Post on Instagram

Instagram exceeds Facebook and Twitter with user engagement. Facebook can be counter cost-productive. Instagram has more interaction with about 10X more than Facebook and 100X more than Twitter. Instagram generates more likes or shares per post and is the optimal place for employers to reach a larger pool of potential employees

2. Use Facebook’s tools

Employers who have Facebook should explore the app’s tools to gauge precisely what kind of your business’ content is receiving traction. Create an account just for employer branding to generate information on prospective employees instead of the company’s general following.

Don’t Forget Your Greatest Resources

1. Use Your Present Employees to Find Future Employees.

Sometimes your greatest resource is overlooked: your present employees. They are often the source of qualified applicants. Just ask your employees if they know anyone who is qualified and/or would make a good fit with your team. Word of mouth can yield surprising results. Offer your valued employees positive incentives for any new hire they refer to you. Incentives might include the following if their referral is hired and is still employed after three to six months:

  • Gift cards
  • A day off with pay
  • A complimentary meal for your employee and a guest
  • Complimentary tickets to a local event

These incentives may seem small, but they are well-received by employees and can lead to promising future employees.

2. Reach Out to Valued Former Employees

All employers have former employees who they wish were still a part of their staff. This is another option when recruiting employees. You can reach out to former, valued employees and make an offer for hire. It eliminates the uncertainty of hiring someone entirely new for your restaurant. It also saves time and money spent to train a new employee.

Already familiarized with your company’s operations or inner workings.

New skills and experiences

Boosts employee morale

Less risk involved

Higher retention rates

The Positives…of Rehiring Former Employees. (n.d.). Retrieved June 17, 2020, from

Former employees are a valuable resource when recruiting people to join your staff. Don’t be afraid to tap into this often-forgotten resource.


These recruiting ideas will work for you and your restaurant. Today’s technology makes most of these strategies easily accessible.

Revamping your website will attract more prospects and engage more applicants, which will significantly increase your recruiting success.

Let your job descriptions, however you choose to display them, clearly define your applicant’s requirements and your expectations.

Capitalize on social media to reach a larger audience while recruiting. This will be an exceptional tool for you.

Finally, don’t lose sight of two of your greatest resources: former and present employees. They can increase your chances of finding qualified, reputable employees who will make a valuable investment for your staff.

Matt Roberts

A 20+ year veteran of the Restaurant Industry, Matt is the Founder and Owner of Restaurant Ninjas. He is also a giant geek of epic proportions who somehow convinced his wife to name their firstborn child Luke Skywalker.

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