3 Ways to Attract Top Talent in Restaurants, Franchises and Hospitality

May 23, 2022

At a glance

  • Competition is getting tight: The hiring market has never been more competitive in restaurants, franchises and hospitality, leaving many businesses struggling to stay fully staffed and desperate to attract talent with staying power.
  • Strategize for the bigger picture: Employees are thinking beyond the paycheck as they seek out new jobs, so employers need to consider larger-scale changes from a cultural, technological, and compensation perspective.
  • You’re not alone: Aprio’s Restaurant, Franchise and Hospitality group can help assess your current business needs and strategize a new path towards operational efficiency.

Schedule a consultation with an Aprio advisor.

The full story:

The Great Resignation has spared no industry, and the restaurant, franchise and hospitality sectors have been especially hard-hit. The mass exodus of employees from these guest-service-driven roles has left businesses desperate to hire in a particularly competitive market.

In this candidate’s market, hiring companies need tactical approaches to attract and retain top talent. When the simple signing bonus just doesn’t cut it anymore, consider one (or all) of these three strategies:

1. Develop your culture

Attracting new talent and focusing on employee retention may seem like unrelated goals, but they actually go hand-in-hand. Investing in a culture that emphasizes employee safety, wellbeing and advancement would be a win-win for any business in the restaurant, franchise and hospitality industry by reducing your turnover and thus attracting better candidates.

Changes to consider include:

  • Prioritizing employee health and safety measures, such as specific safety protocols and paid sick time, so employees feel valued and safe on the job.
  • Being more transparent around changes in the industry and how they impact business decisions like compensation, benefits, staffing, etc.
  • Embracing environmental, social and government (ESG) efforts to show the business is committed to doing good, such as sustainability efforts, waste reduction and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

2. Emphasize the incentives

Businesses competing for the same candidate pool have increasingly turned to hiring incentives to get candidates in the door, but small signing bonuses often aren’t enough anymore. Job seekers are conducting their own cost-benefit analyses, and long-term fulfillment in the job often trumps the initial payday, meaning businesses need to change up the incentives they offer.

Changes to consider include:

  • Expanding your employee benefits packages to include employee assistance programs, additional insurance options, paid time off, etc.
  • Offering higher wages or compensation bonuses, especially if your employees’ compensation currently relies on unpredictable tips from customers.
  • Investing in employee growth opportunities by enabling professional development and mentorship opportunities within the industry.

3. Embrace technology

Some view emerging technology in the restaurant and hospitality industry as the antithesis of job creation, but it isn’t taking jobs away — it’s just changing them. In the short term, technology may lessen immediate hiring needs by making the most of your current staff. In the long term, technology can help you attract a higher caliber of talent who will be excited to work for a business that’s ahead of the curve.

Changes to consider include:

  • Developing highly functional and responsive websites, apps and social accounts to help coordinate takeout orders, streamline reservations, simplify job applications and more.
  • Staying on the cutting edge of automation, especially for the time-intensive and tedious back-of-house tasks like schedule management and time tracking.
  • Investing in tools and technology to facilitate the customer experience, like self-ordering kiosks and self-pay technology.

The bottom line

There is no quick fix for the staffing shortages that restaurant, franchise and hospitality businesses currently face, but thinking outside the box with your hiring strategy can help. Job candidates today are driven by factors extending far beyond a paycheck, so purely financial incentives likely won’t move the needle on your current job openings.

For more tailored insights to your business’s current staffing needs and growth roadmap, schedule a consultation with Aprio’s Restaurant, Franchise and Hospitality practice.

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About the Author

Jessica Hussain

Jessica is a Partner in Retail, Franchise & Hospitality for Aprio. She has 15 years of experience in public accounting and works with clients in the real estate and retail, franchising and hospitality industries. In her role as senior manager, Jessica manages a team of five professionals, supervising their day-to-day activities, assigning work and reviewing all tax returns.