According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. job market faces some tough challenges very soon. Over the next ten years (2006-2016), our nation’s overall labor force will increase by 10 percent, or 15.6 million jobs. However, the number of workers between the ages of 16 and 24 will fall. Furthermore, the share of workers in the 25-to-54 age range will also decrease.

While these figures may trouble numerous industries, they should especially concern the restaurant industry. The National Restaurant Association projects that the sector will produce 2 two million jobs in the same time frame. How will restaurants draw able workers? How can restaurants show that their businesses offer better opportunities than the rest?

To make matters more interesting, many restaurants don’t have the luxury of human resources departments to help recruit and retain top workers. Then again, that may be a blessing in disguise. Not to knock HR, but perhaps the lack of a formalized recruitment process can force restaurants devise more creative ways to attract workers. Help wanted signs and job listings, while useful, just may not be enough anymore.

Just a thought, or five...

1.) Get ‘em early. The 16-to-24 set is when the restaurant industry traditionally “gets them early.” Well, just because there may be less to get doesn’t mean you still can’t get them. Working with local schools is a start. Invite students to tour your operation, or speak at Career Day to stir up some interest. Maybe you’ll even get an apprentice or two out of it.

NRA Solutions’ ProStart program also prepares high school students for the rigors of the restaurant industry. Add the recruitment of ProStart-certified students to your staffing practices.

Social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace can also connect restaurants with youngsters. It’s less time consuming than you may think. What are you waiting for?

2.) Encourage competition. Bravo’s popular television show, Top Chef, has become a publicity tool for the restaurant industry. Hosting your own mini-contest not only may bring awareness to your employment opportunities but to your restaurant as well. Logistics will be tricky, but the work will prove to be worthwhile in the end.

3.) Target seniors. After all, they’re the fastest growing group of workers. Maybe you’re leery about hiring workers 55 and older – can they handle the physical and mental demands of your fast-paced business? I counter those concerns with the fact that our seniors are living longer and are much healthier than seniors from previous generations. Plus, they are loyal.

Of course, you have to hire based on what you think is best. Maybe someone can’t wait tables but he or she can take delivery orders, which leads us to my next point…

4.) Tout the numerous opportunities available. Everyone knows about waiting, dishwashing and bartending, and those are all fine jobs. However, I don’t think the restaurant industry promotes the fact that various positions exist throughout an operation. Many workers go onto management positions and even eventually lead their own restaurants – a dream come true for many!

Also, restaurants need to become take advantage of technology more in the next few years in order to cut costs and generate more revenue. Throwing tech-savvy workers into the mix is crucial.

5.) Flaunt the flexibility. So many folks these days want to ditch the 9-to-5 grind. Appeal to that crowd by pointing out your restaurant’s nontraditional nature when it comes to hours.

There are numerous other fabulous ideas out there too. Boasting the industry’s commitment to community service, offering continuing education opportunities and speed interviewing are a few more. I’m not suggesting you should ditch your traditional recruitment efforts altogether either. If it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it.

In the best-case scenarios, facing new challenges leads to developing new ways to conquer them. Can you do it?

Views: 0

Tags: hiring, human, jobs, labor, resources, statistics


You need to be a member of FohBoh to add comments!

Join FohBoh

Comment by Judy "the foodie" Asman on August 1, 2008 at 12:20pm
Claire, great post. What I glean from it is by approaching new ways to recruit, it's also an opportunity for companies to start emphasizing the value of passion. HR standards can sometimes focus too heavily on company standards and selling the company line, leaving employees to feel like if they go by the manual, they're good employees.

But this is not always a good substitute for someone who truly loves their job and understands what helps make the industry successful. This, I believe, can be spawned by getting them involved in a larger social network like what you suggest.
Comment by Andy Swingley on July 31, 2008 at 4:21pm
What about retention? I have yet to open a restaurant that I don't start with enough employees and then over time go from having enough employees to a hiring problem. I think I still have a retention problem......

Come to think of it, I have the same problem with guests....opening week is strong and it goes down from there. Must have a retention problem there too!




Social Wine Club for Craft Wineries


Taco Bell takes on fast casual with U.S. Taco Co.

Taco Bell will test a new fast-casual concept called U.S. Taco Co.  -More

Avocados From Mexico: All New Recipe Brochure
Looking for the sweet spot between indulgence and fresh appeal? Say yes to fresh Avocados from Mexico, all year long. So rich and creamy, use them as a substitute for mayo to create a craveable crab salad sandwich that will make others green with envy. Discover more culinary inspirations and recipes here!

Ronald McDonald gets a makeover for social media debut

Ronald McDonald is giving off less of a clown vibe with a makeover that keeps the color scheme but adds a blazer, a yellow ve -More

Animal fats ramp up flavor

Chicago hot spots are serving up savory dishes flavored with animal fats such as Stephanie Izard's confit goat belly at Girl  -More


Posting a job or finding a job starts here at FohBoh. Call us about special $25 posting packages to syndicate across all major jobs boards.

National News

Dunkin' Brands Reports First Quarter 2014 Results

Dunkin' Donuts U.S. comparable store sales growth of 1.2% - Added 96 net new restaurants worldwide including 69 net new Dunkin' Donuts in the U.S. - Revenue increased 6.2%

Hurricane Grill & Wings Signs Franchise And Multi-Unit Development Agreements For Additional 22 Units

Hurricane Grill & Wings, a restaurant franchise known for its never-frozen jumbo wings and more than 35 signature flavors, announced today the signing of five multi-unit development agreements, representing 22 new locations. The Florida-based brand opened two locations in early 2014, with plans for a total of 14 new units by the end of the year.

Dunkin' Donuts Announces Plans For 20 New Restaurants In South Orange County And The San Fernando Valley

Dunkin' Donuts announced today the signing of multi-unit store development agreements with two new franchise groups to develop 20 new restaurants in South Orange County and the San Fernando Valley area over the next several years.

Brinker International Reports Increases In Third Quarter Fiscal 2014 EPS And Comparable Restaurant Sales

Earnings per diluted share, excluding special items, increased 16.7 percent to $0.84 compared to $0.72 for the third quarter of fiscal 2013

Togo's Inks Deals In Idaho And Utah To Develop 13 New Restaurants

Togo's Eateries, Inc. announced it has signed franchise agreements to develop five restaurants in Eastern Idaho and eight locations in Salt Lake City, Utah. In 2014, the brand will also mark its entry into Colorado, Idaho, and Utah with restaurant openings planned over the next few months.


If you are looking for capital to start or grow your restaurant, create the next 501c3, develop and launch the next app for the restaurant industry,or want to help your peers in some meaningful way, we want to know about it.


TED: James Patten: The best computer interface? Maybe ... your hands - James Patten (2013)

"The computer is an incredibly powerful means of creative expression," says designer and TED Fellow James Patten. But right now, we interact with computers, mainly, by typing and tapping. In this nifty talk and demo, Patten imagines a more visceral, physical way to bring your thoughts and ideas to life in the digital world, taking the computer interface off the screen and putting it into your hands.

TED: Hamish Jolly: A shark-deterrent wetsuit (and it's not what you think) - Hamish Jolly (2013)

Hamish Jolly, an ocean swimmer in Australia, wanted a wetsuit that would deter a curious shark from mistaking him for a potential source of nourishment. (Which, statistically, is rare, but certainly a fate worth avoiding.) Working with a team of scientists, he and his friends came up with a fresh approach — not a shark cage, not a suit of chain-mail, but a sleek suit that taps our growing understanding of shark vision.

TED: Michel Laberge: How synchronized hammer strikes could generate nuclear fusion - Michel Laberge (2014)

Our energy future depends on nuclear fusion, says Michel Laberge. The plasma physicist runs a small company with a big idea for a new type of nuclear reactor that could produce clean, cheap energy. His secret recipe? High speeds, scorching temperatures and crushing pressure. In this hopeful talk, he explains how nuclear fusion might be just around the corner.

TED: Sarah Lewis: Embrace the near win - Sarah Lewis (2014)

At her first museum job, art historian Sarah Lewis noticed something important about an artist she was studying: Not every artwork was a total masterpiece. She asks us to consider the role of the almost-failure, the near win, in our own lives. In our pursuit of success and mastery, is it actually our near wins that push us forward?

© 2014   Created by FohBoh.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service