One of the biggest headaches for chefs and restaurateurs across the UK right now is hiring and how to attract top level staff to their restaurant. According to Stefano Potortí, founder of Sagitter One, a restaurant consulting firm based in the UK, it’s harder than ever for restaurants to attract the staff that they need. “It was easier to hire 10 years ago because the market was much smaller,” he says. “There are so many food operations now.”
Here are a few ways that Potortí says you can attract top talent to your team and make sure they’re a good fit.
First, ask yourself why someone would want to work for you.
One of the reasons that Potortí says it’s harder to find top talent is because more options for restaurant workers means that workers can be more selective about where they work. Today, staff are looking for jobs that provide more than just a paycheck. “It’s all about being passionate now and if you just talk about the basic stuff people don’t want to work for you,” he says. At Sagitter One, Potortí and his team work with restaurant owners to figure out what they can offer their employees. “What we suggest is trying to offer more than a salary, but a competitive environment.” That can include benefits, staff meals, trainings, anything that goes beyond an employee just showing up for work and leaving at the end of their shift.
Workers are also looking to work at a restaurant that they believe in. “You should describe what’s behind the concept,” Potortí says. “Money is important but it’s not the primary thing in hospitality.” Having a clear message about your restaurant and what you stand for is one of the best ways to recruit the staff that you want. “If you have a clear vision you can provide a clear career path and convey that to staff. That’s a big incentive.”
Two, prioritise recruiting platforms.
The first outreach you should make when recruiting is to people you already know. “Reach out to your contacts and let them know that you’re looking for people,” Potortí says. Then think about which website or social media platforms may work best for finding the staff that you want. Sites like LinkedIn are great for hiring but Facebook and Instagram may also work. In some cases Potortí and his team find that Facebook posts about jobs get more views than posts on hiring sites. A recruiting agency is your third option, but it should be used sparingly since it’s the most expensive option, Potortí says. He recommends using an agency for managerial positions instead of using it to build an entire team.
Three, once you’ve got an applicant, do your homework on them.
What is the biggest mistake Potortí sees restaurants make when it comes to recruitment? Not doing their homework before they make a hire. Before a candidate comes in have a list of questions you want to ask them based on what’s on their resume. “Double check a candidate’s CV and try to figure out their ‘why’,” Potortí says. “Why do they love the industry and why do they do what they do?” If a candidate recently switched careers or worked at one place for a really long time, ask them about it. “Try to get a story out of their CV and then you can move into technical stuff about service,” he says. And always ask for references and check them. “A lot of people don’t check them which is wrong,” Potortí warns. “We all know no one will write a bad reference so if you don’t get an answer you can assume they didn’t behave. If it’s a good recommendation then it’s a good sign about that person.”
It’s all about finding the best staff for your restaurant and building a team that has the same goal in mind. “Let’s hope that we attract more passionate people to the industry,” Potortí says.
Photo courtesy of Sagitter One