3 Key Elements to Recruit and Retain the Best Restaurant Team

It seems to be the norm these days for restaurants and hospitality businesses to be constantly having to recruit more employees and the pool of talent available is getting smaller, although some would say it has already dried up!


To top this off the statistics don’t look good either, some restaurants can experience a staff turnover rate of over 50% for non-senior positions. If you are unfortunate to lose a senior member of your team you can be looking at a cost to your business running well into the thousands of pounds, as you calculate the costs of advertising, agency cover, training etc

Restaurants need to start to get innovative in not only how they attract the best talent, but also how they retain them.

Here are my 3 key tips on how to attract and retain the right people for your business.

1.      On-brand recruitment policy

You should set in place a recruitment process and policy that fits your brand, the values you uphold and the culture you have created within your restaurant and hospitality business. Just taking on anyone who has the decency to turn up and ask for a job is certainly not going to do you, your business or even them any favours. Believe me you are better to be running a shift with one less person than having someone that doesn’t ‘fit’.

On-brand recruitment is essential to ensure you get the right people in the right job, having this more systematic approach to your recruiting will not only attract the people you want but they will also be more loyal and work with you longer, as they will ‘fit’ with your business.

So what is ‘on-brand recruitment’? It is merely ensuring that your recruitment process reflects your brand values and culture. When you advertise the positions you are recruiting for you need to ensure they convey your brand message. Just like your marketing does to your customers, after all, you are in effect marketing your restaurant.

The process and system you then go through should engage any potential candidates into your brand values and culture every step of the way.

2.      Training and development

Have a thorough and in-depth training program for all your employees, don’t just throw new recruits in at the deep end and hope they can swim. Even if they have experience, you need to ensure they work to your policies, systems and convey your values and message.

Review progress regularly and get feedback from your new recruits as well as your existing team. Create a culture where they can ask for help and support.

3.      The right package

In today’s market, you have to be more innovative so the right package isn’t all about money. Recently I have come across restaurants that offer a ‘golden hello’ to new recruits in certain positions after they have completed a 3-month trial period. They then also have an on-going incentive driven rewards program that all employees can access; rewards include cinema tickets, meals in restaurants, and even overseas trips. Other restaurants may guarantee working hours or shift patterns.

It is very difficult to get a work/life balance within the hospitality sector due to the pure nature of the business. However, as an employer, you can work with your team to address the imbalance in a way that suits them. Even if it is as simple as guaranteeing days off for their children’s birthdays or school plays. These little gestures will go a long way.

Understand that the cost of hiring, training and replacing employees isn’t just about possibly having to pay a little more. You need to factor in your time or the time of management, costs of advertising, possibly the cost of agency or temporary staff whilst recruiting. Consider the cost of training a new employee, even an experienced one, if you are replacing a senior person such as a head chef you may also need to consider changing the menu, possible loss of business as you go through the changes or lack of consistency damages your reputation. Some studies suggest that replacing a senior employee can cost a business tens of thousands of pounds when you calculate the residual costs.


In conclusion, it is clear that you need to ensure in today’s uncertain market and changing conditions that a well thought out and executed recruitment policy will benefit your business in the long-term.


Good luck and please share your business successes or views on my Facebook page OutSauced Consultancy


Jonathan Butler is the Author of Business Recipes for Success: Four Steps to Building a Successful Restaurant and Hospitality Business available now on Amazon

More About Jon

An award-winning chef, hotelier, restaurateur, and author Jon has over 26 years experience in the hospitality industry. Having successfully operated his own businesses as well as helped many others to grow theirs. He launched OutSauced Consultancy in 2010, and since then, has helped a number of start-ups, entrepreneurs and SME’s within the hospitality sector, become more efficient, customer-oriented and profitable.

Contact me now to arrange a Business Discovery meeting or Skype call

JON BUTLER - OutSauced Consultancy

+44 (0) 7775 746145

www.outsaucedconsultancy.co.uk