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How to grow your restaurant business in times of employee shortage

Posted on May 6, 2024

The world changes at lightning speed. New technologies emerge, and AI becomes smarter with every prompt we introduce … But at the heart of everything, it’s still about us: humans. In this fast-paced world, the restaurant industry is one of the industries struggling most with challenges centred around staff shortages. In this blog article, we look at these workforce challenges and offer practical advice for attracting, engaging and retaining employees in the era of employee scarcity.

As a restaurant, you want to provide your customers with an unforgettable experience. Such an experience begins with a dedicated team that breathes your story and forms the backbone of your success. However, the need for qualified personnel significantly threatens your business growth and sustainability. Why is there an employee shortage, and how can you solve it? Let us give you a comprehensive understanding of the challenges and strategies to help you take your restaurant business to the next level.

Make your restaurant an attractive employer brand

Your customer’s restaurant experiences have changed in recent years. Photos of almost every dish are taken and posted on social media with trending hashtags like #foodporn or #instafood. As a restaurant, you face a huge challenge to make your brand stand out. Serving delicious food is no longer enough.

It all starts with an authentic vision, mission, and story lived by every single employee. It’s not just about the offline experience in your restaurant but also your online and social media presence. It’s about creating a loyal community that makes people salivate to visit your restaurant and work for your restaurant.

Defining your brand identity and culture means identifying what makes you different. It’s your culture, your vibe and your unique personality. It’s the common thread in everything you do and say. Incorporate your brand message consistently across all platforms, and you’ll attract customers and candidates who can relate to it.

Learn more about how to make people fall in love with your brand. Download our eBook!

employee shortage restaurant business

Goodbye employee shortage in hospitality: turn your staff into brand ambassadors

As a restaurant owner, you do everything possible to give your customers a memorable experience. If you do it for your customers, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t do the same for your colleagues who make it all possible.

In the competitive landscape of the restaurant industry, retaining top talent is just as critical as finding it. Build a well-thought-out strategy and create an environment where they continuously thrive and grow. The lack of such a strategy is one of the main reasons for many job openings in the hospitality and restaurant industry.

Keep in mind: growth goes far beyond job titles and salary increases. Invest in the personal development of your staff by offering (cross) training programs, outlining clear career paths and creating a culture of continuous learning. Employees who see a future within your organisation will stay engaged and motivated.

However, to motivate your employees, more is needed. Recognize their contributions by implementing a recognition and reward program. Personalisation is essential because it makes your employees feel heard, valued, and connected. Moreover, it really makes a difference when you prioritize your employees’ well-being and work-life balance and pay attention to their mental and physical health. A healthy workforce affects job satisfaction, which is a powerful tool for growth.

Concrete tips to implement a healthy culture of growth and learning? Download our eBook!

staff shortage hospitality industry

Fill your vacancies by retraining people from other industries

Tunnel vision often proves to be a pitfall in finding the right candidates. Look beyond your nose and expand your talent pool by considering candidates from diverse backgrounds. There is undoubtedly a lot of hidden talent and valuable skills for your restaurant. Learn to identify those communication, interpersonal, and administrative … qualities and align them with your job roles.

Keep an open mind during job interviews and unlock the potential of your brand-new colleagues by offering a structured, customized hospitality training program. Focus on their key competencies, gain hands-on experience, and pair them with experienced mentors to guide and support them. Again, celebrate their progress and recognize their efforts during their transition.

Combining mentoring programs, knowledge sharing, and open communication is a successful formula for a smoother transition of new employees. These social interactions have been proven to foster a sense of belonging and encourage mutual participation. Adopting these recommendations in combination with the other advice in this article will certainly position your restaurant for long-term success, even in times of employee shortages.

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