School’s out — which means a lot of students are about to hop into the hospitality workforce. If summer is your busy season, you’re probably used to pulling in folks who are looking for a gig so you can meet high-volume needs.
But the labor market is still tough, and you won’t be the only restaurant looking to staff up. If you want to win over the in-demand seasonal workers, you’ll need to stand out from the crowd.
Why hire summer employees for your restaurant?
It’s been hard to find good help at your restaurant thanks to the labor shortage, so it might seem counterintuitive to hire someone just for a season.
But now more than ever, flexibility is your greatest recruiting tool. By hiring people just for the summer, you can beef up your team to handle the busiest season of the year without requiring long-term commitments that could turn off potential hires.
Plus: If you’re in need of year-round help, it can also buy you some time to run a real recruiting process and hire for the long haul.
How to bring in summer hires:
You’re not going to be the only restaurant looking to add to their staff, and your applicants will have their pick of places to work. It’s time to get proactive — and creative — with your recruiting strategy to win them over.
1. Get the word out (and leverage every channel)
The obvious first step to finding new employees? Let them know you’re hiring.
- Go social: We’re talking about Gen Z here, so if you want to meet them where they are, it’s time to go digital. At a minimum, post your job description wherever you’ve got a following (no matter how big or small) — Facebook, Instagram, etc.
- Boost it: It doesn’t cost a lot to boost a post, so if you want to expand your audience, put a small spend behind your listing. Be sure to identify geographic targets as you’re setting up your mini-campaign. (If your restaurant is in Milwaukee, you don’t want to spend money on impressions in Santa Fe!) And of course: sell it. Include pictures and #workperks (more on that below), and show off your team culture.
- Leverage email: Got a customer email list? Take advantage of that, too. Even if your target staff demographic doesn’t overlap with your customer base, word of mouth can be a great way to pull in talent.
- Update your site: These days, everyone checks out the menu before they hit up your restaurant. Use a homepage banner or pop-up tool to get your
- Old school still works, too: And then, of course, don’t neglect the tried-and-true recruiting methods. “Now Hiring” signs and fliers are still effective. Have applications ready at the guest stand. And think outside the four walls of your restaurant. Check with local high schools, colleges, and shops to see if you can display a flier in the bathroom or near a register.
2. Promote your perks
What makes your restaurant a great place to work? Identify your restaurant’s unique selling points and mention them often in your job descriptions and when you meet with candidates. And while offering healthcare and PTO for your long-serving employees is great, you need to have perks that apply to new hires who will only be around for a few months.
Having trouble thinking of your perks that would benefit a short-term employee? Here are a few ideas you can pull from:
- Monthly employee awards and celebrations
- Instant tip payouts with a digital tipping tool
- Upselling competitions with gift cards as rewards
- Flexibility with vacation days
- Free shift meals
- Employee discounts
3. Offer referral bonuses
Turn your top talent into your ambassadors by encouraging them to refer potential employees. You’ll cast a wide net with less effort (and you’re more likely to get intro’d to team members you trust), while your staff will have the opportunity to work with their friends — it’s a true win-win.
Encourage and incentivize your employees to bring qualified candidates in for interviews. To ensure you’re working with a high quality pool, consider structuring the referral program so that employees get a referral bonus if their candidate actually gets offered the job.
4. Lean on technology
Most of your summer hires are going to be Gen Z students out of school for the summer — and they’re going to expect tech in any workplace. They probably won’t even look twice if you don’t offer a mobile-friendly job application online.
On top of an easy application process, you’ll need to differentiate yourself from other restaurants by showing applicants the tech you use and how it can benefit them during their tenure. For example, do you have a scheduling system or are you still printing off and posting schedules the old-fashioned way? Do you use tech to easily trade or pick up shifts?
Finances are also top-of-mind for your summer applicants, so let them know how tech can benefit their wallets, too. If you have a digital tip out solution in place, you can show them how easy it is to get direct, instant access to their tips — meaning no more waiting around for cash after their shifts. Instead, servers will be able to head out as soon as they finish their side work and spend the rest of the day by the pool.
For restaurant owners, summer is an exciting – and hectic – time of year, but with the help of summer employees, you can make it your most lucrative season.
Ready to leverage tech in your recruiting strategy? Check out a demo of Kickfin today.