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3 Tips to Hire an Exceptional Restaurant Franchise Staff in a Competitive Job Market

Author: Laura Scavone, Smoothie King Vice President of Human Resources on: Mar 17, 2020

A tight job market means fierce competition to attract top talent, and in today’s climate, businesses can’t get by with mediocre hiring practices.

U.S. unemployment figures continue to hit historic lows, and businesses across verticals have been vying for new ways to appeal to increasingly selective job applicants.

This is especially true for restaurant franchise owners, as they bulk up on skilled staff to accommodate the fast-growing, evolving industry’s strong surge in consumer demand.

By expediting the hiring process and positioning your restaurant as an employer of choice, you can easily set yourself above the competition, quickly scoop up top talent and dominate the restaurant space.

Here are three tips to hire a five-star staff at your restaurant franchise, even in a tight job market:

  1. Leverage Pre-Assessment Tools and Technology

When you’re in the restaurant industry, you know better than anyone that time is money. This isn’t just the case when it comes to speed of service, however. Your time to hire – from the moment you post a job opening, to the minute you extend an offer – is just as significant to your restaurant’s success.

Hiring velocity, or the speed at which you vet and hire quality candidates, is a key metric in determining the effectiveness of your broader staffing strategy. And, it couldn’t be more important in the current market.

Today’s job candidates know they have time on their side, but that doesn’t mean they’re willing to wait around for an offer letter. Often, the difference between snatching up a quality candidate and losing out to the competition lies solely in the speed of your response time.

When asked what they would most like to see improved throughout the hiring process, 69 percent of job candidates said employer response time is No. 1. As prospects wade in a shrinking candidate pool, you can’t afford to wait around on top talent.

That’s why the best restaurant franchisors will provide their franchisees with the right tools and technology to pre-screen candidates before they even come in for an interview. Pre-assessments help ensure you don’t have to sit through time-consuming interviews with droves of disinterested or unqualified candidates.

At the same time, pre-screenings can substantially free up your schedule, so you’re able to devote more time to quality candidates. Not only does this make for a more memorable and enjoyable recruitment process for you and your short-list candidates, but it also speeds up your response time and helps you quickly secure top talent.

  1. Take Advantage of Available Ongoing Hiring Support

As a restaurant brand franchisee, you have complete autonomy when it comes to staffing your business. You’re able to build your team based on your individual preferences and needs without worrying about the franchisor stepping on your toes.

At the same time, while they may not have direct influence over the hiring process, your franchisor should provide you with comprehensive, ongoing support to help you build the best team possible. This support should go beyond any hiring best practices covered in your initial training or handbook, and even beyond any pre-screening tools and platforms.

It’s your job, as a franchisee, to make sure you’re taking full advantage of all the hiring tools available to you in order to secure top talent in a competitive market.

Whether it’s a breakout session at an annual convention, or franchisees communicating through a company intranet, make sure you’re capitalizing on any opportunities to stay up-to-date on the latest hiring trends and get any questions answered.

Some franchisors also offer industry or brand-specific initiatives that help franchisees stand above the competition to find, attract and hire top talent.

For instance, at Smoothie King, we have found continued recruitment success with our campus hiring initiative – an optional, comprehensive program franchisees can utilize to find and secure strong high school and college-aged candidates. Not only was the program built based on a proven track record of success within our brand, but it was also developed with our industry’s unique differentiation in mind.

In an industry that employs nearly one-third of all working teens, restaurant owners already have the advantage of pulling from a wider candidate pool than other industries allow. By showing franchisees concrete ways to reach and attract this demographic of candidates, franchisees are able to capitalize on a unique industry differentiator to hire the strongest applicants.

  1. Highlight Your Differentiators – and Your Brand Mission

Although it’s crucial to differentiate your brand from employers across verticals, it’s even more important to differentiate your brand within the restaurant space.

That’s why you should make a point to highlight your restaurant’s specific employee advantages throughout the recruitment process. Tell candidates what makes this opportunity better than others out there, and emphasize the benefits you think will be most appealing to the particular candidate.

These differentiators could be as simple as desirable hours, straightforward responsibilities, competitive pay or a fun work environment. For higher-level roles, you may emphasize other strengths, like a solid work-life balance or opportunities for growth.

Most consequential, though, is communicating your brand’s differentiation when it comes to its broader mission and culture.

Nearly half of all today’s job candidates cite company culture as their main reason for leaving their past job, as well as one of the top priorities they’re looking for in a new position. By simply communicating your company’s unique values and mission, you’ll stand out from the less culture-conscious competition – and more importantly, you’ll quickly capture the candidate’s interest and attention.

Beyond just attracting the right candidates, highlighting your company culture throughout the recruitment process also helps foster stronger retention.

Employees whose values align with a company’s core mission are much more likely to stay engaged at work and feel a sense of loyalty with the brand. This helps you reduce turnover and hold on to solid team members, while also creating a much more enjoyable and impactful experience for your guests.

This, in turn, helps elevate and enhance the entire brand’s perception and cultivates a similar sense of brand affinity and loyalty among each guest who walks through your doors.

Just as we vet potential franchisees based on their commitment to health and wellness, along with the Smoothie King brand and mission, we encourage franchisees to do the same when staffing their restaurant.

Blending Three Key Ingredients for a Smooth Strategy

Leveraging the right technology and hiring support, as well as highlighting your brand mission and unique differentiators, are key in securing the best candidates.

Powered by a highly-trained and skilled staff, you’ll quickly realize the tangible results a top-tier team can have on your restaurant business – especially when it comes to the bottom line-boosting benefits of endless operational efficiencies and strong guest experience.