Help Wanted: 4 Recruiting Ideas for Restaurants & Other Service-Industry Businesses

06.15.2021 Sara Brasfield3 min

For all the talk that has been made about economic hardship and mass unemployment sweeping the American workforce, the reality is that the pandemic’s impact on businesses and workers is more complex than simple supply and demand issues.

Millions of American workers still don’t have full-time jobs. Yet for restaurants and other service industry businesses, the market demand for jobs hasn’t unleashed a surge of applicants for open positions. Instead, the opposite has happened: restaurants across the country are making more aggressive efforts than ever before to attract eligible workers to open positions. Despite these efforts, many of those businesses have been unable to fill open roles, resulting in reduced hours of operation and limited service to their customers.

While some prospective workers remain concerned about working in environments with potentially high exposure to COVID-19, others may be struggling to find viable child care options to enable a regular work schedule. Some unemployed individuals may also be eager to take advantage of extended unemployment benefits until they go away this fall.

Regardless of the specific reasons discouraging workers from applying for open jobs, the end result for restaurants is the same: hiring qualified talent is harder than ever. This makes it even more important to build an effective recruiting ad strategy to attract workers to your business. As you approach this process, here are some recruiting tips to consider.

1. Promote a Sign-On Bonus

Sign-on bonuses can be a great tool to attract new workers with an added economic incentive. While restaurants and service-industry businesses have been increasing their wages to become more competitive for job applicants, a sign-on bonus offers the advertising benefits of a high-value lump sum that will catch applicants’ eyes.

Whether your signing bonus is a few hundred dollars or even $1,000 or more—which isn’t unheard of in this hiring market—you can protect yourself by making sure the bonus is structured to be paid out only after the worker has been employed for a certain length of time. In the meantime, you benefit from the added buzz and short-term interest that comes with this promised payout.

2. Prioritize Server and Employee Safety

With many potential workers still harboring reservations about their safety in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, your business may curry more interest from job-seekers by explicitly addressing your safety protocols and priorities in job listings.

Emphasizing restaurant safety practices and policies, for example, can offer applicants peace of mind if they’re seeking an employer that prioritizes their safety and accommodates their health concerns. This safety focus may also be the mark of a good employer in the eyes of potential applicants who aren’t particularly worried about COVID-19 safety, but who want to work for an employer that cares about its workers.

3. Consider Boosting Your Benefits Package

As part of a larger effort to sweeten the economic reward of gainful employment, the restaurant industry as a whole is expanding its benefits packages to include health insurance and paid time off. In some cases, these benefits packages are being funded through larger changes to the company’s business model, such as the elimination of tipping in exchange for an automatic service fee added to each bill.

If you’ve identified a lack of benefits as a sticking point for potential hires, it can be worth your while to figure out a way to afford these benefits through more fundamental changes to business operations. Advertisers can work with business leaders to develop an ROI case for expanding benefits to improve recruitment, increase hiring, and fully staff a business to maximize its serving capacity and its revenue generation.

4. Target Advertising to Employees at Competing Businesses

One of the current challenges of recruiting for restaurant and service-industry roles is the relatively small pool of unemployed individuals looking for a job. Instead of trying to drum up interest among the currently unemployed, service industry businesses might consider ad strategies that help them attract applicants from professionals already gainfully employed at competing establishments.

Through geotargeted ad campaigns focused on ad delivery to competing restaurant locations, your business can target mobile, display and other digital ads to workers at these properties, attracting their attention through messaging that highlights competitive advantages, such as a signing bonus, higher hourly wage, or other perks. This approach could help you win over qualified, experienced job applicants that can be quickly onboarded at your business.

If your hospitality recruiting is leading you down a bunch of dead ends, it’s time to mix up your ad strategy and employ some new tactics to connect with prospective workers in a cut-throat hiring environment. A digital advertising partner can help you brainstorm new tactics and implement ad campaigns that engage potential applicants in new, effective ways. Contact us today to get started.

About the Author

Sara Brasfield

Sara is the Content Marketing Manager for Cox Media’s corporate team in Atlanta, with a passion for writing and delivering relevant insights for advertisers. With more than seven years of experience in B2B marketing, Sara aims to help Cox Media’s current and future clients connect with their customers find new and unique ways to grow their business. Outside of the (now virtual!) office, Sara loves spending time running, reading and supporting her favorite teams (Go Braves & Gamecocks!).

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