7 Steps to Attract Top Restaurant Employees using Social Media

It’s not a new issue. Staffing, in most every industry, has always been and will continue to be a challenge. Whether it is quantity, quality or endurance of employees, the issue will remain. Long gone are the days of picking a job and staying there for 40 years. And to exasperate this is the trend of workers constantly looking for the next best, most flexible, fun, engaging, place where they feel they belong. Needing a paycheck no longer checks all the boxes.

Good news is, you can be proactive and attract top employees to your restaurant straight from your social media feeds. But, it does take an intentional effort on your part and perhaps more of a focus than in previous years.

What Worked in 2019 Does Not Work Today for Recruiting Restaurant Employees

You can look anywhere around town to see what worked for most businesses pre-pandemic. What you’ll still see today is doors plastered with nondescript “now hiring” signs hastily printed or written out. Signs owners or managers themselves would not take a second glance at. You’ll also see these same type of Now Hiring signs posted across social media, on banners in parking lots—you name it. And, why not? It worked for decades. Need an employee, throw up a sign or want ad and watch the candidates come flowing in. And, guess what? We see more of these signs everyday, not less. That tells us, they are not working.

But, Did It Really Ever Work?

Even when this seemed to work, it really did not. Yes, many restaurants filled vacancies. And then quickly complained about the poor work ethic and performance of their newly gained employees. Then, the complaints were followed up with the fast paced turnover of said employees. And, the cycle continued. It was a short term fix at best.

Why it Did Not Work Then and Definitely Does Not Work Today

This old system of advertising for employees is self-centered. It is all about you and your business needs (and as a business owner I get it, you do “need” the employees). However, it needs to be about the employee. Especially if you want to attract a longer term, more dedicated, committed and skilled employee. People are looking for more today—well, they always were, they just didn’t know how to verbalize it.

How to Attract Your Dream Restaurant Employees Using Social Media

First, if you skipped to this section go back and start at the beginning to understand why this works or you will stay stuck in an old paradigm of lack and churning employees.

  1. Identify Your Ideal Client. I know, you are wondering what that has to do with your employees. Well, the two go hand in hand. You first must know who your client avatar is to match your brand voice to that person—and thus your employees.

  2. Market to Your Ideal Client. When you are prospecting for employees you are MARKETING to them. And, when you market anything in your business it should match your brand identity. If you think of your ideal client when putting together a hiring campaign, everything about your presentation, wording and approach will be different. And after all, would you not love to have a staff full of people who love your place as much as your ideal clients?

  3. Intentionally Design Your Hiring Campaigns. Using your ideal client as a guide, design your hiring campaigns with branded materials. You are marketing to prospective employees so make this a regular part of your marketing efforts and overall annual marketing plan. Design a general ongoing campaign plus have campaign materials ready for a specific role as needed. The idea here is intentionality. It takes thought and effort to speak to your ideal employee and have them choose you.

  4. Choose your Messaging Carefully. Speak to the type of person you would love to fill that vacancy. If you are looking for someone who will care about their work, you are looking for someone who cares about themselves. Someone who values your nice establishment will place value on where they choose to work. Someone who is a team player values a place that celebrates and supports their employees. Someone that puts in extra effort values extra effort by their employer and place of employment.

  5. Whoo Ideal Employees in your Social Media Feeds. Include attracting employees as a part of your overall social strategy. Again, think here about your ideal client. What would they love to see in your feed and then pass on to friends who may enjoy working with you? Would it be a big, frantic posting about hiring and shortages? Would it be a text graphic that seems to interrupt their beautiful and peaceful morning scroll? I doubt it. No, they would like to see the smiling faces of your employees. They would like to see a place where the workers are celebrated, typically staying a while and overall enjoying working there. These images should match your on brand social strategy and be posted on a regular rhythm with other branded content.

  6. Take it Up a Notch. Part of an overall strategy would include on brand shots of your staff to post as part of your overall campaign coupled with intentional text to add as captions to mention your hiring practice (again thinking of that ideal client and how you would speak to them). And to take it up a notch, you’d have on brand pieces ready to post regularly in your Stories. This combination ensures people see a place they would like to work—to be a part of. A place that is thriving and keeps them on their seats waiting for an opening to join an amazing team.

  7. Make the Time—You Can’t Afford Not To. This may seem like a hefty amount of work if you’ve been taking a passive and reactive approach to recruiting. Think for a minute how much it costs you when you are short staffed? How much business do you loose? How much does it cost to hire the wrong employees? How much does it cost to find and train a new employee? What is a single employee worth to the bottom line of your restaurant if you truly look at all aspects of their impact, beyond their immediate role? Now, imagine cutting your turnover by at least half and having an ongoing list of qualified people waiting to fill job openings in your restaurant. You can’t afford not to make the time to make an intentional plan that works. If you don’t have the time or the skills, hire it out. This plan, made once, will last you for years to come.

Now, that you have identified your ideal employee, are thinking about them like you would your ideal client, have designed an intentional, thought out campaign to reach them, it is time to put that work into action so you can start to attract top employees to your restaurant right from your social media feeds.