Restaurant hiring for the season: summertime

6/30/15 9:00 AM Tyler Edwards


In the immortal words of the Fresh Prince

Summer, summer, summertime!

"School is out and it's a sort of a buzz
A back then I didn't really know what it was
But now I see what have of this
The way that people respond to summer madness"


How will you respond to the summer madness?

Our industry is highly dependent on part-time employees. This reality most clearly shows itself in a big bad way twice a year – summer and fall. Whether we like it or not, the school year directly impacts our businesses. Thankfully, the increase in sales/staffing needs and the availability of these staff usually go hand in hand.

Staying a step ahead is key!

If, in the summer, you’re already mapping out your fall sales fluctuations and people needs, and you start to implement this plan early, you are in good shape. Leave it to the last minute and you are in trouble. And remember, planning impacts more than just you! Failing to plan ahead stretches your staff thin, and your guests feel it too. Believe me, I've been there. Not fun.

Here are 5 simple ways to ensure you are ahead of the game when it comes to hiring for the seasons.

1. Start sales forecasting

The best way to see the future? Look at the past. Checking out last year’s sales from May through September gives you a good idea of what to expect as well as what you can afford. Plan out each week at a time and make a note of the peaks and valleys in your season. This way you and your staff can prepare properly.

2. Build a sales and labor pro forma or forecast

Now that you know where you stand in terms of weekly sales, plan out what you’ll need. This ensures great experiences for both your staff and your guests! Discuss a labor percentage goal with your partner (chef or GM) and draw up a pro forma that allows you to hit it (for both front and back of house).

3. Get recruiting

These people aren’t going to hire themselves! Get out there and get ‘em. So many operators sit back and wait for applicants to stroll through their front doors. Granted, students hunting for a summer job or taking a year off will drop off their resumes, but are these the right employees for your business? Being selective and hiring to fit your culture (or the one you want to create) helps you make the most of the season. Because you are planning a few months ahead, you now have the luxury of being much more picky! Who knows – maybe you'll find your replacement and finally be able to apply for that regional position you’ve been eyeing up.

4. Get out into your community

Target high traffic areas! Malls, universities and hospitality schools are great places to hit. Ask if you can post a few hiring posters and be sure to bring lots of business cards and applications.

Quick tip: If someone you speak with seems interested, get their information so you can follow up. If you want them, make it happen! This is also a great opportunity to promote your brand and do a little light advertising.

5. Build recruiting into your team’s routine

Have at least two managers (or one manager and one employee) go out together once a week. A male and female combo seems to work best. Be sure to set an attainable goal with them so you can track your success.

You are probably thinking, “I don't have time to do this, and even if I did, I can't afford it.” 

If you make time to plan ahead, 
and execute your plan,
you will have a very profitable season!

Your staff and guests will be happy and you might just find your business running better than ever.

Now go out there and get ‘er done!


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Topics: Restaurant Labor Control, Restaurant Staff Hiring