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7 ways to attract quality staff for your restaurant and retain them!

Whether it’s fine dining or a fast casual dining restaurant, one of the most pressing issues that restaurant owners and operators are facing today is hiring. And it doesn’t end here, hiring is just the beginning, it is followed by retaining these employees and keeping them motivated.This problem is as real as it gets, and the migration of labour back to their hometowns due to the pandemic has worsened the situation. 

Your restaurant could be just starting out or be well established, the common thread to success when it comes to attracting quality staff and retaining them is an engaged workforce, where everyone feels valued and that they’re contributing members of the team. It is a common misconception that people work for just money, and a good pay is enough to attract talent and keep them onboard. In fact, there’s much more, here are 7 ways besides money to attracts new employee and keep the existing driven:

  1. Highlight your training programme and supervision.

There is nothing more horrific than being thrown into a task without clarity of what is expected of you, the uncertainty and lack of knowledge inhibits one from performing their best and is quick to lead to loss of interest. It is further detrimental when one is reprimanded for not adhering to expectations without knowing what they are to begin with. Hence, it is of utmost importance that you highlight onboarding and training at the time of hiring itself, it gives applicants the confidence that they will fit right in. The training itself serves like an upskilling opportunity and the right candidate will be quick to catch on it. Next, ensure there is supervision or management that keeps the incoming and existing staff up to the mark, and helps them in case of difficulties. It is reassuring to know there is someone backing you.

  1. Ensure conducive working conditions and showcase them.

Ensure the working environments of your restaurant are clean, well aerated and lit sufficiently for staff to be comfortable. Make sure there are the right tools and equipment for your employees in all restaurant positions to do their jobs, and make safety a priority. Offer the potential candidates a tour helps them envision where they would be working, and in many ways makes them look forward to it. Apart from these, provide your staff with an insurance, subsidized stay options or more, to give them a better sense of security.

  1. Ascertain healthy interpersonal relationships.

One of the most common reasons for staff turnover is faulty managing staff or supervisors. Hospitality is essentially a people business and it begins with your internal customers, your employees. It is really important to establish the right communication protocols and staff equality. Maintain an easy channel of contact between the levels and departments of your staff. Be sure to collect regular staff feedback and ensure their grievances are heard and acted upon. Lastly, keep a close eye on the management team and ensure they treat their subordinates with respect.

  1. Introduce a recognition system.

Always be on the lookout for staff doing the right things at your restaurant and recognize their efforts when you see it. Introduce a formal recognition system to instill healthy competition and provide staff with a goal to achieve. For example, introduce an employee of the month scheme, or performer of the day/ week programmes. If it is feasible, spice these systems up with incentives, involve the staff in deciding their incentives and keep them driven.

  1. Give enough responsibility and ensure there are goals to achieve.

Allow your staff to be a more valued asset on the team, give them enough individual and collective responsibility to keep them motivated to do more. It gives them a sense of belonging, accomplishment and a chance of being essential to the bigger picture. Promote your staff to come up with suggestions, improvisations and solutions to the runnings of the restaurant. With responsibility there are often measurable results. When your team sees how what they do has a direct positive impact on the business, they get a real sense of achievement, which makes them want more.

  1. Showcase a clear path to advancement.

Nobody likes being stuck in the same rut, show your potential candidates a clear path to advancement and highlight what they need to achieve in order to move up the ladder or the next payscale. Give them the resources to upskill and develop themselves to become more valuable and ready for the next step.

  1. Ensure the work is rewarding and not thankless.

It is extremely demotivating when one is subjected to mundane tasks on a routine basis, it makes them feel they aren’t equipped or mature enough to do anything else. Switch things up, apart from rotating responsibilities, give an occasional opportunity to staff members to try something different. You need to make sure the job of every employee, no matter what level in your restaurant, is rewarding.


A high churn of employees at any position of a restaurant is very expensive not to mention disruptive to business. But with the right training and systems in place, you will have a stimulated workforce and they’ll stay loyal to  you for a longer time. Address each of the factors mentioned above and become their first choice employer for new talent and the best possible option for the existing.

Anshul Jasani

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