For many restaurants, the holiday season doesn’t start with the first snowfall or Black Friday. Instead, operators plan ahead to anticipate increases in holiday diners. This planning often includes hiring seasonal staff members both in the kitchen and out in order to have adequate coverage throughout the holidays.
Before you make any big changes, assess how your customer pace changes around the holidays. Additional staff may not be necessary for your business, but if you find that you’re going to be strapped for support around the holidays, here are some tips to get the best holiday helpers around.
- Start the search early. According to QSR Magazine, the peak for holiday hiring is October, when 31 percent of hiring managers will begin their hiring. Don’t be too late to the game, or you may miss out on the best seasonal candidates.
- Look for flexible candidates with open availability. Delaware Restaurant Association Director of Marketing Karen Stauffer explains that she has learned to “steer clear of those who had other commitments or wanted a lot of time off while with us.”
- Promote your restaurant’s most alluring benefits to attract candidates. Stauffer says, “Peak periods usually mean more hours and bigger tips, so that’s something worth repeating. Some restaurants may even offer special benefits such as paid breaks and free or discounted meals and uniforms.”
- View candidates as potential long-term hires. Recruiting.com explains, “when it comes to recruiting, even when it’s seasonal, the last thing you want to do is make rash decisions. Your seasonal employees may be temporary, but the impression they leave on your customers is not.”
- Keep job postings upfront and honest. Don’t be coy about the reality of a season position. By communicating your expectations clearly, you can more effectively reach candidates looking for seasonal work and help reduce turnover later in the season.
- Keep returning seasonal employees coming back. Often, temporary employees plan on returning next season. Keep these candidates at the top of your list and give them plenty of notice when you’re hiring again. These employees help streamline hiring each season while allowing you to focus on recruiting more quality candidates like them.
- Look to alternative candidate pools. Often, retirees and college students home for holiday break will be looking for seasonal work. While both groups have a lot to offer in a seasonal position, make sure they also fit within your restaurant’s culture.
- Don’t settle. While this isn’t the time to be overly picky, it is certainly not the time to be careless. The employees who fill your seasonal positions will have to deal with angry and annoyed holiday shoppers and high-pressure kitchen situations. They must be able to maintain cool and calm in all situations.
Hiring the best staff to take care of your restaurant when it’s at its busiest can mean the difference between jolly diners and unhappy grinches. By anticipating holiday needs, you can focus on making the holiday brighter for everyone.