Hiring highly qualified restaurant servers has become more difficult with the economic recovery taking hold. More restaurants are opening and fewer are closing. More guests are dining at existing restaurants and more servers are needed to take care of them. Other segments of the economy are strengthening as well. This means that servers who were “riding out the recession” in the restaurant industry, are now receiving other opportunities. As a result, it is becoming more difficult to find highly qualified restaurant servers.
This requires a paradigm shift on the part of restaurant managers. Over the last couple of years, there was a seemingly endless supply of restaurant servers. In some restaurants the hiring process grew into a series of eight interviews lasting a few months. The balance of power was strongly in favor of the restaurants and servers were willing to jump through endless hoops to finally land a job. With the economic recovery in full swing, this is no longer the case.
It is easier to land a job as a server now than it has been at any time in the last four years. The need for servers and the willingness of investors to open new restaurants has led to the demand for qualified servers outpacing the supply. If your restaurant wants to compete for these servers, you must be willing to adapt to this new reality.
For those managers who have never been tasked with hiring in a strong economy, this will be a challenge. For those veteran managers who remember past server shortages, this will be a return to a more difficult time. For both groups, I have written a series of posts to prepare you for what lies ahead. Today, I am kicking it off with a post on hiring servers in a strong economy.