Wondering how to attract restaurant staff? Here’s how to become an employer of choice

It’s no secret that there are labour shortages in the hospitality industry

There are currently 132,000 vacancies across the sector — that’s up 48% from pre-pandemic levels. 70% of restaurant operators don’t have enough workers to support demand, and changes to the immigration system are slimming the pool of potential candidates. 

So what can you do to attract and retain more restaurant staff? 

Becoming a desirable employer is a step in the right direction! In this article, we’ll outline six ways to attract restaurant staff and retain your existing workforce.

1. Be mission-driven

When restaurant employees feel connected to a bigger mission or purpose, they’re more likely to feel fulfilled in their work. In fact, personal fulfilment has the biggest impact on an employee’s decision to stay in their job

This could be anything from providing exceptional customer service to promoting sustainability or supporting local farmers. Knowing that their work contributes to a larger goal increases job satisfaction, and keeps your employee retention rates high. 

Clearly articulating your mission (and how employees play a vital role in that mission) can also help you attract passionate, high performers. It’s a win-win! 

2. Create a clear path for career progression

A clear career development path is paramount to recruiting and maintaining a high-performing team. It gives people something to work towards, which boosts morale and motivation. 

Restaurant employee smiling at the camera

If recruits know there’s an opportunity for progression, they’re more likely to stick around. 62% of workers said that they would think about switching jobs within a year if their employer didn’t provide opportunities for career development. Plus, it helps you upskill your existing workforce, which is good for business. 

Career progression can also attract more prospective employees. 80% of people would choose an employer that prioritises learning and development. 

Here’s an example of a clear progression path:

Kitchen Porter -> General Manager -> Central Operations. 

Now, ask yourself:

  • What skills does each role require?
  • How can employees move through this career path? 
  • How long does progression take? 
  • What salaries and benefits can they expect as they level up? 
  • How will you support their journey if they throw their hat in the ring for a promotion?

This will help you create a clear path for development, allowing employees to see how they can learn and grow with the business. 

3. Offer a market-leading compensation package 

The cost-of-living crisis is real, and people are struggling. By offering a good compensation package, you can attract more candidates and keep you current employees happy.

To do this, benchmark the pay rates and benefits offered by your category leaders, like staff wages, pension contributions, or private health insurance. Where possible, match or surpass those paving the way. 

Smiling restaurant worker holding ketchup and mustard

Side note 👀 With the recent minimum wage increase, we know it’s not always possible for restaurant owners to pay above the legal limit. But compensation doesn’t just have to be wages. You can offer flexible hours, additional annual leave, and guaranteed time off (i.e. Christmas and Boxing Day). 

Promoting a culture that favours a work-life balance isn’t common in hospitality. It’ll give you an edge in a saturated market, helping you stand out to potential employees and attract more top-quality talent to your restaurant! 

4. Recognise and reward hard work 

Research shows that recognition increases motivation, provides a sense of accomplishment, and makes employees feel valued — all of which create a positive workforce. And when you have a positive work environment, staff are more likely to stick around and more likely to want to work with you. 

So recognise and celebrate those people who embody your values and your mission on the regular. From the servers who get positive customer feedback to the chefs who deliver top-quality, delicious food — show your team that you value and recognize their hard work. 

Hit two birds with one stone by rewarding internal progression wins — like the newly promoted general manager who started as a kitchen porter, or the area manager who started as front-of-house staff. It shows you value employees, but also that you offer tangible growth opportunities! 

Hot tip 🔥 Use Nory Pay to recognise employees for their hard work! Reward them promptly and accurately, all while adding a bit of fun to the process. 

5. Use technology to elevate the employee experience 

Technology is a valuable tool for attracting and retaining talent. Why? Because it allows you to improve the entire employee experience!

With Nory, for example, you can digitise and streamline key parts of the employee experience. Simplifying the onboarding process, allowing shift swaps, and automating tip allocations are just a few examples! 

Electronic signature within Nory app

Having easy access to all these features is a real benefit for employees. Think about schedules and rotas for example. By simply looking at their phones, they can access schedules without having to manually check dates. 

It saves time and centralises all this information in one place. As a result, your existing workforce is far more likely to have an enjoyable working experience (which means they’re more likely to stick around). 

Success story 🎉 Viva Italia Group is a leading UK-based hospitality group. Hiring, onboarding, and managing over 700 employees across 25+ sites was a challenge — until they found Nory. 

Now, they onboard new team members seamlessly, removing the need for painful paperwork and long onboarding lead-ins. Their teams can also access and manage shifts on the go, resulting in real-time cost of labour visibility and enabling better business decisions!

“We’re handling approximately 300 employee requests every month via Nory. Keeping this all in one place allows our managers to stay focused on what’s important to running their restaurants.” Viva Italia Group, UK

Find out more about our workforce management features

Attract and retain more restaurant staff with Nory 

Labour shortages are real, but it doesn’t mean you can’t still attract and retain a skilled workforce. Use this article as a starting point and start focusing on how to increase employee engagement to boost retention and become a strong employer for new candidates. 

And if you need a hand, use a platform like Nory to improve the employee experience! Get in touch with the team today. 

Curious to hear more?

Nory is custom built for hospitality and proven to improve employee experience and retention.

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Hospitality employee smiling at the camera and handing a drink to a customer


How do you motivate staff in a restaurant?

There are lots of ways to motivate your restaurant workforce. Recognising their hard work, rewarding achievements, providing opportunities for career development, and creating a desirable company culture are a few examples. 

How can I make my kitchen staff happy in order to attract restaurant staff?

It depends on the type of restaurant you’re running and what each individual values from their position in your restaurant. Some chefs may find happiness in training opportunities, while others might value a good work-life balance. 

To find out how to make your kitchen staff happy, talk to them. Find out what’s important to them and discuss how to bring their ideal work environment to life. 

How do you praise a restaurant staff?

There are different ways to show appreciation for your restaurant staff. From a simple ‘good job today’ at the end of a shift to a full-blown promotion, it’s up to you to decide the best course of action for your team. 

But whatever you do, remember that recognition is a key component of retention. If employees don’t feel valued, they’ll look elsewhere.