8 Strategies for Quick Service Restaurant Recruitment

8 Strategies for Quick Service Restaurant Recruitment

There was an increase of 69,000 jobs in the restaurant industry in September 2022, and October was the 22nd consecutive month of employment growth – totaling nearly 2.1 million jobs.

Even with this growth, the restaurant industry remains at 567,000 jobs (or 4.6%) below the pre-pandemic levels – becoming the largest employment deficit in U.S. industries.   

While there has been some rebound in job growth for quick service restaurants since the job market declined toward the beginning of the pandemic, the market is still volatile, which means having a reliable recruitment strategy is crucial for hiring success. This is why many quick service restaurants are looking to update their recruitment practices quickly and effectively.

With a strategic recruitment strategy in play, QSR and fast food companies can stand out from the competition and find top talent. Read on for eight ways QSR hiring professionals can update their practices today.


1. Develop Strategy Through Candidate’s Lens

Hiring professionals should take a step back and put on the candidate’s lens. Review the entire hiring journey and audit how a candidate might interact with the company and the brand. Consider the following:

  • How is the company appearing on its digital footprint? 
  • Is the company where top candidates are?
  • Where are the top candidates the company is seeking to hire?

When companies look closely at themselves, they’ll learn where they are and who they’re looking to target. For example, many companies post on LinkedIn. However, many companies in this industry are looking for multi-generational candidates, and not all are on LinkedIn. Or, if the company is trying to hire hourly workers by simply posting a job on a job board, they might be missing out. Think about where the candidates are; hiring professionals need to fish where there are plenty of fish!

With 69% of workers in fast food under the age of 25, companies need to take a step back, audit the platforms they’re on, and implement the platforms the candidates are on into recruitment strategies.

QSR and fast food hiring professionals can come up with the best recruitment marketing strategies in the world, but if they’re not meeting their candidates where they are, they’re missing out on a huge piece of the puzzle. Meeting the audience where they are is an essential part of targeting and interacting with candidates. If companies seek to get in front of top talent, know where they are and be there!


2. Focus on Employer Branding

The company’s employer branding should be a major focus and an integral part of the overall marketing strategy. The employer brand represents a company’s identity, vision, mission, culture, and character and should be used to attract potential employees and retain current ones.

Don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk. Companies can develop all of the best recruitment marketing strategies in the world, but if they don’t send the candidates to a place that tells them WHY they should choose an organization, the company has lost them. 

Ensure it’s clear on platforms, in marketing materials, and anything else outwardly facing what the company is all about and the benefits of these jobs.

Tip: Gaining feedback from current employees, past employees, and leadership can provide insights into how well the company is “walking the walk.” This can help guide a company on what improvements they need to make or what else they can showcase from the actual employee experience.


3. Create Videos

Candidates are interested in hearing from real people and experiences and want to hear authentic and transparent stories. Creating recruitment videos is an excellent way for hiring professionals to do this.

These videos allow potential candidates to see a behind-the-scenes look at what a day in the life is like at the organization. It can highlight who the company is (culture), what the organization does (goals and missions), and insights into what it’s like to be a team member. This can help build an authentic connection and allows candidates to envision themselves at the company.

Recruitment videos also give teammates the ability to be brand ambassadors and connect with like-minded people – maybe even being why a job seeker is interested in the role at a company.


4. Make The Application Easy

First and foremost, make the application easy. It’s common for companies to get frustrated if they’re not seeing the application volume they’re seeking. But an essential first step is to audit the application process.

Take the time to apply for a job at the company. See how long the process is taking, if there are any speed bumps, what hurdles applicants have to overcome to apply, and if the process is easy. For many job seekers in this space, they’re hourly workers who aren’t going to spend 45 minutes trying to apply for a part-time job and jump through hoops to prove they’re good workers. This is why companies need to keep applications simple.

Consider making a short form or landing page for candidates to apply or implementing a QR code so candidates can apply on the go. Easy apply is also beneficial since potential candidates will have fewer steps in the application process. 

It’s much easier for candidates to submit an application on a single form or page instead of multiple portals and websites. This can lead to unnecessary clicking, confusion, and candidate drop-off.

Also, the application should be fascinating and engaging, since recruiters will have a job seeker's attention for a very short time. Provide the candidates with a great experience when interacting with the brand. With so many similar jobs in the industry, making the process easy is a way to stand out and makes the application different from all the others. With nearly 60% of candidates looking for jobs on their phones, making the application as easy as possible is essential.

Tip: Have a place to send candidates that highlights what makes the company stand out from others in the space. Showcase the company culture, tell the company’s story, highlight diversity initiatives, and broadcast other things that can help candidates identify and connect with the company. Candidates need to see themselves working at the company and why it’s a right fit. 


5. Not All About The Money

For many QSR and fast food industry candidates, it’s not always about the money. These candidates want to see what’s in it for them and if the company aligns with their values. Benefits can include:

  • Tuition assistance
  • Paid time off
  • Medical and dental 
  • Volunteer opportunities
  • Flexibility
  • Mentorship 
  • Training/growth opportunities 

Highlight the unique benefits the company offers. Employees often won’t want to leave because they don’t want to lose out on the amazing benefits.

Also, candidates and employees are seeking to work for companies that showcase the values they stand for. People want to work for companies they’re passionate about and for those that allow them to be heard and seen. The values also help distinguish the company's identity and attract like-minded people – aka helping candidates know if they’d be a good fit.

Company values need to be visible in all communications, internal and external. This can lead to employees feeling more aligned with the company and like they’re an important part of the organization. These values can also contribute to the company’s culture because they define why this company is unique and how it “provides value to employees, customers, and the community.” 


6. Focus on Boomerang Employees

In this industry, companies need to focus on their boomerang candidates. If the employees were there last season, why not come back this season? Boomerang employees are familiar with the company, products, and processes, and can easily integrate back into the workplace.

QSR and fast food companies shouldn’t hire these seasonal candidates for one year and then let them go completely. Consider creating a nurture plan to connect and keep the candidate interested throughout the year. Think about the entire funnel and all the touchpoints hiring professionals can implement to help enrich the relationship with the former teammate. This allows the company to be top of mind when the candidate is off from school and looking for work again. Don’t forget about those great employees who were hired before. Include in recruitment strategies ways to stay in touch or become referrals. 

Also, if these candidates were to come back, they could be amazing brand ambassadors. If the company has created a culture of belonging, it’s easy for candidates to want to rejoin the team when their school schedule lightens. Having these passionate and dedicated team members can support a positive workplace culture.

This is a great time to focus recruitment strategies on the untapped talent pool of boomerang employees.


7. Treat Candidates and Employees Well

Treat employees well – which may seem simple enough, but companies must dig into this. Don't just treat employees like a number; this is essential to reducing turnover and helping with retention in the service industry.

This starts from the first time the potential employee interviews, through the hiring process, to when they’re an employee at the company, and if they move on and become a customer again.

How hiring professionals treat candidates in the interview process will stick with the candidates and employees for life. From the first time the candidate interacts with the brand to the last paycheck they receive, companies need to amplify their culture and showcase why this team is different from others in the industry. Consistency is key here. Treat everyone equally – no matter their stage in the process.


8. Pitch Gig Workers

QSR and fast food companies should consider implementing gig work into their plans. Flexible working options are desired among many job seekers in this industry, and this shift can help companies adapt to survive a recession and any lasting impacts of the pandemic.

If the company has multiple locations within a 10-mile radius, it can help keep teams fully staffed for shifts, increase service, and enhance productivity.


Moving Forward

Successful QSR and fast food hiring starts with updated recruitment strategies. What used to work three years ago is ineffective, so hiring professionals must ensure their strategies are up-to-date with the new demand.

If you’re looking for help with your QSR hiring practices, Recruitics can help!

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