Sizzling Summer Recruitment Strategies To Meet Demand

By Dean Harrison

As the weather warms and spring arrives, many restaurateurs across Canada think ahead to the lucrative summer season. Across the country, many restaurants see a seasonal spike in business due to summer tourism and guest preferences for outdoor dining. As a result, stakeholders in the culinary industry must design a recruitment strategy for a competitive hiring landscape to ensure they have the right team to meet demand.

When curating a staffing plan, start with a list of your previous skilled seasonal workers. Reach out to those outstanding staffers from last summer, who may be available again this year as school programmes wind down. Consider providing opportunities for advancement to this group; this approach can help former employees feel invested in your business and motivate them to excel. Reach out with an offer for continued training and development, a new supervisory role, or additional pay to ensure you begin recruitment efforts with a proven staffing foundation. Also, leverage employee referrals. Ask your existing staff to refer their friends or family; with this approach, offering a referral bonus is important.

Next, to effectively build your staffing plan, look at what wages and perks competitors offer. You must be competitive to attract high-quality employees, especially at popular summer destinations. Think holistically and creatively about compensation, including staff meals, tip-out percentages, time off and flexible schedules.

Partner with local institutions specializing in culinary arts or hospitality programmes. An effective tactic to land tier-one talent is to reach out to schools – they will have a roster of talented students and recent graduates with a genuine interest in the industry who need experience. Social media groups or job boards often help students find local employment; start investigating! There may even be school or community-hosted job fairs where you can connect with potential employees and promote open roles at your restaurant. Regardless of your approach, be prepared to answer questions about your business, available positions, and compensation openly and honestly; no one likes surprises on their first day.

Consider taking advantage of your digital ecosystem. Utilize your recruitment outreach efforts via your restaurant’s social channels and website; post on relevant platforms where your talent pool engages, like TikTok and Instagram, if looking to hire a younger demographic. Make your content professional and showcase your restaurant’s values and work culture; have current employees provide a short testimonial with their consent to establish credibility instantly. Consider putting some spend behind your social content; boost your recruitment posts to reach as many people as your budget allows. It’s also important to make the online application as simple as possible, especially for Gen Z applicants who are used to highly effective user experiences.


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Once fully staffed for the upcoming summer, protect your business against unnecessary and costly turnover. Work hard to create a positive culture for your restaurant employees; time is money, especially during the short Canadian summer. A primary focus while onboarding seasonal workers should be establishing a welcoming and positive workplace culture where employees feel supported by their managers. Everyone wants to feel like a valued team member in a workplace, fostering open communication and respect. Remember to recognize and reward employees for going above and beyond to provide an uplifting work environment.

Finally, listen to employee feedback during team meetings; these sessions often provide essential insights to help your property develop a strong reputation for employment year-over. As we all know, the summer season is far shorter than most of us would like.; however, with the right team and workplace culture, there’s no limit to your summertime success!