How to Develop a Skilled Labor Talent Pool in the Restaurant Industry

April 11, 2024

As workers leave industries entirely versus simply taking a job at a competing company, restaurants, in particular, are struggling more than others to find and retain talent. Labor shortages are still one of the industry’s biggest challenges even 3 years after the start of the pandemic. Overall, 62% of operators say their restaurant does not have enough employees to support its existing customer demand. 

According to McKinsey, “There are approximately 3 million more new job openings in the U.S. alone compared to February 2020. This translates to a historic tightness of the U.S. labor market, with 4 million more job openings than unemployed workers.”

With this tightening of the labor pool combined with a retiring aging workforce, workers are needed more now than ever. The authors of the McKinsey article referenced above share that “Business leaders should protect pools of talent which are essential to future value creation. Layoffs from other organizations may even expand hiring pools for organizations short on hard-to-find skills.”

As recruiters and HR teams develop strategies to attract restaurant workers who may be leaving other industries, what can companies do now to narrow the talent gap?

  • Identify untapped talent.
    • Too often, good employees who are quiet but diligent are overlooked. Managers take for granted their consistent production and lack of complaints, but those workers could have the skills needed to excel in new roles. Additionally, without recognition or intentional engagement, these employees could secretly be planning a departure. Engaging these employees could be a wise strategy to drive retention regardless of their potential to fill other roles.
  • Train managers as coaches.
    • It can be easy to create a professional development plan for an employee. However, managers aren’t always trained as coaches, so with a tool like the Truvelop app, managers receive targeted recommendations and actionable insights for each employee based on their score and goals.
    • In a recent blog post, our Customer Success Team shared, “Ultimately, when organizations adopt a coaching culture, they are strengthening their…relationships and improving retention.”
  • Evaluate often.
    • If you’re still utilizing an annual performance review, you are missing opportunities to not only engage with frontline workers but also evaluate current performance and develop a plan for improvement as needed.

With the Truvelop app, managers can conduct employee assessments regularly and quickly. And employees can request evaluations too which could be helpful in receiving real-time feedback at the frontlines and improving the manager-employee relationship.

Restaurants are challenged more than many other industries to recruit and retain talent. With a commitment to a coaching culture and regular employee engagement, restaurants can begin addressing the talent gaps.

Contact us today to learn more about our modern approach to performance management and development and how it solves for retention. Don’t just take our word for it, see what our Customers have to say.