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    Restaurant Hiring | 5 min read

    How to Hire Quality Restaurant Workers by Catherine Burns

    Forty years ago, three young businessmen came together to build one of the most successful restaurant groups in downtown Salt Lake City. Gastronomy, Inc., better known for their restaurants - Market Street Grill, Oyster Bar and New Yorker. With their eye on the business principle of high-quality service, casual surroundings and delicious food at a good perceived value, they were the pioneers of "fresh seafood" in Utah. 

    Staying true to their business feature of excellence, Gastronomy is known for their amazing variety of fresh seafood and the quality of their steaks, which are every bit as good as the seafood. Their clam chowder, paired with delicious sourdough bread, is known all over the country.


    We got in touch with their Human Resources Director, Catherine Burns, to share her expertise in hiring for such a successful restaurant business. Prior to that, she worked in their fine dining restaurant (recently closed) as a server, hostess and manager. Gastronomy, Inc. employs approximately 400 individuals and her main responsibility is to ensure that they have a great work environment for the staff. Additionally, Catherine is in charge of workplace safety, food safety and Gastronomy's marketing efforts. She is also the manager of the corporate office. 

    The organization has been highly successful because the owners and managers of its restaurants demand top performance from themselves and their employees. With more than 25 years in the restaurant business and nine successful operations, Gastronomy, Inc. continues to expand.

    Q: What have your experiences been in dealing with hiring hourly workers?

    Catherine: It has been very difficult for quite some time now. There are too many restaurants in Salt Lake City for the number of individuals interested in working in them. Line cooks and other back of the house staff are especially hard to find. Lately, we have hired some excellent servers, but that is not always the case. Unemployment nationally is low, but it is especially low in Utah.

    Workstream's Recruiting Tip:

    With Text-to-Apply posters, set yourself apart from other QSRs and make applying convenient for all applicants! This increases their chances of applying for the roles you've put out. When candidates scan the QR codes on these posters, they will also get a link to all open positions - increasing the likelihood of a successful applicant as there is a higher possibility of them finding a job opening for a job they're interested in.

    Video resumes are also useful in allowing you to quickly determine the suitability of a candidate, which is especially important in distinguishing whether they should be a customer-facing or backend staff. It is also a great way to find out if they are genuinely interested in the position, and whether their personality is suited for your team. 


    Q: What has worked most for you when hiring hourly workers? 

    Catherine: Making sure we are very clear about the expectations and then ensuring that we make the person comfortable and welcome when they start. Each new employee is assigned a mentor manager, who provides extra care for their training and well-being.

    Indeed is working fairly well, we have a local job board called KSL which also produces applicants. Workstream is partnering with both of these so it makes it efficient to place ads. We also have a robust employee referral program that results in new hires.

    Workstream's Recruiting Tip:

    Workstream's Job Board Integrations allow you to post to over 25,000 job boards with a single click! Continue sticking to job boards you're familiar with, or explore new ones, without having to copy and paste job listings across multiple job boards.

    Furthermore, with data-driven analytics, you'd be able to maximize your spending on job postings, while also tracking which platforms have the highest retention rates or provide long term hires.


    Q: Where are your go-to channels for sourcing and hiring?

    Catherine: Indeed, KSL, employee referral, refuge programs, temporary staffing agencies, social media, job fairs (although usually not very fruitful).

    Q: What innovative recruiting technologies or methods have you seen recently?

    Catherine: I think the newest thing that could help us is the text-to-apply feature that Workstream has set up. Otherwise, you just have to get the word out that working in restaurants is lucrative, flexible, fun and can set a person up with vital life and/or workplace skills and behaviors.

    Workstream's Recruiting Tip:

    Did you know that beyond Text-to-Apply posters, Workstream has an automated scheduling feature to optimize interview scheduling? Applicants who make it to the interview stage will receive a text message with a link to your calendar, allowing them to select a slot from pre-designated interview slots in your calendar, based on their availabilities. Thereafter, they will also be sent reminders to prevent ghosting, and are provided with the option of rescheduling should they be unable to make it for their interview.

    Hiring hourly workers may not be an easy process, but Workstream can simplify it for you! Schedule a chat with us and find out more. 

    Related Categories

    Restaurant Hiring


    Workstream is a hiring platform that helps employers get 4x the number of qualified applicants. The world's most trusted brands use Workstream to optimize job board postings, automate screening and interview scheduling, communicate via text message, and streamline the onboarding/training process. See what all the buzz is about by scheduling a demo or email us info@workstream.is!

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