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    Top 5 QSR Hiring Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)

    As an owner or GM of a QSR, you’ve probably experienced significant difficulties in finding employees for your restaurant. In fact, according to CBS News, 40% of restaurants in the United States are having trouble finding servers, cooks, and other workers for their teams.

    Further complicating matters, restaurant leaders are facing the increasingly high employee turnover rates of the QSR industry. Restaurant Dive reported turnover rates as high as 200% for some QSRs. 

    Finding—and hiring—talent for your restaurant is hard enough, but compounding those challenges with high turnover rates is leading some restaurants to reduce operating hours or, even worse, permanently close doors.

    With stakes as high as they’ve ever been, it’s more important than ever to take a look at your current hiring process and rid it of the common mistakes that will prevent you from building a solid team.

    Here’s a look at the top 5 QSR hiring mistakes and their remedies.

    1. Not Leveraging Technology

    Many QSRs are still using outdated methods for finding and hiring employees. Many rely primarily on in-store posters or word-of-mouth to find new job candidates. Once a person applies, hiring managers often use back-and-forth phone calls to screen applicants and schedule interviews. All or parts of this process may have worked once upon a time, but the competitive landscape has changed.

    Relying on two primary drivers for applicants (in this case, posters and employee referrals) greatly limits your applicant flow. In today’s job market (especially given the high turnover rate), you need as much applicant flow as you can handle. You may be wondering how your hiring managers can take on more applicants. The answer: change the way you screen applicants and schedule interviews. 

    With the right technology in place, your GMs won’t need to spend time on tasks that would historically take up a lot of time–like scheduling interviews. Using the right tools, you can get more eyes on your job posting, automatically engage and screen applicants, give employees the ability to schedule their interviews through their phone (which reduces ghosting), and ultimately free your GMs to focus more on the restaurant, the team, and the customer experience.

    2. Not Performing Attitude Assessments

    Let’s say that you are (and you might be) in desperate need of a cook for your restaurant. You finally find a candidate that has five years of experience. During your interview with this candidate, you notice some tendencies that raise a few red flags, but you let your concerns go because you need an additional cook to cover shifts. You go ahead and hire this cook. Within the first month, you realize you’ve made a terrible decision. This cook is fueling negative attitudes throughout the kitchen, creating more problems and discord than you had before you made the hire.

    Hiring mistakes due to a lack of attitude assessments are all too common in the QSR industry. Many QSR hiring managers are overwhelmed trying to fill open positions that they deprioritize attitude assessments altogether. This is a big problem because attitude is one of the most important indicators of success—for your front-line workers and your restaurant. 

    To address this head-on, build attitude assessments into your screening and interview process with a standard set of attitude-related questions. For example, ask candidates to describe a time their manager asked them to do a job they did not want to do and how they responded. You can then gauge their level of care and positive response to this situation in order to help you determine whether or not to move the candidate forward.

    3. Not Having a Referral Program

    Think back over the last few years and really take notice of where your candidates came from. You’ll probably realize that many came from referrals from current employees and even job candidates. Generally speaking, if your employees are having a positive work experience at your restaurant, they will readily spread the word to their friends and family who are looking for a great place to work.

    And while you may be receiving great organic referrals from your employees already, make sure you’re incentivizing them to send more candidates your way. (For example, for each new employee that is hired from a referral and stays on for 60 days, you pay the referring employee $250.) Doing so will increase the quality and quantity of your applicants. It will also serve up candidates that will gel better with your team and create a positive work culture that encourages employees to stay around longer than the industry average.

    Maybe you already have a referral program. That’s great. Perhaps this is an opportunity for you to level up how it’s managed. One way to do this is to automate your referral program, making it easier for your employees to share the open role with their networks and refer candidates to you. The compounding effect of using technology for your referral program is tremendous. By leveraging next-generation referral technology, you’ll reach a larger audience much more easily.

    4. Not Diversifying Your Job Board Platforms

    Are you still using the same online job board to post your open positions that you were using five years ago? Or, perhaps you’re not using online job boards at all and instead, you’re opting for signage on your restaurant’s property or local job fairs as a means to finding new employees.

    While time-tested online job boards such as are still valuable in today’s job marketplace, there are now many more online job boards and channels than ever before. QSRs are even finding recent success with using social media platforms such as Facebook and TikTok to find new candidates. 

    If you’re still using only one or two online job boards, you are missing out on an increasing number of new applicants who have moved on to other channels where you do not have an online presence. Don’t miss out any longer. 

    Pro Tip: Posting job openings on multiple job boards can be time-consuming—and so can managing all the incoming inquiries. Find a platform to help you do it all through one interface.

    5. Poor Job Descriptions 

    One of the biggest roadblocks to getting responses to your job postings is poorly written job descriptions. The descriptions that accompany your job postings are the first impression candidates get of your team and your operation. 

    Many GMs and hiring managers are so busy that they just copy and paste generic job descriptions on all of their postings. Unfortunately, this mistake results in postings that are unpersuasive to candidates. Candidates are increasingly inundated with generic job advertisements online—all the time. It’s imperative that your job postings are written in a way that they rise above all the noise. 

    If you’re pressed for time, consider hiring a copywriter to write your job postings. A small investment in high-quality copywriting can end up producing significant long-term financial rewards for your business that comes from attracting top-notch talent. 


    If you’re ready to level up your hiring process by using the latest technology designed specifically for the hourly workforce, contact us to schedule a demo and see how Workstream can help you.

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    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!

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