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    Why every QSR needs an internal hiring strategy

    Hiring and training employees is one of the biggest challenges facing VPs of operations for QSR brands. Keeping your talent pipelines full for your DMs and GMs can feel like mission impossible at times, especially without best practices in place. But there’s an opportunity right in front of you that may not always be top of mind: promoting talent from within your restaurants.

    Perhaps there isn’t an ideal candidate on your team who can fill a management role when it becomes available. The good news is that this is a solvable problem. As a VP of operations, you can work carefully with your DMs and GMs to put development programs into place so that your team members grow the right skills to become future leaders of your restaurants. 

    In this article, we take a closer look at four advantages of promoting talent from within your restaurants.

    4 benefits of hiring internally

    1. The entire team will see that loyalty and hard work really do get rewarded.

    When restaurants promote from within, employees see that hard work pays off. One of the greatest benefits from this is higher retention rates. As VP of operations, you know firsthand that employee retention is one of the biggest problems in the industry. Growing your team into leadership roles is a win-win. 

    When your employees see that they have the ability to grow their careers with your restaurant, they not only stick around longer, employee engagement also increases. Having a strong culture of internal promotion is also fantastic for attracting new applicants. People looking for their next career opportunity are attracted to brands known for promoting from within because they believe that if they join the team and work hard, good results for their careers will follow.

    2. Internal candidates already know the organization inside and out.

    Months, and in some cases years, of knowledge about your QSR brand and culture can be invaluable to your restaurants’ long-term success. An external hire won’t have this frontline experience gained along the way—in good times and bad. Not only is this valuable knowledge missing from external hires, it also gets lost if employees leave your restaurant because they weren’t promoted. 

    There’s no denying that an external candidate can bring a much-needed, fresh perspective to a restaurant. But, in cases where the team is functioning well, an internal promotion will carry substantial brand and culture benefits that an external candidate simply can’t bring to the table from day one.

    3. The restaurant will reach optimal performance more quickly.

    Getting someone started in a new role at your restaurant usually isn’t easy, but if the person is internal, the change will be easier for everyone involved. Hiring an external candidate means that new team member will have to learn the core functions of the job. It also means it will take extra time to become familiar with all the detailed nuances that inevitably arise even in the most organized training programs. Plus, the external hire will have to build relationships with other team members from scratch. 

    Additionally, the external hire will have to learn how to navigate the restaurant’s policies and procedures for topics such as shift schedules, dress codes and time-off requests. This can include training an external hire to operate various technology systems that are increasingly being used by QSRs today. As an external hire ascends these experiential learning curves within your restaurants, the ramp-up time is not always smooth sailing. Bumps along the way can cause ripple effects that upset other team members who are already under stress and don’t have extra capacity to tolerate rookie mistakes. 

    Having experience in how your restaurants truly operate gives internal candidates a big advantage when it comes to achieving optimal job performance as quickly as possible. 

    4. The restaurant will realize substantial cost savings by not having to recruit external talent.

    As a VP of operations, you know that the budget you allocate for recruiting talent for your restaurant. It’s often sizable. Investing in ongoing hiring campaigns requires substantial advertising and marketing dollars. These recruitment expenses increase the overall cost of external hires compared to internal promotions. 

    The more time it takes to fill open roles at your restaurants, the larger your recruitment marketing and advertising expenses will be. And for team leader and management positions, recruitment efforts can take even longer and cost more money in the long run. Plus, there is a greater chance that an external hire will quit prematurely compared to an internal promotion because external hires may discover that they don’t like the culture of the restaurant. When an external hire quits prematurely, this is considered a loss, as all the time and money spent training this person fails to generate a return on investment for the restaurant.  

    Instead of spending this money recruiting external candidates, consider investing more in management development and job shadowing programs for internal team members. These developmental investments will help your restaurant identify employees who are competent, hardworking and ready to take on more responsibility. 

    While promoting from within has many significant advantages, external recruitment and hiring is still very much a necessity. Many QSRs leverage our powerful recruitment platform to scale and bring cost efficiencies to their hiring programs. Contact us today to learn more about our next-generation recruitment platform for QSRs!


    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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