Restaurants experience one of the biggest staff turnovers of any other industry. It is hard work and very stressful. There are any number of reasons why people leave, from low wages to in-fighting and bad managers.

But you can keep the turnover in your restaurant by hiring the right people. Your customer is vital and they won’t be happy if your waitstaff are not happy. There are ways to find the right people who will stay.

Hiring great staff builds the foundation of your business

Finding Staff

Posting a job ad online will certainly bring in a wide variety of candidates for you to choose from. It will give you more options so you can make some informed decisions for hiring. 

Posting a sign in your window is also a great way to find people. You will find someone locally who knows the area, likely knows your restaurant and may even be familiar with the customers. 

It can help a lot if you already have an idea of the type of person or people you are looking for. A short checklist can be very helpful for finding the right people, but don’t get too locked into it, as you may end up turning away some great candidates.

However, diversity is also important in a restaurant. People who come in like to see themselves reflected in the staff who work there. 

Asking your current employees if they have any friends looking for work can also help find great staff. They may know someone they used to work with who is looking for a new job. 


It is important to understand that not all your wait staff will be career waitstaff. You can find plenty of more than capable people whose demeanor and attitude more than make up for a lack of experience. Regardless, when you find the right people you will need to keep them happy, otherwise you will have to start the hiring process all over again.

Catering to their schedule will let them know you care about them and they will be more loyal. Someone may be going to school at night or during the day, someone may have young kids at home and others may have another job.

These people should not be penalized for having a life outside of your restaurant. If you give them the shifts they want, they will stay longer, as it fits their schedule and you have allowed that. Ultimately you will win, by saving time, money and by achieving a better culture when you make sure that your employees win too.

Good Employees translates to a good client experience everytime


Someone who lives around the corner is a better hire than someone who has to commute for an hour. The person who has to commute is likely to churn, miss shifts, or show late.

It isn’t their fault, but the nature of a commute means that they are earning less for their time, and the logistics of getting to the location can often be a blocker for them to become great employees.  Now, this isn’t to say that a great employee can come from anywhere, it is just a reminder to be aware of the circumstance under which your team members have to get to the store.

People who can also get there if transit is down or backed up is important. Someone stuck in traffic 45 minutes away isn’t going to get those plates to your customers. 


Hiring someone with no or very little experience is not a bad thing. You have the ability to train them the way you want. While someone with many years of experience might catch on faster, they also come with several years of bad habits.

It can be frustrating for a manager to have to constantly remind someone about the way you want things done, not the way they are used to doing it. Someone without much experience won’t know the wrong way to your job.


It is very comforting for regular guests at your restaurant to see a familiar and friendly face each time. Keeping customers happy means keeping your staff happy.

While we can all have a bad day, it is vital for someone who faces the public to be professional and kind. When you are interviewing people, ask them about how they handled a bad situation, in particular, in dealing with customers.

There is simply no pleasing some customers. Being able to deal with these situations and not get angry or take it personally are important skills. See if your candidates naturally rest their face in a smile, or have good interpersonal tactics to avoid awkward situtions or navigate out of uncomfortable communication styles.

Be Honest

During the interview process, you should be upfront about your values and what policies you need to be adhered to. While some people will agree to anything simply to get the job, not all of them will. 

Tell them very specifically what will be expected of them. Be very clear about company policies, dress codes, scheduling and chain of command. Communication is key for keeping staff in place.

Ask them if they have any questions. Let them interview you, as well. It will give you a good idea of what is on their mind and what they are looking for. 

Customer waiting for the bill

Just The Bill

You don’t have to like everyone you hire to make the team work well. Being flexible with your staff and their schedules will keep them happy. Happy staff means happy customers and you customers have to be number one.

People are going to leave the job, but if you ask the right questions and are open and honest with them, they will stick around. Flexibility will be key, as it shows your staff you care about them. 

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