Every week we comb through the news to find employment trends affecting the hospitality industry so you don’t have to. This week’s topic: attracting candidates back to hospitality.  

As we settle into the New Year, the hospitality industry continues to face staffing challenges, with hundreds of thousands of jobs open across the country. Likely compounding this issue is the recent rise in new COVID-19 cases, preventing more people from working or seeking employment. Also fueling the staffing challenges are other issues that are preventing candidates from wanting to fill out much needed applications. Some of these include: 

  • Pushback from customers on COVID-related health and safety measures.  
  • Open positions in other industries that may be more attractive to candidates. 
  • Hourly employees don’t want to rely on tips to boost their pay rates.  
  • Lack of support from management.  

To be attracting candidates back to hospitality, these issues need to be addressed and feedback from current employees needs to be considered. In doing so, managers will be able to better engage and retain their workers. Here are a few ways restaurants can start attracting candidates back to hospitality:  

Tips for Attracting Candidates Back to Hospitality

Create and implement an upskilling program
Growth and learning opportunities are one of the most important things candidates look for in a new job – sometimes even more so than compensation. Employees want to know that they’re building on their skills and will leave this job a better employee than when they were hired.  

Upskilling or cross training can be done with both hourly and salaried employees. Consider having bartenders train in the kitchen or have the back-of-house employees get some training in the front of the house. Managers can receive various food and beverage certifications or cross train in other parts of the restaurant. By offering growth opportunities, you’re not only building better employees at your business, but you’re also helping create better employees for the future of the industry. Having this investment in their professional futures is a great way to be attracting candidates back to hospitality.

Provide the support your staff needs
Employees want to feel supported by their managers no matter what industry they work in. But it’s particularly important in the hospitality industry, where we’ve seen growing tensions between restaurant employees and customers who don’t want to follow state/local health and safety mandates. If you’re often receiving pushback from customers on things like mask mandates, show your staff you have their backs. Step in if tensions rise or workers are being harassed.  

Providing support also means making sure you’re staffed with the right number of employees. Easier said than done considering the aforementioned staffing challenges, but this is where managers need to think out of the box. If you’re struggling to hire but need extra help, consider reaching out to a staffing partner to fill in the open spots on your team. Companies like LGC can provide hourly and salary employees in a temporary or permanent capacity depending on your needs. This will allow you to either continue focusing on hiring or direct your attention to other areas of your business.  

Offer truly competitive pay/benefits
Easier said than done – and certainly not the end all be all to the industry’s staffing problems – but offering competitive pay is the first step in finding the talent you need. Competitive pay doesn’t just have to be the dollar amount you’re paying employees; it can also include benefits or perks like flexible scheduling. Consider what employees want from their next job. And if you don’t know, ask them! Use interviews to gather information so you can offer employees exactly what they want.  

It will take some time before the hospitality industry is able to find the candidates it needs to fill all the open positions. The first step is by showing employees that this is an industry they want to work in. Think about how you can best support your current and future staff, then put your plan into action – that’s how we’ll start attracting candidates back to hospitality.


LGC can provide employees in a variety of hospitality positions. Reach out to us today for staffing assistance