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: three things to think about when hiring hourly workers.  

Quick service and sit-down restaurant franchise owners are continuing to navigate the hiring conundrum to balance supply chains, health + safety, and staffing. Jobs are open, but labor participation in the United States is at one of the lowest points since the late 1950s — at under 62% of adults. Despite additional unemployment benefits ending at the beginning of September, people aren’t getting back to work at the pace we believed they would.  

Most believe this is due to a shift in employees’ way of thinking. Now that job seekers have the upper hand, they’re unwilling to accept a position that doesn’t meet their needs – whether they’re regarding pay, work life balance, career opportunities, or other “must haves” for a new job. Not only that, but it’s a tough time to work in hospitality; ongoing pandemic-related challenges and a reported increase in harassment of restaurant employees are leading to some feeling hesitant about returning to the industry.  

If your team needs help hiring hourly workers, the best way to do so is by responding to what they want and how they live and work. Here are three things to think about when hiring hourly workers.  

Think about… 

…how you hire. 

Recently several national news outlets have printed stories about job seekers who say employers are unresponsive during the interview process. With a lot of job openings, human resources professionals often don’t have enough time to respond to everyone. On average, for every job opening, an employer receives over 100 applications. Just 20% of those are interviewed, according to Forbes. Many companies are using talent management software and recent articles show it’s weeding out the wrong (talented) applicants. And it’s simply not accessible for some hourly workers who do not have the same access to technology as others; they may access computers at community centers, for example, and find it easy to job hunt in person. 

If that happens and a job applicant comes in off the street to apply, what’s the process? Do staff know what they should do when an applicant is in the building? If not, it’s a lost opportunity to bring someone on your team who can fill gaps and serve customers. Communicate the current hiring process to your staff, especially if there’s a help wanted sign posted on your building or website.  

As noted in the statistic above (just 20% of applicants get interviewed due to the number of applicants), there just aren’t enough people to find more employees. Partnering with a staffing firm provides extra staff and a flexible option to respond to job applicants personally and professionally. Often staffing firms (like LGC) have gig workers who can go to work quickly to fill staffing gaps in case of a last-minute absence or call-off.  

…what employees want. 

In most cases, clients finding success with hiring and staffing are providing better wages and workplace environments. We’ve all read the stories and heard from employees that flexibility is now a priority. Technomic’s new research in the Crisis on the Front Lines Multi-Client Study says 85% of workers responding cited work-life balance and professional management as the most important factors in a job. 

The same study shows 66% of respondents view independent restaurant operators positively as employers compared to 55% who say the same for chains. In fact, 20% say their perceptions of chains as employers are negative or very negative. What is your team doing to fix that perception? 

Get back to the basics. When hiring hourly workers, these employees want simple things: a solid living wage, a positive working environment, appreciation, and respect. Find the best ways to accommodate these needs and then implement them.  

…respect in the workplace and having your employees back.  

A September report from One Fair Wage shows a startling reality from the point of view of hourly workers. 

  • Three quarters (75%) of tipped workers said gratuities have decreased and more than half (54%) reported an increase in hostility and harassment related to enforcing COVID protocols.  

When hiring hourly workers, you need to think of the bigger picture. In order to retain and engage employees, a solid management team needs to know what they can control. In the case of restaurant industry employees, it comes down to pay, respect, and creating a workplace that employees won’t want to leave now or in the future. 


LGC partners with quick service restaurants around the country to fill open positions ranging from hourly to permanent. Let us help take some of the pressure off staffing and hiring hourly workers – contact us today.