If only hiring quality restaurant staff was as easy as sitting down and picking your favorite dish from the menu. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. The stress of recruiting an expert team of servers and cooks makes most restaurant managers want to throw in the kitchen towel — or dinner napkin.

Additionally, the impact of COVID-19 has made staffing restaurants more challenging than ever. As of December 2020, the National Restaurant Association reports that 62% of fine dining operators and 54% of casual dining operators say staffing levels are more than 20% below average.1

To a great extent, your restaurant’s success hinges on having a quality restaurant staff. With a limited workforce available, you will have to get creative when recruiting the right team for your restaurant. We have you covered with a recipe for hiring success! Here’s how to hire restaurant staff in 10 easy steps.

1. Assess your values

The first step to finding quality restaurant staff members is assessing the values of your establishment. Creating a defined outline of your restaurant’s goals will serve as a guide for evaluating potential new hires. Think about what makes your restaurant unique and the qualities someone needs so that your restaurant can deliver a seamless customer experience.

For example, do you own a fast-casual spot that values efficiency and speed, or do you have a more formal establishment that invites guests to savor every bite? Are you prepared to train individuals new to the field, or are you looking for seasoned servers with experience? Defining these values will make recruiting, interviewing, and identifying how to hire quality restaurant staff members easier.

2. Determine what roles to fill

Next, examine your restaurant’s current operations to determine what positions you need to fill and how many employees you need to fill them. For example, are you hiring for front-of-house, back-of-house, or both? Do you need more servers on the floor, or do you need another line cook to help keep up with takeout orders? Don’t post an ad until you understand what roles you need to staff. After all, you wouldn’t start cooking until you knew what ingredients you needed!

3. Define your salary range

While being a part of a restaurant team can be fun and exciting, it is definitely hard work! Make sure to budget for success and compensate your employees fairly. As of July 2020, as many as 5% of restaurant industry workers quit every month in 2021, leaving over 1.2 million restaurant jobs unfilled.2 The main reason people are quitting is that they don’t feel fairly compensated for their work.3 Higher wages will attract top talent and reduce turnover, saving you time, energy, and money in the future.

4. Write a job description

To get the attention of future employees, you have to write a killer job description! Don’t get distracted with flowery words or make empty promises. Instead, keep it real and outline expectations and benefits. Make sure to incorporate all the necessary elements of a powerful job description, including the job title, purpose, responsibilities, required qualifications, preferred qualifications, and working conditions. It is also beneficial to include information on wages, the restaurant, and your vision for what you’re looking for in a team dynamic.

5. Advertise the job

Once you have your amazing job description written, it’s time to release it into the wild. Posting the job listing on your website and social media channels is a great start, but you may not be reaching industry workers who are actively searching for employment. Cast a wider net and share your listing on job sites like:

There are also job sites made just for the restaurant industry, including:

Some of these platforms are free to use, while others offer paid plans aimed at helping you recruit team members quickly and efficiently.

6. Write interview questions

After posting your job listing, interview requests will (hopefully!) start pouring in. Make the most of the interview process by writing out a list of essential questions to ask. While the questions you need to ask will depend on your goals, the position, and your business values, here are a few common interview questions to consider adding to the list:

  • Why do you want to work at our restaurant?
  • Do you have prior restaurant or related experience?
  • When are you available to work?
  • Can you describe when you had to deal with a demanding customer or work situation and how you handled it?
  • Can you describe the last time you went above and beyond for a guest?
  • Describe a time you upset a customer in a previous job. How did you handle it? What did you learn from this experience that you can apply to future jobs?

Don’t be afraid to add a dash of fun to the interview. For example, you can ask potential hires what entree, cocktail, or dessert they would be to get a flavor for their personality.

7. Interview candidates

Once you have a list of your most important interview questions, you can begin interviewing candidates. Make sure to define a straightforward interview procedure if your restaurant does not already have one. Determine who will select candidates to interview, who will conduct the interviews, and who will be responsible for making the final decision to hire.

It is helpful to create a shared spreadsheet where team leaders can easily compare candidates side-by-side and weigh in on decisions. Break interview questions into columns and utilize a point system to grade applicants.

8. Verify credentials

If the interview process goes well, you will have a strong group of potential candidates to choose from. Before you offer a job to anyone, make sure to verify their credentials. (You don’t want any “im-pastas” in your Italian restaurant.) Confirm that they possess any necessary food safety certifications and licenses to serve alcohol, call their references to validate their resumes and answers to interview questions, and conduct a background check.

9. Hire for diversity

As a hiring manager or restaurant owner, it is important to hire restaurant staff for diversity. The National Restaurant Association reports that restaurants employ more minority managers than any other industry in the country — and for good reasons.4 A diverse staff brings a mix of perspectives and talents that will strengthen your team.

In the restaurant industry, everyone should have a seat at the table.

10. Train applicants

You learned how to hire restaurant staff and built a dynamic team. Now, you have to train them. Give them the materials and training they need to succeed and feel confident in their new role. Consider hosting an orientation day for new team members. A formal orientation offers the opportunity to educate all new staff members at once, conduct team-building exercises, and even role-play customer service scenarios.

You can also pair restaurant newbies with seasoned staff members who can serve as mentors and help you guide trainees through their first few weeks. Starting a new job can be challenging. So make sure to provide support and approach mistakes with understanding.

What’s next after “you’re hired”?

You put in the hard work to hire quality restaurant staff and keep your busy business thriving through dinner service. Keep everything you and your team work for protected with Thimble. Get a Business Owners Policy (BOP) that provides commercial property insurance, general liability insurance, and business interruption coverage in one easy package. Think of BOP insurance as a 3-course dinner!

Like a good appetizer menu, Thimble offers you several choices so you can select the coverage that’s best suited for you. Choose from coverage by the job, month, or year. Just click “get a quote” or download the Thimble mobile app and answer a quick set of questions to receive your quote. It only takes a few minutes. It’s as easy as pie — or tiramisu.


  1. National Restaurant Association. State of the Restaurant Industry report measures virus’ impact on business. 
  2. NPR. Low Pay, No Benefits, Rude Customers: Restaurant Workers Quit At Record Rate. 
  3. NPR. Low Pay, No Benefits, Rude Customers: Restaurant Workers Quit At Record Rate. 
  4. National Restaurant Association. 2021 State of the Restaurant Industry Report.