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How to Recruit Waiters and Waitresses

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 9 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Recruitment Recruitment Agency

The waiters and waitresses that you recruit will be the face of your restaurant, so it is worth taking your time to find the right people.

Recruiting staff is never an easy task. You can go down the more convenient but more expensive route of using a recruitment agency, but even then you will have to allow plenty of time to interview and train them.

If you do not want to use an employment agency, there are plenty of places to find suitable staff, it just takes time and perseverance.

Finding the Right Waiter or Waitress Staff

Before you even think about setting up interviews, think about the type of waiting staff that will be right for your restaurant. Although you must be careful not to be ageist, think about the type of characters and personalities that will compliment your restaurant. If, for example, you are planning to open a sort of American style burger bar, you may not want the sort of serious types that are better suited to a tasting menu, Michelin starred place.

When you have a person specification for your ideal waiters and waitresses, think where to find them. Put a clear, well written advert in your restaurant window and in your local newspaper. Consider using the free internet job boards such as Reed. You could put an advert on your local higher education college or university notice board, too.

Interviewing Potential Restaurant Staff

If you have never interviewed someone before, it can be a rather daunting prospect. Start by writing a short list of key questions that you think are important. Print a number of copies so that you can use it for each interviewee.

Once you have gone through the CVs you have received in response to your various job adverts, go through them carefully. Look at people’s experience, how they present their CV and what their relevant skills are. Make a shortlist of people you wish to interview and then arrange the interviews for the same day, if possible. Don’t offer the candidates a long list of possible interview slots or you will end up loosing precious time.

How to Test Their Skills at Interview

As being a good waiter or waitress is so much to do with how they interact with the customer, it can be hard to determine the best candidate at interview. The best way to assess them is to see how they greet you when they come in, how friendly their manner is and how relaxed they seem in your company.

When you have decided who you wish to take on, offer them a one shift trial – make it clear that this will be paid, and pay them in cash at the end of the evening. Throughout the trial shift, see how they get on, taking into consideration new job nerves and being careful not to suffocate them. If they perform well, offer them the position and clarify the requirements and conditions of the job.

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