As a general manager, you are constantly juggling responsibilities to keep your restaurant humming along. On any given day, you might be creating schedules, reviewing sales reports, or smoothing things over with a dissatisfied guest.

But it can be hard to focus on the many tasks at hand when you know you have a real staffing problem.

A recent LANDED survey found that two out of three restaurant GMs spend three or more hours a week just on recruiting. Here’s how to reduce that.

Write clear, compelling job descriptions

A well-written job description will catch the eye of potential candidates, stopping them mid-scroll. But it can also be a big time-saver in a couple of ways.

First, make sure the description outlines the basic criteria needed to qualify for the position. If the job requires a background check or two years of experience, don’t be afraid to state that upfront. The last thing you–or the candidate—need is to invest time in a process that won’t pan out in the end.

Second, take the time to define and describe what your restaurant has to offer. A cool culture? Flexible scheduling? Free shift meals? By making your company stand out among all the other job listings, the job description will save you time by doing some of your recruitment work for you.

Leverage job boards and social media

A simple “now hiring” sign in the drive-thru window is just not as effective as it used to be. To reach a wider audience, it’s necessary to consider a variety of channels.

When looking for employment, most young people turn to online job boards and social media outlets like Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok. By getting current with this trend, companies can reach an audience of millions. (Seem like a little much? Most platforms have a feature called geo-targeting that allows you to narrow your search to a specific location).

On social media, you can create job ads that range from basic to fun. Some restaurants even create engaging video content showcasing company culture and employees. No matter what your style—remember to use hashtags to expand your reach.

Offer referral bonuses

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a whole team of people out recruiting for you? One way to find new hires more quickly is by having existing employees spread the word. Start a referral program, and let your workers know that you want to find more people with skills and dispositions like theirs.

Then offer referral bonuses to incentivize the program. While you can give the reward as a lump sum, it is often smart to give it in increments to promote retention of the new hire. For instance, if an employee refers a friend who gets hired, the employee might get one bonus immediately and another after 90 days.

An advantage of referral bonuses is that there is typically less turnover. The new hires usually know what they are getting into since they already have a connection at the restaurant. Plus, working at the same location as a friend—even if they have different shifts—can make workers feel more comfortable.

And one last tip: When offering referral bonuses, always make sure to keep track of who is eligible, and pay out rewards on time. This simple technique maintains employees’ trust and ensures the longevity of the referral program.

Putting it all together

Recruitment can be a big drain on your time as a GM—or with a few tweaks to the strategy, your time can be freed up to make sure the restaurant is running efficiently. If you invest upfront to craft job descriptions carefully, list openings on social media, and create a referral program, you’ll save time later.

Vivian Wang is the founder and CEO of Landed ( She and the Landed team are building the fastest way for the 90M hourly workers in the US to land jobs at essential food & retail businesses like Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Grocery Outlet & more with video. After graduating from Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs, Vivian worked in roles ranging from advising European central banks on financial markets strategy at BlackRock and launching the Asia & EMEA markets at real estate tech company, Matterport (NASDAQ: MTTR), to leading special projects for the C-suite at Gap, Inc., owner of Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Athleta, and Intermix. 

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