Success in the restaurant business hinges not only on serving good food, but also on having reliable human talent. Yet sourcing, screening, and selecting candidates remains a formidable challenge for quick-service restaurants.
This dilemma became especially prevalent during the later stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, when millions of workers switched career paths or left the hourly workforce entirely. Today, franchisees still struggle to fill open positions despite a perceived influx of applicants in today’s “click-to-apply” era.
“We had a lot of applicants but weren’t having much success getting them into the store,” says Thomas Safar, a six-store Domino’s franchisee and president of White Rose Pizza LLC. “We would talk to people, and things would seem promising, but then they wouldn’t show up for the interview.”
Safar and his team tried different tactics—such as calling applicants immediately for a quick phone introduction—to get interviewees into the store. “We really wanted to give them the confidence to come to work for us,” he says. Still, nothing worked.
That is until he found Sprockets, a software platform that helps businesses source, screen, and select the best applicants for open positions. Sprockets uses artificial intelligence (AI) to predict applicant success, empowering operators to hire and retain high-quality workers.
Here’s how it works: Sprockets connects to a restaurant’s current hiring tools, such as Indeed or SmartRecruiters, and automatically sends applicants a brief “pre-interview” questionnaire. Their Applicant Matching System then determines which applicants are the ideal fit for specific roles and locations. While the assessment is not mandatory, Safar found it to be helpful in weeding out poor-quality applicants.
“People who took time to complete the assessment would actually show up for the interview. Then, once we got them to the store, we saw a much higher hiring rate,” he says. “Just being in the environment allows them to visualize working there—people decide when they can see the operation for themselves.”
Traditional pre-employment assessments are inherently flawed, using generic criteria to evaluate all applicants and letting potentially great candidates slip away. Sprockets’ AI-powered solution, however, is based on data: Its Instant Ranking feature compares applicants’ personality traits with those of restaurants’ current top performers. A simple red-yellow-green scoring system makes it easy to see which potential hires will thrive at specific roles and locations.
“It’s not a lot of questions, so if an applicant isn’t willing to take three minutes to complete the assessment, what will their attitude in the store be when you try to teach them something new?” Safar says. “Those with higher fit scores have a higher likelihood of showing up and being a good employee, which helps with turnover.”
Sprockets users spend 37 percent less time hiring, on average, which they’d typically spend reviewing piles of resumes or wasting hours on interviews with applicants who wouldn’t work out anyway. Previously, Safar averaged one hire in every seven applicants. Once he incorporated Sprockets into the hiring process, that increased to one hire in every three applicants—and the process was much more efficient. “That’s a huge difference for us,” he says.
Sprockets can also re-engage past applicants. Its Pools feature continuously revives interest from past applicants with personalized text messages, which helps operators quickly fill positions and stay fully staffed. In a college town like Denton, Texas, where Safar’s restaurants are located, this is an especially useful tool since students are never far from their phones.
“If you are in a competitive hiring area, you want Sprockets to be a part of your process,” Safar says. “If you use the system as designed, you will have an advantage over your competitors. The early bird gets the best applicants.”
To learn more, visit the Sprockets website.
By Davina van Buren