Remember your first job? Being excited to get into work, do your best, and show everyone that you were ready to take on more responsibility? It’s likely that back then, you weren’t in charge of the schedule like you are now. Instead, your employer may have looked to you - a young, eager, excited new hire - to work odd hours that were challenging to fill. And you probably didn’t mind a bit.
Running a restaurant can be a 24/7 gig for you and your employees. There are dozens of things to do every morning, afternoon and evening. Most of your staff is probably accustomed to the fact that restaurant life means different hours than a 9 to 5 job. But it can still be difficult to find employees who are willing to work those odd hours that don’t fit neatly into anyone’s schedule.
We have some tips below that can help you fill those odd hours. And as always, we’d love to hear your solutions - how have you found employees that are willing to work odd hours? Share your thoughts on the tips below in the comments.
1. Look to a group with a different schedule
When it comes to hiring, many restaurants rely on putting a sign in the window and a post online and wait for the applicants to come. But when you’re looking for people to help you fill odd hours, you might want to think about seeking out specific audiences who will be open to it.
Try heading over to the local colleges and dropping off applications. College students are highly motivated to work, and also have different schedules than many of your other applicants will. Those who have class late at night may be willing to work an early morning shift. And those who have classes that finish early in the day may be able to cover odd mid-day shifts.
2. Be upfront in your interviews
After you’ve hired someone and started making their schedule, it’s too late to bring up the idea of working odd hours. But if you’re upfront in the interview, you can have an open conversation and more quickly understand each applicant’s tolerance for being scheduled for odd hours.
Don’t try to hide the questions or mask your intent - just open a discussion by being straightforward in saying that you have some hours to fill that are a little atypical. In the long run, this approach will save you a lot of headaches in trying to build your schedule. By asking the right questions in your interviews, you’ll be able to build the team - and the schedule - that works for you.
3. Use references to your advantage
Our last tip about finding employees to work odd hours is this: when you find someone that works, let them help you. If you have an employee on staff with a schedule that allows them to work odd hours, it’s possible that they have friends and connections that may also be willing to do so. Ask them to turn to their networks to help you find your next hire.
Ask your current employees to share a little about their friend or acquantance before you bring them in for an interview. As they share, try to get a feel for whether this person would be a long-term solution for you. And when you feel comfortable, ask your employee to invite the person in to speak with you and the rest of your management team. You might be surprised at how wide your pool of potential odd-hours employees are when you open it up to your staff’s connections as well.
It’s not always easy finding employees to fit those odd hour shifts - but with a little creative thinking and extra legwork, your pool of applicants becomes much larger and soon, you’ll have a schedule that works for everyone.