Step-By-Step Guide to Hiring Front-Of-House Staff


Revel Blog | Sarah Vancini | May 10, 2022 |

employee management

Front-of-House Staff Overview 

Front-of-house restaurant jobs are customer-facing and are the primary people interacting with your guests. In order to do their job most efficiently, servers and hostesses alike need to feel valued by your organization as well as part of your team. They should encompass your business’s brand and mission, bringing it to life for all who enter your restaurant.

Front of house staff members include:

  • Servers
  • Bartenders
  • Hosts
  • Expos
  • Food Runners
  • Bussers
  • Specialty (ex. Sommeliers, maître d’s)

Although brand and mission vary considerably from restaurant to restaurant, requiring a unique list of traits and skills for employees at any given franchise, there are some core qualities all front-of-house staff should have including:

  • A positive attitude 
  • Ability to effectively handle customer complaints in the moment and afterwards
  • Consistently a people person  
  • Friendliness
  • Excellent customer service skills

Challenges in Hiring Front-of-House Staff 

There are four major forces making hiring quality restaurant staff difficult in 2022:

  1. There are more job openings than people looking for work. There were 7.4 million job openings in June 2022 and 6 million people looking for work.
  2. Many young people who are great fits for the restaurant industry are opting instead to do independent work in the gig economy.
  3. There is a historically large employee turnover rate of 79.2% in the restaurant and hospitality industries. Millennials make up the largest portion of the U.S. workforce and are demanding highly engaging work.
  4. Hiring and training is costly and time-consuming.

There are a number of core business initiatives, ranging from branding strategy to refining the interview process, which standout restaurants are using today to become industry leaders. Read on to learn more about what you can do at your restaurant to hire and retain top-tier front of house staff.

Learn more about how your tech stack can help you address labor challenges in the following webinar:

Steps for Hiring for Hospitality Skills 

Throughout your hiring process be sure to have a clear picture of what the perfect applicant would be. Continually record a list of traits from your top performing employees to build your job description and interview questions around.

Note Your Brand and Culture 

With the millennial-dominant workforce, company culture is more important than ever. To set yourself up for a smooth hiring process make sure you have created an inclusive culture with clear delegation of projects and sense of empowerment. Be sure to list your company overview, company culture and any incentives on your website and social media pages.

Make note of your company’s lived mission statement and values. The key to great hiring is keeping these elements in mind and vetting for them through the hiring process. 

Make sure you are currently using incentives to reward employees for enacting your mission. Since your managers will likely be the leaders for your front-of-house staff, make sure you’re investing in managerial training so leadership knows how to create a sense of empowerment and drive others to enact the company values.

Write a Clear Job Description 


What to include in your job description:

  • Expectations for the role
  • Transparent and comprehensive explanation of daily todos 
  • Benefits to candidates for joining your team
  • A bit about company culture
  • What makes your restaurant unique

Tips for job description copywriting:

  • Avoid excessive requirements like years of experience or culinary school degrees.
  • Use a tone that matches the culture of your company. No need to be 100% buttoned up and professional.
  • Consider using a job description template outlining responsibilities and requirements to use as a guideline for future job postings.

Promote Front-of-House Positions

Once your job description is perfected it's imperative to communicate your opening with talent that would be ideal for the role.


Be sure to post the opening on:

  • Your company website
  • Job boards
  • Social media accounts

Communicate your job opening to:

  • Local culinary schools
  • Near-by colleges (be sure to talk with professors who can recommend specific students)
  • Local high schools

Community groups

As well, encourage your current staff to refer potential candidates. You can do this by setting up an employee referral incentive program. Employees hired through these programs on average produce 25% more profit than employees hired through other means.

Lastly, consider using the “second interview” method for referrals. You can encourage candidates to bring along a second person who could be interested in the company for subsequent interview rounds or shadowing. Since interviewees will likely want to impress their potential employers, most of the accomplices are impressive. Some great hires have been made through this process.

Interview Applicants 

The interview process is all about vetting talent and providing information about your workplace culture. 

The most important aspect of the interview is to ask engaging questions that allow you to see unique skills and traits that make this person a good fit for your restaurant in particular. For example, Tacombi, a Mexican taco restaurant in  New York, asks questions to determine warmth, professionalism and work ethic.

Gianpaolo Paterlini, partner and wine director at 1760 says, “When we hire people, it has absolutely nothing to do with experience or skill; it’s strictly about personality.” Any skills gaps can be filled through training. “I ask them simple questions like what their favorite dish is and why,” he says. “I don’t care what dish they describe. I just want to know if they can convey a dish or drink with some emotion and if it feels authentic.”

Pay attention not only to verb answers but also body language. Are they making good eye contact? Are they engaging? Do they seem open and friendly?

Consider using the following questions to get to know your candidates:

  1. Have you been to our restaurant before? What was your experience? How could you improve that experience?
  2. Why do you want to work in the restaurant industry?
  3. How do you adapt to changes and competing priorities?
  4. When did you go above and beyond for a customer or someone in need?
  5. Describe your favorite meal in a way that would make me want to try it.
  6. How would you handle an upset guest?
  7. Tell me about a time you disagreed with a coworker.

As always, be sure to ask candidates if they have any questions for you or the other interviewers.

Here are some additional tips for the interview process:

  • Take your time. Make sure the applicant meets with at least two people to get different opinions. The best restaurants are “slow to hire and quick to fire.”
  • Uncover each candidate’s passions. Ask questions to uncover how your candidate will handle specific situations as well as long term goals. What are their passions and hobbies? Try to get at the root of the person’s personality.
  • Consider having a second interview where candidates can shadow employees for insights into your restaurant’s specific operations.

Make the Offer 

When making the offer it is appropriate to do this over the phone. Go over:

  • The formal position
  • Pay
  • Expected Hours
  • Employee Benefits
  • What you liked about them

Ask if they have any questions moving forward. 

Conclusion 

Hiring front-of-house staff is critical to any restaurant’s success. It’s important to try to match hiring needs with current demands. 

Once you’ve got the right team members selected for the job, quickly train them on an intuitive point of sale (POS) system for restaurants

Find out how Revel Systems® can help you get your staff up-and-running quickly through our iPad-based platform. Contact us today for a free demo.