Best Practices for Hiring & Retaining Employees

Creating a great team is just as important to a restaurant’s financial success as managing food cost and marketing spend, but it can be quite a bit more challenging. Given the integral role staffing plays in a restaurant’s finances, we spend a lot of time talking to our clients about best practices and have an inside look at what is working for successful establishments. Growth opportunities, incentives, and a healthy work culture are three areas where restaurants see noticeable success in hiring and retaining great team members.

Establishing a career path

An important tip to consider for finding and retaining employees is to have a proactive approach to your employees’ future.

Consider taking the time to plan out a career path for front and back of house employees, in addition to managers, by offering industry training, workshops, and/or events that encourage learning and career progression. These initiatives demonstrate to employees that they are valued additions to the company and help give them a greater sense of purpose and identity within the industry.

Perks and incentives

Employers should emphasize what they can offer their employees instead of only highlighting what the employee can and should offer the employer. As today’s job market is more competitive than ever before, taking time to create and offer unique perks and incentives for employees is a great way for employers to stand out from their industry competitors and attract and retain solid talent for their business.

Examples of effective perks can be as simple as offering free or discounted meals to employees as well as providing sales or profit incentives to managers and key employees, tenure bonuses for designated lengths of employment, and competitive health benefits, if possible.

Culture is key

When it comes to company culture, actions will always speak louder than words. Making a conscious effort to prioritize the well-being of your employees and the atmosphere and nature in which they are working is a vital component of guaranteeing retention of your workforce.

Some actionable steps we recommend employers take to achieve this include communicating expectations clearly and effectively, posting schedules as far in advance as possible, and creating processes and procedures that incorporate feedback from various members of the team.

Melina Patterson hiring employees

Managers and owners should exhibit affirming qualities such as reliability and approachability and should be well organized to ensure staff feels secure, comfortable, and empowered to address issues and make suggestions for overall areas of improvement when necessary.


Melina Patterson is the vice president of Patterson & Company Certified Public Accountants. Founded in 2011, Patterson & Company CPA provides clients with specialized, industry-tested tools and expert knowledge. With expertise in the hospitality industry as well as other service-based businesses, the firm offers year-round accounting and advisory services, supporting all back-office tasks through their BOSS advanced online platform that manages payroll, bookkeeping and vendor payments alongside the tax planning and compliance services of a full-service CPA firm. As vice president of the firm, Melina oversees client recruitment, relationship supervision, brand marketing and manages payroll. She is on the board of the Kentucky Restaurant Association and is a member of the Kentucky Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier.


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