How top independents handle the staffing crunch

The labor shortage remains a major challenge for even the most successful operations.
Photograph courtesy of Shooters Waterfront

The labor shortage remains a top challenge, even for the most well-trafficked restaurant operations. Here’s how some of these winning independents are addressing hiring and retention.

Girl & The Goat: “We are addressing this through a combination of recruiting initiatives—how employment ads read, how benefits are messaged outside of the organization, presence at job and recruitment fairs, referral bonuses, etc.”

Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn: “Increasing wages, established premium pay on weekends, established tuition reimbursement program.”

Portland City Grill: “We focus on the culture to ensure that we are a very positive and professional workplace.”

Tavern on Rush: “Using different online platforms and social media for recruitment.”

Farmers Fishers Bakers: “Working on bettering recruiting strategy, and offering best benefits possible to recruit and retain top talent.”

Whiskey Joe’s Tampa: “Promoting from within with an emphasis on improved training and retention. … Emphasis on quality of life, yearly reviews, benefits and advancement opportunities.”

Shooters Waterfront: “We have a very structured system of continuous development for our team in every position.”

Swift & Sons: “We have a number of initiatives surrounding better staff retention through training and staff growth strategies. We also utilize weekly and monthly educational workshops to help the staff continue to hone their knowledge and skill set.”

The Southern Steak & Oyster: “Retention raises, premium benefits, internal promotions, ongoing training are all initiatives we have taken to combat the labor challenge. We give ongoing training and staff incentives to reinforce the importance of hospitality.”

Komodo: “With all of the restaurants opening every month, there is a shortage of staff, especially in the back of house. We are addressing these withby continuous recruitment and by using our internal staff for references.”

Founding Farmers: “Recruiting and increases on wages, a stronger effort on promoting within and increasing employee surveys.”

Click here to return to the 2019 Top 100 Independents. 

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


Why the Smashed Jack sparked record-smashing demand at Jack in the Box

Behind the Menu: The chain’s newest menu addition aims to break the mold on what a fast-food burger can be, and customers are buying in.


Why Wingstop isn't afraid of Popeyes' chicken wings

The Bottom Line: The fast-casual wing chain says its sales improve when another brand pushes the product. Here’s why that might be.


Mendocino Farms masters a meaty Philly cheesesteak sandwich—without the meat

Behind the Menu: The fast casual uses a mushroom-based meat alternative for its Philly Shroomsteak Sandwich, a new menu item targeted to flexitarians, not just vegans.


More from our partners