How to Rehire Restaurant Staff and Prepare Employees for Reopening

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The year the world stood still.

Everyone got hit. No industry was spared.

But no industry had it worse than the hospitality industry. Hotels, restaurants, and airports were shut down and they bled out.

Many employees lost their jobs. And those that didn’t, had their hours reduced. A survey on Careerplug showed that as much as:

  • 77% of restaurant employees reported a significant reduction in working hours.
  • 59% of hospitality workers have reduction in hours.

While many restaurants (and hotels) have gone out of business, a few are still running – combining a handful of staff with technology.

However, life has slowly started returning to normal (hopefully), and governments have begun to ease up on public health restrictions. This means restaurants can slowly (and safely) begin to open up to the public.

And that presents a different problem…


Or rehiring, as it were.

How can restaurants rehire staff and prepare employees for post covid-19 opening?

It’s time to look in this problem.

Fortunately, in this article, I will show you:

  1. 3 things to consider when rehiring;
  2. 4 tips for hiring new employees;
  3. 5 ways to prepare your staff for reopening.

Excited yet?

Let’s dive right in!

Here are…

3 Top Things You Should Consider When You Rehire Restaurant Staff

You may have lain off a few of your staffs when the pandemic struck.

No guilt there – many other business owners did same.

You didn’t do it because you are callous, but because of the situation.

Now you are trying to rehire your staff. They have been with you for some time and know your business really well. And so, you’d rather work with them than hire (and train) new staff, right?


Here are 3 things to consider when rehiring your staff:

  1. Health and safety

The world is slowly recovering from the pandemic and that’s awesome.

However, we are not in the clear; therefore, you need to create a solid health & safety plan/policy. And when you do, be sure to let your staff know what those health policies are from the get-go.

This will keep their minds at ease knowing that you take their health and wellbeing as a top priority.

  1. Responsibilities and Roles

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way businesses operate, maybe forever.

If this happened to you, then you are definitely going to change what they did prior to when you let them go. They may need a little retraining to be successful at their new roles.

One thing to remember is that you must be open and clear about who will do what. Also, try not to switch your returning employees’ roles too significantly. You want to try and keep as close to the original as possible.

Having your chef handle the finances and your accountant cook the meals isn’t very smart.

  1. Refusal to work

Expect some of your former employees to reject your offer to come work for you.

This is happening everywhere in the world.

The lockdown has caused many to rethink their lives and change their priorities. While some are looking to work from home, others are just scared for their health.

Whatever the reason is, be ready for this and plan an appropriate response or have a backup plan.

Be sure to handle rehiring discussions with your former staff carefully. You wouldn’t want to ruin your relationship with them, would you?


Hiring New Staff for Your Restaurant

Yes, will be hiring new staff.

Why am I so sure?

Well, because the pandemic has changed the way businesses operate, including yours. And this means you will most likely have new roles that you didn’t have prior to the pandemic.

Even if all your staffs return to work for you, these new roles will still need someone to fill them.

When you have decided what new roles you’d need to move your restaurant forward, you need to figure out how to get the best hands.

Here are…

4 tips for hiring new staff post-covid-19

  1. Create a referral system

You can develop a simple but effective referral system to help you get new employees.

Here’s an example:

You can offer a $250 reward to any of your staff that refers a candidate, provided the candidate makes it through the interview. Alternatively, you can offer $500 bonus for any candidate that aces the interview and work for a month without problems.

Next, let your staff know about your referral program so that they can be on the lookout for suitable candidates.

  1. Team up with other restaurants

Say you have a candidate who wants to work 6 hours and you can’t afford it, what do you do?

Well, why not partner with another restaurant that finds itself in the same dilemma. The candidate gets to split his/her desired hours between you two and you both get a new staff.

Good idea, yes?

  1. Take Advantage Of Job Boards

Job boards are great for finding qualified candidates.

In this case, you should use job boards that are specific to the restaurant industry such as Shiftgig, Culinary Agents, and PoachedJobs.

These platforms are easy to navigate and use and provide a good list of candidates to choose from.

Alternatively, you can advertise in industry specific Facebook groups as candidates tend to hangout in such groups looking for work.

  1. Make Good Use Of Your Interview Process

Your interview process gives the chance to meet all candidates who have showed interest in working for you. It is crucial that you use this process to screen them thoroughly by asking the right questions.

You do want to pick the best fit for your crew, don’t you?

The interview also presents a fine opportunity to discuss your health protocols and policies. This will cause job seekers to see your restaurant as the best choice to work in.

I am sure you want that.

How restaurants can prepare staff for reopening post covid-19

So, you have rehired your old staff and picked up a couple of new employees, now what?

Here’s what – preparing them for reopening!

Remember how I mentioned earlier that you need to develop new health & safety guidelines? Now let’s look at 5 ways you can do that. Don’t forget, you aren’t just protecting your staff with this, but your customers as well.

  1. Apply new safety procedures

Safety procedures should be implemented once you hit the ground running.

There a few basic routines your staff should strictly adhere to, such as:

  • Thorough (and frequent) hand washing;
  • Wearing personal protective equipment or PPEs;
  • Reducing personal contact with food;
  • Regular wiping/disinfection of all surfaces, especially tables and chairs between seating;
  • Avoid pre-setting your tables with silverware and glasses;
  • Getting condiments and reusable menus off the table;

You should check with your local health and safety guidelines to ensure you are not breaking any local health protocols.

  1. Restructure Your Physical Space

This is paramount because restaurants with little spaces tend to cram things up.

You need to take out a few tables and chairs and space out the leftovers. Ensure you have roughly 6 feet of space between tables.

Additionally, you want to:

  • Place floor markers can also help guests and staffs maintain social distancing;
  • Use bright-coloured directional arrows to prevent exits and entrances from being crowded;
  • Station hand sanitizers at strategic places that are easily accessible to servers.

Have your staff members get themselves acquainted with your new structure so that there’s zero confusion during working hours.

  1. Create New Training Materials (On And Offline)

Remember how I said you should get your staff acquainted with your new structure?

This is how you do it – by creating learning materials for them to use.

Materials such as videos and pictographs work well in these circumstances. They can help your staff quickly pick up what they need to know.

You want to also develop training for new technology like reservation software, online ordering systems, and contactless payment.

Or you can just hire an expert you can afford.

  1. Keep An Eye (Or Two) On Staff Health And Hygiene

While you may keep your restaurant clean, you can’t control where each staff goes after their shift.

Therefore, you must have an effective health check for every employee before their shift.

Some organizations recommend you have some sort of questionnaire to screen employees. On the other hand, you can employ a temperature gun to check the body temperature of each staff before each shift starts.

This way, you can detect any infection before it spreads to your staff members or guests.

  1. Make Adjustments To Your Scheduling

Humans are gregarious creatures.

And so, it’s normal for employees to make contact when they greet each other at the start of their shifts.

You can’t let this happen if you are looking to prevent the spread of infection. To curb this, you can throw a monkey wrench into your shift scheduling.

What I mean is that you include some irregularities in your employees’ start times. This will prevent them from resuming at the same time which will reduce the spread of the virus.

How Technology Can Help You Reopen Your Restaurant

From here on out, technology will play a huge role in helping many businesses reopen after the pandemic passes.

Aren’t we grateful for technology?

A few techs to consider for this purpose include:

  • Restaurant scheduling software,
  • POS system,
  • Contactless payment software,
  • Digital menus,

With these scheduling and self-service technologies, you can:

  • Help staff execute orders faster and more accurately;
  • Upsell to customers and make more money;
  • Create new restaurant floor plan;
  • Take payments virtually;
  • Offer loyalty bonus to regular customers to encourage repeat business.

Looking at all these benefits, reopening your restaurant suddenly stops feeling like a scary exercise.


It’s been a really trying year for everyone.

But humans are resilient creatures. Humanity has taken economic hits in the past. We have survived two world wars, a couple of depressions, and a few recessions, and guess what?

We are still here!

No doubt we will come out of this pandemic stronger and wiser. Let the lessons in this post guide your restaurant reopening.

One more thing…

Customer behaviour will change post-covid-19.

Therefore, you are going to need a robust platform to gather fresh customer data to track their behaviour and discover new patterns. This data will help you make data-driven marketing decisions and make the most of your marketing budget.

You want to have real-time actionable data to help you maximize your marketing ROI.

We have the perfect solution – SpotOn Wi-Fi.

Contact us right away to learn more about how our platform can help recover and get back on your feet.

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