3 Hiring Trends in the Restaurant Industry

Coffee cup and checkbook with pen

Leaders in the restaurant industry have been buzzing for the past few months. And they have good reason why they should–reports released at the start of 2013 confirmed that restaurants added jobs the previous year at double the rate of the overall U.S. economy. While some people may argue that restaurant job growth has outpaced the nation's economy the previous 12 consecutive years running, 2012's numbers were significantly higher.  In fact, restaurants enjoyed the most annual job growth in 17 years!

What does this job growth, which experts predict will continue through 2013, spell for you? It spells opportunity; the job market looks especially good for servers, cooks and restaurant managers. Check out the three hiring trends below to find out how you can grab your piece of the pie.

1.  Restaurants hire tech-savvy individuals.

"[Customer-facing] technology is becoming an expectation rather than a novelty," says Senior Vice President of Research for the National Restaurant Association Hudson Riehle. Restaurant owners are stepping up to meet consumer demands by investing in technology, "such as smartphone apps, ordering kiosks and mobile payment options," according to Riehle. While training for new software and devices is provided to new hires, employers will handpick candidates who can demonstrate a natural aptitude for technology. Don't shy away from geeking out at an interview if a tablet is thrust in your hands.

2.  Restaurants connect with new hires through social media.

More and more businesses are shifting their hiring efforts to social media, because that's where everyone is hanging out these days–on their smartphones, tablets and computers. Restaurants use their social media channels to post new job openings and to also do a little investigating into job candidates. Job seekers now use social media to search for these job openings and to promote their professional attributes to restaurants searching for new hires. A word of caution, adjust your privacy settings with meticulous care or remove any content from your personal channels that could tarnish your image in the eyes of job recruiters.

3.  Restaurants hire more for the summer than for the holidays.

Common sense tells us that labor is needed most at times when consumers spend the most money, which is widely considered the holiday season. Surprisingly, this is not the case for restaurants. There is certainly a spike in job growth around the holidays, but statistics reveal that the demand for new waitresses, bartenders and line cooks is strongest at the start of the summer. The lesson here is if you want to get your foot in the door for a potentially long-term position at a restaurant, turn in your applications before schools let out for the summer.

With so much job growth in store for the restaurant industry, you can expect to see additional hiring trends emerge regularly. Until then, review the manual for your mobile device, spruce up your Facebook profile and pound the pavement for a job by Memorial Day weekend. Restaurants will be waiting for you.

How has technology or social media affected you in your current job or last job search?

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