Josh Kopel | Award Winning Restaurant Consultant

Restaurant Margins: Exploring Job Opportunities in the Industry

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The aftershocks of the earthquake that shook the hospitality industry are still being felt. As we all scramble to find our footing, I thought back to those who may feel most at sea during this time. 

5 Day Restaurant Profitability Challenge

I’m talking about the unemployed. 

With an estimate of 60% of restaurants closing permanently, according to Yelp, and a US unemployment rate above 10%, I completely empathize with those of you who find themselves out of work. It’s so easy to feel lost when the industry you love is on its knees. But maybe there is a way through. I spoke to Brad Metzger and Jackie Leanza from BMRS Hospitality Recruitment to learn about the present and future of the hospitality job market in America.

A Buyer’s Market

When I spoke to Brad and Jackie, I went in with the assumption that recruitment would surely be completely dead in the water. We hear about so many restaurants making cut backs, it’s hard to see where the opportunities may lie for highly talented individuals. 

They did not deny that things had taken a huge downturn at the point of closure. Jackiei told me that BMRS had 100 positions on their books at the beginning of the year but now just have 10 vacancies. I can’t imagine how worrying those numbers are to candidates. 

5 Day Restaurant Profitability Challenge

That said, I am always searching for the opportunity, the glimmer of hope. What they assured me is that although the market is tough right now, there are restaurants with new positions all of the time. 

“If you search the job boards, there are still restaurants hiring at this time and there are opportunities in places you wouldn’t consider before.” said Brad “Patio restaurants and takeout dining are killing it right now so there are plenty opportunities if you aim for the right places.”

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Of course, as a restaurateur, I can see the potential this brings me too. The pool of talent has dramatically widened into a vast sea. This could mean that finding top quality talent to serve the food, cook the meals, and provide excellent customer service front and back of house will be a simpler process.

The Cream of the Crop

To get those scarce jobs, Brad advised taking matters into your own hands. 

“I encourage you to be aggressive and go that extra yard to get in front of the people you want to work for. Say you have a dream list of places you would like to work, you have to go out and get those jobs. Send your resume via mail with a great presentation, beautiful stationery, well written and with a personalized cover letter. An executive chef would love reading that!” he advises. 

I couldn’t agree more. Even in my own restaurant, creative go-getters have always caught my eye. If quality walks through my door, as long as they aren’t interrupting my lunch rush, I am always willing to listen. I have even hired folks who I don’t have a true position for yet simply because they stand out from the pack. I fully believe that the best of the best will be highly rewarded in the new job market.

To me, quality people will determine the future of this industry at this crucial moment in history. An amazing team is going to change the tide. For candidates, this means improving your chances of landing a job with creative tactics. For us, the employers, it means really evaluating the talent we have and the talent we can onboard in the new age. 

Times are tough but the future is looking brighter and brighter…

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