Looking for staff with knowledge about the restaurant industry can be tough at times. Many come with some knowledge from their previous job or bad habits from poor mentorship. This can easily be avoided by choosing to hire culinary students instead. Culinary students are generally taught the same standards, learning everything from knife use to cleanliness expectations. The consistency you’ll get from hiring a culinary student can be a mutually beneficial exchange, giving young chefs an opportunity to learn about their passion while working hard for you.
Where and How to Hire Kitchen Staff
If hiring a culinary student has piqued your interest, you’re in luck. It can feel like an uphill battle at first because you’re specifically looking for culinary students, but it’s not nearly as bad as it sounds. There are various ways to reach your target audience and hire the skilled staff you need. We’ll break things down by job board and include the cost to post on them below.
Culinary Job Board. These are job boards specifically created to look for culinary talent.
- Culinary Agents ($49/mo or $100/mo premium). Culinary Agents was created in 2012 as "a professional networking and job matching website designed for current and aspiring professionals in the food, beverage, and hospitality industry." Not only does Culinary Agents offer job listings, but it also offers professional networking platforms and mentoring resources. If you’re looking for higher-caliber chefs and bartenders, Culinary Agents focuses heavily on curating their hiring pool. Since this job site is specifically for quality restaurant and bar job postings, you’re likely to find quite a few students mixed in. This is perfect for restaurants and bars in big cities but might not work as well for smaller areas as there’s dwindling outside activity and interest.
- Good Food Jobs ($60 for 60 days, pay what you can, bulk post pricing options available). Good Food Jobs is a women-owned “gastro-job search tool” created with the intention of helping communities grow through food. This job website is great for small businesses and businesses with a focus on helping their communities. You can even look for experts in other areas not limited to working directly in a restaurant. If you work with sustainability, need help with marketing or design, or have a need for farm staff, Good Food Jobs can help connect you with industry experts. Many younger culinary students find a lot of joy in the sustainability and “farm fresh” aspect of the culinary arts, and if that’s where your company values align, this is the perfect place to start looking. The only downside to using Good Food Jobs would be if you’re looking for something else or want to post on a website that’s specifically for restaurant and bar staff only.
- Poached ($40/post for 30 days, $30/post for frequent posters). Poached is another restaurant and bar-specific job search website. Their reach is actually smaller than Culinary Agents, so this option will only work if you’re hiring out of a large metropolitan area. The benefit of using one of these websites if you live in a larger food-centric area, however, is that you already know the competition is intense for restaurants and bars. It’s much easier to find the right person when you use websites like Poached. Job seekers can also seek you out by selecting categories. In general, Poached is a more cost-effective version of Culinary Agents.
General Job Boards For Culinary Talent. These options are boards meant for any job and in turn, get more traffic than niche websites.
- Indeed (Free to post, pay per click. Promote your post for $5/day). Indeed is one of the most commonly known job boards on the internet, boasting millions of active postings for job seekers to look through. One of the benefits of using Indeed is the ability to specify your qualifications, allowing job seekers to immediately see whether or not their resume is compatible with what you’re looking for. This includes being a culinary student, years of experience, and anything else relevant to your specific job. You’ll be more likely to get traffic here, but that’s not necessarily a good thing as it’s more likely for you to get a lot of irrelevant responses. Use Indeed with caution and take your time, the number of responses can make you feel rushed.
- Craigslist (Completely free). Craigslist is famously known as a local buy/sell website, job board, and all things within your community. You don’t have to pay to post on Craigslist and you might have some luck, but Craigslist is known to be full of scammers and useless posts. Use this with caution and know that job seekers might not find you here. It’s worth a shot because it’s free, but it’s more useful to seek out other avenues for posting your jobs as well.
Other Ways to Hire Kitchen Staff. You can skip the job posting and try something else.
- Open calls. You can put advertising out that you’re having open calls to culinary students that might like to start work in the industry. Giving people an opportunity to show their skills is a great way to find the talent you need for your restaurant. You can offer to pay people a bit of money to come in and see how they fit in at your establishment and hire the people who do the best.
- Externships for culinary students. Externships are programs for students that allow them to get on-site training while they’re learning. This is a great opportunity for you because you can funnel talented students toward the positions you have available. Students, especially these days, are often having a difficult time finding work post-graduation. You’ll be giving them an attractive offer while cultivating culinary talent at the same time.
Culinary Students For Hire: Why Culinary Schools are a Great Source For Kitchen Staffing
While culinary students can take more time to develop their skills, hiring students is more cost-effective and you can help an employee form good habits. Students have a good understanding of culinary fundamentals, so you won’t have to do as much explaining and training as you might think. Students often have a better attitude as well and are excited to work in an industry they’re passionate about. You can find a variety of culinary students looking for part-time or full-time work, so there are few downsides to searching for and hiring culinary students.
Final Thoughts on Hiring Kitchen Staff
Overall, culinary students might be the solution you’re looking for when you’re hiring people for your bar or restaurant. Hiring good people can be an arduous task at times, but in the end, it’s an important part of the success of your establishment.
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