The Small Business HR Podcast

Ep. 4

4. Recruiting and Retaining Restaurant Employees During a Staffing Drought w/ Kyle Wadsworth

In this episode 4, we talk with Kyle Wadsworth about how the restaurant industry is dealing with the pervasive staffing drought—and what impact HR can have on supporting businesses with recruitment and retention.
Kyle Wadsworth

Kyle Wadsworth

Director of Human Resources
Cafe Rio Mexican Grill
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The COVID-19 pandemic impacted a lot of businesses, but maybe none more than those in the restaurant industry. With some of the pandemic-related challenges subsiding, the industry is now facing new obstacles, including an ongoing staffing shortage.

We sat down with Kyle Wadsworth, Director of Human Resources at Cafe Rio Mexican Grill, to hear how the restaurant industry is dealing with the pervasive staffing drought—and what impact HR can have on supporting businesses with recruitment and retention.

We also talked about:

  • The biggest obstacles the restaurant industry faced during the height of COVID-19—and the ones it’s facing now.
  • What’s working—and what isn’t—when it comes to overcoming the challenges with hiring and retention.
  • His advice to other restaurants that are facing similar hiring and retention obstacles.
  • What he wants guests and diners to keep in mind during the current staffing crisis.

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Restaurants—especially small, local establishments—are all about taking care of your people. During the pandemic, I saw C-suites taking pay cuts, or giving up their salaries altogether, in order to help their people during an uncertain time."

Kyle Wadsworth

A dollar saved is a dollar earned. When we can retain people, that makes a big impact on the bottom line.”

Kyle Wadsworth

Right now we’re throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks when it comes to recruiting and retaining restaurant employees. Whether it’s posting for-hire signs with our hourly rates or brainstorming ideas with other restaurant owners, we need to get creative to survive this staffing shortage.”

Kyle Wadsworth

We should track everything we can. A lot of times in HR, we get lost in ‘I’m taking care of somebody.’ But we should be thinking, how can I quantify taking care of people, in order to show our value to the C-suite. ”

Kyle Wadsworth

If you’re a small restaurant or small business owner, get out in your community and let people know who you are. People want to know who they'll be working for—and that’s one easy way to make that connection.”

Kyle Wadsworth

Don’t only focus on who’s next in line. Always recognize the people you have, and let them know they’re valuable to you.”

Kyle Wadsworth

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