how to hire a chef
by Laura-Andreea Voicu

When most people start thinking about opening a restaurant, the first thing on their minds isn’t how to hire a chef. Everything from funding the restaurant to picking a location and theme comes to mind.

But eventually, everyone starts looking to hire qualified chefs. There are more than 1 million restaurant locations in the US, employing 15.6 million workers. If even a fraction of these restaurants is looking to hire chefs, then the odds of finding strong candidates that meet all the requirements for your restaurant decrease.

This article will teach you how to hire a chef that suits your restaurant following these five tips and tricks.

Learn How to Hire a Chef for Your Restaurant

1. Make use of job portals

Job portals should be your first point of call when considering hiring a new chef. Sites like Indeed, Adzuna, and Monster are great for hiring. You can post jobs on these sites to get applications from chefs that match your restaurant.

Before you put up the notice, consider the type of chef you want (e.g., an executive chef, a sous chef, or a pastry chef). Then make a list of the skills you want the chef to have.

For instance:

  • Cooking skills: Consider the food quality you want in your restaurant, the type of cuisine you want, and even the chef’s cooking style. You can do this by thinking through a sample menu. This will help you understand the qualities to look for in a chef.
  • Staff management: A good chef should communicate well with the kitchen staff but be stern when needed.
  • A fast thinker: A good chef can solve any occurrences in the kitchen quickly and sensibly while keeping the orders going and the customers happy.
  • The ability to make crucial decisions: If you are looking to hire an executive chef or head chef, it’s imperative to get someone who can make decisions that help the entire kitchen and restaurant.

These qualities will then inform the job description you put on the job listing. Also, having these skills in mind will make it easier to choose candidates from the hoard of chef resumes you receive.

Other things that should be in the ad are the job title, information about your restaurant culture, the chef’s qualifications, and the job compensation.

Read more: How to Attract Restaurant Employees to Ensure Your Business’s Success

Other job boards you can use are LinkedIn, Sirvo, Poached Jobs, Culinary Agents, etc. If all of these are new to you and you feel overwhelmed, hire skilled freelancers to help you organize the requirements, put them up on the job boards, and shortlist qualified candidates.

2. Network with others and use your website and social media

A chef that is a great fit for you might not be found on a job board. Therefore, one of the top ways to find a professional chef is through other people.

You can do this by organizing or attending a networking event. This could be a gathering of recruiters where everyone shares information, or it could be a job fair.

At a job fair, potential chefs are invited to submit applications and talk to recruiters from participating restaurants. This works well if you do it with other recruiters. This way, everyone can tell their network to attend.

To make it easy for someone to apply to your job post, invite them to submit their application through your website directly. Use a restaurant website builder that allows you to easily add a “We’re Hiring” section on the homepage.

how to hire a chef on your restaurant website

Hire Smartly Directly on Your Restaurant Website Get a sales optimized website with a hiring module

You could also post about your staffing needs on your social media channels to maximize your post’s reach.

Another effective way to use social media is by cold messaging people who may be a good fit or connecting with other recruiters on LinkedIn. If you present your restaurant cordially and appropriately, you might get a qualified candidate or be referred to one.

You might also like: 10 Restaurant Staffing Issues and How to Address Them

3. Recruit internally

If your restaurant has been running for a while, but for some reason, you need to replace your current chef, then looking within your restaurant is a good option. It allows your restaurant staff to grow in salary and responsibility.

You can start recruiting internally by following these steps

  • Set up a recruitment process: Decide on eligibility criteria. It could be the number of years they’ve worked in a kitchen/restaurant, their appraisal scores, or they could be nominated by other restaurant staff.
  • Encourage your staff: Explain the requirements to your employees such that they feel comfortable and excited enough to give it a shot.
  • Screen fairly: You can do blind recruitment whereby employees don’t submit the initial application with their name. This way, the employees are confident they are picked based on their abilities alone.

If no one has the skill set you need within your restaurant, telling your internal staff first is still a great option. They may know a talented chef that fits the role perfectly.

You might also like: 18 Best Restaurant Interview Questions To Ask to Hire the Perfect Team

4. Seek help from restaurant community members

The culinary community is vast, and there are hospitality/culinary events you can go to where you meet chefs and other restaurateurs. These communities are gold mines for experienced chefs.

The American Culinary Federation is an example of such a community. It has a vast network and regularly hosts events where you can connect with others in the industry.

Another is the Welcome Conference and Southern Foodways Symposium. They are popular within the hospitality industry. Their site lists numerous events you can attend to network with people in the industry.

Other communities like culinary schools (e.g., Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts and the Culinary Arts Academy Switzerland) are great places to find the right talent. That’s because they often hold career fairs and events you can attend to hire a chef.

Read more: Restaurant Staff Hiring: How to Recruit & Onboard New Employees

5. Use a staffing agency

A staffing agency could help you save resources hiring as they usually have a pool of talent they can source from at any time. Even if they don’t, they still have a network they can reach out to when looking for the right fit for your restaurant.

They might be your last stop when discovering how to hire a chef. However, they usually eliminate the need to post on job boards. They save time as the hiring process is faster, and there are no administrative tasks for you because the agency takes care of most of the documentation involved in hiring.

When choosing a staffing agency, consider the following:

Research agencies

Make sure the agencies you are considering specialize in your industry. Getting a reference from other restaurants they have helped staff is best. Also, make sure they fit into your budget.

Discuss the employee selection process

After shortlisting a few agencies, ask them questions to ensure their recruitment methods align with your goals. Ask them how they source talent, their screening process, and how long it takes. Inquire whether they seek passive candidates because some chefs do not actively look for new jobs.

Ask them how involved you can be in the selection process because the candidate must suit your hiring needs.

Finally, inquire about their placed employee turnover rate. This will show if they can match employees with the appropriate companies.

Discuss job details

Now is the time to tell them the type of chef you want. Discuss experience and passion for food. You could also take this chance to understand their hiring process.

In Closing

Many restaurateurs struggle with hiring a chef that fits their restaurant, but it doesn’t have to be so.

Employing the right methods, such as using job portals to list job openings, networking with others to take advantage of their network of talents, and recruiting internally to give staff a chance, are great strategies to help you find the right chef.

Other ways to hire the right chef for your restaurant are by seeking help within the restaurant community and using staffing agencies that can make the hiring process easier.

And that’s how to hire a chef for your restaurant. Implementing these tips should smoothen this process and help you settle for the right candidate.

This article is a guest post.

Author bio:

Mackenzie Lepretre is currently the Director of Operations at FreeUp Marketplace, a top-rated marketplace for businesses to find and connect with the best remote professionals. She has worked with freelancers and ran freelance teams for 5+ years.

photo of GloriaFood blog writer Laura-Andreea Voicu
Laura-Andreea Voicu

Laura-Andreea Voicu is an experienced content writer with a knack for marketing and SEO. She creates guides and resources designed to help restaurants grow their presence online and boost sales.

She has been featured on the Oracle Food and Beverage Blog and wrote for Search Engine Journal, Clutch, Sender, Venngage, Quickbooks, and many more.

Find me on LinkedIn.