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What Online Ordering Can Teach Us About Restaurant Hiring

Online ordering. It’s become a craze that is changing the way the restaurant industry works. Diners today can order their favorite meals from a number of restaurants in just a few minutes, all from the comfort of their home or office desk.

Many restaurant owners and restaurant managers are trying to use online ordering, along with other digital tools, to understand how the restaurant-diner relationship is changing. 

Although the primary use of the rise of online ordering is to better understand the restaurant-diner relationship, we can also use it to understand how to hire better.

How can we do that? First, we need to start to look at why online ordering is on the rise.


The Market for Online Ordering

Online ordering, or digital ordering, is growing 300% faster than traditional dine-in orders and restaurants are taking notice. It’s pretty common to see your favorite restaurant (or your own restaurant if you’re a restaurant owner) on UberEats, DoorDash, Postmates, or some other ordering app. Most restaurants also have an online ordering system for take-out.

Online ordering has huge benefits for restaurant owners and operators, and their diners. First, it allows restaurants to increase their revenue. 

Many companies are seeing a rise in average order size. Dallas-based Wingstop has seen customers spend $4 more on online orders than traditional dine-in orders. When you order online, there’s no pressure to make a quick decision. You can order as fast, or as slow, as you want.

When it comes to delivery apps, you see some revenue and marketing benefits as well. Being on a delivery app or service can increase your visibility and grow your customer base. Some customers might just order from you because they see you on an app. Even I have ordered from restaurants and food trucks I’ve never been to but have seen on an app.

So, going back to our original question, why is online ordering on the rise? Digital ordering allows restaurants to meet their diners where they are. And that’s exactly what diners want.

Diners are willing to spend more with restaurants because restaurants using online ordering tools can meet them where they are.

So what does that have to do with hiring?

What Online Ordering Teaches Us About Hiring

By participating in some form of online ordering, your restaurant is either increasing visibility, meeting the needs of your diners, or both.

The same holds true for attracting candidates. To reach top talent, restaurants need to cater to the needs of candidates to sell them on why they should apply.

Just like diners want to be able to order at their convenience, job seekers want job applications to be convenient. 

Diners don’t want to jump through a bunch of apps or pages to place an order online. Job seekers, like diners, also don’t want to spend a ton of time going through a bunch of websites and long applications to apply for a job.

And why should they?


Time is valuable for job seekers. They don’t want to invest hours in an application if most companies won’t spend a few minutes to thank a job seeker for applying.

You wouldn’t have a customer go through a 20-minute process to place an order online. And if their internet crashed during that process or errored out? They probably wouldn’t dine with you again.

The same simple and quick standards should be applied to job seekers as well. Candidates are customers. Whether their experience is good or bad, they will share their experience with others and it will impact whether job seekers apply to your restaurant or dine at your restaurant.

When you don’t meet the needs of top talent or put up too many hoops for them to get through, you end up with a poor talent pool to choose from. Just like being unprepared for your ideal diner could lead to poor business.

Most restaurant operators say staffing is the top challenge they have to success.

If you have a poor talent pool, it can lead to high turnover, which the restaurant industry is notorious for, and associated costs to replace team members.

For restaurants, it can cost $2,000 to hire and train a new team member. That cost rises to up to $15,000 for a manager. 

For restaurants to meet candidates, they need to put their jobs on major boards, create a simple, quick application, and have a careers page that can serve as a source of truth for content about the restaurant.

Use an ATS to Implement Online Ordering Learnings

How Restaurants Can Implement Learnings for Hiring

The evolution of the restaurant-diner relationship through online ordering shows there is a path for the restaurant-candidate relationship to evolve as well.

Here’s how restaurant owners can implement learnings from online ordering to meet candidates where they are:

  1. Restaurant owners and managers can start by making sure all of their restaurant jobs, whether they are front of house or back of house, are on all major boards.
  2. Restaurant owners and managers can create a simple, easy job application for prospective team members. Long applications are known to create high applicant drop-off in the restaurant industry.
  3. Restaurant owners and managers can create a branded careers page for their jobs, which includes team photos, testimonials, videos, core values, and most importantly, shows the work environment they will be a part of.

There are a few different ways of going about this. 

One option is to do all of these efforts internally. Have your restaurant manager or whoever does the hiring for your organization simplify your job application and have it posted on major boards. You might need a web developer or easy-to-build website platform to create a careers page. The best careers page has all open opportunities on it.

The other option is to use an applicant tracking system (ATS). An ATS can improve your hiring process by posting jobs on major job boards with one click, streamlining your application process, and offering an easy to build careers page.

CareerPlug offers all of those functionalities and is a leader in creating simple, quick applications. Restaurants who use CareerPlug have an average apply time of 2 minutes and 30 seconds.

However you decide to improve your hiring process, make sure you focus on the needs of candidates and meeting them where they are to maximize the chances of finding that A-player.

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