Restaurants: Every Single Hire Can Make or Break Your Online Reputation

Employee Satisfaction and Customer Satisfaction

Experienced restaurant owners know that great team members are the lifeblood of their business. Consistently hiring A-players, however, can be a monthly or even weekly struggle. Many restaurateurs and franchisees did not get their start in recruiting, and without a little guidance and a few resources, it’s all too easy to get stuck in a turnover loop, making bad hire after bad hire. What’s worse: the costs of a bad hire in the food-service industry are multiplied by the negative impact these team members can have on your brand and customer perception. Dissatisfied employees can cost you time, money, and customer loyalty. At CareerPlug, we see great team members as multipliers, who build up your restaurant’s brand and reputation daily. Each hire is an investment in the future of your business, so don’t settle for just anyone with a pulse – start making predictable great hires.

One Bad Hire Can Leave a Permanent Mark on Your Brand

With the growth of local consumer review outlets, like Yelp, Google, and TripAdvisor, restaurateurs and franchisees have come to know the benefits and risks of online reviews all too well. Word-of-mouth has long been the most important marketing channel for the restaurant industry, and, for better and worse, online reviews have been multiplying the reach of word-of-mouth for years. Online reviews usually shape a customer’s impression and expectation of your restaurant before they even walk in the door. Team members are responsible for customer experience in every aspect of the restaurant operations, from their smiles table-side or at the register to their attitudes when cleaning and closing the store.

At many restaurants, quick-serve and full service, one toxic attitude can drag down the entire team. When the team isn’t playing at their best, customer complaints arise at all levels of the dining experience, not just employee-customer interaction. Put simply, one bad hire can take a heavy toll on a restaurant’s reputation, and in our digital age, that impact can be permanent. Many food-service team members, especially those who have built their career in the service industry, are hardworking, dedicated, and satisfied with their jobs. There is a method for hiring this level of talent repeatedly and predictably, and at CareerPlug, we call this method employee benchmarking.

Cloning Success with Predictable Hiring

Wouldn’t it be great if you could clone your top performers? At CareerPlug, we encourage all our restaurant owners and managers to benchmark their top team members on personality traits, such as integrity and service orientation, and technical ability, such as math and verbal aptitude. Leveraging this information to screen and qualify applicants can reveal red flags with applicants and highlight areas of candidate fit. For instance, when hiring a cashier for quick-serve, benchmarking friendly, honest, and detail-oriented team members for integrity and mathematical aptitude can help you identify candidates in your applicant pool that would be a clear fit for the role. Take the guesswork out of hiring and protect your restaurant’s reputation by developing an actionable understanding of what makes your team thrive. Then repeat the process!

Predictable Hiring is Just an Email Away

At CareerPlug, we believe that employee benchmarking is such a critical part of an efficient, effective, and informed hiring process that we include unlimited use of employee benchmarking and candidate assessments for all clients. It’s our job to help you take the guesswork out of staffing your restaurant with A-players, and our team is available to answer any questions you may have about our Applicant Tracking System or employee benchmarking. Send us an email!

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Hiring is hard, but partnering with us makes it easier. From posting jobs to scheduling interviews, CareerPlug allows you to automate certain parts of the process to improve your results and save you time.



Once you think you have found the right person, use our reference and background check resources to verify them. Then, send an electronic offer letter from CareerPlug to close the deal!



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Use our notifications and automations to be the first to respond to qualified applicants. Send texts and emails from directly from CareerPlug to convert applicants to scheduled interviews.



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Business Intelligence Manager

Eric Morales

Manager of Account Executives

Kirsten Penaloza

Director of Client Experience

Zach Garcia

Senior Manager of Operations

Tulay Solak

HR Manager

Tyler Berndsen

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Ashley Johnson

Senior Manager of Partner Services

Originally from small town in central Texas, Ashley Johnson graduated from Texas State University in 2013 with a degree in Business Administration. She was hired by CareerPlug as a Talent Specialist in 2014, and moved up to ultimately lead the Recruitment Services team. From there, she pivoted to Implementation, and is now the Implementation Manager.

As the Implementation Manager, Ashley and 3 direct reports function as a transition between Sales and Partner Success in helping our clients get set up and established in our software. She spends her free time raising her 2 dogs, playing cornhole, and perfecting the art of charcuterie.

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Andrew Robinson III

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Chris Igou

VP of Business Development

Chris accidentally started a 20-year career in franchising when he was 18 years old and took a job painting houses for College Pro Painters. That job turned into the ownership of his first franchise (a house painting franchise). While at Monmouth College in IL, he operated his business, played on the varsity football team, and studied to become a teacher.

The taste of entrepreneurship and desire to coach others led Chris deeper into franchising, working with a few franchise brands helping them grow their businesses. He lived in the Chicagoland area his entire life until recently moving his family to Austin, TX.

In his free time Chris coaches youth sports, especially youth football, and spends as much time as he can with his wife and 2 children.

Jenny Leman


Native to Texas, Jenny graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2004 and joined CareerPlug in 2017. She retired her first career path as a Registered Dietitian after 10 years, and has found her true belonging in business operations.

As CareerPlug’s President, Jenny leads all teams to an aligned effort toward achieving our vision. She works to build healthy and scalable internal systems to equip and empower the CareerPlug teams to bring their best for our clients. She loves contributing new ideas and rethinking the status quo. Jenny really connects with the company’s core values, but especially with our intent to “Keep Growing.”

In her non-work life, Jenny enjoys time with her family, playing drums and performing with the Austin Samba School, and finding excuses to be on the lake.

Clint Smith

Founder & CEO

Clint founded CareerPlug in 2007 with the simple idea that there was a better way to help employers connect with quality applicants. Today Clint works every day to fulfill CareerPlug’s mission: Make Hiring Easier. Leading by example, Clint loves spending his time developing new ideas and teaching others.

After graduating from the University of Florida, Clint worked in investment banking and strategic marketing; both experiences influenced the development of CareerPlug. He also spent a year away from the business world teaching 5th grade in Boulder.

Clint is passionate about helping others succeed and is involved in numerous mentoring programs. He and his wife, Sarah, are also foster parents. Clint enjoys family time, beach volleyball, and outdoor adventures.