In the final installment of this 4 part series, Carrie Luxem and the QSR Nation crew discuss back to school and end of summer staffing.

JOSH ANDERSON:  Hey everybody, welcome back to QSR Nation. Listen in as we continue our discussion with Carrie Luxem.

ANTHONY PIERCE:  Now I know a lot of our retailers have a problem with just finding people in general before they quit eventually, you know, they just have a hard time recruiting, so as we get back to school in August and everything like that, do you have any good advice for back-to-school staffing?

CARRIE LUXEM:  Yeah, well, my advice would be, this is a little late for this, but so what happens, people are short-staffed all the time, depending on where you are, and they get really excited over the summer because they bring on all of these students that are looking for summer help and they feel really great about that, but I think at the very beginning of summer help hiring, you’ve got to just make sure you’re not bringing on too many people that are going to leave at the same exact time, so really thinking through that and you’ve got to think ahead a little bit.

But now it’s mid-July, you still have students for the next month or so, and people aren’t really thinking, they’re feeling staffed, they’ve got great people or whatever, I think it’s just so important to right now start your efforts. Really step one is talk to people and find out what they’re really doing. Somebody you might have hired at the beginning of the summer who said, “Oh no, I can stay on,” you know, like things change, you know, they decided to take on more classes or they’re actually going to go away. So really just opening up the communication, making sure you’re finding out who really is leaving and when, and starting to fill the gaps with people that are going to be leaving, and again, it’s a month away let’s say, start now because what will happen is the night before everybody leaves, every operator will be in a panic because they don’t have enough people and “oh my gosh,” you know.

It’s just one of those things that I see so often, it’s like they know it’s coming but they are like just feeling staffed, and some people have said they were going to stay so they didn’t really touch on it that much, so just really, really getting to the people and the details of how their schedules are changing, if they’re changing, when they’re leaving, if they’re able to now only to work nights, and just really taking the time to plan accordingly, and then finding the people, tons of stuff.

Obviously, you could talk to the people that work in the restaurants and always should be doing that, getting their friends, and if they have people that are maybe changing, maybe they’re going back to school but they could work weekends, just knowing who is out there from like a referral standpoint and networking in the community and that sort of thing. I think, obviously, kids are going back to school but it’s still a good idea to advertise and communicate within the colleges, the community colleges, the universities, the high schools, with what needs you do have. Some of these community colleges, yeah, kids are going back but they’re open all day, like from 10 AM to 3 PM, they’re taking night classes, so maybe you can find some people that way. Start to put the signs out in your lawn or on the restaurant or a banner or something if you have real specific needs.

If you’re looking for five people to work fulltime, I think you’ve just got to put those, you know, people have to know, so put some banners up, put some signs up. I see sometimes operators do put these banners and signs up and they keep them up for decades, they take them down like every decade or so, but like take them down, put them back up, do fresh things. You could have marketing things made, handouts that say you’re looking for people, all of those kinds of things people are doing. It’s really just really good networking and putting some signs up. Then one of the things that I’ve been using for my own company, and I’m not a restaurant, but we do a lot of stuff on social media, and the power of social media is really huge.

It’s not going to bring in – like if you’re placing an ad on a job board like Indeed, you get a lot of applicants, and those are good things to do as well – but social media is more of a like a marketing strategy for people, it’s a recruiting campaign if you will, but there’s definitely, the ones that really separate themselves, they create these really neat little ads or they create a little video. When I had a need, I was looking to hire somebody, and I created a little 45-second video that I was looking for this person, I could not believe, and I have found the most incredible talent by posting a little video, putting it on Facebook, boosting it in the area that I needed to hire the person, I targeted the title, and I couldn’t believe the response, so trying those things.

So if you are a restaurant and you need to hire some crew members and cashiers, have somebody that’s maybe even working in one of your restaurants create a little video talking about what they’re doing and “come on over, we’re having a job fair” or something like that, put it on Facebook, spend $10, 15, $20 to advertise it, they call it boosting it, target the zip code, target the restaurant industry, whatever, and see what happens. You know, trying those little things can separate you. Those tools are out there but not a lot of people are doing them. It takes commitment and it takes time to do those things but it takes a lot less time than being short-staffed for six months.

JOSH ANDERSON:  Yeah, and being able to find someone who is attracted to your business because of something like that and that engagement level is probably going to translate into a better opportunity for retention and growth down the road as well.

CARRIE LUXEM:  Yeah, really knowing how to make an emotional connection with the people that you want to hire, and that’s really the key, and that’s why the power of video and the power of social media if you look at some of these larger companies, and again, you’ve got to try things.

I can’t say that across the board it’s going to work for everybody, of course, you’ve got to try different things, but a lot of these companies are doing a lot of stuff on Instagram or they’re doing some stuff on Facebook or creating these videos and putting them in different places, and it’s just something different, it’s something unique, and it’s just a great… aside from recruiting, it’s so great for the brand.

JOSH ANDERSON:  Absolutely.

CARRIE LUXEM:  It’s so great for the brand so it’s just a win all the way around.

ANTHONY PIERCE:  Yeah, for sure, and if anybody would like to get more information from you, of course, you are the author of the Restaurant Operator’s HR Playbook, and they can visit your membership site at, correct?

CARRIE LUXEM:  That is correct.

ANTHONY PIERCE:  Awesome. We do greatly appreciate you coming on again.

BETH OUTZ:  Very much.

CARRIE LUXEM:  Awesome. Well, thanks for inviting me back and I hope I get another invitation.

JOSH ANDERSON:  Absolutely.

BETH OUTZ:  You definitely will.

ANTHONY PIERCE:  I’m sure you will. Mrs. Worldwide has an open invitation on QSR Nation.

CARRIE LUXEM:  I love it.

JOSH ANDERSON:  And for all of our subscribers, if you have any questions for us, reach out to us at Actually, we have, I keep forgetting that.

ANTHONY PIERCE:  And then please subscribe to the podcast at PFSbrands/podcast. Carrie, once again, we truly appreciate it.

CARRIE LUXEM:  Thank you, thank you, guys.

JOSH ANDERSON:  Thank you for all you’re doing for the industry.  And for all our listeners out there, we’ll talk to you next week.

Listen to the rest: Part 1, Part 2, or Part 3.

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