December 12

Tapping Into Temporary Restaurant Staffing To Grow Your Business


A Guide on Using Temporary Restaurant Staffing Services to Keep Your Team Productive and Grow Your Business

Running a restaurant is a hero’s work. So much blood, sweat, and tears are poured into creating sought-after menus and warm hospitality to make your guests feel welcome and special. 

But none of your small business dreams would be possible without the hard work of your employees. Having one less team member than needed to help run your business can impede its growth. 

If hiring is an uphill battle at your establishment, you might consider temporary restaurant staffing. It could be an untapped asset to helping your vision and business thrive.   

To get you started, we’re breaking down where and when temporary restaurant staffing is helpful and some best practices to make it work for your business growth. 

The Benefits of Temporary Restaurant Staffing

From turnover, seasonality, or scheduling conflicts—staffing needs can change daily in a restaurant. Temporary staffing can create more flexibility and help you manage pesky scheduling challenges so you can focus on growing your business. 

So, let’s break it down, starting with turnover. When someone leaves your company, you’re lucky if they give you two weeks’ notice—after that, you will have to fill in somehow to avoid a dip in your customer service. 

The reality is that confidently hiring someone within two weeks is rare. Considering you have to post a job, review resumes, schedule interviews, and then train a new hire, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.  

Temporary restaurant staffing can give you more time to make a hire that will work out long-term

Additionally, with services like Poached Shifts, you can use temp workers to hire someone full-time—at no additional cost. 

I emphasize that there is no additional cost because most staffing agencies charge a fee for taking a worker full-time. 

Access to additional help while you’re actively hiring ensures your team isn’t stretched too thin while maintaining their productivity levels and that burnout won’t result in more turnover. 

Next up, temporary restaurant staffing is a lifesaver when dealing with seasonality. Most restaurant businesses experience increased traffic at some point throughout the year.

In times like these, it’s common to overwork your existing team rather than hire someone you won’t need in a few months as things slow down. 

This isn’t ideal because you risk burning out your existing team and compromising service. 

The best thing would be to bring in a temp worker as a support role during your busy season. Then, as things cool down, you’re back to your core staff. 

Lastly, temp work can help you provide more work-life balance. 

If you run a tight team and someone calls in sick or wants to take a week off, that can mean sacrificing hours of operation, quality of service, or overworking other team members. 

Instead, you can bring in a temp worker so that you’re still fully staffed and operational, and your team can enjoy an earned break. 

Best Practices for Temporary Restaurant Staffing

Trusting someone you’ve never met to come in and do a good job is intimidating—and justifiably. 

With oversight and preparation, you can manage the experience so that, more often than not, it’s a good one. 

Here are a few best practices to keep in mind when planning to hire temporary restaurant workers: 

  1. Be descriptive in the role you need
    Whether you use an on-demand service like Poached Shifts or work with a staffing agency—you need to be detailed and descriptive in the role you need help with. 

    Mention everything from the task that could and will be required of a person, the skill level you need, hours, and pay. Don’t forget the little details either, like if there’s a dress code and any other regulations you’d like a person to follow. 
  2. Maintain communication with your team
    Always keep your team in the know. You must tell them when you’re using a temp worker and what to expect when they arrive. The manager on duty should not be left in the dark. 

    Maintaining communication with your team also means checking how temporary restaurant staffing is going for them. You can have post-shift check-ins to get feedback on the workers to learn which ones do a good job and which ones you won’t invite back.  
  3. Create an onboarding process
    Creating an onboarding process will increase the success and productivity of temp workers. Whenever you have someone new you’re not familiar with working a shift, schedule some extra time so that you or your manager on duty can go through the process. 

    A good onboarding process will contain a greeting, a tour, and an introduction to the staff on the clock. A quick meeting to review responsibilities and expectations to ensure the worker is aware of what is required of them and to get them situated in their space is also essential. 
  4. Find a staffing company you trust
    While hospitality work includes a lot of entry-level positions—it’s not the easiest thing for everyone to pick up right off the bat. It requires speed, precision, communication, and a certain level of physical activity. 

    Connecting with a staffing agency or on-demand staffing company you know has a pool of skilled and experienced hospitality workers will be like removing 98% of your anxiety over bringing in temp. Workers. 
  5. Review cost and results
    As always, you should fit in frequent reviews to ensure temporary restaurant staffing works for your team and your business goals. 

    This would be an excellent time to review productivity, customer reviews, and sales and check in with managers to see how things are going for them and if there are any continuous scheduling issues. 

How To Hire Temp Workers

So now that you know the benefits and the best practices for incorporating temporary restaurant staffing into your business—there are a couple of ways you can go about finding temp workers.

Build a Temp Team Yourself

Having a network of previous employees, friends, and family members you can call on to fill in as needed is nothing new in our industry. 

For years, I’d pick up shifts with previous employers to earn a little extra cash now and then. So, it’s entirely possible to build an on-call team of your own. 

On the upside, this option is cheap, and you’ll bring in people you know who are hopefully trained in the roles you need to fill. 

The downside is that you have to manage this list yourself, and sometimes it’s not extensive enough to be effective 100% of the time.

You could create a job ad for this specific purpose and hire and train people to be on-call staff. Usually, people who do this have full-time jobs elsewhere that they prioritize, so occasionally, you could run into availability issues. 

Find a Hospitality Temp Agency

Finding a company specializing in temp workers is a great way to ensure you’ll always have coverage and not worry about managing your on-call team. 

You’ll want to do some research to help you find a company that has skilled and experienced hospitality professionals. Poached Shifts is our on-demand staffing service that has helped many businesses gain flexibility in their scheduling and increase or decrease staffing levels as needed. 

When you use Poached Shifts, we vet each worker and monitor who we let in the system so that anyone booking your shifts is skilled and professional in the role you post. 

We even cover occupational insurance, which can save you money or legal issues down the road. 

Additionally, even if you build your own on-call team, finding a staffing agency you trust as a Plan C is a good idea. That way, you can still get coverage if you exhaust your list of on-call workers and no one is available. 

Temporary restaurant staffing is a great option to have the coverage you need when you need it and confidently stay operational. 

If you’re ready to incorporate this type of staffing into your business, check out Poached Shifts. 

As a hiring platform focused on the hospitality industry, Poached has built a community of over 1 million hospitality professionals nationwide, ready to join your team for full-time or part-time jobs and on-demand as temporary restaurant staff.

About the author


Ashley McNally likes to cook, loves to bake, and is always dreaming of her next meal. With over 13 years of experience working in various roles within a restaurant — McNally has made a home in hospitality.


You may also like

Hire Faster, Hire Better.