3 unconventional places to find talent

employees looking up

These days, the labor pool can look more like a page from “Where’s Waldo?” than a viable place to find workers. It can also be as frustrating. At a recent industry conference, one FSD said the usual pipelines for workers have dried up because of increased competition; as a result, more operators might be feeling the squeeze. Rather than searching around in vain, consider these nontraditional sources for quality candidates.

1. Facebook

employees looking at screen

One business’s misfortune can be a boon for other operators. The dining services team at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa., monitors social media for tips on shuttered restaurants. Earlier this year, the dining team wrote a post on the Facebook timeline of a recently closed local steakhouse, inviting its staff to apply to open positions at their operation. “We ended up hiring one catering supervisor and two on-call servers for our catering department,” says John Pasquarello, general manager for dining services.

2. Your own backyard

employees holding hands

At Barrow County School System in Winder, Ga., the school nutrition team taps its own guests for backup. As part of a program to help students with disabilities earn job skills, the operation pays them minimum wage for tasks such as cleaning tables and taking out trash. 

3. Traffic

woman pointing at traffic

Denver’s booming industry has created a competitive labor market for Jeffco Public Schools’ nutrition services, located within the metropolitan area. Beyond posting job listings in more traditional places such as the department’s website and community centers, district vehicles are plastered with bumper stickers persuading potential hires on the road to apply. To address applicants who might not have a car, the operation also works with temporary agencies that drive employees to and from work via vans. 

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